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Honesty.

That's something you'll find at the core of everything The Goo Goo Dolls have ever done–in thrash-and-burn live shows and lushly-orchestrated ballads, in buoyantly playful power-pop and introspective ruminations. Through it all–and through more than ten years in the trenches of low-budget touring–the Goos stuck to their guns, winning an avid cult-following that gradually blossomed into full-blown stardom.

"The thing is, we've never changed our idea about what it is we do," says John Rzeznik, the band's guitarist and primary singer. "It's very dangerous to put your opinion of yourself into the hands of someone else, and we've never done that, whether times were good or bad."

Times have been very good for The Goo Goo Dolls lately. "Iris," which they contributed to the soundtrack for the film City of Angels, quickly became a fixture in the public consciousness, breaking scads of radio play records and setting the stage for the band's long-awaited sixth album, Dizzy Up The Girl.

"Making this record was a serious growing process for us," says Rzeznik. "What I really wanted to do was be led by the music, rather than leading it. Sometimes, it felt like that was never going to happen, but once it did, the feeling was incredible. This album has an ease of sound that I don't think we've ever captured before." That freedom is plain throughout the Rob Cavallo-produced disc, which resonates with a graceful power that adds new dimension to the working-class angst still evident in tunes like the evocative "Broadway" and the aching "Slide," which yearns for the restoration of a relationship gone awry. It's a long way from the beery early days, but that's hardly a bad thing.

"We've all grown as people over the years, and the music reflects where we are," says Rzeznik. "If it didn't, it would be bogus. I'm not 18 years old anymore, and to write songs that look at life from the perspective of an 18-year-old would be ridiculous–although that hasn't stopped a lot of people from trying to do that in the past."

More than on their previous sets, Dizzy Up The Girl sees the Goos integrating the multiple personalities into a cohesive whole, mixing aggression with finesse, toughness with tenderness–the result being a remarkably seamless whole; strings (artfully arranged by David Campbell) co-exist with power-chords, neither overwhelming the other, on memorable songs like the wry "Black Balloon" and the somber "Dizzy."

"I think the record breathes a lot, that it draws people into the spaces rather than just pounding them with a sound," says bassist/vocalist Robby Takac. "We've done things that were really in-your-face, and we wanted to do something different this time." Rzeznik and Takac were barely out of their teens when they put together The Goo Goo Dolls in Buffalo, immediately establishing a two-pronged reputation for drunken reverie and penetrating songcraft. Those elements didn't take long to surface on record, either, charting a collision course on early discs like their self-titled 1987 debut and 1989's Jed, both of which burst at the seams with urgent originals like "I'm Addicted" and knowingly goofy covers culled from sources as varied as Blue Oyster Cult and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The Goo Goo Dolls honed that approach on their next brace of releases: Hold Me Up established Rzeznik and Takac as highly individual voices–in both senses of the word– alternating between optimism and cynicism, but always willing to stop on a dime to turn in a cover of Prince or the Plimsouls. The 1993 release Superstar Car Wash (with a demi- hit in the form of "We Are the Normal," which Rzeznik co-wrote with Paul Westerberg) brought more critical raves, and a bit more mainstream recognition as well.

Finally, in 1996, the Goo’s fifth album, A Boy Named Goo, provided them with their long-overdue mainstream breakthrough, thanks in part to the massive success of the heartstring-tugging "Name." Abetted by new drummer Mike Malinin–who makes his first appearance on a Goo Goo Dolls long-player on Dizzy Up The Girl–they spent nearly two years on the road, playing to progressively larger audiences and deftly sidestepping the pitfalls of "overnight success" as only ten-year veterans could.

"For the longest time, the band was almost like a folly for us," says bassist/vocalist Robby Takac. "Not that we weren't serious about it, but just that we had no thoughts of it really going anywhere. Then somewhere along the line, our hobby became our job–and that's the point where we had to take stock."

In order to do just that, the trio decided–on the heels of two solid years of touring– to take some well-earned time off before reconvening to record what would become Dizzy Up The Girl. That proved to be a wise choice, since the band has never sounded fresher than in the grooves of the disc's thirteen songs.

"We needed to retreat from everything for a while and get ourselves centered again," says Rzeznik. "Once we did that, I felt good about going into this album. Sure, I still pinch myself once in a while when I think about what's happened with us. But mostly, I don't think about it at all – I just want to get to the next song."
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