Johnny Rzeznik is getting ready to pack up his Los Angeles home and move back to New York.
The buff, blond-haired rock star may look like the poster boy for all that is Hollywood, but at his core the frontman of the Goo Goo Dolls is a blue-collar Polish boy from Buffalo.
"I'm thinking of moving to Brooklyn maybe, we'll see. It's just time to go back home," says Rzeznik. "Mind you, depending on the outcome of the election, I might just pack up and move to Toronto."
Like many Americans, the U.S. election weighs heavily on his mind. Although he says his lyrics don't always illustrate his politics, social issues are always in his thoughts.
"I mentioned my opinion of George Bush at a show once, and all I can say is America is equally divided. The audience was half screaming in support and half shouting expletives at me," says Rzeznik, who's a staunch Democrat.
"I have been writing more about social and political stuff lately. It's scary, worrying times down here right now," he says. "People think I just write songs about girls, but they're not really about girls. It's just a metaphor that works for me. I can try to address some social issues in a sort of cryptic way, but writing about politics has never really been my thing."
In advance of tonight's show in Ottawa, Rzeznik chatted on the phone from his home about everything from how he often thinks about moving to Canada, to why he doesn't give a hoot about what the critics, who've labelled the Goo's a pop band, think about his music.
"Hey, I've written a bunch of hit songs, I didn't tailor them for the radio. It's not like I sit there and listen to the radio and say 'oh, OK, that's what's on the radio right now, so I'll just stick a synthesizer in there and pretend that I'm British and it'll be the next hit,'" says Rzeznik.
"People sometimes think I just play in this commercial pop band. Well, it's still creating something, it's still wanting to speak your mind and hopefully affect people in the process."
He's well aware that with its breakout hit Iris, which was on the soundtrack for the 1998 movie City of Angels, the band became a so-called pop group.
The little band from Buffalo was catapulted to new heights in 1996 after the song Name, the single from their fifth album, A Boy Named Goo, launched the recording to double platinum status. Iris followed, cementing the band as mainstream hit-makers.
But Rzeznik and co-founding songwriter, Robbie Takac, weren't an overnight sensation. They got together in 1986 when Rzeznik was 19 and Takac 21. Twenty years later, Rzeznik says he's not going to let a few jaded journalists label his music disposable just because he has created a few pop tunes.
"My band has always had this really huge image problem," he says laughing. "But hey, we did a double bill with the Counting Crows and we've opened for Bon Jovi -- so whatever, we can be a lot of things. The problem is, you can't be everything to everyone, you can try but it'll screw you."
The Goo Goo Doll's 10th album, Let Love In, has gone gold on the charts. It includes a variety of positive-themed songs, including a cover of Supertramp's love ballad, Give a Little Bit.
"Critics hate that, too. That positive spin, they want us to be sad and miserable. I mean what provokes more emotion, looking at a Picasso or a Norman Rockwell painting?" says Rzeznik. "The thing is I write what I write and do what I do, if I didn't want to be criticized I wouldn't even bother."
He says when the Goo Goo Dolls first came under fire as a sellout act, it made him want to run away, but eventually he realized the only person he was writing music for was himself.
"It's not so much about selling a ton of records as it is about the music I put down on the page, and I'm really truly happy with it," he says. "People write to me all the time and they're like, 'why did you do this, why don't you make a record like Jed again?' It's because I'm not 20 years old anymore. And there's nothing that's more pathetic than a guy whose about to turn 40 acting like a 20 year old, the kids see through it. This is what I'm doing and I'm happy."
Goo Goo Dolls' birthday partying in downtown London
Goo Goo Dolls