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Like so many of its peers, Goo Goo Dolls was supposed to spend much of this year on the road — this year with Lifehouse. The pandemic ensured that was not to be, of course, but John Rzeznik and Robby Takac are doing what they can to make these "Better Days."

Both have been active online, including Takac's Music Is Art Festival in the group's hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., online this year, and Rzeznik has played several streaming charity events. They've also made an album — "Christmas All Over Again," out Oct. 30 — and tuned up for the group's first full-scale livestream concert on Saturday, Oct. 24.

Times may be challenging, but clearly you can't keep a good Goo down...

• Takac, 56, says by phone that live performing of any kind is essential for him and Rzeznik at any point, but especially in current circumstances. "I know people need music and stuff, but I need it too, man," the bassist says. "I need to feel that connection. It's freaking me out. For the last three decades of my life we've had this awesome relationship with (fans), and it feels like that relationship is being tested right now. So any of these new technologies we can look into and work with in the meantime are great. It's a pretty serious undertaking, but it's a way to keep that connection alive."

• The Goos recorded "Christmas All Over Again" during the spring in Los Angeles. The impetus was a contribution Rzeznik made to a holiday compilation. "I had so much fun," he recalls, "and it's been such a crap year, I felt like, 'I want to keep doing it, ’cause it feels good.' I just wanted people to have something to listen to that would make them happy and something that reminded me of all the great, carefree times that we had growing up, listening to our parents' and grandparents' crazy Christmas albums."

• Rzeznik, 54, credits Goos touring members Brad Fernquist and Jimmy McGorman with bringing a level of technical and musical expertise to the project. "They're so good, and they brought in these other guys who were just insanely talented. I’m not an educated musician, and they are. The way they worked out the arrangements for the songs was really inspiring, and I got to put my two cents in and they were able to put it into terminology that real musicians understand. I was like a little kid just watching all this craziness go on."

• The album also features a new version of the Goos' 2005 hit "Better Days," sung by the daughter of co-producer and touring member Jim McGorman. "He was playing it at home and she wanted to sing it, and he brought (a recording) in and was like, 'Listen to this.' I loved and it and he's like, "We can work on it and she can sing it better,' but I said 'No, no, no, just leave it the way it is,' because of the purity of it. She's 7 or 8 years old, and you can’t fake that. I got a lump in my throat when I heard it, and I wanted people to hear it in its rawest, purest form."

• Rzeznik says the Goos are also working on new material, though a new album hasn't been planned just yet. "We've put some more elaborate demos together, and it's fun. It's good. I don't know what it's gonna wind up being like, but I like what I'm doing. You have to let the situation in the outside world be part of what you're doing. I feel it influencing ’em — not like I'm gonna write a song about the pandemic, but I think everything we're all feeling will seep into the music. Or I may turn around and just use the music as a weapon against the anxiety."

The Goo Goo Dolls perform a full-production live streaming concert at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, via live.fantracks.com/ggd. Tickets $2.99 plus VIP package options.
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