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By ANTHONY VIOLANTI
News Critic
11/26/99

Last year, during his first day on the job as a computer programmer, Dave Schulz got a call from Los Angeles. On the phone was Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls who were about to embark on a worldwide tour. "Hey dude," Takac told Schulz, a keyboard player with the local band
C.O. Jones, "we need you. Pack your bags and come out here."

Schulz, 25, quit the job on the spot and a few hours later was on a plane to L.A.

And that's how Schulz started touring with one of the biggest bands in the world. Fourteen months later, Schulz has gone around the world twice with the Dolls and he's still going strong.

"My whole life changed so dramatically in one day," said Schulz, who will be in town next week with the band and also have a CD release party for C.O. Jones Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. in the Calumet Arts Cafe, 56 W. Chippewa St.

"One week I'm sitting in an office, the next week I'm on stage in front of 15,000 people," Schulz said. "It's weird, but I love it."

Schulz says touring with a big-name rock band is like "living in a movie; you meet so many goofy characters and every day is a different scene."

Among the cast of characters for Schulz:

Boy George: "I met him at a bar in L.A. He said I reminded him of somebody and he wanted to take me out. I told I'm not like that and had to go."

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones: "We opened for them on some dates. Keith bumped into me on stage during rehearsal. That's surreal, man. I can't believe I'm standing there with Keith Richards. He says in this really thick accent, "Hey man, I'm lost, where's the dressing room.'"

Dave Matthews: "I met Dave Matthews in a New York City hotel bar. I asked (him) to call up this girl I know who is a big fan. Matthews called her up and she almost had a heart attack."

Jay Leno: "I was in the dressing room for the "Tonight Show' when Leno sticks his head in the door. He's got the biggest head I've ever seen. He says to me, "Hey, how you doing?' There I am talking to Jay Leno. I can't get used to stuff like this, but it happens all the time."

Schulz comes from a musical family. His late father, Robert, played with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Gretchen, Dave's sister, is one of Buffalo's most respected singers and was with the band the Pine Dogs before embarking on a solo career.

C.O. Jones plays a driving style of funk and R&B music, and Schulz is known for his intense stage act and musical skill at the keyboards.

"I love how talented Dave is; he plays so good it's unreal," said Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls. "For us, Dave has tied it all together. He puts in the little extraneous stuff in songs that was missing.

"He helped us to be able to play the songs closer to the way we produced them on the records. He's just dripping with soul."

Schulz describes his off-stage role with the Goos as "the band's class clown." He helps ease the tension of the rigors of touring.

"He's hilarious," Rzeznik said. "This kid makes me laugh every day."

For Schulz, the hardest part of life in the rock lane is, "finding time to sleep and always jumping on planes and buses to get to the next hotel. You never get a chance to relax and settle down.

"This kind of life isn't as easy as people think. There's a lot of hoopla, but you've got to put all that out of your mind and just concentrate on the music."

One thing's for sure, Dave Schulz has found his calling.

"I'm never going back to computers," he said. "This is too much fun."
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