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They've had the most Top 10 hits in America's Adult Top 40 history - no wonder Paul Byrne wasn't looking forward to talking to The Goo Goo Dolls

By Paul Byrne

Monday June 23 2008

When I heard the The Goo Goo Dolls were playing two nights in Dublin, I had to search my brain for a moment to remember any of their songs. Which isn't exactly a good sign for a band who've been around for more than 20 years.

I remembered they had a dirty big AOR ballad on the Transformers soundtrack that Bryan Adams would have been happy to call his own. So, that was one strike against them. And I knew the irritatingly catchy, multi-Grammy-nominated Iris, a song tailormade for American AOR radio. Strike two.

So, I went onto MySpace to check out what else The Goo Goo Dolls had to offer. What I heard wasn't pretty. And it wasn't clever. But, hey, it was big, with tickets for the band's second night at Dublin's Ambassador at the beginning of July just going on sale.

All I could think of though, as their music blasted out through my speakers, was this ain't rock'n'roll; this is Genesis. Or, worse still, Bon Jovi.

The band's co-founder, Robby Takac, is, of course, proud as punch of his band.

PAUL BYRNE: The Goo Goo Dolls really seem to be two bands -- there's the pre-fame punk band, and the post-Name and Iris Adult Top 40 record-breaking stadium rockers ...

ROBBY TAKAC: Yeah, I think at one point we decided that we could be very one-dimensional and stick to what we were doing, or we could go and do what we felt we probably should be doing. And that was growing up and maturing as a group of people, as well as a band. I think there's always a balancing act that you have to do, between being that thing that people have come to know and understand, and satisfy that need to be something that little bit bigger, that little bit more interesting.

There must have been some fan casualties when you went from punk upstarts to stadium rockers?

I think that, musically, we had been doing a lot of things before it was commercially noted. We had done acoustic songs on records prior, but we were just exploring at that time all the possible roads we could take. The songwriting capabilities widened, and the kind of things we enjoyed doing, because we just weren't 20-years-old anymore. We wanted to make music that reflected us now and, luckily, it's worked out pretty well for us. Knock on wood ...

There was a casualty within the band though, when you fired founding member George Tutuska in 1994, replacing him with Mike Malinin, the year before your big breakthrough ...

It would have been a matter of the band stopping, or the band becoming stronger. It's been 13 years now since George left, and Mike's been with us longer than George was. Although it was tough at the time -- and still, honestly, all these years later, there are still wounds there that might never heal -- but we knew that, in order to do what we wanted to do, we knew it was a move that we had to make. It really felt as though we grew up a little bit when that happened, as a group, and decided to take things seriously. It only made us stronger ...

It took 10 years before Name gave you your breakthrough hit in 1995 -- did you always believe that you were going to be big, or were you just happy playing the music, man?

It was the latter. Our heroes were always the likes of The Replacements and Husker Du, bands who, at their peak, would sell 500,000 records. So, we never looked at it as anything that could be commercially successful, because no one else was selling big. But it just grew for us, and it was kind of shocking to see that actually happen. When alternative music started to become not so alternative anymore, we just happened to be lucky enough to be there for it.

Is it easy to tap into that early angry energy now that you're AOR favourites?

It's funny, the music scene that we came from, you went out and wore your heart on your sleeve, giving it your all. That's what you brought to the stage, and to the songwriting process, and being in a band like that for 10 years, you develop a habit of just being that way. That's the difference between a band who are an overnight sensation early on, and one who's been around for a decade beforehand. When we deliver the ballads, we deliver them with all the furiousness of everything else that we do. I don't think it really goes away so much. It's been many, many years now, and if there's one thing I know how to do, it's this. Which makes me hit it harder ...

The Goo Goo Dolls play Dublin's Ambassador on July 2 and 3, with tickets available for the second date

Source: http://www.herald.ie/entertainment/music/goo-the-right-thing-1419183.html
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