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For Goo Goo Dolls singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Johnny Rzeznik, the seeds to the band’s twelfth studio album Miracle Pill, now available via Warner Records, were planted on tour last year in celebration of the band’s most successful album.

“I got done doing the Dizzy Up the Girl 20th anniversary tour. By the end, that tour really informed me a lot about where I need to be as a writer, as an artist and as a performer. Because every night it took me back to that time,” said Rzeznik. “We were playing all those songs and then the second half of the show was playing later songs, more obscure songs, and the evolution of who I am became really obvious. And it kind of emboldened me to get off that tour, get right to work and get a new album out.”

In 1995, the Goo Goo Dolls broke through to the mainstream with their fifth album A Boy Named Goo, thanks the the once unthinkable crossover success of the song “Name.”

The album sold two million copies in America and suddenly left the group with the task of figuring out how to follow up a type of stratospheric success that’s left many artists in its wake.

But they didn’t just follow it up, they topped it. Dizzy Up the Girl doubled sales of A Boy Named Goo and the song “Iris” became the most played song on the radio in all of 1998.
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For Rzeznik, the challenge since has been how to grow as a songwriter and continue to evolve more than 30 years in.

“It’s very important to me. As time goes on, your worldview changes and your abilities change. You just change as a person. I find it really exciting to make a record that somebody still wants to listen to this far into our career,” said Rzeznik. “I love David Bowie. And it just amazes me how the music changed as time went on. He knew where to look, you know? He knew where to look for inspiration.”

Over the years, the music of the Goo Goo Dolls has incorporated elements of punk and alternative but Miracle Pill is a batch of songs that stands on its own in today’s contemporary pop world. None of the songs rehash old sounds as Rzeznik continues to explore new territory.

A collector of vintage recording equipment, Rzeznik has gotten deeply involved in the production of Goo Goo Dolls albums. And one of the biggest ways he’s continued to push things forward musically is by working with people like songwriter Sam Hollander.

“I love the idea of creating something new. I collaborate now a lot on my writing which I never did before. And the reason that I started to collaborate is that I started to just be in an echo chamber. And I’m like, ‘Well, look… I know what I know but I need to learn from other people,’” Rzeznik said. “So sitting down and working with those guys, you learn so much. I always want to find a new sound - even if it’s a sound that someone made popular 40 years ago. I still want to do something fresh. It excites me to hear something new, you know?”

The new album addresses the turbulent times in which we live. “Miracle Pill” hits on topics like instant gratification and the album itself addresses the world without getting political.

“I think that our country for the last almost 20 years, we’ve been living in a state of this chronic, low-grade anxiety. And I think it’s really starting to wear people down. I know there’s times it wears me down. And we’re living in an incredibly unfair society. Incredibly unfair. And I’m not talking about politics, I’m just making a social commentary,” Rzeznik explained. “The album is about connection, loss of connection, the hope of making a connection. Look, we’re turning into a very, very lonely, disconnected society. And it’s starting to rear its head in very ugly, nasty ways. If there’s no hope, there’s going to be trouble.”

In an era when it’s become difficult to monetize recorded music, a great live show has become crucial. The Goo Goo Dolls have never stopped touring. And, to Rzeznik, there’s benefits of the live music experience on a number of different levels.

“I went out this last summer and I was standing on stage and there were about 15,000 people there. So I’m standing on the stage and I’m playing these songs. And I’m thinking, ‘So almost half this audience, politically, disagrees with the other half of the audience...’ Statistically, theoretically, half this room disagrees. But both sides of the room are singing the songs, right?” mused Rzeznik. “Live music especially is what’s gonna keep people together. Because you can’t experience that on the internet. You have to get off your ass, drive twenty miles, buy a ticket, stand in line, talk to strangers, deal with people - it’s a beautiful thing. Everybody is there for one thing that they all agree on: They all agree that they want to be there. And that’s a good thing.”

During the music industry boom period of the 1990s, there was a standard cycle that existed around the release of a new album, which saw bands release a record, tour and disappear until the next one, usually a span of about two to three years.

But, today, in the era of online streaming, there’s been a gradual shift away from that toward immediacy. A catchy single is often more important than a great album and bands can’t just disappear until the next album drops. The Goo Goo Dolls have embraced that by releasing singles and EPs to streaming platforms and touring relentlessly.

“It’s just the way things are. But I kind of dig it. It’s like, ‘Well, I’ve got a really cool idea. Let me call this guy and book the studio, get in and let’s have it done next week.’ It’s kind of cool,” said Rzeznik. “I’m planning on doing that again. Miracle Pill is a piece of work - it’s a collection of songs. But if I come up with a really cool idea, I’m just gonna put it out there. It’s a matter of sink or swim.”

The Goo Goo Dolls toured in support of the Dizzy Up the Girl anniversary last year and have been on the road since, hitting amphitheatres in large markets this summer with Allen Stone and Train. And for Rzeznik, that remains an experience which identifies and informs everything the Goo Goo Dolls do.

“I see people from every walk of life in what I do. And I talk to people every single day, every city I go to. I talk to people about everything. I just talk to people every single day. And it informs me and it kind of influences my songwriting. I want to connect, man,” Rzeznik explained of life on the road. “Doing the [upcoming] tour, we’re going to be playing theatres and smaller cities. I dig it. I want to appreciate what’s going on in smaller cities. It’s very, very different than in the big cities. I’m excited,” he said of a tour which takes the Goo Goo Dolls through Texas, the midwest and northeast during October and November.

Through all of the ups and downs in his band’s 30 years, there’s been one constant for Rzeznik: his partnership with co-founding singer, songwriter and bass player Robby Takac.

“We still get along. He’s kind of a semi-autonomous unit within the band. I do my thing, he does his. But we still actually like each other,” said Rzeznik. “There’s times when we want to punch each other in the face - and there were times we did punch each other in the face - but it just feels right still. When it doesn’t feel right, I won’t do it. But it still feels right. So I don’t think I’m going anywhere.”

*** Miracle Pill is available now via Warner Records.

*** The Goo Goo Dolls launch an American tour Friday, October 25 at Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas, making their way through the midwest and into the northeast through November.
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