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by Chris Mundy

Looking back on 'Jed' their second album of thrash-packed pop and well-articulated rage, the Goo Goo Dolls are philosophical.  "That was a very angry record," says drummer George Tutuska.  "Whenever you embark on a creative endeavor, you're leaving a mark of where your emotions are at that moment.  It's like leaving a photo scrapbook of yourself.  But sometimes you look at those photos and say, 'Oh, God.'"

For its third effort, HOLD ME UP, the trio from Buffalo, New York, has traded anger for introspection.  The sound remains the same, but the message is actually, hopeful.  "I'm just a lot more comfortable with myself than I have been in my whole life," says singer-guitarist Johnny Rzeznik.  "You still have a lot of anxieties, but you kind of burn off that post-adolescent angst. That shows up in our work."

But just because the band members are growing up doesn't mean their new record has sound grown-up.  Anchored by Tutuska's Neanderthal clubbing, the Goos reverberate like chain saws with a beat.  The Goo Goo Dolls, in fact, are a throwback to the glory days of postpunk heroes like the Replacements and Husker Du--bands that would wear their hearts on their sleeves if only their shirts weren't ripped to shreds.  "One of the biggest problems these days is there's no bands anymore," says singer-bassist Robby Takac.  "It's all projects and one-person efforts.  It's just really aggressive Muzak."

The band is so unwavering in its mission that it has twice used the ace Buffalo lounge crooner Lance Diamond for vocal chores. "We tend to be kind of hedonistic when we're putting our records together, because, ultimately, we want pleasure out of it," says Rzeznik.  "Quite honestly, they don't pay us enough money to make an album that we don't want to listen to."
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