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By THOM JENNINGS

On Saturday, Buffalo’s greatest source of musical pride, The Goo Goo Dolls, will stop at Darien Lake along with Collective Soul and Tribe Society. The Goo Goo Dolls are touring in support of their latest release, “Boxes,” their 11th studio album.

Formed in Buffalo in 1986, The Goo Goo Dolls began its career as a three-piece punk band with current members John Rzeznik and Robby Takac. After nearly 10 years of touring and recording, the band scored its first hit in 1995 with “Name,” a track off their “A Boy Named Goo” album.

Twenty years the later, the band has amassed an impressive catalogue of hit singles and developed a huge national following. The group remains an important part of the Buffalo music scene, in large part due to the efforts of Takac’s not-for-profit Music is Art, which hosts a popular festival and supports music programs in area schools.

During a recent phone interview while sitting on his tour bus “somewhere in New Jersey,” bassist and vocalist Robby Takac reflected on his storied career with The Goo Goo Dolls and his thoughts on the band’s current state.

BN: I heard a story that you were at a family reunion at Chestnut Ridge in 1974 and stumbled upon a Todd Rundgren show, and that was the moment you decided you wanted to be a musician. Do you remember that show?

RT: Vaguely, I mean when you are a little kid, the music is about a tenth of what you remember when you are thrust in that situation. You are walking around seeing things you have never seen and smell things you never smelled. There was another thing going on at the time called the Allentown Art Festival, and at both of those events I became fascinated with what was going on around me, and have been fascinated ever since.

BN: You have gone on to be a famous musician, but success did not come overnight for the Goo Goo Dolls. Is it true the band came close to calling it quits before you broke nationally?

RT: For the first 10 years we were high on our own fumes. We were out there doing it, albeit in a van and playing to 40 people most nights, but we were out there trying to make it happen. When we got around 30 years old I know it wasn’t as big of a deal for me because I tend to throw caution to the wind, but for John, he is not like that, and it was a seminal moment for him. Then “A Boy Named Goo” came along and “Name” hit, and we began the second chapter of our career. That gave us our second life. Right now we are entering our fourth phase. We were that unknown band, then we were the band with the huge songs, then the band that was still releasing songs, and in the last couple of years things have been happening and I feel like we still have a lot of longevity.

BN:“Boxes” is a great album. It sounds fresh and sounds like you really enjoyed making it.

RT: It was awesome. We figured out a way to make an album. We used to be very old-school in our approach; you know, write 15 songs, play them for a producer and then go and make a record. Things don’t need to be like that anymore. In the digital age you can turn your demos into songs and record things in different places. It’s easier now and the possibilities are endless. We felt like it was critical to our existence to make things sound fresh again.

BN: The opening track “Over and Over Again” sounds like a classic opening number for a rock show. I was happy to see that is how you start your show. How have fans received the new material?

RT: It’s funny, you break out new songs and people sometimes scratch their head. We ended up using two producers on this album, and the songs we recorded on the East Coast sound like East Coast songs and the ones on the West Coast sound like West Coast songs. It keep the album interesting.

BN: So many bands don’t perform new material because some fans go to the bathroom when the new song comes along, but you are performing five new songs in the current set.

RT: A lot of people that attend our show for the first time are surprised when I come up the microphone to sing because they have not listened to a whole album and have not experienced the breadth of what we do. They know songs like “Iris” and “Name” and “Black Balloon,” so no matter what we play they know that within a few minutes we will play a song that they know. It’s about pacing your show, and making sure the hooks are in the right places.

BN: That must come from having been in the trenches for those first 10 years.

RT: Those first 10 years have had a dramatic impact on my life in many ways. Good and bad.
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