Writing songs that are sewn into the fibers of American pop music is a difficult task for any band or songwriter to accomplish and the Goo Goo Dolls is a band that can most likely say in confidence that they have several legendary tracks woven into the culture.
These songs are songs that could end up being timeless, going far beyond 20 or 30 years of being recognized. Tracks like "Name," "Iris," "Slide" and "Black Balloon" helped to propel them to super-stardom, millions of records sold and the incredibly odd name Goo Goo Dolls to be a common name heard in many households.
Once again on the road, the Goo Goo Dolls are coming to Milwaukee Oct. 12 for a show at the Pabst Theater, and bassist and co-founding member of the band Robby Takac can see the impact of their discography in how diverse their crowds at shows are now.
"It's funny the age range of people that come to shows now, it's crazy."
Takac is also completely in awe and appreciative of the ride the band has taken, and the love that they still get all across the country and world.
"I think it's awesome that people feel that way. I think, I'm sure, a lot of people have grown with our music," he says. "There's kids that come to our shows these days who don't remember when there wasn't a Goo Goo Dolls record in their house. That's pretty awesome. It used to be the punk rock moms that had our records, and now it's not like that anymore. Now, a 15-year-old kid who comes to our show, chances are they heard the Goo Goo Dolls at some point when they were growing up. That's, once again, something that you can't ever look past how unbelievably special and important that is, you know to have bestowed upon you.
"I think you always just have to keep in mind how lucky you are when you are afforded opportunities like this. I mean, we just a played a show at Golden Gate Park like in the middle of the day in San Francisco and I'm standing up on the stage and everybody is singing "Iris" along with us and I'm just like, 'Oh my God this is just crazy that this is happening.' You know? I think if you lose that, if you're ever not impressed by that, then I think that you're in the wrong business. You shouldn't be doing this. That's what it means to me. I think I feel, I think I understand how special it is and I think that it's important that you keep that every day in your mind if you do this."
For their last several releases, the band has been putting music out at a slower pace than they had earlier in their career and when they sat down to write their latest album, "Something for the Rest of Us," they couldn't help but pen tunes that reflected the downturn of the economy and other stories based on the struggle so many are currently going through.
"I think anytime it's time to write a record, you take a look around you and you see what's happening, see the things that spark – that make that spark – and make a song lyric happen. As we looked around us I think it was pretty obvious that a lot of folks were struggling with things, financially and otherwise; it just naturally made its way into the songwriting process."
And though they may not be selling the millions of records that they once were, Robby feels that the new music does justice to their already solid legacy.
"It's definitely the last thing we put out, so you know, whenever you say that, that's the last thing that we're connected to, so it feels very important in that moment. It's a portion of a much larger collection of songs that we've been collecting over the years and I think it's a pretty good one."
"Something for the Rest of Us" is also the first album that the Goo Goo Dolls have recorded with the band that they tour with, which brings a different feel to the music and follows the tradition of them trying to do something different with every album that they release. Recording with their touring band also brings even more continuity to their live show, Takac believes.
"It's kind of the next thing. I think we always want to try to do some things we've never done before. We always want to try to feel like we've not repeated ourselves. That's very important to us.
"The pressure we made this record under was a lot different. When we went in with this record, we were really able to go in with the band that we had, the band that we had been touring with. Let me explain, many times, always when we make a record, we would go ahead and we would play the songs and lay down the basics for the songs. We'd bring in some friends to play some keyboards and like some styles of guitar that John (Rzeznik) wasn't real comfortable with playing with, so we'd bring some people to play that kind of stuff and percussion and all that sort of thing. So, by the time it was done, it would be sort of your band and a collection of some other folks that you know and the producer playing some things and some ideas coming in from all sorts of different people.
"When we did this record we went ahead with the collection of people that we were touring with and the band we were going to leave with as well, so I think what we did on this record was made a much more, a record that sounds like our band. It sounds like what we actually sound like when we're actually there playing. I think that that's something that for us, we were working on trying to make happen."
As for what's next for the Goo Goo Dolls, Robby reveals that they're already busy working on some new music.
"He (Rzeznik)'s got some stuff going on and I got our little label here that I run and we do that kind of in the cracks, you know making the bands happen, but we're pretty well into the process of writing songs for the next record already. So, we're hoping to get one out fairly soon. You know, hopefully make it out for next summer with some new music."