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Thirty years ago, the Goo Goo Dolls rolled out of Buffalo with their self-titled debut album playing gritty, punk-flavored rock that favored energy over craft.

Much has changed during the past three decades.

Over the course of 11 studio albums the Goos have evolved into a polished group with a pile of Top 10 hits such as “Name,” “Iris,” “Slide,” “Black Balloon,” “Broadway,” “Better Days” and a cover of Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit.” Its latest album, “Boxes,” came out last year, and during June the Goos released an EP, “You Should Be Happy,” that shows its muse is not abating any time soon...

• Singer-guitarist John Rzeznik says the “You Should Be Happy” EP came about as something of a surprise to him and co-founder Robby Takac. “The whole thing just came together, Rzeznik, 51, says by phone from his home in New Jersey. “I was sitting and playing this crappy acoustic guitar and came up with the riff for (the single) ‘Use Me,’ and I was like, ‘Whoa...I like this...’ And I called my manager and was like, ‘Y’know what? We need to put an EP out and we should call it ‘You Should Be Happy’ -- and it was that quick. It was like, ‘This is what we’re doing. This is what we’re calling it. Call these people and let’s book studio time and get it done.’”

• Rzeznik also views the five-song EP as “an epilogue kind of thing” to last year’s “Boxes” album. “It’s just a nice addition, like ‘Oh, by the way, here’s some extra stuff...,’” he explains. “There’s only one song that was actually recorded for ‘Boxes,’ that ‘Walk Away’ song. I don’t know why it got pushed off the record; It’s actually a very good song. So I’m glad we get to put that out, too.”

• During the 30 years since the Goos’ first album, Rzeznik is aware, and proud of the fact, that he and Takac have come a long way. “Robby and I had no fear back then,” he says. “It was all balls and no brains. When we made our first album we were like, ‘Well, we got $700 to make our first record. What’s the smartest thing to do?’ So we looked at each other and we went, ‘I know what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna buy a bunch of beer and a bunch of trucker speed and we’re gonna snort all this speed and drink all this beer and stay up for three days and make the whole record!’ And that’s what we did. And for ‘Boxes’ it was protein shakes and a sensible dinner.”

• Rzeznik does, however, feel he and Takac still have some of the spirit from those early days now. “The thing of those kids that’s still in us is Robby and I still sort of stick together, and he and I still kind of feel like we’re not cool enough to be part of everybody else’s situation so we’re gonna have to make our own,” Rzeznik says. “When we were kids we didn’t fit into any part of the music scene and couldn’t get gigs and had to forge our own way to do it and create our own scene. I think we still feel that way, to a certain degree, and I’m glad for that because then all we’ve got to be is ourselves.”

• Speaking of early days, Rzeznik acknowledges that his first instrument was the accordion, though he’s let his skills lapse over the years. “The only song I can still play is (Barrett Strong’s Motown classic) ‘Money’ -- but very polka-ish,” he says. “I used to have to watch Lawrence Welk with my grandmother, going, ‘God...’ If you go on YouTube and go back to the early 70s Lawrence Welch shows and just watch them, it’s just so surreal -- the outfits, the music the hair, everything is just so crazy.”
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