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By Paul Ryerson
Special to The Record


Often regarded as a place that you can’t return to, home is where Johnny Rzeznik, lead singer and prolific songwriter for the Goo Goo Dolls, so often finds himself when searching for inspiration.

“It’s what I’m made of,” said Rzeznik about his hometown of Buffalo.

For Rzeznik, going home to write is not about returning to roots or drumming up old memories. Rather, home is entirely who he is, with the people and their stories being as much a part of him as his family and central to the music he writes.

While still in high school, Rzeznik met Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac and quickly found a mutual interest in a new wave of punk rock. They soon began playing together for little more than a few drinks at rundown bars in downtown Buffalo. Dreams of stardom, or ever even leaving home, seemed distant at the time, even as the Goo Goo Dolls released their first self-titled studio album in 1987.

The album was crude and unpolished, but that would not last long. By the Goo Goo Dolls’ third studio album, “Hold Me Up,” a new maturity to their songwriting had begun to develop and so did the potential for something greater. As a result, Rzeznik got to hear his own music broadcast for the first time from a small college radio station that picked up on a catchy track called “There You Are.”

“It was a bit freaky to hear your own voice on the radio,” Rzeznik said as he reflected on that pivotal moment. The Goo Goo Dolls simply had no idea that “There You Are” was just the beginning and that their hard work and relentless touring was about to pay off.

The Goo Goo Dolls finally burst into the mainstream in 1995 with their smash hit “Name.” Johnny Rzeznik was slowly establishing himself as a unique songwriter and musician. By the Goo Goo Dolls fifthh album, “A Boy Named Goo,” there was no turning back.

After the release of “Name,” the Goo Goo Dolls continued to top the charts over the next 15 years with songs like “Iris,” “Slide,” “Broadway,” “Let Love In,” and a cover of Supertramp’s hit “Give a Little Bit.”

As trends in music and pop culture have come, gone and recycled themselves, the Goo Goo Dolls have stood the test of time as they continue to produce singles and grow with their audience.

Despite the worldwide recognition and more than 10 million record sales under his belt, Rzeznik continues to return home to write his music. The Goo Goo Dolls’ ninth studio album, “Something for the Rest of Us,” set to be released Aug. 31, was no exception.

Promising to be more topical, Rzeznik regards his latest album as a reflection of the uncertain world that we have come to know, hoping to channel the stories of everyday people struggling to cope with troubled times. Although, the album’s first single, “Home” seems to speak to the very heart of Rzeznik’s own story — the need to find yourself, to find your friends and ultimately to find your home, wherever that may be.

The Goo Goo Dolls will be performing a must see show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center tonight. Tickets are on sale at ticketmaster.com.

Source: http://www.troyrecord.com/articles/2010/07/22/entertainment/doc4c47514dac837429339542.txt
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