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What’s in a name? More specifically, what’s in a band’s name? Well, sometimes there’s a science behind it and sometimes you just pull it out of a hat. John Rzeznik and his crew needed a name change back “in the day” as promoters were having a hard time promoting his band the Sex Maggots. Instead of pulling a name out of a hat, they pulled it out of a True Detective magazine in an ad for a goo goo doll. To this day, John wished he would have had five more minutes to pick a better name.

Now, millions of people around the world associate the Goo Goo Dolls with great songs such as “Iris”, “Slide” and “Name” and the charismatic front man who delivers those songs. I’m not sure if any still associate it with the doll in that ad, but that’s another story. John Rzeznik, along with his team of Robbie Takac and Mike Malinin are back with a new album entitled Magnetic that finds the band back on track after taking a Star Wars turn to the dark side (so to speak) on their last album. It’s good to see Rzeznik and the guys back on track, in a positive place, and spinning out more soon to be classics. We caught up with front man John Rzeznik who caught us up to speed with the band’s busy schedule.

The new album Magnetic debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, so congrats on that feat. I’m kind of curious as to why you named the album Magnetic? Is there a story there?

You know, it was the first word that actually came out of my mouth. I liked it and we messed around with a bunch of other titles, but we ended up coming back to Magnetic because it was simple and kind of fun. You know, there’s just so much positive energy on this album that it really is an attractive kind of thing.

I can sense that vibe in the album myself. I’ve listened to it several times and you really do get that feel from it. Now, your last album Something For The Rest of Us did have somewhat of a darker edge to it that I think caught many people off guard. For you as a songwriter, what was the big difference going into this new album as opposed to the last one?

I was just at a different place in my life this time. I feel like my life has been on a more positive path lately and I felt like I was in a much better place this time. Honestly, emotionally and physically, I was in a better place.

After all these years of putting pen to paper, is there a method to the madness with your songwriting? Do you draw from personal experiences or other people’s experiences?

You know, it’s a lot of different things. Yeah, sometimes I draw on personal experience and sometimes things just bubble up from under and they just kind of find their way out from my subconscious. You know, sometimes I just make things up.

To promote the album, you guys are doing some dates with Matchbox 20. Wow! Talk about a night full of hits for the fans. How’s that been so far?

We’ve been out for a couple of weeks now and things have been really great. The crowds have been great and the shows have been a lot of fun for us.

I know you guys are doing some headline dates in the U.K. after the Matchbox 20 tour. Are their plans yet to do a U.S. headline tour after that?

I haven’t made any plans that far out yet, but I hope there’s a reason to.

Well, I hope so too! Getting good numbers in that first week of sales is a good thing, but I know you hope the album has legs and stays around for a while. The industry’s really changed a lot since your first album back in 1987. Nowadays, everything seems to be geared towards singles.

Yeah, everything is geared towards singles now, and I think the internet has had a lot to do with that. I think there’s a lot of consolidation and the media had a lot to do with that. There’s just less room for everybody these days and everything is driven very hard by research and all that kind of stuff; I don’t want to get too wonky about it. People are working harder and harder for less and less and that goes across the board. It’s not just the music business; it’s every business in the world. The very, very few lucky ones at the very top are getting more and more. The rest of us are working more and more for less and less.

Speaking of singles, I know “Rebel Beat” is the lead-off single and video, but I am sensing a buzz growing for the song “Come to Me”. Are you guys getting that on your end as well?

Yeah, that seems to be a favorite of a lot of people; that’s definitely going to be the next single, we’re already working on that. You just never know what’s going to happen when you release an album. I really love that song; it meant a lot to me once I heard it finished. You know, I’m getting married at the end of July and that song is really special to me.

Well, you beat me to one of my questions John! I was going to ask you if I heard correctly about you getting married. Congrats to you man, that’s awesome.

Thank you, I appreciate that.

Earlier, you touched on being in a better place when you started writing this album. I’m guessing this may have been a contributing factor to that better place?

Yeah, you know you’re right, it was. My girlfriend and I have been together for so long and we finally made the decision to make it real and start a family. I’ve been living on my own since I was 16 and just the thought of starting a family is really exciting to me.

Who knows, maybe a couple of little Johnny’s might be running around in the near future?

Yeah, you know what? I think I’d really like that.

I’m a dad myself. I have three kids and it’s an amazing, rewarding feeling. On a personal note, I’m happy for you and I wish you all the best.

I appreciate it a lot, thank you. I’m pretty excited about it.

Ok, I got side tracked with a little bromance moment, so let’s get back to the album. I think it’s a solid album and there are so many great tracks, but I have to ask you about “Bulletproof Angel” which is my favorite track on the album. Is there a story behind that one?

We recorded the strings for that one at Abbey Road Studios and it was a pretty cool experience. I mean, I wasn’t actually there for that part but I could watch it on Skype. When we were writing the song, we wanted to do a story telling kind of thing with it. It’s about how we let so many things in life pass us by. This one guy just finally notices this person and he’s not sure if she’s a part of his imagination or if she’s for real. She’s just so open and free and she’s completely herself in every way. He’s conformed his life so much, so to spend just a little bit of time with her and see someone who is able to live their life on their own terms just blows him away.

I saw in your press release about the Creative Coalition Ball that you were a part of earlier this year for the President’s Inauguration. How did that come about?

It’s the strangest thing actually, I was looking at cars and this guy comes up to me and he said was part of the Creative Coalition and he’d love for us to play this gig. Of course I said yes because it’s an honor to be asked to do something like that; it’s not the type of thing you turn down. It’s was really great and a lot of fun, although we did not get to meet the President, but that’s ok because we were there for the party.

I do have a couple of quick fan questions for you. You did two songs for the Disney movie Treasure Planet. What was that experience like?

You know what; I really loved doing that project because I was part of a huge team of people that were all working towards one goal. I was just one little cog in this giant machine of people that were doing this stuff, and to see it go from pencil sketches all the way to the film product in the theater. I remember I was sitting behind Nicholas Cage in the theater at the premiere. To go from one place to the next and to watch the progress was really, really incredible.

Another fan question is about an artist that I actually interviewed a while back, John Allen from Charm City Devils. They wanted to know if you had ever been mistaken for him because I think he has been mistaken for you. To be honest, you guys do kind of look alike and she told me that he was adopted. She thinks there may be a conspiracy theory going on there.

(laughs) Poor bastard! No, that hasn’t happened to me, but that’s funny.

Name three albums that changed your life in some way.

Ok, the Replacements Tim, the first Clash record, and I’m going to say A Boy Named Goo because that changed my life in the respect that it took us from being part time amateurs into being full-time musicians.

Last question John: if you could go back and give the younger version of yourself any advice would you and what would you say?

I would and I would tell him don’t drink so much and I would also tell him to believe in himself more and try not to worry so much about what other people think.

John, I do believe our time is up. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me today.

I do want to say thanks to everyone for coming out the shows because they have been really, really fun. We’re looking forward to being there for quite some time.
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