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Goo Goo Dolls
by Tom Spinelli (2008-08-18)

The Goo Goo dolls have been one of my favorite bands since I first heard the album Superstar Carwash. The band has grown immensely and has become one of the world’s most successful bands today. They have been featured on numerous smash hit blockbuster film soundtracks and continue with huge hits like “Long Way Down”, “Name” , “Iris” , “Slide” , and the most recent “Stay With You.” I had the chance to interview with Robby on the phone to promote their most recent release “Greatest Hits Volume 2: B-Sides and Rarities.”

So you’re releasing the “Greatest Hits Vol. 2: B-Sides and Rarities” on Tuesday, Can you give us some details about the release?

Robby: I think we fee like we’ve sort of touched all bases on ya know, what is considered the greatest hits as far as the fans and the people that really understand the band goes and including a second disc of the lesser known stuff that we have recorded through the years is a pretty cool idea. As we started to work on it, it just grew more and more and a really good collection of our videos.

We started putting some videos on there and added the DVD with the high definition Red Rocks footage to sort of document where the band is today. Its probably the one of the more recent things we have recorded live and then this collection of covers, that’s kind of telling about some of the outside influences that made its way into the a lot of the things we do today after 22+ years of making records.

I saw the DVD and the Videos on there are awesome.

Robby: Yeah, many different hair styles on that. (laughs).

Its cool to see the old Goo Goo Dolls videos that haven’t been around mainly you just see the more recent stuff.

Robby: Yeah, it was interesting like I said, putting it all together and I think that down the road ten years from now there might be a good collection of kinda rare live stuff that is out there too but right now this package is so full of stuff I think that we will just put it out there and see how it goes as a fan piece to the folks who want to look a little deeper than the singles and see what we do.

I’ve been following you guys since I first heard Superstar Car Wash.

Robby: That’s cool man, It went down recently, the actual car wash in Buffalo.

Oh that sucks man. I wanted to ask you about Buffalo as well, I;ve only seen you in Buffalo, NY, How is the fan response Home different than out on the road?

Robby: You know, its always great here man, everybody’s rally proud of what we have done, I think to a large degree feel a part of it, having supported us through the first 10 years of our career when nobody knew who we were, traveling around in a van being a punk rock band. I think that really allowed us to learn how to make records and how to make the right decisions when were in the studio and how to grow as a band out of a scrappy punk rock band into a band that can go out and at times make some pretty serious statements.

Are you guys in the studio right now recording a new album?

Robby: Yeah, we’ve been collecting ideas for the new record for the past few months. John’s between Los Angeles and Buffalo and I’ve actually been camped out here for the past 10 months here in NY cause that’s where are studio is and we have been doing some shows. We did a tour over in the UK about two weeks ago and released a single over there called “Real.” The song came out through I-Tunes on just in the UK to correspond with the tour we were doing. The US Olympic Committee heard it and picked it up and used it for one of their fundraising campaigns which turned into a rock video for the song with Olympic footage that’s been played on NBC and MSNBC during the Olympic broadcasts along with a few other bands.

It was really the first song we recorded from beginning to end in our brand new place in Buffalo and we were very excited about getting that out there. Unfortunately the timing wasn’t right to get it on the new package but it is available on I-Tunes through the Olympic Games and it will be taken off and I don’t know, may be end up on the next record well see.

The song is great. It seems like its almost a little more rock than the previous album, “Let Love In?”

Robby: Yeah you know you gotta try change it up a bit. That’s kind of where were at right now. We have dozens of ideas and we’re trying to figure out what the best way to change it up is and keep things exciting for ourselves and the people who have gotten something out of our music for the past 20 something years.

The more rock sound doesn’t really sound like our older stuff but coincides with the release of the new disc with the older faster material.

Robby: Yeah, We’ve done a lot in that acoustic genre over the past few years and honestly I don’t see that going away because it has become a huge part in what we do and I think at the same time I think we feel that edge coming back which is exciting.

With the success of you last album and previous, Do you feel more pressure with every album to be as successful as the last?

Robby: I just think the industry is changing so drastically that the way people judge the success or failure of a project has just sort of morphed along with that. I think that a lot of people are still trying to figure out what the answer to that whole thing is. I think everybody is feeling pressure, no matter who you are cause nobody is selling the amount of records as they used to cause the industry is just not operating that way anymore. I think the bands and the record labels are all feeling the pressure of that and just watching the industry change, but I think there’s an inherent love in the public’s heart, not that you love to hear but in mankind’s heart with the effect that music has on people in their lives.

I don’t see music going away, I don’t see the importance of music going away, I just think the way people are enjoying it and consuming it are tending to change a little bit. Everybody’s feeling the pressure to find the right way to embrace their audience with all the new technology and everything else that is out there right now.

Pretty much everything now is digital and downloadable.

Robby: Yeah you don’t have to buy a record anymore. Its funny I hear something on the radio and I don’t even think twice before I just run over to Youtube, type the name of the song in because I know I will be able to hear it, it’s there. I don’t feel like im stealing it because I’m just listening to it. Its not like the way it used to be with Limewire and all that sort of stuff and that’s getting back to Napster and that. That’s kinda getting back to what I was saying before, even people who aren’t stealing music, the way they are enjoying it and the way they are consuming, that concept is not going anywhere man, that is the truth. I think there’s people who get caught up in it and its really gonna effect their careers drastically. I think for us luckily, we embrace the internet and all that they brought to the party pretty early on and we have a pretty solid community built around what we do. We stay on the road and go out and make money and still sell a pretty decent amount of records and I think were pretty lucky in that respect.

That’s what I thought was great about the new Greatest Hits, you include the DVD with videos and live footage because you cant really download that and it may push people to go out and buy it rather than download it.

Robby: Yeah that’s the way we felt too, There’s a reward for making the effort (laughs) and not just downloading the record from even when your buying it from I-Tunes or something like that, experience it different I think, than getting that CD and getting in your car and looking at it and holding it and feeling it and experiencing it in the classic way and sort of enjoying a recording as opposed to be something else that comes over your laptop speakers.

Its’ really good to hear the older movie soundtrack songs on here like “Lazy Eye” …

Robby: It was fun, It was a song with Shawn Colderoy and Paul Slade, the guys who did all the old Juliana Hatfield records and Dinosaur Jr. records and stuff. Like that song definitely has a unique sound to it, it was a lone project we did with those guys and they really put their stamp on things they do and that song always sounded really cool to me.

“I’m Awake Now” is awesome to hear too from the Nightmare on Elm Street Soundtrack. I have been looking for that song forever!

Robby: Yeah we did that with a guy named Michael Bum, who did a couple Red Cross records back in the day and was Patrick Leonard who produced a lot of the Madonna records early on, he was involved as well. When you do those one off track like that you tend to have a different vibe, cause there’s a who different crew of people in the room. It’s interesting to sort of separate yourself from what you have done in a full project and you have that memory of that year you spent with somebody making that record and been working on the songs as opposed to more of those movie soundtrack songs where its just like “boom” your in there for 4 days and then you never see the dude again and he had this drastic affect on one of your songs, its an interesting way of doing things when its not your standard way of operating.

Like “Lazy Eye,” it almost has a dark sound to it that we have never really heard in a Goo Goo Dolls song before.

Robby: Yeah, the dudes who did it were involved in a lot of that darker sound, like the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. and that dark sort of Boston scene stuff.

I noticed you guys are in a lot of movie soundtracks, Do you get approached by the movies company’s or do you go to them, How does that usually come about?

Robby: Generally they come through a publishing company or some boring story like that (laughs). Our manager is out day and night trying to hustle his ass off for us. When the opportunities come up, one of the biggest breaks we ever had was the “City of Angels” and once we saw the power of what that did to our career and we were like this is something that we should get involved in a little bit more.

Johns actually done a couple of songs on his own as well for films too and I think it’s a new way of getting involved with the media and the relationship with pop culture. I don’t think we would have dreamed 10 years ago that we would be putting songs on broadcasts but at the same time

I don’t think 10 years ago we would have dreamed that we would have 13 top ten singles either. So, the way the world spins tends to change as times goes on and you have to spin with it.

When you go into the studio to do soundtrack songs, Do you try to do something different than your norm or bring in different influences?

Robby: Umm, I think more often John has written the song and most of the time they will show you one of two ways, either they will show you the movie first and the song will be written for the movie or someone will hear one of your songs and they’ll say this will be great in my movie and so one will inspire the other at some point and that’s generally how they come together.

So what kind of bands do you listen to these days?

Robby: Its funny for me, I listen to a lot less rock music than I used to, I play rock music all the time and I love it and I love what I feel when its happening but in my personal world I tend to stay away from a lot of stuff that sounds like what we do. We do our own version of that I feel. (laughs). That’s my end of it, we get to craft it and make it what we want it to be. I tend to listen to more electronic stuff, a little bit dancier stuff that what my band does.

Do you think you’ll ever do a side project of something other than Goo Goo Dolls?

Robby: I actually have one I am doing, if you go to www.myspace.com/amungus or if you go my personal myspace there’s a link to it called Amungus. We actually do shows up here around Buffalo and just played down at the Stillwater and were playing the Music and Arts festival they do every year here in Buffalo, which is actually September 13 this year. So were playing a few different shows here but its more of a recording project that is anything else. I don’t see it touring or anything. It gives me a chance to spread my wings to do stuff a little but different so we can get back to business with The Goo Goo Dolls.

Are you singing in that project?

Robby: No I don’t sing at all actually, there are about 12 different singers actually. There’s really no actual singer. We have a few different girls we work with and have done all sorts of stuff, check out the website. I also have a record label called Good Caramel Records that I run with all Buffalo bands that released 12 or 13 records over the past 5 years that you can check out if you pop on my myspace you can check all that stuff out.

What kind of advice can you give upcoming bands or artists trying to make it these days.

Robby: Its pretty simple I think just get yourself out there man, every opportunity is an opportunity and no venue is to strange these days. Its all about getting in front of peoples eyes and peoples ears and like I said the business is changing dramatically and its not about pressing a CD and sending it to record companies anymore. Its more about getting your name out there on your own and really doing your best to use the resources that are out there right now that are available to everyone and mostly through the web and you can create develop your own situation at that point and make it something that people are interested in before you go out and solicit the powers that actually make the music industry because they aren’t interested until you’ve done that leg work first. Its all about being out there and getting in front of as many ears and ears as you can.

Now I heard your a huge PEZ collector?

Robby: Yeah man I got thousands. I’m actually doing an exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Their doing a Pez exhibit with a couple hundred of my dispensers and maybe someday I’ll put them all on display somewhere and the 30 people who are interested can come down and take a look. (laughs).

I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to interview with us and my last question… Do you have an all time favorite Goo Goo Dolls song?

Robby: You know what that’s funny that’s funny you asked that. I would have to say yes and its ony for emotional reasons and if I told you what it was I would have to kill ya. (laughs.)

Well Robby it has been an honor and I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to interview with melodic.net and we will be promoting the record and more to come. Best of Luck.

Robby: Thank you!
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