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By Jeff Dedekker, Leader-Post


8 p.m., Tonight Casino Regina Show Lounge

Labelling the music of the Goo Goo Dolls as "radio-friendly rock" is one sure method of getting on Johnny Rzeznik's bad side.

Taking a break after a recent rehearsal in Los Angeles to discuss the band's current Canadian tour, Rzeznik responded strongly when asked if the label was a fair assessment.

"I think a lot of people that write about us are assholes," said the 45year-old frontman.

"A lot of music critics pooh pooh and toss us off as being a semivapid pop band. They probably don't even listen to us."

Although Rzeznik is obviously aware of what critics have to say about the Goo Goo Dolls, he isn't overly concerned with their opinions. He admitted that during the songwriting process, critics don't even enter into the equation.

"I'm definitely not thinking about the critics (when I'm writing)," said Rzeznik. who will be at the Casino Regina Show Lounge tonight for a sold-out show. "I'm definitely not thinking about anything except what I feel like writing, what is going to satisfy whatever is rattling around in my head.

"I'm actually a pretty selfish pup," he added with a laugh. "I want to enjoy the music that I write."

With 14 Top 10 singles and 10 million albums sold in the United States, Rzeznik isn't the only person to enjoy the music he writes. Formed in 1986 in Buffalo, N.Y., as a punk rock band, the Goo Goo Dolls have managed to fashion an impressive career. The band -Rzeznik, Robby Takac and Mike Malinin -hit a collective nerve in 1995 with its fifth studio album, A Boy Named Goo.

"Name," the second single from the album, became the first No. 1 hit for the Goo Goo Dolls. The blockbuster album also opened the band to its first commercial success -the disc was certified as double platinum for two million in sales.

The Goo Dolls followed up with Dizzy Up The Girl (1998), which was certified 5X platinum and delivered two more No. 1 singles -"Iris" and "Slide."

Now backed with a loyal following, the Goo Goo Dolls worked their way through the last 10 years with Gutterflower (2002), Let Love In (2006) and two greatest hits discs (2007 and 2008), bringing the band to Something For The Rest Of Us.

Looking back at the band's humble beginnings, Rzeznik admitted he had no thoughts of the Goo Goo Dolls stringing together such a lengthy career.

"(I didn't think about longevity) because I was just 19 and playing in a punk rock band -that's all I cared about," said Rzeznik.

"Really, we were part-timers, we were never actually a full-time band in 1995. We all had day jobs. Then we parted ways with our old drummer and Mike joined the band and all of a sudden we had this song that become a hit.

"There you have it and yes, then the race was on."

Rzeznik also admitted he has no explanation for the band's longevity.

"I think a lot of it is luck," explained Rzeznik. "A lot of it is we've been able to hold on to the little victories we had along the way and appreciate those things and then just keep going. I never thought I'd be doing this for this long but here we are. If it ends tomorrow I could walk away from it relatively happy with what I've accomplished with my life."

That's not to say that Rzeznik is ready to ride off into the sunset any time soon. Something For The Rest Of Us, released on Aug. 31, 2010, reveals another side of Rzeznik. Instead of focusing on his personal life and experiences for material, Rzeznik dipped into the lives of ordinary Americans.

The conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan, along with the economic crisis that swept through the United States, have left many Americans disillusioned. Rzeznik wanted to speak on behalf of those people.

He took his inspiration from the struggles of the everyday people, including one fan he met in a meetand-greet session. The woman gave Rzeznik a letter speaking of her husband's military service and how he was too ashamed to come home after suffering injuries that left him paralyzed.

The resulting song, "Notbroken," is forgiving, touching and emotional. It wraps the injured soldier in a passionate and loving embrace. Along with "Sweetest Lie," "One Night" and "Soldier," Something For The Rest Of Us validates Rzeznik's decision to take a different songwriting path this time around.

"I just felt it was time for me to get out of my own head and into other people's heads and write from their perspective, to try to do a lot of investigating to what they are all about," said Rzeznik.

"I was hoping the people who listen to our music would relate to what I was saying and understand it and embrace it and, they have."

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