It isn’t easy to excite Johnny Rzeznik these days. That happens when you lead a band such as the Goo Goo Dolls, which have multiple platinum-plus albums and an astonishing 17 Top Ten hits. But when the band was asked to headline Philadelphia’s ‘Welcome America’ show, which is slated for Sunday along the Parkway, the vocalist-guitarist was thrilled.
“When I found out about that I said, ‘that’s awesome,” Rzeznik said. “I don’t think there is anything more American than playing on the Fourth of July.”
Hopefully, the Goo Goo Dolls will get enough time to play a full set.
The albums, much like the hits are piling up for the Goo Goo Dolls. The same can be said for the pop-rock band’s lengthy shows.
“We’re out there so long now it’s starting to feel like a (Bruce) Springsteen (concert),” Rzeznik said while calling from his Los Angeles home. “I don’t know how that guy does it but the longer we’re together, the longer we’re out there onstage. We have a lot of songs to play.”
The Goo Goo Dolls, which will also perform Saturday at the Borgata in Atlantic City, have to play the hits plus the trio will preview songs from their forthcoming album, ‘Something For the Rest of Us,’ which will drop in late August.
“We’re going to do about seven of the new songs,” Rzeznik said. “That adds a lot to our show since I don’t know what we can leave out.”
The group is fortunate enough to have a number of instantly identifiable hits. ‘Iris,’ ‘Slide,’ ‘and ‘Here is Gone’ are a few examples of the songs radio and the band’s fans have embraced.
“I would rather have to play the hits than not have had the hits and be struggling,” Rzeznik said. “I know what that’s like.”
The Goo Goo Dolls suffered during its initial decade of existence. The band, which formed in Buffalo in 1985, slept in vans without heat, signed bad record deals and survived on meager earnings.
“It was really hard,” Rzeznik said. “I gave myself until 1994 to make a living at music. If I didn’t reach that goal, I was going to go to college and just get on with my life.”
However, Rzeznik didn’t need to hit the books since the Goo Goo Dolls finally broke. The group scored a minor hit in ‘1993 with ‘We Are the Normal.’
“It was nice because I could sustain myself by the end of that year,” Rzeznik said.
The group recorded its breakthrough album,’ A Boy Named Goo’ in 1994. The album contained the act’s first mega-hit ‘Name,’ which changed everything for the band.
“It all started to fall into place after ‘Name’ hit,” Rzeznik said. “We went from struggling to a really good place.”
The Goo Goo Dolls, which also include bassist Robbie Takac and drummer Mike Malinin, have sold more than nine-million albums in America.
“We’re very proud of all that we have accomplished,” Rzeznik said. “It’s been incredible.”
There has been only one lineup alteration in the 25-years of the Goo Goo Dolls. Malinin replaced George Tutuska 15-years ago.
“That’s pretty amazing when you consider that bands make changes often,” Rzeznik said. “But what we have is like a marriage. We’ve learned to respect each other’s boundaries. We’ve learned to complement each other. Robbie is the brother I never wanted. Mike is a great drummer. Why mess with it? Maybe we’re together because no one else wants us.”
Rzeznik, a solid songwriter, who is adept at crafting a hook, is obviously kidding. Rzeznik has written his own ticket as a singer-songwriter. He could go off as a solo artist or make a nice living doing soundtracks. “But I’d rather do what I do as a Goo Goo Doll,” Rzeznik said. “There’s no reason for me to do things differently. I want to make albums as a Goo Goo Doll for many more years.”
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