Many people remember the 80’s as the decade when pop culture seemed to
be ruled by Madonna’s latest fashion statement, Duran Duran’s early boy
band appeal, and the apparently endless list of hair metal bands that,
even at the time, seemed impossible to tell apart.
there was something else going on in the 80’s that was a quiet
continuation of the alternative scene that broke in England in
1977 with the Sex Pistols and the Clash. There were plenty of kids who
felt the same frustration and outright boredom that Johnny Rotten and
Joe Strummer spoke about so well. America had it’s own underground scene
going, most noticeably in Southern California and New York City.
However, there were also bands in the rest of America that spoke even
more effectively to kids trying to ignore what the mass of pop culture
was throwing at them. Many of these bands, fueled on cheap beer and a
general disdain for “The American Dream”, looked to Paul Westerberg and
The Replacements for their inspiration.
The Goo Goo Dolls were
such a band. Formed in 1986 in the crumbling rust belt city of Buffalo,
New York, the band was probably started for no better reason than to
kill time, make some music, and hopefully get a few free beers from the
clubs where they were lucky enough to get a gig.
And then, as
lead singer / guitarist John Rzeznik says, “Somewhere in there we sort
of figured out how to write songs.” The band’s third album, Hold Me Up,
released in 1990, showcased the sound of the band that would later be
refined on their next two releases, Superstar Carwash and A Boy Named
Goo. It was the latter of these two releases that landed the band their
first hit song with “Name” in 1995. A Boy Named Goo went on to sell over
two million copies, and the band toured extensively around the world to
support their newfound success.
But it was in 1998 that the
Goo Goo Dolls proved that they were not destined to be a “one hit
wonder.” In that year Rzeznik penned “Iris,” which originally appeared
on the City Of Angels soundtrack, and was also included on the band’s
sixth album Dizzy Up The Girl. “Iris” spent almost a year on the
Billboard charts, including a phenomenal 18 weeks at #1.
that, as it turned out, was just the beginning. Dizzy Up The Girl also
contained the hits “Slide”, “Black Balloon” and “Broadway,” all of which
were top ten hits on the Billboard charts. The band spent the next two
years touring relentlessly all around the world, building a loyal
following that most bands can only dream of. It became clear that the
Goo Goo Dolls were not going away anytime soon.
The band has
continued to build momentum. 2002 saw the release of Gutterflower, which
included such hits as “Here Is Gone” and “Sympathy.” In 2004 a live
DVD was released featuring an incredible July 4th show performed in the
band’s hometown. Let Love In was released in 2006, and featured “Better
Days” and a chart-topping cover of Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit.” And
the whole time the band has been racking up an impressive list of
achievements to say the least: 4 Grammy nominations, 13 consecutive top
10 multi-format hit songs, and over 10 million albums sold. Rzeznik has
also been the recipient of the Hal David Starlight Songwriter Award.
2010 marks the 24th year since founding members John Rzeznik and Robby
Takac first starting playing music together. Joined for the past 15
years by drummer Mike Malinin, the Goo Goo Dolls will be touring in
support of their ninth studio album, Something For The Rest Of Us.
Written and recorded over the past couple of years, the album delivers
another dose of great Goo songs such as “Sweetest Lie,” “One Night”, and
“Soldier.” With his songwriting, Rzeznik confronts some of the issues
that have become part of many people’s everyday lives. “I wanted some of
the material on this album to address the disillusionment of the
difficult period we live in; I wanted to give a voice to the emotional
uncertainty that accompanies hard times. So many people are struggling
to keep it together through tough economic conditions and two wars that
seem to have no end in sight. The ones who bear the brunt of these
burdens are everyday people. That’s who I want to speak to.”
The recording of the album took place in various studios in Los Angeles
as well as the band’s studio in Buffalo, and during the course of events
the band worked with a wide range of engineers and producers including
Tim Palmer, John Fields, and Butch Vig. The result showcases more of the
well-crafted songs and timeless lyrics that have been such an integral
part of the Goo Goo Dolls’ continuing success.
Most bands that
were around in 1986 have come and gone. A lot of trends came and went.
But through it all the Goo Goo Dolls have been able to survive and stay
relevant. They have grown beyond their influences, and have spent their
lives creating and performing great songs. And at the end of the day,
that’s what it’s all about -- songs. So as the trends come and go, or
when the world gets caught up in the latest celebrity gossip, there will
always be people hungry for songs that speak to them. And those are the
people the Goo Goo Dolls are talking to. The Rest of Us.