Everyone knows the Goo Goo Dolls. They’ve had 13 hits in the Top 40, played “The Tonight Show” 13 times and been nominated for four Grammys during founding members John Rzeznik and Robby Takac’s 24 years together.
But a lot has changed since the band formed in 1986. And these days, connecting with your fans is more important than pumping out records. Which is why the Goos took their time recording their latest album, originally slated for release in February. “Something for the Rest of Us” is now due out in July or August.
We chatted with Takac by phone about life on the road and what it’s like to meet fans who literally grew up listening to his music.
GO!: You’ve been touring almost forever now. What do you do to amuse yourself while you’re on the road?
Robby Takac: I tend to wander around for hours in the cities I’m in. I quit drinking about six years ago, and it’s so weird being on tour. I’ve been touring for 25 years. For 19 of them, the party didn’t stop. For (the last) six years most of our gang was still rocking out so I ended up with a lot of morning time on my hands ’cause most of the folks are sleeping.
GO!: What’s changed in the music industry since you guys started?
RT: Playing a show in Bend or a show in Missoula or Billings, it’s not just a show here. There’s people in Tokyo watching it, there’s people in South Africa. I know because they write to me.
This networking thing, I’m watching it work right now. It never really worked before because people weren’t really on the Web. Now everybody’s on the Web. Now we’re out playing ... new songs for crowds before the record’s even out, and people are singing our songs because they’ve seen it on YouTube.
GO!: What kind of a show can people expect?
RT: Big rock show. Lot of songs you might not even know were ours if you’re not an in-depth fan.
We have fans from 6 to 60 coming to the shows, which is pretty interesting to me to watch, seeing the sort of generation gaps being broken ... People with kids come to the show and they’re like, “Hey man, we’ve been playing your band for our kids since they were infants!” Since they were infants? For God’s sake, the kid’s got a beard!
GO!: You guys spent the first half of your career as a band that critics seemed to dig and the second half as a band that critics take shots at. Was that a tough adjustment?
RT: Our band really hasn’t made a career out of pleasing critics. We made a career out of playing songs for people and having enough of them make their way into people’s lives to where our body of work means something to enough people. ... But to some people, we’re still that band that plays those prom songs, and that’s OK, too.
Goo Goo Dolls, with Vedera ; 6:30 tonight, gates open 5 p.m.; $38 plus fees, available at the gate and The Ticket Mill (541-318-5457); the fan donating the most to a canned food drive at the gate gets to meet the band; Les Schwab Amphitheater, 344 S.W. Shevlin Hixon Dr., Bend; 541-318-5457 or www .bendconcerts.com.
— Adrianne Jeffries, The Bulletin