STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
When they first formed in Buffalo in 1986, it was bassist Robby Takac that was lead singer of Goo Goo Dolls.
Flash forward to their new album — their 11th in all — titled “Boxes,” and he does still get the spotlight to sing. However, since the emergence of the photogenic John Rzeznik as frontman and primary songwriter for hits such as “Name,” “Iris,” “Slide” and “Black Balloon,” the new album features just two of Takac’s compositions. “I’ve always been about doing what’s best for the band. (Rzeznik’s) voice became more confident. It’s settled into a balance,” he stated.
Goo Goo Dolls, Collective Soul and Tribe Society are on a tour that brings the band to the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.
Takac said the songs he most enjoys playing on stage are the new song “Over and Over” and “Slide.” “People love Collective Soul. Tribe Society does something really unique,” he added.
Takac said that the cycle of promoting a new album doesn’t get old for him. He described the band’s recent appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Conan” as “intense.” “The only way I can explain it is it’s like being on a date with somebody for the first time. It’s a long day. You don’t do anything that day, then it’s ‘go!’ and you only get one shot. We’ve always had visibility when it counted. We’ve always had a song on the radio.”
Takac credited producers Gregg Wattenberg (Phillip Phillips, Train, Daughtry, Five for Fighting) and Derek Fuhrmann for encouraging songwriting collaboration for “Boxes,” and suggestions like piano hooks, such as the one that appears on the single “So Alive.”
Meanwhile, for its 20th anniversary, the album “A Boy Named Goo” got reissued with seven unreleased live tracks. “A Boy Named Goo” and 1998’s “Dizzy Up the Girl” were recently released on vinyl for the first time. “It’s awesome. I have a Technics 1200 (turntable) at home. When that needle hits the vinyl, something happens, man,” he said, giving a thumbs-up on the transfer of the digital masters to record.
“Dizzy Up the Girl”’s lead single, “Iris,” became a hit in the U.K. for a second time in 2011 thanks to the TV show “The X Factor.” “What a crazy life that song has had. The ‘90s are starting to become nostalgia again. I didn’t expect this to happen so soon,” Takac said.
When it comes to being a band in the digital age, Takac said “we were pretty early to the internet,” and recalled that in its early days googoodolls.com had a feature called “The Daily Goo.” He tweets @RobbyTakac, and has started to track the Goo Goo Dolls’ stats on Spotify and Shazam, but hasn’t yet figured out Snapchat. “What you find is the unbelievable loyalty that’s attached to (Goo Goo Dolls message boards and social media). We meet 70-something to 100 people every day. I can’t tell you how many people tell me about the friendships they’ve made,” he said.
“The journey we’ve taken over the past 30 years, it’s pretty amazing to follow it.”