The Goo Goo Dolls

What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art and Commerce


Goo Goo Dolls

John Rzeznik on guitar, vocals ; Robby Takac on bass, vocals; Mike Malinin on drums.

Photo credit: Bob Mussell

In the thirteen years since their self-titled debut album was released in 1987, the Goo Goo Dolls' wide range of musical styles has been described as everything from "passionate post punk" with "steel sharp hooks" to "shimmering rock n' roll" that's "emotional and honest." They've grown from playing "rowdy barroom rock" with "street-smart songwriting" to "arena level megastars" who write "energetic, pop savvy melodies." The truth is, the Goo Goo Dolls have something for everyone and it's time to unlock the band's musical vaults.

EOAC is a captivating collection of previously recorded songs from the Goo Goo Dolls six distinctively diverse albums. Originally recorded between 1987 and 1998, the collection is chock full of the band's catchy, pop-flavored rock songs and passionate crowd pleasers. It covers the Goo Goo Dolls' impressive fifteen year career and illustrates how they have established themselves as one of the most popular recording artists of the last decade.

EOAC contains twenty-two original songs from six albums, selected by the trio's songwriters, Johnny Rzeznik (guitar and vocals) and Robby Takac (bass and vocals) with drummer Mike Malinin. "Listening to those records again brought back lots of memories for us," Takac says. "We tried to choose songs that were really meaningful to us and that we thought represented the band throughout that thirteen year period." Twenty-one songs were remixed and concert favorite, "Two Days in February," was entirely re-recorded. Says Rzeznik, "While we were remixing the songs, we thought it would be fun to do a studio version of 'Two Days in February.' The original was recorded live outdoors and had a lot of background noise. On the new version, you don't hear cars driving by."

The EOAC disc will include a "pass key" to enter an internet site designed especially for this collection. The interactive site features vintage video clips, photographs, and unreleased versions of classic Goo Goo Dolls music. Visitors will have access to personalized EOAC postcards, expanded album information and graphics and exclusive EOAC merchandise.

As for the album's unconventional title, Rzeznik explains, "After doing this for fifteen years, you learn what the music business is composed of. It's unfortunate that 'art' seems to be the least important of the four words."

The album's selections are: "I'm Addicted" (from 1987's Goo Goo Dolls); "Up Yours" (from 1 989's Jed); "Laughing," "Just the Way You Are," "There You Are," and "Two Days in February" (from 1991's Hold Me Up); "Falling Down," "Lucky Star," "Cuz You're Gone," "Girl Right next to Me," "We are the Nommal," "On the Lie" and "Another Second Time Around" (from 1993's Superstar Car Wash); "Eyes Wide Open," "Naked," "Flat Top," "Ain't that Unusual" and "Bumin' Up," (from 1995's double platinum A Boy Named Goo); "Acoustic #3," "Bulletproof," "Amigone" and "All Eyes on Me," ffrom Dizzy Up The Girl released in1998.)

In 1985, the Goo Goo Dolls began their musical joumey from their hometown of Buffalo, New York. Raised on blue-collar ethics and formed in the midst of the rock alternative scene, Rzeznik, Takac and original drummer George Tutuska developed a loyal local following. A continuous round of touring eventually brought them to paying gigs in New York City and Canada. "We'd go out on tour in a rented or borrowed van, and if we couldn't afford a motel, the van was where we'd eat and sleep," recalls Takac. "We depended on the kindness of fans who would offer us their apartments to take showers."

The group released their first independently produced self-titled album in 1987, featuring "I'm Addicted" with other original material and a variety of cover tunes. A stop in Los Angeles on a national tour brought the group to the attention of Metal Blade Records, who signed them and released their second album, Jed in 1988. Jed contained more originals like the frenzied "Up Yours" along with hyperactive versions of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Down on the Comer." The band became a major club attraction around the country and music critics started to take notice. The Los Angeles Times appropriately christened the band's sound as "a road of youthful rage, a big dose of tendemess."

In 1991, the Goo Goo Dolls attracted major label attention when their third album, Hold Me Up was released under Metal Blade's distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records. Opening with the euphoric "Laughing" and ending with the heartfelt "Two Days in February," the album's wide array of tunes only hinted at what the band was capable of in the songwriting department. More critical praise followed and the band embarked on a club tour with The Replacements.

Superstar Carwash, released in 1993, featured fourteen Goo Goo Dolls originals, and introduced the band to an even wider audience. Songs that mixed working class angst with self-effacing humor and explosive guitar work with catchy hooks garnered critical raves. The trio finally received some radio attention with their first single, the soaring rock anthem, "We Are the Normal," co-written by Rzeznik and the Replacement's Paul Westerberg. "Our only goal back then was just to play our songs and have a great time," Takac reveals. "Until Superstar... began to get noticed, we didn't really look towards the future or think about having any kind of real success as a band." Other songs on the album, like Takac's guitar crunching "Lucky Star" and Rzeznik's "Girl Right Next to Me," are still favorites at the group's live shows. The band eamed an opening slot on tour with Soul Asylum, and in February of 1994, they made their television network debut on Late Show with Conan O'Brien, performing their second single, "Falling Down."

Hailed as "America's best known unknown band," the Goo Goo Dolls released their fifth album, A Boy Named Goo in March of 1995. Produced by Lou Giordano, the record included eleven hook-laden originals and was to become the turning point in the group's career. New and noteworthy songs included guitar rave-ups like "Eyes Wide Open," the pulsating "Bumin' Up," and the insightful social commentary of "Flat Top." Those and other tracks on the album were proof that Rzeznik and Takac were becoming two of the most versatile songwriters of the Nineties. But it wasn't until the summer of 1995 when the Rzeznik-penned ballad "Name" became a radio staple that the band finally reached breakthrough success.

Abetted by new drummer Mike Malinin, the group toured non-stop and in November, "Name" reached No. 1 on Billboard's Modem Rock chart. A video for "Name" was added to heavy rotation lists on MTV and VH-1. "The album was out for almost eight months before 'Name' took off," explains Rzeznik. "We were just about to give it all up and go back to our day jobs." After ten years together and almost a year after the release of A Boy Named Goo, the Goo Goo Dolls were propelled to "overnight success," with sales eventually reaching over three million copies.

That spring, the group made their first trip to Europe, and by December, the band appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and performed on the Billboard Awards and Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve. By the end of 1996, they had toured non-stop for twenty-two months.

In 1998, while fighting a bout of writer's block, John Rzeznik was asked to write a song for the soundtrack to the film, City Of Angels, starring Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage. Just hours after seeing the film, Rzeznik wrote what is now one of the most popular chart topping hits in music history, "Iris."

"I was touched by the fact that Nicolas Cage's character was willing to give up his immortality to be with the woman he loved," says Rzeznik. With its mesmerizing mix of guitars and strings, an undeniable Iyrical hook and passionate vocals, "Iris" hit the radio airwaves and stayed there for over a year. Produced by Rob Cavallo, the song broke radio airplay records, reached the No. 1 spot on six different Billboard charts and was the most played song in America by a group at multiple radio formats for one week*. Recalls Rzeznik, "We couldn't believe 'Iris' was getting so much attention. Alanis Morissette and U2 were also on the soundtrack, so we naturally assumed we'd be overlooked. It was really an exciting time for us."

By July, the Goo Goo Dolls received an MTV Video MusicAwards nomination for "Best Video from a Film" and in August they perfomed at the third "Day in the Garden" festival at Woodstock. By year's end, "Iris" was nominated for two key Grammy awards. A recent issue of Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed "Iris" one of the "Top 100 Pop Songs of All Time."

As the reign of "Iris" continued, the Goo Goo Dolls recorded their sixth album, Dizzy Up The Girl, marking the debut of drummer Mike Malinin. Released in September of 1998, Dizzy featured thirteen songs loaded with the essential ingredients that appear in every one of trio's originals: infectious, guitar-driven pop songs bursting with melodic, stadium-sized hooks. Standouts include Rzeznik's sexually charged "Bulletproof" and tender ballad "Acoustic #3," and Takac's "Amigone," about regret and uncertainty in a relationship.

Four songs from the album, "Iris," "Black Balloon," "Dizzy" and "Slide" received over one million plays at radio. "Black Balloon" gamered the group their third Grammy nomination and they received a Radio Music Award for "Artist of the
Year-Pop Altemative Radio." Throughout 1999 and 2000, the Goo Goo Dolls performed to enthusiastic crowds around the world, including playing for thousands of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel in Spain, Italy, Germany and Bosnia. VH-1 chronicled the band's career on the popular series VH-1's Behind The Music, and the group appeared on Sesame Street singing a duet with Muppet star, Elmo. To date, over four million copies of Dizzy Up The Girl have been sold worldwide.

This past July, the group's official artist-operated website, googoodolls.com was re-launched offering fans the opportunity to communicate with band members and with each other. Goo Goo Dolls T-shirts, posters, CDs and other merchandise can be purchased through the online store. Thousands of fans log on each week to check out "The Daily Goo," a daily dose of news directly from the band members which provides updates on the group's activities (including tour dates, television appearances and special announcements). Music (downloadable clips, unreleased audio tracks and graphics with streaming video) and special contests with giveaways (including autographed guitars, tour jackets and other one-of-a-kind Goo Goo Dolls memorabilia) are also available on the website. Up to the minute information about EOAC will be available at googoodolls.com.

With the release of What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce (1987-2000), it's time to celebrate the collected works from a group whose proven career and incomparable recordings are increasingly gaining new listeners and are certain to stand the test of time.

Courtesy of Warner Brothers Records

Visit the Goo Goo Dolls at googoodolls.com

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