August 11, 2017 Interview – Robby Takac of Goo Goo Dolls Talks Life On The Road
Longevity in Rock-n-Roll is not a given and is surely not that easy. So much can happen over the course of time that can make or break an artist, but the Goo Goo Dolls have withstood it all to remain standing 30 plus years later. Originally from the Buffalo, New York area, Goo Goo Dolls went from loud Punk rockers to Alternative Rock stars overnight. Well, not quite, the fact is it has been a long road traveled by the band who had their first taste of major commercial success thanks to the ballad “Name.” What at the time felt like a burden to the band ended up being the segue into a new world of Rock stardom that rose to great heights with future radio hits such as “Iris,” “Slide,” “Black Balloon,” and “Broadway,” among others.
Consistent since, Goo Goo Dolls continue to grow to this day, putting out quality music and expanding their horizons and approach to keep with the times. Recently we caught up with co-founder Robby Takac to talk his humble perspective on life in a Rock-n-Roll band, the future of the Goo Goo Dolls, touring, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Last we spoke, in 2016, Goo Goo Dolls had just released Boxes and you were set to embark on another summer tour. What has the last year been like for you and the band?
Robby Takac – It has been awesome! We had a tour, John has a new baby which is 8 months old now, we released a new EP, we are a little over a dozen shows into a new tour and firing on all cylinders. Everything is good!
CrypticRock.com – Good to hear. Boxes was certainly a refreshing record, and as you stated, saw the band collaborate with others. As you mentioned, in 2017 you return with a new EP, You Should Be Happy. What inspired the band to release a new collection of tunes so soon?
Robby Takac – We had talked a little bit about the EP format and about, given the current state of people’s attentions spans, releasing smaller batches of songs more frequently might be a cool way of doing things. We had been talking about this for years. With this tour coming up, we felt maybe having some new songs to play for folks and just have something new out there would be good. We had a few songs that we had begun working on, everything just sort of lined up. It seemed like time to make that move, and I am kind of happy we did.
CrypticRock.com – That is a forward thinking move. As you said, people have shorter attention spans. Unfortunately, album sales are down across the board.
Robby Takac – Yes, and album sales are definitely down, but I think people’s access to music, and their ability to hear exactly what they want, when they want it, that is a huge leap forward. Unfortunately, monetarily, it is a problem. It is really going to take a redesign of how this whole things operates, which is what we are in the midst of right now.
I do think the internet and information being at the end of everyone’s arm as it is now has changed things. I can see it, when we used to release new music it would be months before it got into the fiber of what was going on. Now you release a new song, it can be the next day and most of the audience is going to know it because the distribution system is in place. It is at the end of their arm and on their iPhones. They can hear that song immediately as you release it.
It is a very exciting time for music and a very transitional time for the music business. It is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. People’s love for music will make it over the hump I think.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, and that is a very good point to bring up of the instance of music now. This EP sees further collaboration, is this something you could see the band doing more of in the future?
Robby Takac – Yea, I think we kind of leaned that way around Let Love In (2006). We started taking on songs more as a group effort when we get in a room with people. As I explained to you on the last record, we got stuck in this thing where we were writing these songs and get stuck under this pile of unfinished business. The new model of starting a song and finishing tends to lend itself to collaboration to I think. You are getting to a room with a barely baked idea and bringing it to fruition. So yea, I see more of that in the future.
CrypticRock.com – Well that makes things interesting. The band tend to put a full-length album out every 4 years. Are their plans of a future full-length?
Robby Takac – I wouldn’t doubt it. Honestly, we haven’t discussed what the next move is because we are under the weight of this tour right now. I would imagine we are just going to start recording songs and see what happens. I think we have 5 or 6 great songs recorded, and there is a reason for us to get something out there, then we will. I think if we accrue more than that and feel confident with it, than the situation may be different. As I said, I think small batches is a great way to release music these days. A small batch brewery like they say.
CrypticRock.com – Well both are exciting news for fans. Now, you guys are back on tour, a summer tradition for Goo Goo Dolls. How is this tour going for you?
Robby Takac – It has been awesome! We did some pre-production up in the desert in Palm Springs. We spent 10 days there working on stuff. For the first few shows, for the attendant, I am sure they are fine, but to us, we are on the edge of our seats hoping everything works. We are sort of over that now and into second nature mode which is when the shows start getting really good. That is when you are not thinking about it too much and you are just out there having a good time and making a good Rock show.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, you have to work out the kinks to get in your groove. This year’s setlist sees the band mixing in a good balance of new and old songs. Most of all, there are plenty of rockers amidst it all too. At this point, do you find the audiences a bit taken back by the heavier tunes, or would you say the older guard of fans is still a strong presence at the shows?
Robby Takac – I think early on, like when “Name” first came out, we were plastering secretaries against the back walls of clubs. They didn’t know anything about us but “Name,” they would come see us, we would hit them with “Long Way Down,” and they would be like what the hell is going on? (laughs) I think in the past 20 years, people are sort of familiar with what we do now a little more.
I don’t think it comes as such a shock anymore that at our core this is a Hard Rock band and we always have been. We just tend to do a lot of different things now. We know we can go out there and make that happen. We know that is one of the special things we can do and we really like to do it. I think it adds a lot of energy to the show for sure.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, it is good to have the diversity and ability to reach into your back pocket and throw out something heavier. You seem to have a really great time on stage. What is it like for you after all these years on stage?
Robby Takac – A variety of emotions. It is amazing that we can do this all these years later. I really do feel the same amount of appreciation I did when I was 22 years old standing in a room of 50 people that were willing to come see us play. There is still a part of me that is that 22 year old kid and fascinated by the whole thing, that it is even occurring. I know that sounds weird after all this time, but that it is even happening at all after all this time, is mind-blowing to me.
I hope I can hang onto that for a while (laughs). I think it makes life a lot easier. I think a lot people get into this rotation of – rock, rinse, repeat. That is what you do out here, everyday, it is boom, boom, boom. I think if you go about it with the wrong heads, this can be a miserable thing to do for 30 years. The part when you are on stage is awesome, but other 20 hours of day, you might as well be selling shower rings or whatever. You are in hotels, you are in hotel restaurants, airports, driving from one city to next. You have to keep your eye on why you got into it in the first place. Then, the fact that you can make a living on top of it, what is it, Christmas or something (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – You have to keep things into perspective. You do not want to be Dale Griffin from 1987’s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (laughs). My last question for you is pertaining to movies. You are a fan of the Horror genre, you have your label, and recently did a song for a Horror film. What are some new Horror films you enjoyed?
Robby Takac – Pinky Doodle Poodle, one of the bands I work with, just did a song for Dick Johnson & Tommygun vs the Cannibal Cop. I just did a song for Johnny Gruesome. My buddy asked me to come sing it for him. Armand John Petri actually wrote it, he produced Jed (1989) and Hold Me Up (1990) many years ago, Punk Rock classics! Something that I am looking forward to seeing, my friend just released a movie called Dwelling. I am looking forward to checking that out.
Fri-Aug-11-17 Syracuse, NY Lakeview Amphitheater
Sat-Aug-12-17 Darien Lakes, NY Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Sun-Aug-13-17 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Center
Tue-Aug-15-17 Boston, MA Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Wed-Aug-16-17 Portland, ME Maine State Pier
Fri-Aug-18-17 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
Sat-Aug-19-17 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Sun-Aug-20-17 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Tue-Aug-22-17 Baltimore, MD Pier Six Pavilion
Wed-Aug-23-17 Raleigh, NC Red Hat Amphitheater
Fri-Aug-25-17 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre
Sat-Aug-26-17 Asheville, NC Biltmore Estate – South Terrace
Sun-Aug-27-17 Charlotte, NC Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
Wed-Aug-30-17 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
Fri-Sep-01-17 Miami, FL Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront
Sat-Sep-02-17 Jacksonville, FL Daily’s Place
Mon-Sep-04-17 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Thu-Sep-07-17 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sun-Sep-10-17 Albuquerque, NM Sandia Resort Casino
Tue-Sep-12-17 San Diego, CA Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
Wed-Sep-13-17 Los Angeles, CA The Greek Theatre
Fri-Sep-15-17 Woodinville, WA Chateau St. Michelle
Sun-Sep-17-17 Goldendale,WA Maryhall Winery Amphitheatre
For more on Goo Goo Dolls: googoodolls.com | Facebook | Twitter
For more on Robby Takac: Facebook | Twitter | gcaudio.com | musicisart.org
For more on Good Charamel Records: goodcharamel.com | Facebook | Twitter