Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik on life before 'Iris,' almost giving up, and PH fans
MANILA, Philippines – After 30 years as a band, 4 Grammy nominations, and many awards won, the Goo Goo Dolls – now composed of John Rzeznik and Robby Takac – has had quite a career.
But while their songs may be classics now, fame and success didn't come overnight – it took a few years and albums before hits like "Name," "Iris," and "Black Balloon."
Today, the Goo Goo Dolls have an album – Boxes – that was just released in May, and they're gearing up for their much-awaited concert in Manila in February 2017.
Months before their visit to the Philippines, John told us about their career, the time he almost quit the band, and what its like to meet young musicians who say they were inspired by them.
Here's a look at what we talked about.
Q: You guys are celebrating your 30th anniversary as a band. What keeps you guys going?
John: Probably we still enjoy doing it, we still enjoy doing it together. We enjoy it together and now, because we're at a different place in our lives, it's not this crazy – like, it's not a crazy death ride like, who's gonna go first? Like, I don't know if that translates, but you know, everything's very chill around here now. Whereas before, it was madness, it was insanity. And you know, we lived to grow out of that and it's really fun. You know, as you get older, you get to become the person that you should be, which I really like, you know.
Q: Was there ever a point when you thought of giving up?
John: Yeah, definitely, I – before I wrote the song "Name," ... we had made 4 records and we had been traveling around in a van, you know, for years, and I was in my late 20s, it was just sort of like, 'I have to do something with my life,' I can't just roam around and play my guitar in bars for the rest of my life, and I was married [to former model Laurie Farinacci], so you know, I was gonna quit then. But luckily, that song ['Iris'] came along, so you know, I got to keep doing this for a while.
Q: After spending all this time together, have you guys ever discovered any habits of each others that are a little bit weird?
John: Well, I mean, I don't know what Robby would think is weird about me. I think it's strange about him that he would sit down and eat half a box of cereal... Sometimes he'll eat more than a half a box. I think he goes for the like, the sweet stuff, you know. Or he'll mix, like, he'll get the little tiny boxes and he'll mix 5 together.
Q: You said you've been listening to a few younger bands as well. Are there other bands that you think carry on the Goo Goo Dolls tradition?
John: I don't know. I don't know, you know sometimes I'll hear certain bands, and I think, 'Oh wow, I kind of hear a little bit of us, I always get kind of happy about that, it's kind of cool to hear a little bit of yourself in a younger band. Or when a younger musician comes up to you and says, 'You know, I grew up listening to you.' Well first it makes me feel horrible because it reminds me that I'm old, and then I feel better because it's like, you know, wow, they listen to us, and they say, 'That's why I play music, it's because I listen to you.' And I'm like, 'That's really cool, thank you.'
Q: Your lyrics to those timeless songs are unforgettable. How do they come about? What's the process like?
John: I don't know, you know. It's so hard to say. Sometimes I'll have a conversation with somebody and it'll make me just think of something and then I'll just write. I just sort... I always sort of have this perspective of myself. I was brought up in a house full of women, there were really no men around.
There weren't really any men around, my dad wasn't really around very much, but – so immediately, when you're the only boy in the house, you're already an outsider. So you sort of start to feel that way generally in life, so I always kind of feel like I'm looking at other people living their lives, and I'm always a little bit on the outside. And I crave connection. I want to be connected.
And it seems, in a lot of ways, music is a lot about making those human connections, for me at least. That's my interpretation of it, in retrospect. Sometimes I have no idea what the hell I'm writing about. Sometimes I just make stuff up because it sounds cool. But you know, yeah, I just want to be connected, that's all.
Q: In February you're having your first concert in the Philippines. How are you feeling about it? You guys have never been to the Philippines before.
John: Yeah, we're really, really excited about it, because it's just, in my mind, it's just so, it's like, so far away from where we are, that's what kind of excites me about it, because I'm just really interested in trying to just absorb as much of it as I can in the two days that I'm gonna be there.
Q: Have you heard from your Filipino fans over the course of your career? Have they sent any messages to you?
John: Yeah, I mean, it's been mostly Facebook, you know, the Facebook thing, and it's interesting to me, because outside of the United States, it's the Philippines and Brazil that are the countries that are the most countries with the most people who know us. I thought that was kind of interesting. I was like, 'Really?' I finally asked my manager... But I asked my manager, because it's like, 'How come we don't go there?' And he was like, 'I don't know why you don't go there,' so we decided to do it. I'm grateful that we're given a chance to fly there.
Q: Are there any surprises in store for your Filipino fans? What songs are you thinking of playing?
John: You know, we're gonna play all the songs you'd expect us to play. But then I'm not sure, because there might be differences between what songs people know there. That they do hear, somehow I'd have to do some reasearch and find this out.
The Goo Goo Dolls will be having a concert in Manila on February 11, 2017 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Tickets are now available at all Ticketnet outlets and on the Ticketnet website.
Will you be catching Goo Goo Dolls live next year? What's your favorite Goo Goo Dolls song? Let us know in the comments! – Rappler.com