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Shannon
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For Goo Goo Dolls, technology comes and goes; song
« on: Mar 15th, 2007, 10:41am »
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For Goo Goo Dolls, technology comes and goes; songs and fans last forever
 
By Sarah D'Esti Miller  
Press & Sun-Bulletin  
 
The Goo Goo Dolls have been making rock 'n' roll since 1986, and, more recently, they made a little bit of history. With hit singles "Give a Little Bit," "Better Days," "Let Love In" and "Stay With You," from the band's eighth studio album, 2006's "Let Love In," they now hold the record for the most Top 10 hits in Hot AC Radio history, surpassing Matchbox Twenty and Sheryl Crow.
 
"AC," by the way, refers to "adult contemporary," which seems a far cry from a band of punk rockers from Buffalo who first called themselves the Sex Maggots.
 
"Back then, we were a bunch of loud, wound-up trouble makers, and that's what we wanted to be -- and that's what I was," said bass player Robby Tacak, who with guitarist and vocalist Johnny Rzeznik are the two original Goos in the group. (Drummer Mike Malinin joined the band in 1995 and became an official member with the release of 1998's "Dizzy Up the Girl.")
 
"I welcome that change from being that band that was the Sex Maggots to being this thing that we have now. At times, it doesn't seem like the same thing, but sometimes it seems like exactly the same thing."
 
Tacak said his own life also has seen many changes since the early days. For starters, he has been married for the past seven years.
 
"If we don't allow ourselves as a band to change and grow the way we change and grow as people, then we can't do this anymore. And I would hate to see that happen," he said. "So we do our best to keep our little dysfunctional family together and keep the music growing with ourselves. I guess that's how you can honestly present it each night. It was easier to think in a pack mentality when we were 19. (Now) there are a lot of outside opinions interjected. I mean, this band has nearly broken up five times now."
 
Many would agree that the reason they haven't is Tacak.
 
"Maybe. Maybe I am just the one who's too stupid to leave," he said with a laugh. "I'm not sure. Ask my partner (Rzeznik) -- the answer you get depends what he feels like this morning. Sometimes I am hailed for that; sometimes I'm blamed for it, depending on what the mood is at the moment. All I know is it's all about those 70, 80, 90 minutes you are up on that stage, and if it doesn't feel right, you'll know it immediately."
 
"Touring is harder than ever. We have to do it more than we ever did just to make money. You don't listen to rock on records; you listen to rock on your phone."
 
And that's just one of the many double-edged swords that Tacak has found in his career. The same technology that has served the band so well in some areas, such as helping them through the murky waters of genre labeling, has hurt them in others.
 
"In the '70s, people used to listen to punk rock, and even though it was completely different, it sort of fell under one umbrella. We started in 1986 and we used to laugh and say 'What kind of band are we playing with tonight? Macrobiotic vegan ska hardcore?' You know? It became so pigeon-holed. It's even moreso now," he said.
 
"But the interesting thing about my band is we have accrued a pretty huge group of people who like what we do, so now a band like us whether or not the radio is currying our favor at that moment, isn't that important anymore. It's a really interesting concept. We still get to those 250,000 people who sign up on our Web page to be alerted immediately. We still get to those people, and you couldn't do that years ago. There was no way to reach that many people that quickly."
 
The down side seems to be a compromise of artistic integrity for commercial success. Such as a meeting the Goo Goo Dolls had with their record company regarding revenue streams.
 
"They're sitting there trying to be real excited talking about ring tones. And I am looking at these people thinking, 'This is a record company, right? You people deal in music? And you are telling me you want me to be excited about trying to sell a portion of my song to someone that they can get to as quickly as possible and shut off? Like, 'Oh my God, there's that noise again?' That (obnoxious beep) has been replaced by my song. Yeah, thanks a lot. As a musician, how are you supposed to be excited about that?"
 
Even stranger still, Tacak tells of a music writer who excoriated the band when they went on the QVC channel for a one-time-only live televised concert, which featured a sale of their albums.
 
"This guy's mad at me because I went and actually played live on television? I don't get it. I don't get what it is exactly that he has a problem with," Tacak said. "It's all pick and choose, man. The bottom line is you have to just go with your heart and get out there. We just want to be playing our music. That's what we try to do."
 
An expanded edition of "Let Love In" has just been released with a companion DVD, "Live and Intimate," containing live performances, music videos and a pair of acoustic versions of tracks from "Let Love In," filmed and recorded March 27, 2006, at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, Calif. But for "Let Love In" itself, Tacak and Rzeznik, who live in Los Angeles, returned home to Buffalo and rented out an old Masonic ballroom, which they made into their studio.
 
"When we came back in force to Buffalo to do the CD, the band hadn't been back there in that capacity in a really long time, and we spent probably about seven months there. And I was newly sober, so I didn't spend a lot of time out. I was going to rehearsals and going home, you know?"
 
"But in Los Angeles, my dishwasher is there. My cats were there, and everything that I did every day was there. With the pressure of someone from the label popping over, or constantly getting those reminders of what everybody else is doing and where the business is and all that kind of stuff, it just turns into a bit of a tornado. So when we got back to Buffalo, literally all we had to worry about was staying warm and playing music. It was the sort of exile we needed to focus and get things rolling."
 
Tacak said having their own studio makes things a lot easier.
 
"John and I aren't trying to be businessmen," Tacak said. "We have a built-in client -- us. And so for us, it's a pretty decent situation. Every studio is clamoring for their one big client and we've got ours already, so we can pretty much finance the studio through gigs and that kind of stuff, which is nice."
 
"As I watch this whole thing grow and change, some of it's comfortable and some of it's not. I mean, bands can't live off their record sales anymore," he said. "But I am just hoping we can keep our eye on it enough to be able to exist in it as long as possible."
 
http://www.pressconnects.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070315/ENT/703 150323/1017
 
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Re: For Goo Goo Dolls, technology comes and goes;
« Reply #1 on: Mar 15th, 2007, 12:25pm »
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Oh, there's so much stuff we can talk about in this one, thanks Shannon.
 
I'll take the easy ones:
 
It's Takac, for cryin' out loud!
 
And AC stands for Almost Comatose.
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Re: For Goo Goo Dolls, technology comes and goes;
« Reply #2 on: Mar 15th, 2007, 1:34pm »
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It's all too easy.  I give up.  I've lost the will to discuss anything Goo related.
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Re: For Goo Goo Dolls, technology comes and goes;
« Reply #3 on: Mar 15th, 2007, 1:50pm »
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It's either that...
or you're getting too ooooooooooooooooooooold.
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