The Tao of Goo / Robby interview
« on: Jul 27th, 2007, 10:40am »
The Tao of Goo
Bass player Robby Takac talks about music, the future of the Goo Goo Dolls and -- of course -- 'The Simpsons
This is a good week for Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls.
That whole rock star thing aside, he indulged in a favorite hobby: PEZ Dispensers. He checked out a PEZ display that probably did not put his own to shame he has 2,000 of them.
And now, maybe even better than PEZ drum roll, please there's "The Simpsons Movie."
"I loooove 'The Simpsons.' I love 'em," Takac said. "When you tour, there's a few things that you can get many, many places like a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Well, 'The Simpsons' is one of those things. It makes you feel at home even when you're never, ever, EVER at home."
That's a place you won't find this Doll. He has a beautiful house in Los Angeles that he never sees. But don't for a second think that he's whining about living like a rock star.
The benefits are pretty sweet.
Takac plays bass and shares vocal duties in the Goo Goo Dolls, a band with a string of hits as long as Florida "Iris," "Slide," "Broadway," "Here is Gone" and "Stay With You," to name a few. The band will perform Wednesday at the Pensacola Civic Center.
Have the Dolls been to the Panhandle before? Well, yeah, but when you bring up the Sunshine State, Takac knows one thing. The fans here are hardcore loyal.
Takac: "It took us a really long time to do well in Florida, and as soon as we did man, it's like as soon as Florida fans decide they like you, they love to have their bands come around.
"We went from never playing Florida to playing there what seemed like twice a month in the summer. It was amazing. ... If they like you, they'll have you back time and time and time again. True fans, man."
Q: How did you come up with the band's name?
A: "I have many stories which are much more exciting than the actual one, but I'll give you the real one. We found it in the back of a true detective magazine. At the time we were a pretty heavy, kind of thrashy, punk-rock band. We found it very unfitting and thought it was kind of funny. And, oh my god, it's been 21 years now and we're still called Goo Goo Dolls."
Q: You guys have been on the road for a long time supporting "Let Love In" (the band's last CD). When does this tour wind down?
A (with a chuckle): "Probably not as soon as some people within it would like. I think it looks like we have one more trip over to Europe, one more trip to Japan and two more legs here in the States between now and October, and we've got a gig in Hawaii in October. I think that's gonna be it. ...
"Then it's time to start a new record, and do it all over again. We're just keeping our heads above water, making a wave when we can."
Q: So are you guys doing any brainstorming, in terms of music and projects, on the road?
A: "Right now, we're in the midst of remotely, obviously we can't be there to do it, building a studio in Buffalo, where we grew up. It's in the same space that we did our first three albums in, actually. We're rebuilding, though, from the ground up.
"So we're getting ready to start that process (recording) again and pretty excited about it, which is a cool thing to be able to say after 20 years. We're really looking forward to being in a room that we own, that we built from money that we made making rock music. There's something romantic about the whole notion, about doing this record. So I'm real excited."
Q: What inspires you? What makes you want to grab a pen and a bass?
A: "I think we just try to draw off whatever happens around us, the things we see, the conflicts that we see around us.
"It's not something that's done easily. ... "You ask what drives us to put pen to paper? It's having to have a bunch more songs. ...
"It's a big event for us when we have to take everything we've learned in two years since the last time we made a record and actually say, 'OK, here's our next statement.' We don't take that lightly."
Q: There's a bit of a political tone to your blog (www.myspace.com/robbyslobby). Does that ever bleed over into the musical side of your life?
A: "I just see things as being so obvious right now that I don't find it possible to draw political lines.
"I'm talking about human issues, things that are so obvious as people are dying in unjustified situations and as our foreign policy is being disassembled. It's not political anymore. This is a social issue now.
"I travel the world and I talk to people, and our country has an incredibly tarnished reputation.
"Some hideous images have come out of this administration, and unfortunately the world looks at those images and that's all they see about our country.
"And this is an amazing, amazing country. I just hate to see it dragged through the mud. ...
"(As a band) we were a little bit careful when it came to politics, but when it came time for us to give our opinion, we were never shy about it."
"We've campaigned with Al Gore, we've campaigned with John Kerry, we've toured the country with Michael Moore, doing college rallies. ... We will stand behind things we believe in only when it seems like it's something that has to be done, and that's what it seems like right now."
Q: The music business has seen a lot of flux in the past few years. There's constant innovation in terms of technology. But what trends do you see in sound? Where do you see the industry moving in terms of music and style?
A: "That's a great question; you never get that one.
"I think what I see is genres sort of crossing over into each other a little bit more from the electronic and acoustic worlds.
"And once again, we're going to get a little bit into the technology here, but it's so much a part of what modern music is. You're finding machines and people speaking to each other much more fluently now, which is starting to develop a lot of interesting fusions and synergies between types of music between the world of electronica and ambient music, and the world of rock music and jazz even. ...
"But at the same time, all this homogenization into this one group of electro, ultraperfect, rock-pop music has started a sort of backlash where you're getting kind of White Stripes-Strokes-Wolfmother retro versions of what used to be sloppy and exciting, you know.
"As far as Goo Goo Dolls go, we keep our heads down and try to move forward without really worrying about too much of that stuff around us."
Q: So who's in your iPod right now? Who are your favorites?
A: "I actually left my iPod in an airplane seatback. I'm punishing myself much like a samurai would. Yeah, I have decided I am not worthy of owning an iPod for a little while."
Takac did buy some CDs the previous day, however. Those were Basement Jaxx, Missy Elliot, Madonna ("Like A Virgin"), Kate Havnevik and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Takac wasn't familiar with some of the artists.
"Sometimes I walk into a CD store and I'll put two or three CDs down on the counter and ask the guy working to go pick me out three more based on the ones I picked."
Q: Anything else you'd like to add for local fans?
A: "Just that we work with this organization called USA Harvest, and they do canned good collections at all of our shows. Local volunteers just put bins out front and we ask fans to bring stuff, any non-perishable food goods, and just drop them in the bins.
"We've been working with them about seven years now, and we've raised about 2 million meals."