Aquarian Cover Aquarian Inside

Times have been very good for the GGD's lately.  "Iris", which they
contributed to the COA soundtrack, was one of the major songs of the
summer of "98.  The success of the smash single set the stage for DUTG,
their long-awaited sixth album.  This is the album that will make the
Goos arena headliners & a bona fide supergroup.
Singer/guitarist John Rzeznik describes making this record as a "serious
growing process."  He explains that he wanted to "be led by the music,
rather than leading it."  That freedom is apparent throughout the disc,
which resonates with a graceful power that adds new dimensions to the
working-class angst still evident in tunes like the evocative "Broadway"
and then aching first single, "Slide", which yearns for the restoration
of a relationship gone awry.
More than on their previous releases, Dizzy....sees the Goos
integrating the multiple personalities into a cohesive whole, mixing
aggression with finesse, toughness with tenderness, with the result
being a remarkably seamless whole.  Strings co-exist with power cords,
neither overwhelming the other, on memorable tunes like the wry "Black
Balloon" & the somewhat somber "Dizzy".

Rzeznik took time out from his busy schedule to talk about the bands
"overnight success", how he overcame his writers block, & more.

A:  Are you glad that all of this-the hits, the platinum & gold records,
etc.-didn't happen back in the early days because maybe you wouldn't have
been able to handle it as well?
JR:  Yeah because I wouldn't have been able to handle it.  It would've
gone to our heads, but in a wrong way, it would've been really, really
detrimental, I think if it had happened.  It wasn't time.  That was
pretty obvious, it never happened.  When the time was right, it did.
A:  Everything happens for a reason
JR:  Absolutely.  Sometimes you cant see the reasoning behind what's
going on, but I think everything works in order.
A:  You've said, "We've never changed our idea about what it is we do.
Its very dangerous to put you opinions of yourself into the hands of
someone else"
JR:  I have this phobia about writers & criticism & stuff like that.
It's like with our last record.  We were like this little tiny
underground band for a long time, which you know  And the only people
that ever wrote anything about us were people that liked our band, cause
nobody else knew about us.  So then, when you have a little bit of
success, people that don't like you start writing about you.
A:  The more popular you become, the more of a target you are
JR:  Absolutely.  & it sucks.  It feels really horrible.

A:  Do you read all the press?
JR:  I did.  I read all of it on the last record.  That's how I found
out why people say "don't read your own press."  I would get like 20
good reviews & one bad one would negate all of them.  It was like that
one little drop of ink spoiling that whole glass of water.  I would just
obsess about it & I tortured all of the people I work with.
A:  What about now?
JR:  I don't touch it, I don't care.  I'm happy with what I did.  I'm
proud of the record.  And that's all there is.
A:  I know that you never sat down and planned on writing a hit single
when you wrote Name.  You can't do that.
JR:  How can you?  That's like you siting down & writing a Pulitzer
Prize winner & saying, "That's it.  I'm done!"  Of course you want a
hit, but you just do what you do and hope for the best.
A:  After being on tour for 18 months or so behind ABNG, you went
through a period you described as "massive burnout"
JR:  Yeah, I just felt stupid.  I felt like my brain wasn't working.
A:  You're just starting another major tour.  What are you going to do
to prevent that massive burnout again?
JR:  (laughing) I'm taking a double-dose of stupid pills & going.  I
bought myself a computer & all this software, encyclopedias.  I decided
that I was going to teach myself to read & write music because I don't
know how to.
A:  So now you can actually learn what some of these new weird tunings
are that you've come up with on your guitars.
JR:  Yeah.  I know guys (who) write for Guitar & Guitar World magazines
and they explained to me what I'm doing.  I always just laugh and go
"yeah, man".  The other thing about being on the road is you have to
read a lot.  You just have to keep your brain active in ways that are not
focused on the music business.

A:  You encountered writer's block trying to come up with songs for
Dizzy...You got some help from a journalist, Jill Cooper, who's written
about the relationship between music & psychology.
JR:  I developed a relationship with her because of the writer's block.
What I realized about the writer's block is that it's fear of letting
go, it's fear of losing control.  I was terrified of rejection & I
couldn't love.  Everything I wrote was like, "This sucks!  This sucks!"
A:  Were you writing stuff & throwing it out?
JR:  Tons.  It'll come back if it's supposed to.  With those kind of
things, you put things out into the air and if they're supposed to be
there, they'll come back.  Jill taught me to really trust my instincts
about music because you have to let your subconscious lead you where
it's going to go, and you have to let the sons lead you.  You have to
let your writing lead you.  Sometimes you're going to write nonsense or
your going to write something that sucks, but you've got to go.  You
have to have faith that that will lead you to something greater.

A:  Talk about serendipity.   At the point when you were having writer's
block you were commissioned to write Iris.  Then you sat through a
screening of COA, went back to your hotel room, and the song just poured
out of you in an hour, right?
JR:  Yeah, it just happened, and it gave me the confidence to finish my
record, that's for sure.  It really really helped.
A:  Originally you were just going to do Iris by yourself, right?
JR:  Yeah, I was going to do it alone.  Then I thought, "What am I
doing? It's my band."  Me & Robbie are sort of joined at the hip; you
know what I mean?
A:  Did you have any idea that it would become the hit of the year?
JR:  No, would you? Just because look who else is on the record, you
know.  That's a lot of heavy artists there.  This is the first thing
that Alanis Morrisette released since her first record.
A:  Are you preparing your Academy Award acceptance speech?
JR:  No I haven't even thought about it.  I don't want to look forward
to anything that I'm going to walk away with.
A:  How much do you credit Rob Cavallo's production to the overall sound
of the album?
JR:  A lot for two reasons.  He's a great musician & he's a great coach.
& He was a lot of fun to work with.  We actually had a good time making
a record for once in our lives.
A:  Obviously with Mike (Malinin) on drums, since he'd been out on the
road with you, that was real comfortable, too.
JR:  It was weird too about Mike.  That was sort of a serendipitous
A:  All Eyes On Me is the first time you & Robby (Takac, bass, vocals)
have written something together since SSCW.  He heard you singing in the
studio & he started writing down what he thought you were saying?
JR:  Yeah, it was pretty funny.  Sometimes I just mumble, "Blah, blah,
blah, blah."
A:  I think that this album has a lot of potential hits, like "Broadway"
JR:  Really?  I always thought that that song was sort of a throwback.
Rob turned me on to all these '70's bands that I never listened to
before.  Stuff that was on the radio when I was growing up, I just never
listened to it.  I never really dove too deeply into Led Zeppelin &
stuff like that.
A:  What did you listen to growing up?
JR:  I listened to what was on the radio.  We didn't have any money to
buy records.  I listened to my older sister's records.  Then I got into
the punk thing when I was about 12 or 13-the Sex Pistols & stuff like
A:  I like what you said about not wanting "Acoustic #3" to be a single
because you didn't want the band to be labeled balladeers.
JR:  Well, we already are.
A:  This si the first time you're using strings on an album.  Do you
think you'll do it again?
JR:  If it's relevant.  I kid around all the time and say, "Next record
it's nothing but horns".
A:  You joke that you wrote "Hate This Place" to sound like the
Replacements since everyone says the band sounds like them.  I don't
hear them.
JR:  You don't hear the Replacements in that song?
A:  Yeah, in that song, but not all throughout.
JR:  Well, don't it figure.
A:  I hate comparing artists.
JR:  It's difficult not to.  I mean we're the third generation of rock.
A:  In an interview you did when you were 30, you talked about how
people of your generation were trying really hard to make sense of
what's going on.  That there's a lot of "scary politics>"  That was back
in '96.  Now, I think the world's going to hell.
JR:  Yeah, the world's been going to hell since the first slimy thing
crawled out of the ocean & decided to pick up a guitar.
A:  You also added that "music will play an incredibly pivotal role in
shaping attitudes."
JR:  I hope it will.  For a long time I thought that music was just in
the hands of a couple of corporate type guys.  It can be used as a real
vehicle for social change.
A:  It was in the 60's
JR:  Right.  There were people who wrote folk music & took it to the
people.   It's an easy, immediate form of expression.  You can be the
town crier.  There's definitely a groove or something that can catch
A:  Plus it's a universal language.
JR:  Absolutely.  It was really weird.  "Iris" was a hit overseas.  That
freaked me out, to go to Japan and have everybody know your song.  It's
like I'm siting here in a bar on the other side of the planet & people
know about this.
A:  You had also said, "I notice all these kids have their bullshit
detectors turned on, & that's a positive sign."  Do you still feel that
JR:  I think that they still have their bullshit detectors on, but it's
getting a little harder to detect  The shit's getting a little deep out
there.  And I think that "alternative rock" is eating itself, it's
feeding on its own now.  There was potential for it to be a really
amazing thing because it had its roots in a very organic sort of
movement that took place at college radio during the 80's.
A:  Now it seems like the alternative is becoming the mainstream.
JR:  It is the mainstream.  The thing was that a lot of the record
companies didn't develop bands.  All they wanted was the song.  They
wanted to make the big kill quick and get out.  So you have a
singles-oriented system instead of bands.  They didn't care to develop
bands.  If I was an A&R guy right now, and I was going to sign a band, I
would say, "That's a really great song.  Let me hear two albums' worth
of material. You got 24 songs that we could make two records out of,
then I'll sign you; but until then I'm not going to."  And don't worry
about where music is going.  I hate when people say, "Music's going this
way."  It's like shut the fuck up and do what you do.  Music's is going
to go any way it goes; there's nothing you can do about it.  We've never
been in vogue.  There's always been something else going right b us,
rose to the top and then disappeared.  Its like, "Yeah, whatever."  Just
do what you do.
 A:  I was at A Day In The Garden back in August and laughed when you
told the crowd, "Promise me you're not going to get all nostalgic and
come back here in 30 years in your BMWs. You don't drive a BMW, do you?
JR:  Nope, I drive a '97 Jeep Wrangler
A:  I felt sad about that experience because most of the people were
coming there to try and relive the past.  You just can't do that,
especially at those prices.
JR:  No, its dangerous.  People will pay a lot of money to feel
something that they've felt before. A:  Next year's going to be the big
30 year anniversary concert.  Do you think you'll play that one if your
JR:  Yeah, I think that's a proper mark.
A:  This time going out on the road you're being joined by Nathan
December on guitar and David Schultz on keyboards, Is this the first
time you're taking extra musicians along?
JR:  Yeah, it's cool. They're really good.
A:  Like you've said, this will give you a chance to have more fun.  Are
you going to actually put the guitar down and sing?
JR:  I don't know?  Once I had a friend of mine come up and play guitar.
We did a bunch of our old songs, like stuff off of JED and the first
record cause he knew all of those songs.  And I just sang.  I
immediately turned into Henry Rollins.  I climbed up on top of the drums
and jumped off.  I rolled around on the stage and screamed my guts out.
I was like, "Oh this is dangerous man."
A:  Speaking of things that are dangerous and fun, did you have fun
performing at the gay dance party on "The Howard Stern Show?"
JR:  Yes I did.  It was ridiculously funny.  I was just biting my lip
and going.  The funniest thing is, I was sitting there, just playing the
song, and I looked up at Gary Dell'Abate, and he had his head on this
guy's shoulder and his eyes were closed.  (laughing)  I was like, "Oh my
A:  I know back in your younger days you were going to be a plumber.  Do
you do your own plumbing at home?
JR:  I haven't had to in the house that I'm renting.  I've fixed a few
friends toilets.
A:  And I'm sure you can still mix drinks, right?
JR:  Yeah, I'm a bad ass as far as that goes.
A:  Do you still have fears that you think all of this could just end?
JR:  Sure, the wheels could come off anytime.  Save your money and don't
get a drug habit and you'll be ok.
A:  Your advice to songwriters would be to just do it and not analyze
JR:  You have to.  You've got to totally relinquish control of the
outcome.  You got to get rid of the outcome.  Once you take the outcome
out of the mix you're fine.  You have no control over it.

(The Goo Goo Dolls will be appearing at Roseland in New York City on
Friday, Nov. 13)