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 experience. 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 that. 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 people. 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 way? 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 asked? 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 god!" 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 it. 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) THE END FINALLY!!!!