by Dana Nicolella

Nearly a decade after forming in Buffalo, NY, the band called the Goo Goo Dolls has finally proven that hard work really does pay off. Their fifth album, A Boy Named Goo, is their first commercial success, and it is very long overdue. "This is who we really are," asserts guitarist/vocalist Johnny Rzeznik of the album.

Their sound is a smooth blend of '80s glam and '90s rock with a touch of hardcore pop that translates into 13 upbeat, hook-laden songs. Their first top 10 hit, "Name," has brought the pop world to its knees. Although this moody ballad is a deviation from the Dolls' usual material, it has been steadily climbing the music charts for months. Expect "Naked" to go above and beyond that success very quickly.

But it has never been easy for this trio of late-twenty-somethings. Non-stop touring, recording and fan-base building over the past nine years has left them exhausted. And even back in the beginning of 1995 when bass player Robby Takac and Rzeznik parted ways with drummer and band co-founder George Tutuska, the Goo Goo Dolls' future was still looking a bit grim. Fortunately, disaster was avoided when they found drummer Mike Malinin and released A Boy Named Goo in March. Even though Malinin's drums are not heard on this record, he plans on staying with the band to the end. And from the looks of it, this is just the beginning.