Once upon a time in a land called Buffalo, NY,, three young musicians came together to form a "new wave band." After realizing they were "too loud for new wave," a new breed of punk arose. This was given the name, "Goo Goo Dolls."
Talking with the Dolls is an experience in itself and you soon begin to picture massive amounts of beer and great music...
"We love to party with the fans," says Goo Goo Dolls bassist/vocalist Robby Takac. "Although it's not like it used to be. I'm more laid back now. But we still love partying!"
This rings true on their fifth release, A Boy Named Goo. The earlier punk image has been toned down a little and mixed in with some pop and alternative.
Says Robby, "If we kept putting out the same records, it would become too formula. We just make what's interesting for us and for people to listen to."
All 3 members, Johnny (vocals/guitar), Mike (drums) and Robby, grew up together and know how each other works. After the departure of their original drummer last year, Mike joined to 'reunite' the family once again.
It seems as though the Dolls stay on top of the scene and put out what people want to hear, before they hear it. "So basically I'm going to die poor is what you're telling me!" Robby laughs, thinking of the fate of the innovative artist.
After reassuring him that the Dolls are ahead of the trends but it's a good thing, Robby agreed that having record sales doesn't mean you're trendy, it only means that you've reached a broader market. He goes on to say, "In '86, I was thinking, "man this band is going to be huge," 'cause I loved to play the music, but when you realize you really are popular, it puts a lot of pressure on you."
You would never guess that this band has a lot of pressure. Every song on "A Boy Named Goo" is full of pure, raw, upbeat energy and puts even the most melencholy of the world in a good mood.
From their first self-titled release in '87- a very punk, almost younger version of the Sex Pistols- to the present day of being compared to The Replacements, the Dolls still keep the mixture going in their live performance...
"We play stuff off every album." says Robby. "The hard-core fans get right up in front of the stage, then get pissed when you play the new stuff. (laughs) But you see a lot of smiles in the back. The older stuff makes different reactions spread. You always have to expect a lot of different things at our shows."
Robby admits that punk is now the trend while alternative is mainstream. So of course there will always be a few old fans who accuse them of 'selling out...'
"The people back home in Buffalo think we're bigger than we really are," laughs Robby, "the fan response is spreading though, and hopefully, it will continue to get even bigger."
With sales of the new album at gold status and climbing every day, it's doubtful there is much to worry about in that department. Although, Goo Goo Dolls have hit the crossover market, not being either punk or alternative. They aren't really mainstream.
With the success of the hit song "Name", the Dolls have attracted many new fans that would have never listened to them in the beginning. This just goes to show that any band can be diverse. And what's the point of even putting music to tape if you can't reach as many people as possible? "You can't categorize us," says Robby. "You can't really categorize anyone anymore." Robby continues. "People who call us 'sell outs' now, (they) used to be some of our biggest fans. They only call us sell outs because we're not they're favorite little band anymore. Other people like us now too."
Five albums and a lengthy tour later, the 3 Buffalo natives have finally achieved what most bands never will. Fans across the nation and hundreds of thousands of records sales. Not bad for a few boys who "just wanna have fun".