|Photo Credit: Asia Geiger|
It was a cool December evening in 2002. The Goo Goo Dolls were playing at the House of Blues in New Orleans, LA, and I was lucky enough to find myself standing in the 2nd row, near the middle of the stage. That was a night I'll never forget, and they forever claimed a spot as my favorite band.
Their lyrics stand the test of time, just as well as the band itself. After 27 years, they're still going strong and are currently on tour promoting their brand new album that hits stores today, called Magnetic. Their summer tour will bring them to the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Pelham on Friday, August 2nd, along with Matchbox Twenty.
Goo Goo Dolls fans will find the new album to be a breath of fresh air, filled with upbeat and optimistic songs that have meaningful lyrics and foot-thumping beats. Ultimately, fans will love it.
I recently had the chance to chat with the band's bassist and founding member, Robby Takac. Read on as he talks about the making of Magnetic, his greatest memory with the band, and the current tour.
Where are you right now?
I'm in New York right now, actually. We just played in Poughkeepsie, NY last night, and we're doing some press here today and then headed to Florida for a show. So, we're busy, busy!
How's the tour going?
Good! We've been doing spotty stuff for the past few weeks. You know - a few days off, a couple shows, a few days off, a couple shows. But, it's starting to fill up pretty serious. Of course, this summer we've got an unbelievable amount of shows, so it should be great.
Are fans getting access to a lot of the material from Magnetic on the current tour? Are you mixing it up each night?
Yeah, well the record comes out on June 11th. We've been out doing some stuff on the web and such, so there's been some songs floating around on the internet. We're doing about 5 songs in the set this summer and actually starting now. So, it's getting out there, and it'll be nice to have some new stuff to play.
Your lyrics are always incredible and have such depth to them. What was the biggest source of inspiration when writing this album?
I think we just wanted this record to be a little more upbeat than the last few. We noticed that the last couple records were getting a little dark. So, we went about making this record in a much different way. We sort of approached each song one at a time and used a few different producers rather than holing ourselves up in a room and trying to come out the other end of the situation with 14-15 songs. We tried to hit just a bit more of an optimistic tone on this record.
Yes, I love the direction you guys have taken with Magnetic. Is there a particular song on the album that's most meaningful to you, and why?
It's all pretty new right now, you know? I think once we get out there and start playing it a little bit, I'll probably form a little bit more of an opinion about that. At this point, it's just cool to have some new songs to play.
The band has been together now for 27 years and is going strong. What do you make of it all, and are there moments where it just seems surreal?
Yeah, it always seems surreal. I guess anytime you look back, you get to look at all the time and all the experiences that have passed. Our history is much longer than most bands of our era right now, so I get to actually look back and say, "Holy cow, this is a career and not just something that came and went really quickly!"
What's your greatest memory with the band so far?
I can remember years ago we played at a place called Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo where I got to see The Who, Kiss and all these bands as a kid. It's since been torn down, but I can remember sort of seeing the room from the other side. It was sort of like a moment for me...Staring at the whole venue and going, "Wow, this is what it looks like from up here!"
What's something that readers would be surprised to learn about you?I have about 3,000 PEZ dispensers at my house. I also have a 16 month old baby girl named Hana (pronounced Ah-na) at home.
Was there one particular moment that you knew you wanted a career as a musician or has it always been your passion?
I think there was a moment that it seemed realistic that it could happen. The first ten years of the band, we were driving around in vans and getting home and having to find a job, find another apartment, and/or girlfriend (laughs). So, right around 1995 it started to feel like, "Wow, this could actually be something." It wasn't much more than a dream for the first 10 years.
What musicians were most inspiring to you early in your career?
I was a 70's rock kid, so I liked Cheap Trick, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath when I was growing up. Through college, we discovered a lot of alternative rock - The Cure, The Replacements, The Crash and stuff like that. So, pretty typical.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Just practice, and get good! (laughs) Practice as much as you can, working at what you're doing with somebody that's been doing it more. Just make sure you're doing your best.
What would you like to say to your fans that are reading this?
Buy the new record and check it out. Come out to the shows. It's a big night of rock, and we'll be coming somewhere close to whoever is reading this, no matter where you're reading it. We'll be near you in the next few months. So, come out and share a show with us!