I recently asked a friend of mine what he knew about the Goo Goo Dolls.
“They’re hot!” he said. “They have that one song with Snoop Dogg.”
As he'd apparently confused them with the Pussycat Dolls, I started singing the chorus to the band's huge 1998 hit “Iris” and he immediately knew who I was talking about.
Ahead of Goo Goo Dolls' show at SDSU's Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre on Sept. 12, I spoke with band frontman John Rzeznik over the phone. Currently nearing the end of a summer-long tour, he understandably sounded a bit tired -- but remained upbeat and seemed excited for the last leg of the tour.
“It’s been a long summer,” he said, “but we have a great band and I think the shows are getting better and better. Once you hit that stage, that’s what it’s about.”
With 30 years of touring and recording under his belt, I asked if there was ever a point that the 51-year-old Rzeznik wanted to throw in the towel?
“There was a point early on, about eight years into my career, where we weren’t making any money and it felt like we were getting nowhere,” the singer/guitarist told me. “It wasn’t until we released our fourth album ['Superstar Car Wash'] that we started making a lot of progress.”
Goo Goo Dolls are known for taking over pop-rock radio stations throughout the years, but they’re also known for their charitable endeavors that have benefitted St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Blessings in a Backpack, and USA Harvest (to name a few). So it’s no surprise that they're turning their Sept. 7 show at Houston's Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion into a charity event.
“When [Hurricane Harvey] came along, they were saying, ‘The show in Houston is canceled,’ but then it was put back on and we turned it into a benefit concert -- we had to help out the people, you know? It’s a free show for the first responders and 100 percent of merch sales goes toward the victims of Houston.”
After a long tour is over with, Rzeznik says he feels unemployed. What does a highly successful “unemployed” musician do with his off time?
“You know, I have two years of live recordings on a hard drive. I’m going to go through all the files and compile a live record, then I’ll get to writing some more music.”
Goo Goo Dolls headline SDSU's Open Air Theatre on Sept. 12, with Phillip Phillips opening. Tickets are available here.
Musician, people-pleaser, lover, fighter and writer Matthew Craig Burke has been spewing musical words of wisdom since never. He lives off of peanut butter sandwiches, beer and Beck Hansen. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.