The Goo Goo Dolls are an American rock band formed in 1985 in Buffalo, New York, by guitarist and vocalist John Rzeznik, bassist and vocalist Robby Takac and Tim Grimaldi. Since the end of 1994, Mike Malinin has been the band's drummer, a position previously held by George Tutuska. Although renowned for their commercially successful 1998 single "Iris", they have had several other notable and popular singles including "Name" from 1995's A Boy Named Goo, "Broadway", "Black Balloon" and "Slide" from 1998's Dizzy Up The Girl, an album which produced five successful singles, and "Here Is Gone", "Sympathy" and "Big Machine" from 2002's Gutterflower. The Goo Goo Dolls have had 14 top ten singles on various charts, and have sold more than 10 million albums worldwide.
In October 2012, "Iris" was ranked #1 on Billboard's "Top 100 Pop Songs 1992-2012" chart, which also featured Goo Goo Dolls hits "Slide", ranking at #9, and "Name" at #24. Their biggest hit, "Iris", from the City of Angels soundtrack, spent nearly 12 straight months on the Billboard charts and held the number one position on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for 18 weeks. The first single from their 2010 album, Something for the Rest of Us, "Home", extended the band's record to 14 top ten hits at the hot AC radio format (more than any other artist in the history of that format). The band's newest album, Magnetic, was released on June 11, 2013.
Origins and early music (1985–1993)
The band's original lineup included John Rzeznik (guitar, vocals), Robby Takac (bass, vocals) and George Tutuska (drums, percussion). In the beginning, Rzeznik would not sing, due to his shyness. Takac and Tutuska had been long-time friends in school and met Rzeznik while he was playing in the band The Beaumonts with Takac's cousin. The trio picked their name from a True Detective ad for a toy called a Goo Goo Doll. "We were young and we were a garage band not trying to get a deal. We had a gig that night and needed a name. It's the best we came up with, and for some reason it stuck. If I had had five more minutes, I definitely would have picked a better name," John stated. With Takac as their lead singer, the band released their first album, Goo Goo Dolls in 1987 on Mercenary Records, but was picked up in 1988 by Celluloid Records, a larger record company. They played around Buffalo's underground music circuit opening for punk bands such as SNFU, Dag Nasty, ALL, The Dead Milkmen, Gang Green, Doughboys, and DRI and playing with fellow Buffalo bands. The band released its second album Jed in 1989.
The band released its third album, Hold Me Up, in 1990 and featured Rzeznik as the lead vocalist on five tracks, including the single, "There You Are" – as well as their then concert favorite, Two Days in February. After being embraced by local college radio and punk scenes (including playing such venues as CBGB), the Goo Goo Dolls' third release incorporated elements of heavy metal, pop rock, and punk rock. In 1991, the song "I'm Awake Now" was recorded for the soundtrack of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
Superstar Car Wash, released in 1993, received significant media attention. The critical success and encouraging sales of their last album resulted in a larger budget from Metal Blade Records. The album was partially recorded in Metalworks Studio in Mississauga, Ontario. "We Are the Normal" (the single for which Rzeznik asked frontman Paul Westerberg of The Replacements to write the lyrics) received a major push toward play on college and independent radio, while its video was displayed on MTV's 120 Minutes program. "Fallin' Down" made it onto the 1993 soundtrack of Pauly Shore's hit film Son in Law.
Mainstream breakthrough and legal issues (1993–1997)
Shortly after recording the band's fifth album A Boy Named Goo, Tutuska was kicked out of the band. The band moved forward from this December 31, 1994 incident, hiring Mike Malinin in 1995, and toured rigorously.
A Boy Named Goo had a catchy rock sound, and became one of most successful alternative rock albums of the mid-1990s. It sold modestly in this time; however, it was not until the release of the single "Name" that the band experienced any viable commercial success. A Boy Named Goo became the first album in Metal Blade history to achieve double-platinum status. This success, however, proved bittersweet, as the band found themselves in a legal battle with Metal Blade records. The band filed suit against Metal Blade, claiming they had not earned any royalties from their album's sales, which was attributed to a "grossly unfair, one-sided and unenforceable contract" which had been signed by the band in 1987. The two sides reached a settlement which had the band signed to the Metal Blade's distributing label, Warner Bros. Records, under which the band released their sixth album, Dizzy Up the Girl, in 1998. The undisputed success of "Name" marked a fundamental change in the band's sound from alt. rock to a more mainstream adult orientated rock (AOR) direction which disappointed many of the original fans of the band. It was "Name" that had made the band popular and they were able to make guest appearances on Beverly Hills, 90210, Charmed, and even presented an award to Michael Jackson.
"Iris" and superstardom (1997–2005)
Rzeznik was approached to write a song for the City of Angels soundtrack, and the end product was "Iris". This song propelled the band to stardom, as it stayed on top of Billboard Hot 100 Airplay charts for a record-breaking 18 weeks, and was nominated for three Grammys that year. According to several interviews with Rzeznik, he was experiencing serious bouts of writer's block when he was approached, and was on the verge of quitting the band days before he wrote the song.
"Iris" was included on the triple-platinum Dizzy Up the Girl, and was among top-ten hits "Slide", "Black Balloon", "Broadway", and "Dizzy" from the same album. In 2001, the Goos released their first ever compilation CD, What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce. Next, Gutterflower (2002) — the last longplay in spirit of America, with dark lyrical undertones from Rzeznik's divorce — achieved gold certification, producing the hits "Here Is Gone", "Sympathy", and "Big Machine". On July 4, 2004, the band performed a free concert in their hometown of Buffalo, continuing through a deluge of rain that can be seen on the DVD released later that year. The DVD also contained a studio version of the Goo Goo Dolls' cover of "Give a Little Bit" by Supertramp. The single reached the top of the Adult Top 40 chart in 2005.
April 13, 1996 and July 4, 2004 were proclaimed "Goo Goo Dolls Day" in their hometown of Buffalo, New York.
Let Love In (2005–2007)
In 2006, the Goo Goo Dolls marked their 20th anniversary with their new album Let Love In, which included the studio recording of "Give a Little Bit" as well as other top 10 radio singles "Better Days," "Stay With You," and "Let Love In". With their third consecutive single ("Let Love In") from the album, the Goo Goo Dolls hit a record 12 top 10 hits in Adult Top 40 history, beating Matchbox Twenty and Sheryl Crow until Matchbox Twenty's release of Exile on Mainstream and the Goo Goo Dolls' release of "Before It's Too Late" from the Transformers Soundtrack, which left both groups with 13 top 10 hits in the Adult Top 40. Goo Goo Dolls planned to release another single from Let Love In, "Without You Here", as well as a song from the July 2007 Transformers movie called "Before It's Too Late", originally titled "Fiction". To promote the new single, the Goo Goo Dolls performed "Before It's Too Late" at both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on June 8, 2007, and again at The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on June 22, 2007. In July 2007 the band discussed their career as a whole and gave a live performance on A&E's Private Sessions. Rzeznik stated that after the release of "Without You Here" and their summer tour with Lifehouse and Colbie Caillat, the band would return to the studio to begin work on their next album, their ninth overall.
On June 27, 2007, the Goo Goo Dolls performed to a sold out crowd at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. The performance premiered on HDNet in high–definition on Sunday, September 30. The entire concert was released as a DVD on the limited edition version of their 2008 release, Vol.2.
The Goo Goo Dolls and the NHL Buffalo Sabres came together to create a video for the Sabres 2007 playoff run. The video was a compilation of shots from the Buffalo area and Sabres players played to the song "Better Days". It was played on jumbotron and at the HSBC Arena before every playoff game.
Though not certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the album is said to have gone Gold by various music sites.
The song "Better Days" was used in the trailer for the 2009 film Love Happens. It was also used in the pilot episode of the CBS TV show, Jericho and in a promo for WGRZ aired during Super Bowl XLVI.
Greatest Hits albums (2007–2008)
On November 13, 2007, the Goo Goo Dolls released a greatest hits album entitled Greatest Hits Volume One: The Singles, which includes a new version of "Name" recorded and mixed by Paul David Hager, and a remix of "Feel the Silence" by Michael Brauer. On August 19, 2008, a second greatest hits album was released entitled Vol.2, which includes b-sides, rarities, and a live performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre from their "Let Love In" tour.
The band performed "Better Days" and "Stay With You" at the halftime of the Detroit Lions' 2007 Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field, which focused on the United Way and the NFL's commitment to youth health and fitness.
Something for the Rest of Us (2008–2011)
The Goo Goo Dolls announced recording sessions for a new album, on their official website, unrelated to their Volume Two in 2008. In addition, the band performed as part of the O2 Wireless Festival in London's Hyde Park in the summer of 2008, at the Miller Lite Rock 'N Racing show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during qualifying for the 2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, as well as performing a four-show tour across England.
On June 19, 2008 at a ceremony in New York City, the band's singer and principal songwriter John Rzeznik was named that year's recipient of the Hal David Starlight Songwriter Award. Past recipients of the prestigious award include: Rob Thomas, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and John Legend.
On June 12, 2009, the band mentioned on their Facebook page that the producer for their new album was Tim Palmer. On August 15, 2009, Robby Takac posted an update on his Twitter account stating that the recording for the new album had been completed, and the mixing of the album was yet to be done. Then on September 18, 2009, John Rzeznik stated in an interview on Good Day L.A., that the new album had tentatively been titled Something for the Rest of Us.
Something for the Rest of Us was released on August 31, 2010. While the album was full of the pop-rock that has sustained the band for decades, lead singer/guitarist Rzeznik's songwriting took on a more somber, serious tone.
The band performed a live mini concert at the Apple Store in Manhattan, New York on December 2, 2010. The show was recorded and was released in 2011 as a part of Apple's "Live at SoHo" collection which is sold online at the iTunes Store. On January 3, 2011, the band performed the halftime show at the Orange Bowl played between the Stanford Cardinal and the Virginia Tech Hokies. On January 30, 2011, they performed before the start of the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. On February 7, 2011 they performed at the Delta Ballroom in St. John's Newfoundland, beginning their 2011 Canadian tour.
During an interview with UpVenue on February 16, 2011, Rzeznik confirmed that he was writing new material for a new album: "I've actually been experimenting, in this last week, while we've been out on this tour, just writing lyrics and then figuring out the melodic structures," said Rzeznik. "We can't wait another four years to put another album out; that's just a ridiculous waste of time."
On May 23, 2011, it was announced that the band had recorded a song for the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon called "All That You Are", and was released on the film's soundtrack on June 14, 2011.
In September 2011, "Iris" reached the number three spot in the Top 40 in the UK, 13 years after its original release.
On August 9, 2012, the band announced that they had started recording their tenth studio album. In a column for Japanese Rock magazine InRock, Robby Takac revealed some details about recordings sessions on the new album. The new album is scheduled for an early 2013 release on the Warner Brothers record label. The band will use a few producers like they did on Something for the Rest of Us. In August and September they had various recording sessions with John Shanks at Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood, LA and in October 2012 with Gregg Wattenberg (Let Love In, Real) at Quad Studios in New York City. More recording sessions were planned with Greg Wells in Los Angeles in November 2012.
On January 18, 2013, the band released the first single off of their next studio album titled "Rebel Beat".
Their latest album Magnetic was released on June 11, 2013 and debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. It was their 4th album in a row that debuted in the Top 10. On July 19, 2013 the Goo Goo Dolls finally released their second single "Come to Me" off Magnetic. The song will hit the airwaves on July 23, 2013.
The Goo Goo Dolls have been closely involved with several charities over the years. Through the organization USA Harvest, millions of meals have been distributed to people in need by generous fans bringing nonperishable goods to the band's concerts over the course of more than a decade. A scholarship fund was created by the band for St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in honor of Nicholas Orrange, John Rzeznik's nephew. It is a high school with higher academic requirements. The purpose of this scholarship is to aid people who carry the grades but cannot afford the school, which is considered one of the finest college preparatory programs in the Western New York area.
Over the years the Goo Goo Dolls have also been involved with the Food Bank of Western NY and Compass House. The band has also volunteered their time to perform at events for ECHO, Light of Day, among others. They have lent a hand for causes from Autism research, to scholastic musical programs as well as participating and donating to innumerable other charities.
John Rzeznik is an ambassador for VH1's Save the Music Foundation. Robby Takac is the founder of the Music is Art Foundation. Mike Malinin is heavily involved in several charities including Rail to Trails and Farm Sanctuary.
- Goo Goo Dolls (1987)
- Jed (1989)
- Hold Me Up (1990)
- Superstar Car Wash (1993)
- A Boy Named Goo (1995)
- Dizzy Up the Girl (1998)
- Gutterflower (2002)
- Let Love In (2006)
- Something for the Rest of Us (2010)
- Magnetic (2013)
- Official Website
- Official Online Fan Club – The Inner Machine
- Official Merchandise
- Interview With Goo Goo Dolls
- The Goo Goo Dolls on Myspace
- The Goo Goo Dolls discography at MusicBrainz
- American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, John Rzeznik, Interview
- The Musician's Guide to Touring and Promotion, John Rzeznik, Interview
- Making the Album "Let Love In", Robby Takac, Interview
- Trash the Stage, The Goo Goo Dolls, Interview
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Image from Discogs