Donny Osmond, Darlene Love, Kenny Loggins and more stars reveal their most treasured songs from The King

More than two decades after a career that has evolved from punk-inspired garage band to adult Top 40 bastions, the Buffalo, New York-bred Goo Goo Dolls are back with their latest release, 2013. Magneticwhich will debut at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. The previous single rebel rhythm has populated the airwaves and peaked at number 27 on BillboardList of rock songs. Featuring original members John Rzeznik (vocals/guitar) and Robby Takac (bass), and drummer Mike Melanin, the Goo Goo Dolls will launch a lengthy tour on June 25 in support of Magnetic with co-headliners Matchbox Twenty.

In an exclusive interview with GRAMMY.com, Rzeznik discussed the band’s new album, his future vocational endeavors and the custom t-shirt he wore on the night of the 41 GRAMMY Awards in 1999, when the band’s hit “Iris” was nominated for three awards, including Song and Record of the Year.

Is there an overall thematic concept for Magnetic?
I think the thematic concept unraveled only after it was already done. It seems like when I listened to the album again it was like, “Get up, go out and live your life”, you know?

But you’ve said it on previous albums.
Yeah, it kind of went back to the theme that our band has always been about: that life can be completely screwed up, but we have to make the best of it. I deviated a bit from that on the last record. We put out a gloomy kind of album [with 2010’s Something For The Rest Of Us].

What is the most satisfying aspect of Magnetic for you?
I think the most important thing was that I had to keep my mind open and challenged all the time. I had people challenge me, great [song]writers, who said, “No, that’s not good enough. Try something else.” And then having to swallow my ego and say, “Okay, let’s find something better,” that’s what I’m most proud of. The day [Magnetic] it came out, I went and bought it, just some kind of superstition. [I] I went back to my hotel room with one of those Bose Wave radios with a CD player and listened to it from top to bottom. And then I asked myself, “Are you proud of this? Did you do the best you could?” And I was like, “Yeah!” As long as I get dressed and show up and do my job, I really can’t worry about things that are out of my hands. The collection of songs we have there seemed to fit nicely into one package.

You are about to embark on a 50-date tour with Matchbox Twenty. When you perform new songs from Magnetichow does that cure the writing process for you?
It completes it when you’re singing a new song that everyone has already seen on YouTube, and they’re singing it to you. That’s where it’s like, “Okay, great! I did a good job!” Does the public like it? That’s what it’s all about, you know?

How have the Goo Goo Dolls evolved since their beginnings as a garage punk band?
I think music has to evolve with you as a person. I was 19 when I started this band, and I was heavily influenced by sneaky, dumb guys.ed hardcore music. We just wanted to play as hard and fast as we could. The main directive of the band was: “Drink beer. Get girls.” And when you’re a 19-year-old boy, that’s what you do. But somewhere around [1993’s] superstar Car Wash, that was really when we started learning to play our instruments. And he was actually stringing together thoughts that made sense. That was really the turning point for me, where I thought, “Wow, I can actually write songs. In fact, I can play my guitar.”

I understand you were experiencing writer’s block when you wrote “Iris.” How did you get over it?
Honestly, I was sitting there, and I had had some success with a song called “Name,” and I was filled with fear. I mean, writer’s block is just fear, and I think it’s specifically fear of two things: you’re afraid of not getting what you want, and you’re afraid that what you have will be taken away from you. of you. At that time, he had written so many songs, and finally one of them became a hit, and I felt like it was nothing but luck. I said to myself, “Okay, God, or whatever is in the universe, if I’m supposed to do this, give me a sign.” That song came out and it was really a gift. I saw the movie [City Of Angels] and it made perfect sense to me: now I could play a supporting role in someone else’s creative vision. My topic was presented in front of me, and then I approached it from the perspective of, “Okay, what would I say if I were this guy?” Then everything came out.

“Iris” was a huge success, reaching the Top 10 on Billboard Hot 100. Did you know you’d hit a home run to that song after you finished it?
No, I did not do it; and then it was everywhere. I remember strangers coming up to me and saying, “You know, man, I really love that song, but I wish they’d stop playing it.” And I said, “Yes, yes, that’s my song!” [laughs]

What do you remember about attending the 41st GRAMMY Awards in 1999?
We were nominated for three [GRAMMYs] that night, and I didn’t think we were going to win, which we didn’t. I made a t-shirt that I wore under my suit and it said, “I got nominated for three GRAMMY Awards and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” [laughs] So, I unbuttoned my shirt and people were asking me how [felt to lose] three times. And I said, “That was pretty amazing that we got nominated!”

I understand that you are the type of artist who likes to have a life outside of music.
This tour will probably be quite long. and i’m getting married [to Melina Gallo] and I owe you [her] a honeymoon. We’re going to travel a bit and then we’ll regroup and figure out what the next step is. [in] our life is. This is going to sound crazy, but I went to vocational school for high school, and I’ve always been interested in building furniture. That’s something I’m going to start playing with. Building something tangible, like a chair, and sitting on it… is empirical evidence of your effort. While I’ve been building songs that float in the air, and it’s all very subjective. But I think creating something solid that has a purpose might be good for my brain.

(Nick Krewen is a Toronto-based journalist and co-author of Music from everywhere: Celebrating 40 years of the Juno Awardsas well as collaborator of The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook. has written for the toronto star, tv guide, Billboard, country music and was a consultant to the National Film Board music industry documentary dream machine.)

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