Goo Goo Dolls' Johnny Rzeznik talks "Magnetic"
Quiet and pensive, Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls is sitting in New York City watching it rain.
"It keeps raining, and it keeps getting hotter," said Rzeznik, to an unsympathetic reporter who lives in sweltering Arizona.
Rzeznik -- along with bandmates bassist Robby Takac and drummer Mike Malinin -- is about to step out of the rain and onto stages as the Goo Goo Dolls begin a tour with Matchbox Twenty on June 25.
The jaunt is in support of new material. On June 11, Goo Goo Dolls release "Magnetic," a collection of songs recorded in New York , London and Los Angeles with Gregg Wattenberg (Train), Rob Cavallo (Green Day), John Shanks (Bon Jovi) and Greg Wells (Katy Perry). Reflected in the steel drum-inspired first single "Rebel Beat," the Goo Goo Dolls experimented a bit more with this album to liven things up.
"I was sitting in my house and I started writing by myself and I didn't feel like doing it," Rzeznik said. "I was just sort of like, 'OK. Let's get together with some people, do some collaborating and have some fun making a record for once in my life.'
"I didn't want to write anymore ballads -- even though I did end up putting two on this album. I've been sort of typecast as the guy who writes the ballads. That's great, but I wanted to try to do other things."
He said sometimes it bothers him that he's only known for power ballads like "Iris," "Let Love In," "Slide" and "Name."
"You know, but then again, I'm lucky I'm known for anything," Rzeznik said with a laugh.
Wattenberg is a good friend of Rzeznik's, which sometimes makes songwriting dicey.
"I have an enormous amount of respect for him," he said. "With everybody that I wrote with on the album, I said, 'Look, we gotta make a deal right from the get-go If you don't dig something, just say you don't dig it and I'll do the same.' That cleared up a lot of things. It got any sort of ego thing out of the way between us. It was all about making the best songs that we possibly could."
Rzeznik said his songwriting process changed for "Magnetic," as he normally takes a couple months off in between albums. This time, he went straight from touring to writing out of necessity.
"We're still like a regular band," Rzeznik said. "We're not like a lot of pop acts who have a team of people writing songs for them. The whole time they're out on tour, they have this team of people writing and writing and writing. The artists, they pick and choose which songs they want and then they go in and sing and, boom, they have another album out instantly. It's kind of hard to compete with that kind of machinery."
Goo Goo Dolls are a touring machine in its own right. The band will spend the summer on the road with Matchbox Twenty, after which Rzeznik will take off a week to get married. The it's off to Europe to push "Magnetic."
"I just got back from Europe," said Rzeznik, who recently appeared on "Live from Daryl's House." "I love it over there. I love the U.K. a lot. I just enjoy it over there. As far as being a musician and going over there, I get the feeling that people listen very intently to music still. Whereas I think music has become background noise in a lot of instances, it's something to set the mood. When we go over there, crowds are younger than here. The crowds are nuts. They sing every word to every song It's really fun."
That goes for new material as well. It doesn't bother him, though, that fans are learning the "Magnetic" tracks from YouTube.
"I find it really awesome when we play a new song and people are actually singing along with it because they already know it from YouTube," he said. "It makes it a little less awkward. It makes it a little less awkward than playing new music in front of people who have never heard it before. They kind of stand there looking at you like, 'Are we supposed to like this or not?' New material introduced to them, like on YouTube, they get to digest it a little bit before they come and see it."
25, 26 - Manchester, NH - Verizon Wireless Arena (with Matchbox Twenty)
27 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre (with Matchbox Twenty)
29 - Burgettstown, PA - First Niagara Pavilion (with Matchbox Twenty)
30 - Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
2, 3, 4 - Highland Park, IL - Ravinia Festival at Ravinia Park (with Matchbox Twenty)
6 - Clarkston, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre (with Matchbox Twenty)
7 - Noblesville, IN- Klipsch Music Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
9 - Maryland Heights, MO - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre St. Louis (Matchbox Twenty)
10 - Moline, IL - I Wireless Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
12 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
13 - Minneapolis, MN - Basilica St. Mary (Basilica Block Party)
15 - Englewood, CO - Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre (with Matchbox Twenty)
17 - Universal City, CA - Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk (with Matchbox Twenty)
19 - Las Vegas, NV - Mandalay Bay Events Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
20 - Irvine, CA - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (with Matchbox Twenty)
21 - Paso Robles, CA - Grandstand at California Mid-State Fair (with Matchbox Twenty)
23 - Concord, CA - Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord (with Matchbox Twenty)
24 - San Diego, CA - Valley View Casino Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
30 - The Woodlands, TX - The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (with Matchbox Twenty)
31 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion (with Matchbox Twenty)
2 - Pelham, AL - Oak Mountain Amphitheatre (with Matchbox Twenty)
3 - Atlanta, GA - Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood (with Matchbox Twenty)
4 - Tampa, FL - MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre (with Matchbox Twenty)
6 - Charlotte, NC - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (with Matchbox Twenty)
7 - Raleigh, NC - Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion (with Matchbox Twenty)
8 - Virginia Beach, VA - Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach (with Matchbox Twenty)
10 - Bristow, VA - Jiffy Lube Live (with Matchbox Twenty)
11 - Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Bank Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
13 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena (with Matchbox Twenty)
14 - Hershey, PA - The Star Pavilion at Hersheypark Stadium (with Matchbox Twnety)
16 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
17 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater (with Matchbox Twenty)
18 - Mansfield, MA - Comcast Center (with Matchbox Twenty)
24 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center
1 - Norfolk, NE - Divots Event Center
17 - Glasgow, Scotland - O2 Academy Glasgow
19 - Newcastle, England - O2 Academy Newcastle
20 - Leeds, England - O2 Academy Leeds
21 - Norwich, England - University of East Anglia LCR-Union
23 - Birmingham, England - The Institute
25 - London, England - Hammersmith Apollo