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The Goo Goo Dolls are an American rock band formed in 1986 in Buffalo, New York by vocalist and guitarist John Rzeznik and vocalist and bass guitarist Robby Takac. Since the end of 1994, Mike Malinin has held the lead position of the band's drummer, a position previously held by George Tutuska. Some of their most popular songs include Name from 1995's A Boy Named Goo, "Iris" and "Slide" from 1998's Dizzy Up The Girl, which produced five top-10 singles, and "Here Is Gone" and "Big Machine" from 2002's Gutterflower. Overall, the Goo Goo Dolls have 14 top-10 singles and have sold nearly 9 million albums in the United States alone.
Origins and early music (1986–1993)
The Goo Goo Dolls originally consisted of John Rzeznik (vocals, guitar), Robby Takac (vocals, bass guitar) and George Tutuska (drums, percussion). While Takac and Tutuska had been long-time friends in school, Rzeznik was playing in the band The Beaumonts, with Takac’s cousin. The trio picked the current name out of 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 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. The band released its second album, Jed, in 1989 after moving to Los Angeles.
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 their then concert favorite, Two Days in February. Despite being earlier dismissed as having a sound too similar to The Replacements, as well as being embraced by local college radio and punk scenes (including playing such venues as CBGB), the Goo Goo Dolls' third release had 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, which is where Rush had produced multi-platinum albums. "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 (1995–1997)
Shortly after recording the band's fifth album A Boy Named Goo, George Tutuska left the band. The band moved forward from this December 31, 1994 incident, hiring Mike Malinin in 1995, and toured rigorously.
A Boy Named Goo 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 toward a more polished, commercial direction. It was "Name" that had made the band popular and they were able to make a guest appearance on 90210 and even present an Award to Michael Jackson.
"Iris" and superstardom (1998–2005)
Rzeznik was approached to write a song for the City of Angels soundtrack, and the end product was "Iris". It is said that he wrote the lyrics in just under five minutes and composed it in about an hour's time. 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 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 that would launch the band to worldwide fame.
"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. The new, polished sound garnered legions of new fans, many of whom had not followed the band before their mainstream success. Most of the Goo Goo Dolls concerts feature few, if any, songs the band wrote before 1995, reflecting the band’s more mainstream sound. Although the lyrics to "Black Balloon" are vague and unclear, as this is an essential aspect of Rzeznik's style of writing, the song, according to the lead singer himself, regards drug abuse and the emotional consequences of indulging in them. It is widely believed that the song was written for Robby Takac's wife who was once caught up in drug abuse but who has fully recovered today; both refuse to state who the song is written for or about. In 2001, the Goos released their first ever compilation CD, What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce. Next, Gutterflower (2002)—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.
Let Love In (2006–2007)
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 plan 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 has stated that after the release of "Without You Here" and their summer tour with Lifehouse and Colbie Caillat, the band will return to the studio to begin work on their next album, their ninth overall.
April 13, 1996 and July 4, 2004 were proclaimed "Goo Goo Dolls Day" in their hometown of Buffalo, New York.
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.
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" 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–present)
The Goo Goo Dolls have 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 July 2, 2008, the Goo Goo Dolls released a new single called "Real" to select iTunes stores, while it was released on the AT&T USA Olympic Team soundtrack to the remaining iTunes stores on August 8, 2008, coinciding with the start of the Beijing Olympics. "Real" is also the theme song for World Wrestling Entertainment's "Tribute to the Troops 2008".
On June 12, 2009, the band mentioned on their Facebook page that the producer for their new album is 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 is yet to be done.
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 is full of the pop-rock that has sustained the band for decades, lead singer/guitarist Rzeznik's songwriting takes on a more somber, serious tone.
* John Rzeznik – lead vocals, lead guitar, backing vocals (1986–present)
* Robby Takac – backing vocals, bass guitar, lead vocals (1986–present)
* Mike Malinin – drums, percussion (1995–present)
* George Tutuska - drums, percussion (1986–1995)
Current touring musicians
* Brad Fernquist - rhythm guitar, mandolin (2006–present)
* Korel Tunador - keyboards, guitar, saxophone, backing vocals (2006–2009, 2010–present)
Former touring musicians
* Nathan December - guitars (1998–2000)
* Dave Schulz - keyboards (1998–2000)
* Greg Suran - guitars (2002–2006)
* Jason Freese - keyboards, saxophone, backing vocals (2001–2004)
* Paul Gordon - keyboards, backing vocals (2004–2006)
* Scott Eric Olivier - keyboards, guitar (2009)
* 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)