Back on the road: The Goo Goo Dolls’ first tour in three years to hit Lincoln on Saturday | Music
John Rzeznik was back in shape at the end of June.
The Goo Goo Dolls hadn’t toured since 2019 and were scheduled to begin touring on July 15. The longtime alternative rock band had played a few festivals and private engagements over the past two years and Rzeznik was paying the price for that inactivity.
“I had to do three shows in a row the other day,” he said. “I was, ‘Damn, I have to get back in shape. It’s really hard to sing for two or three hours. Singing is more athletic than you think. It takes a lot of practice and repetition. I have to warming up my voice, doing basic exercises and sprints to catch my breath.”
Rock music is no longer a young man’s game. Look at the number of bands still touring, most led by baby boomers. Everyone is doing everything they can to challenge Father Time for as long as possible.
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“Some people are absolutely natural,” Rzeznik said. “But I have to do all of this, see my vocal coach, do the exercises. I can’t smoke cigarettes anymore. It’s like ‘this isn’t fun.’ I can’t drink anymore, I can’t smoke anymore, but I can do something really great.
Rzeznik, bassist Robby Tacak and the rest of the band were preparing to rehearse “Yeah, I Like You”, their new song which they aim to get ready for the road.
Beginning with a ringing, driving guitar, “Yeah, I Like You” ramps up rambling rock ‘n’ roll, confusing the meaningless culture of internet celebrities and social media with its big choruses and pop hooks.
“This song is really fun,” Rzeznik said. “What I love about this song is that it’s really kind of a satirical commentary on fame in 2022. I’m sitting there and asking ‘who are these people? Why are they famous? Before, you had to do something to be famous. It’s partly my age and partly the absurdity of social media.
“There is a girl eating noodles. I eat noodles. Why am I not famous? Everything is so strangely random”
‘Yeah, I Like You’ and the rest of ‘Chaos in Bloom’, Goo Goo’s 13th album due out August 12, was recorded last summer when the band retired to Woodstock, New York, where they lived in a house with a studio on the property.
For the first time, Rzeznik produced, with the aim of bringing together vintage and contemporary sounds – and capturing the best of the Goo Goo Dolls.
“In the past, the live versions of songs, to me, were always better than the studio versions,” he said. “We would do 30 takes of a song. It was interesting. We tried to mix a lot of old techniques with new things. We recorded on tape, tried to limit the number of tracks. The power of a microphone to a guitar amp, how do you do it?
“It’s just not done today. I wanted it to sound like something that could have been done in the 70s, 90s or today.”
By Saturday, when Goo Goo Dolls play Pinewood Bowl, the nearly 4,000 people who will fill the Pioneers Park amphitheater will have had plenty of time to embrace the new song.
“Once it’s been out for a few days, people will find out about it,” Rzeznik said. “We have so much work behind us. You have to play a lot of these songs for people. I love doing this. I like to entertain people. I really do.”
This, of course, means the likes of “Iris”, “Name”, “Slide”, “Give a Little Bit”, “Better Days” and “Broadway” will be heard on Saturday. There might be a few more from Chaos in Bloom.
It might be the protest song “Let the Sun Come Back Again” – “It’s unfair that there’s a man who has 200 billion dollars and flies on a giant penis in space and a one in five children is food insecure, or one child has to graduate from college with $100,000 in debt or someone can’t love who they love and have to be scared,”
Or maybe it’ll be one of Rzeznik’s pandemic songs like “Going Crazy” – “That was me laying in my bed saying ‘what’s going on?’ I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t get out of here.
The songs on “Chaos in Bloom” are more observational than political. But they are rooted in the two years of upheaval, beginning with the March 2020 COVID-19 shutdown.
“He came out of a really crazy time,” Rzeznik said of the album. “I found myself in the middle of a pandemic and in the middle of a Black Lives Matter protest. You feel the intensity of people. … We came out the other side and we definitely changed. I hope we can find more in common with each other.
In fact, commonalities only happen during live shows, and that’s why Rzeznik worked so hard to get back on the road.
“That’s what I love about playing live,” he said. “No matter what your policies are, what you think about all the things that are tearing us apart, everyone in this room has something in common. They’re there to hear the band, whoever it is, they’re there for the music. Music is a small thing, but at least it’s something.
Contact the writer at 402-473-7244 or [email protected] On Twitter @KentWolgamott