goo-goo-dolls-Issue-No27GOO GOO DOLLS  

The moody alternative rockers look at the brighter side on their new set  

“I’m an artist as much as anybody’s an artist,” says Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik, placing air quotes around the word artist. “Sometimes I can be a bit of a precious little bitch about my work. But not being precious about it, digging in and putting the sweat into it, is where the really good stuff comes from. And being determined to not let it go until it’s right.”

To that end the band recruited a group of noted producers to share in songwriting responsibilities for their new album Magnetic—including John Shanks (Sheryl Crow, Fleetwood Mac), Greg Wells (Katy Perry, OneRepublic), Gregg Wattenberg (Train), and Rob Cavallo (Green Day). Each also produced the tracks they wrote. “This is our 10th album, and I wanted to get together with other guys I respected,” Rzeznik says. “I had these half-done ideas, and then I’d hire a studio for four months. I wanted to approach each song individually. There was always a fresh perspective coming in the room, and that was good for us rather than being chained down to one guy and one routine. That wasn’t going to work for me this time. ”

That process has resulted in the most uplifting collection of songs the group has ever recorded. “Rebel Beat,” the first single, is a triumphant anthem inspired by the streets of New York, and a far cry from the downbeat Something for the Rest of Us, the band’s previous release. “Something was very heavy-sounding, very dark,” Rzeznik says. “Sometimes I can get sort of depressing—but mentally I’m in a way better place than I was on the last record.”

Small wonder Rzeznik is feeling positive vibes—good things are happening to the Buffalo-based band. The Goo Goo Dolls were recently inducted into Guitar Center’s Hollywood RockWalk of Fame—handprints in cement—though it was an honor he originally questioned. “At first I was, ‘Really? Do I want this?’” he says. “Then I saw the Smashing Pumpkins and Jimmy Page handprints and thought, ‘OK, this is cool. We can do this.’” The singer is also getting married this summer.

Letting go creatively has allowed Rzeznik to feel especially positive about the new music. “It’s really freeing not to have to be a control freak,” he says. “Ultimately it made for great music. Even if nothing happens as far as commercial success, I wouldn’t feel like I failed. I’ve developed enough resilience and confidence in what I’ve done. It’s this pride you have in the work you’ve put in—and the rest doesn’t matter. The work stands on its own, and that’s enough. I feel like I already won.”

–Steve Rosen


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