Way back in 1985, a Buffalo, NY band called The Sex Maggots was busy evolving into what would eventually become The Goo Goo Dolls. After ten years of moderate success in the indie market, TGGD honed their Replacements meets REM sound into every major label's dream. It seems that, while many critics sell them short when it comes to depth and impact, TGGD, since their 95 release of " A Boy Named Goo" and its' hit single Name, keep churning out albums that contain at least one or two power ballads that are for some reason, irresistible. Currently the boys are touring in support of their latest CD, " Gutterflower," which has been hailed by many as their best yet. In a recent interview, the bass player/vocalist Robby Takac.
LK: Good morning.
RT: Hey man, where ya callin' from?
LK: Milwaukee, WI
RT: Milwaukee? Hey man we really love Milwaukee.... Summerfest, The Safe House...all of that!
LK: Do you know the secret password or do they just let you in because of who you are?
RT: Of course I know it.
LK: What is it?
RT: I'm not allowed to tell ya, I am after all an honorary secret agent.
LK: What did you think of Summerfest?
RT: Amazing. So many people and so many different acts. We spent a lot of time doing the whole scene there, playing smaller clubs like The Odd Rock and The Eagles Club...it was nice to be able to graduate to the big stages at Summerfest.
LK: How did you guys get started?
RT: We cut our first record in 86 and did our first tour...John and I had been playing together for about a year.
LK: At what point did you feel you had "made it"?
RT: Well it's funny ya know; A Boy Named Goo came out and I had sold millions of records with a couple of platinum's hanging on the wall, and I still couldn't pay my rent. We took a look around and thought, well, this is where it all ends. A little while later we were sitting in the studio and we took a break to watch the NHL championships, and the winners were skating around the ice while Iris was playing in the background and I thought...wow, things are finally gonna turn around.
LK: Considering your indie background, how do you feel about where you are now when it comes to your more mainstream appeal?
RT: As a band you find yourself unconsciously transforming into what you become. We never took the ultimate pop route of hiring any dancers or anyone to write songs for us; we just recorded songs the way we wanted to without worrying about weather or not they would sell....thankfully they did.
LK: John has done some solo work. Has any of that stuff made it into your live shows?
RT: No, Johns ' stuff has always remained just that. It's always been something he wanted to do and he's had a great time with it.
LK: The three year hiatus between albums...was that a good thing?
RT: It didn't really seem like a hiatus because we were on tour for two of those years. Other than a two week vacation in Mexico it was pretty much business as usual and we spent the last year in the studio recording the last album.
LK: How has your fame affected you?
RT: You just go about your life, ya know? I still live in Buffalo where I came from, and never had to change my personality to do what I do.
LK: Are you married?
RT: Yeah, for about a year and a half now.
LK: How does the wife feel about what you do? What do you do to keep it strong?
RT: Well, I was married once before and let my career sort of disassemble my relationship, but I'm a little bit older and smarter now. The web helps a lot, and the fact that there is a little bit more money so I can fly her out to see me helps. I guess the most important thing is trust, and making sure you're with the person nature intended.
LK: I'd like use that quote on my next girlfriend.
RT: Hey man give it a whirl, if that doesn't work you can always try dancin' around in your underwear or something.
LK: That's never worked for me. What's the one question you wish someone would ask you?
RT: As a matter of fact, in lieu of current events, I'd like to state my belief that there is a huge, huge tragedy about to happen in this country, and this world, that's based on a very greedy and self-serving government, and I beg everyone not to let it happen. Some very terrible shit is about to go down..
LK: I take it you're referring to the impending doom of war?
RT: Exactly. I think this is a terribly wrong thing that is happening right now, and everyone should check our current administrations motives. It's really a sad situation that we're dealing with. This is not about politics; it's a humanitarian call. I actually went out campaigning with Al Gore for months against all this, and all our fears are about to come to fruition if people don't start speaking up very loudly. My wife is Japanese and watches the news from home and I have learned that the world as a whole is not seeing things the way our government is. I don't know how they're fudging these polls because everywhere I go people seem to be against all this. A lot of people are gonna die....we need to stop it.
LK: I agree.
RT: Can I ask you a question?
RT: What's your favorite Todd Rundgren album?
LK: Deface the Music.
RT: You should check out Something Anything....it's the shit.