Bassist and vocalist Robby Takac is enjoying every minute of it. “I love being up there playing music more than anything in the world,” he comments.
Even after two decades of being a Goo and performing mega hit songs like “Iris” and “Name” countless times, the excitement of touring hasn’t gotten old for Takac who says, “The minute you’re standing there, and 5,000 people are singing something back at you that you sang to your girlfriend in your living room to see if it was OK, there’s not even one moment where I go, ‘Man, this is getting boring.’”
Besides his incredibly energetic and cheerful stage presence, Takac is known for his bare feet. “Because the stage vibrates and I can feel it through my feet, it makes me feel like I’m mightier … the other end of it is, I’m a klutz, so if I had shoes on, I’d probably trip over my shoelace and end up in the second row,” he explains.
When reflecting on the Goo Goo Dolls’ very widespread and intensely devoted fan base, Takac still finds it difficult to accept any flattering praise: “It’s just hard to believe that what you do has so much of an impact on somebody.”
Attributing the band’s modesty to their Catholic upbringing, he says, “Give us a compliment, and we’ll give you seven reasons why you shouldn’t have.”
Takac can only relate that same fanaticism the Goo Goo Dolls receive to the way he feels about his Pez collection. Thanks to the contributions of fans at concerts throughout the years, his impressive collection of candy dispensers has blossomed to about 2,000, including dozens that have been personalized by fans to look like the bassist himself.
He says, “I have a little mini collection that I bring with me on tour; it just makes it feel like home.”
Though Takac credits listeners’ interpretations of Goo Goo Dolls music for their generally optimistic messages, there’s no denying the inherently positive, if not inspirational, quality to their body of work.
“You’ve only got 12 or 14 lines in a pop song to explain the way you feel, so people fill in the blanks with concepts and experiences of their own,” he remarks.
For years, the Goo Goo Dolls have contributed their music and efforts to multiple causes. After 9/11, singer Johnny Rzeznik recorded a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” with Fred Durst as part of a CD tribute to fallen heroes. After Hurricane Katrina, their song “Better Days” was adopted by the public as a theme for the rebuilding process of New Orleans.
Most recent, as a response to the fires of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, the band rescheduled a concert at the Greek Theatre to participate in a recovery fundraiser for the nearby park.
Always socially conscious, the Goo Goo Dolls have also participated in USA Harvest, an organization that conducts canned food drives at concerts, raising nearly three million meals since the band first joined seven years ago.
“I really appreciate when something can happen on that ground level; it’s literally people within a community giving to those who need within their own community, and everybody should feel good about that,” says Takac.
Turning a negative situation into something positive has seemed a natural choice for a band that is appreciative of its success and of each other.
“John’s been the closest thing I’ve ever had to a brother in my life,” says Takac. “I would imagine he would say the same.”
After 20 years together as a band, the Goo Goo Dolls have experienced every high and every low. The band has performed on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” a nearly record-breaking 16 times, contributed songs to blockbuster film soundtracks, including the upcoming “Before It’s Too Late” in the Transformers movie and has matured musically, as evidenced in its latest album, Let Love In.
Takac concludes, “It’s the difference between us as 20 year olds and us as 40 year olds. I just think we are allowing ourselves to grow up as a band as well as people, and hopefully we can continue doing that for a while.”
Let Love In is currently available. For more information, visit www.googoodolls.com.