Goo Goo Dolls hope you remember their 'Name'

By Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writer May 21, 2010 

Listen to any Top 40 radio station in America and you're likely to hear one of the Goo Goo Dolls' pop gems -- Name, Slide, Iris.

All reached the Top 10 on the Billboard charts in the '90s.

But unlike many vintage bands, the Goo Goo Dolls keep making new music. They have a new album coming out later this year and Tri-City fans will get a sample of that when the Goo Goo Dolls national tour makes a stop May 30 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

Formed in 1989 by John Rzeznik and Robby Takac along with original drummer George Tutuska (later replaced by Mike Malinin), the Goo Goo Dolls didn't start out more than two decades ago to play anything other than garage music.

"We've been working on this new (album) for two years," bass player Takac said in a telephone interview with the Herald this week. "And it's been four years since our last tour. And usually we release a record, promote it on radio stations, then start touring. But even though this album hasn't been released yet we needed to get the hell out of L.A. for a while. So, we hit the tour earlier than normal, and it's been a whole new touring experience."

Takac knows most people identify the Goo Goo Dolls with Slide and Iris but those hits from the '90s aren't what keeps this trio of musicians on track.

"I like to wander into unknown territory from time to time," he said. "We've been gone from the music scene for a year and a half, which can be a lifetime for musicians. But we have a strong fan base that keeps us on track."

So will the songs on the new album bring about some Top 10 hits?

"The songs on this new record are just as bankable," he said. "But will they make it to the Top 10? That will depend on whether those same stars line up the same way."

The Goo Goo Dolls didn't come up with its name initially. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., they called themselves the Sex Maggots. Then a club owner balked at hiring them unless they changed their name, according to Rolling Stone's Encyclopedia of Rock 'n' Roll.

Hence the Goo Goo Dolls were born, the name culled from an ad the band members saw in a detective magazine.

But even though Rzeznik and Takac claim on their website to have started out playing music on a whim, as well as earning a few free beers at gigs, somewhere along the way they learned how to write songs.

Their most notable one, Iris, is featured on the soundtrack for the film City of Angels starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. The song was nominated for three Grammys, remained on the Billboard charts for 18 weeks and propelled the band to stardom.

On this tour, the band also wants to help others. Takac said they are asking fans to bring canned goods to the concert to be donated to USA Harvest, an organization that gives food to the homeless.

"We really like this organization because they help feed so many people," he said. "And whoever brings the biggest collection of food to donate will get to come backstage and meet the band."

Representatives with USA Harvest will be outside the coliseum to collect the food.

The Tri-City show starts at 7:30 p.m. May 30 at the Toyota Center. Admission is $29.50- $39.50 plus services charges. Opening for the Dolls will be Vedera, a pop/rock band from Kansas City.

Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com, or tickets bought at the box office will avoid service fees.

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