Goo Goo Dolls

views updated

Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls, pop band, formed 1985. MEMBERSHIP: John Rzeznik, voc., gtr. (b. Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 5, 1965); Robby Takac, bs., voc. (b. Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 30, 1964); George Tutuska, drm.

They started playing together in high school in Buffalo with the even less likely name the Sex Maggots. They exchanged that unappealing name for their cur-rent sobriquet and started earning a reputation through the northeastern U.S. for bracing, loud shows and drunken reverie. This is not surprising because they idolized the punk band the Replacements. Their debut album had tunes like “Don’t Beat My Ass (With A Baseball Bat)” and a song with a backwards masked message that asked “Hey mom, can I have another corn dog?” It also had covers of Cream and Blue Oyster Cult opuses and was alarmingly tuneful. After this self produced debut (picked up by Mercenary Records) the band signed with Metal Blade for Jed, a tighter album. Hold Me Up sharpened them even more, but the band still only had a cult following. For their 1993 album Superstar Car Wash, they worked with Replacements leader Paul Westerberg. Their song, “We Are the Normal” received some alternative play and raised the band’s visibility a bit. However, it was 1995’s A Boy Named Goo that proved to be their breakthrough, no small thanks to the #5 hit single “Name.” The album went on to sell double platinum.

Just as the hit was breaking, Tutuska left the band. He was replaced by Mike Malinin (b. Washington, D.C., Oct. 10, 1967) for both the two-year tour that followed and the next recordings. These included tunes for soundtracks like Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Batman and Robin, and City of Angels which featured a tune Rzeznik wrote in a hotel room in one hour. That song, “Iris” inspired by a Calif, obituary listing, became the most- played cross-format song of all time, topping the pop charts; BMI awarded the song its “Most Played Song from a Film” award in 1998. It was also featured on the band’s next album, Dizzy Up the Girl, which went triple platinum and topped out at #15, further helped by the #16 single “Black Balloon.” Bouyed by its success, the Goo Goo Dolls spent most of 1999 touring in support of the album, and were a featured act in MTV’s Millenium New Year’s Eve program. Attesting to their mainstream acceptance, they appeared on TV’s Sesame Street in early 2000 singing a new version of their hit “Slide,” re-titled “Pride,” along with a guitar-strumming Elmo.


First Release (1987); Goo Goo Dolls (1987); Jed (1989); Hold Me Up (1990); Superstar Car Wash (1993); A Boy Named Goo (1995); Dizzy Up the Girl (1998).

—Hank Bordowitz