The Goo Goo Dolls prepare to ‘slide’ into Novafest

Justin Rodstrom

Hey Robby, thanks a lot for calling in this week, we’re happy to have you. Let’s kick this off:

1. You guys were around in the ’90’s, when all us college kids were younger. You managed to outlast a lot of those ’90’s bands, like Hootie and the Blowfish, Matchbox 20, Third Eye Blind and No Doubt. What would you say have been some of the reasons behind your longevity in the music scene?

a. We’ve been very lucky over the years. It would be easy to listen to whatever is going on in the music scene and just tailor ourselves to that, but that isn’t who we are. You wanna know our influences on our latest record? We get our influences from our last album. Whenever we record an album, we try to put the blinders on to whatever is happening at that time. We work hard to define our music for itself. What’s popular now – ska? … no, that isn’t us; metal? … not us; dance, hip hop? … not us. We’re really not trying to compete with the Billboard charts; we’re just trying to compete with ourselves, to work hard and get better everyday.

2. How was the scene in the ’90’s different from today’s music scene, especially with the advent of the Internet?

a. It’s funny to watch the transformation of this industry in the past 10 years. It used to be that you would make your record and your management and publicity would try to market it to a certain audience. In our case, it was middle-age women, who happen to be the demographic that still buys the most CDs. But a couple years ago the Internet just exploded, and now it’s a much different scene. We’re just sitting kind of in the background, watching this growing thing change the way music is made. Nowadays you gotta make your records still, but where you really attract fans is with your live show. I was looking out the bus window the other day and saw a bunch of younger kids lining up for our tickets, and that’s when I feel really successful. That’s something that you can’t download, you can’t download myself or Johnny into your living room and get that kind of experience. The day you can is the day we’re in big trouble.

3. Where do you guys stand on the whole Internet piracy issue?

a. The Internet has become this huge phenomenon that has in a lot of ways hurt the industry but has also helped the industry out a lot. Now, as crazy as it sounds, your best advertisement is your MySpace page. Traditional advertisements don’t work the way they used to. Now the music is out there for everyone to hear, not just a contained demographic that your publicists and managers decide upon. We have more kids going to our shows now than ever before. The thing is, the real industry visionaries have to figure out the best way to capitalize on the new distribution of music – you see it right now with iTunes, Myspace and AOL music, all these user-friendly music services. So the music industry has changed a lot because of the Internet, but there need to be a lot more changes so that it can remain viable for musicians and companies to keep the industry alive.

4. Name 5 CDs that you have been listening to lately.

a. The Weakerthans, this great band from Winnipeg. Also the new Muse CD, Cut Chemist from Jurassic 5, Basement Jaxx are great. We just picked up the new New York Dolls reunion live album, really great stuff.

5. I know you were just up at St. Bonaventure University a few days ago and now you’re here. How has the college reception been for the Goo Goo Dolls?

a. Awesome; it’s really been great. Sometimes as a band, we feel like we’re losing touch with our fanbase because college radio is not really our medium anymore. It’s strange to not be a part of that, but going to the shows, you really see that college kids are still into your stuff. When you go to a show and see such an outpouring of support, it’s a really great feeling for us as a band. We also try to keep in touch with our fans as much as possible. I always spend time reading messages from fans on Myspace amidst those pain-in-the-ass flashing advertisements all over the place.

6. So the new album was recorded in your hometown of Buffalo. How was it going home?

a. Well, being from Buffalo, you understand what it means to be the underdog. Be it sports like the Bills, politics, the environment or just being from the whole middle-class background. I think the middle class is quickly disappearing, there are the really powerful people with the control like Rupert Murdoch, and then there are the less fortunate. I think the value of a community is not in the money of the place but in the people. That kind of background and mentality gets engrained in us from an early age; it’s a whole way of seeing the world.

7. So I understand that you guys are very active and use fame as a platform for change.

a. Yeah, today we’re going to be playing with Earth, Wind and Fire sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger for breast cancer research. I’m very excited about that. I’ve spent many nights making whoopee to Earth, Wind and Fire. We’ve performed at several rallies for Al Gore, including one in Michigan. Johnny has even met with quite a few senators about issues that are important to us. We toured with Michael Moore in support of some work he was doing. Just go to my site,, and see what a difference anyone can make. I mean, just writing your column and spreading a little good to a few people is making a difference, you know?

8. As a wrap up, is there anything you’d like to say to Villanova students before you head down?

a. Yeah … get As on all your exams, don’t be tardy, all that stuff. But seriously, we’re having a canned food drive for, so bring out some cans for the hungry. That organization has done a lot of good in the past eight years; I think they have prepared something like two million meals across the country. Thanks a lot, and we look forward to playing down there for you guys.

Thanks Robby. Enjoy playing with Earth, Wind and Fire, and we’ll see you April 21.