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Nov 16, 2016

Goo Goo Dolls continue musical evolution

Greenville News

Donna Isbell Walker , [email protected]:30 p.m. EST November 15, 2016

The Goo Goo Dolls had a monster hit in 1998 with the ballad “Iris.” A megahit like that can catapult a band into a new level of stardom, but it can also loom over whatever the band tries to do for the rest of its career.

For the Goo Goo Dolls, and particularly singer John Rzeznik, who wrote “Iris,” the song can be both a “blessing and a curse,” says bassist Robby Takac.

“You have a big song. That’s a blessing. The curse is, people are expecting you to do that again,” Takac said in a recent phone interview. “We’ve had 14 songs in the top 10, but none of them was as big as ‘Iris.’ And most people will never have a song as big as ‘Iris.’ So it’s a crazy shadow to have to jump in and out of, but I think it really set the stage for us to go out and do the rest of what we do for a living.”

The Goo Goo Dolls, who play the Peace Center Nov. 23, have been together for 30 years, and over the decades, the band’s sound has evolved from hard-edged punk to a more accessible alt-rock flavor.

The band’s latest album is “Boxes,” and the disc represents the next step in the musical evolution begun by the Goo Goo Dolls’ 2013 album “Magnetic.”

“You always try to move yourself forward a little bit from the last thing you did,” Takac said.

But until “Magnetic,” the band rarely went into the studio with a final product in mind. Instead, he said, “we’d always half-written 15 songs, and go in and try to finish them, and sometimes that would take six months and nearly drive us crazy. So with ‘Magnetic’ … we went in and worked with some producers and kind of worked on songs one at a time, instead of going in and sitting underneath this huge pile of songs.”

The process worked so well that the band repeated it for “Boxes,” an album that has drawn comparisons to artists as diverse as U2 and Twenty One Pilots.

When the band comes to the Peace Center, fans will hear a few songs from the new album, but classic Goo Goo Dolls material, the songs that shaped the band’s career, will form the backbone of the show.

And while Takac can’t choose a favorite Goo Goo Dolls song – “I love them all equally, as if they were my children” – he says that when it comes to playing the songs live, it’s hard to beat the band’s 1998 hit “Slide.”

“’Slide’ is always good because we sort of use it as a retro boost. Like, it’s the third song usually in the set, second or third song, and the crowd’s all excited, and it’s like nitro in the gasoline.”

YOU CAN GO

Who: Goo Goo Dolls with Safety Suit

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23

Where: Peace Center

How much: $45-$65

For more: www.peacecenter.org