Top 10 Fascinating Facts about Goo Goo Dolls
Without a shadow of doubt, Goo Goo Dolls is one of my all favourite bands in the world. I mean, have you heard the song, ‘Iris?’ How can you not fall in love with them right? The guitar arrangements in their songs, the vocals, the drums, the bass, everything is just pure bliss when you listen to Goo Goo Dolls.
They are an American rock band that was formed in 1986 in Buffalo, New York, by guitarist and vocalist John Rzeznik, bassist and vocalist Robby Takac, drummer George Tutuska (1986-1998) and Mike Malinin (1998-present).
1. Got their name from a true detective magazine after their original one was rejected by a promoter
Their original name was The Sex Maggots. They changed it when a promoter refused to book them until they got rid of it.
They got the name “Goo Goo Dolls” from an ad in True Detective magazine. Of the band’s name, Johnny Rezenik said, “We had a gig that night and needed a name. It’s the best we came up with, and for some reason, it stuck. If I had five more minutes, I definitely would have picked a better name.”
2. Their songs are quite popular
Goo Goo Dolls songs show up all over the media, including the movies Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, City of Angels, Son in Law, Transformers and Tommy Boy, as well as a promotional video for their hometown NHL team Buffalo Sabres, the television show Jericho, and promos for the 2008 Olympics.
3. They were originally signed by Metal Blade Records
Goo Goo Dolls were originally singed to Metal Blade records and hold the distinction of being the first band in that label’s history to achieve double platinum status.
This success, however, would prove to be bittersweet. The band soon found themselves in the middle of legal battles with the label and eventually settled. Soon after, Goo Goo Dolls were signed to Warner Brothers. Blessing in disguise maybe?
4. The song Iris was the breakthrough for Goo Goo Dolls
Singer and guitarist, Johnny Rezenik penned the song “Iris” for the Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan romance, City of Angles.
The song would spend 18 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earn the band three Grammy Nominations.
According to Rezenik, prior to writing this iconic song, he was suffering from serious writer’s block and considered leaving the band. “Iris” however changed all of that for him.
This song continued the band’s fame, as it managed to stay on top of the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay charts for a record-breaking 18 weeks and spent 4 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart.
Moreover, Iris held the record for the most weeks on the radio for almost 22 years before The Weeknd released “Blinding Lights” and broke the long-standing record on August 22, 2020.
Shortly after Iris was released in 1998, it was nominated for three Grammys. That is how big of a success Iris really was.
5. Started out by playing covers
The band started out playing covers, but went on to develop a punk sound. The Goo Goo Dolls started out covering songs by artists as diverse as Prince, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Plimsouls, adding their own twist of homespun humour.
With Takac as their lead singer, the band released their first album, Goo Goo Dolls, in 1987 on Mercenary Records, but was picked up in 1988 by Celluloid Records, a larger record company.
They played around Buffalo’s underground music circuit and across the country opening for punk bands such as Gang Green, SNFU, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion, and Motörhead among others. The band released its second album, Jed, in 1989.
6. Their greatest hit albums were between 2007-2008
On November 13, 2007, the Goo Goo Dolls released a greatest hits album entitled Greatest Hits Volume One: The Singles, which includes a new version of “Name” recorded and mixed by Paul David Hager, and a remix of “Feel the Silence” by Michael Brauer.
The band performed “Better Days” and “Stay With You” at the halftime of the Detroit Lions’ 2007 Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field, which focused on the United Way and the NFL’s commitment to youth health and fitness.
7. The lead singer and vocalist of Goo Goo Dolls started out on his own at only the age of 15
As a teenager, he decided he wanted to become a plumber. His father died of complications from alcoholism when Rzeznik was 15. His mother died six months later.
Rzeznik, lead singer of Goo Goo Dolls told Billboard’s Timothy White, “My mom was gone six months later ’cause she was so lonely. If it hadn’t been for my sisters, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Rzeznik worked as an assistant plumber for one day before quitting to enrol in Buffalo State University. At the time he was playing in a band called the Beaumonts, a hardcore punk outfit.
Rzeznik’s cousin played in a heavy metal band of which Takac was a member. The two met through this connection and became fast friends and, not long after, musical collaborators.
8. Goo Goo Dolls are working towards releasing another album this year
In a June 2021 interview published on YouTube, John Rzeznik revealed that the band was working on their 14th studio album, which would be released sometime this year.
When asked about how the album differs from the band’s previous work, Rzeznik claimed that the band had decided to approach both writing and recording in an alternative way.
Specifically, the band used earlier forms of production which they utilized prior to the digital era in the music industry.
9. Their musical influence is from pretty great icons in the music industry
Early musical influences for the band include the Sex Pistols, the Damned, Devo, the Plasmatics and other punk rock pioneers of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Rzeznik told Huh’s Kendall, “The first wave of punk stuff that came from England just blew me away when I heard it…. The Damned and the Buzzcocks, all that was amazing. Then there was the East Coast American stuff … the Ramones and the Dead Boys. And some of the West Coast stuff … Fear and the Dickies and those bands were great.”
10. Their beginning wasn’t quite a smooth one
The band had to rent performance spaces in order to play. Matt Ashare of the Boston Phoenix described their early original material as “loud, raucous songs that combined Ramones-style buzz-saw guitars with Cheap Trick hooks and a lot of rock-and-roll heart.”