by Ross CAT

by Ross Cat.

GOO GOO DOLLS/ Counting Crows: Saturday, July 22nd Darien Lake, PAC
    BETTER DAYS…..It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since the historic “Live In Buffalo” 4th of July concert put on by Buffalo born rockers The GOO GOO DOLLS. “What a Scene” it was as a torrential downpour flooded the steps of city hall and threatened the performance. Like the city they hail from the band showed the resilience that carried them from the smoky bars of Buffalo to the superstar status they enjoy today. As the rain came crashing down harder that only seemed to inspire both the crowd and the band as they continued to “Slide” across the stage; only to put on a concert that won’t soon be forgotten by all who participated. Thankfully the show went on and was captured on film and by now should be part of everyone’s DVD collection. This wasn’t just another concert event it was a celebration of spirit for a city and their beloved band. While most promoters and bands would have let this one wash away with the rain, everyone involved braved the elements and did their part with great professionalism in spite of the adverse conditions. Weathering the storm and pulling off that show must of made the days of lugging around their own equipment in and out of The Continental seem like a 4th of July picnic.
    Once again the GOO GOO DOLLS have tapped into their hometown to find their muse for their latest release “Let Love In”. The new disc in a sense is a rebirth for the band as they spent last winter reconnecting with each other and their roots and the results are remarkable.  If you haven’t yet; this disc is well worth a “Listen”.
    The GOO GOO DOLLS have been “Burnin Up” the tour circuit this summer and will be making a stop at home this Saturday Night (July 22nd) at the Darien Lake PAC. Opening the show for the GOOS will be the COUNTING CROWS who last month released a live disc titled “New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall 2003”. Also appearing on the side stage will be another Buffalo band on the rise, LAST CONSERVATIVE. They are getting set to release their second album “Pretty New Things” on August 22nd; which was produced by ROBBY TAKAC president of Good Charamel Records ( right here in Buffalo.
    NIGHTLIFE Magazine had the privilege to speak with both JOHN RZEZNIK and ROBBY TAKAC last week as they made their way across the U.S.A. on the “Let Love In” tour.

  R.Cat.- Congratulations on the success of the new record. It really is amazing how the band has evolved over the past twenty years; going from the scrappy Buffalo bar band to topping the Billboard charts and selling out arenas and amphitheaters all over the world.

  ROBBY- Yeah thanks so much. I’ve got to tell you its unbelievably hard for me to take what the last twenty years has been like and put them in to just a sentence or even a paragraph. I struggle with it day after day finding a way to figure out how far we’ve come as a band and as people. Despite critics, despite trends in the music industry, most of all in spite of all the influences that have seemed to slap other bands around; we’ve been able to mature both musically and personally and we’re still here to talk about it. It’s really mind-blowing to me to this day; it’s that mentality that allows us to appreciate our accomplishments and never let complacency creep into the studio.

  R.Cat.- Following the success of filming the “Live in Buffalo” show was it the bond between yourself and the city and the connection with the people here that guided you back home to write “Let Love In”?

  JOHN- You’re right it does seem like the time has gone by so quickly, it’s been a whirlwind in a way. It was nice to come back to Buffalo for that 4th of July show because it really stirred up a lot of memories and emotions for me; it felt like the right thing to be back up here to write the new record.
    I really had a hard time finding inspiration before returning to Buffalo. I was standing on my porch in California and it was 80 degrees in December, I realize that is a dream come true for a lot of people, but for me I was thinking what the hell is this, I’m from the Northeast and this just goes against the laws of nature. At that point I packed up the U-Haul with my equipment and headed home. We set up a make shift studio atop the Century Grille on Pearl Street and began working long arduous hours in the cold of winter, I loved every minute of it. I know I’ve said this on several occasions but our city has a unique aura about it. It’s rich history and culture is often overlooked by outsiders but it is something I’m extremely proud of and embrace. What it really came down to for me when preparing to write for the new album is that fact that here in Buffalo we have no illusions; in contrast Los Angeles is built on illusions.

  R. Cat.- Let me pose the same question to you ROBBY, was coming back here to make this new record a must for you as well, even though it meant battling the brutal winters that Western New York can dish out?

  ROBBY- Yes it really was something we needed to do. You aren’t kidding when you say it was cold. The Century Grille had been vacant for years so needless to say the old boiler system wasn’t quite up to par. We would literally carry our instruments in one hand and a little space heater in the other. In looking back it was worth it, we needed to get out of L.A. it wasn’t just a change of scenery; we needed to get home. We’ve been able to grow and become something new and different from the last record; I don’t know how much more sweeping the difference in our sound can possibly be but I think we achieved it. I do know that within this band we are quite comfortable with our roles and who we are, that can only happen when there is a mutual respect for each other and our ideas.

  R.Cat.- I’m glad ROBBY mentioned the last studio album “Gutterflowers”, personally I thought it was a solid collection of songs, but as a follow up to the insanely successful “Dizzy Up The Girl” it fell short in sales.  Do you think that record got caught up in the “Big Machine” of the music industry?

  JOHN- Really that is exactly what happened. The label basically cleaned house the week that the album was being released, by bringing in total strangers to the project it certainly didn’t help us out on the promotion end of things. It just didn’t happen with that album, but you know that’s O.K. we’ve been down that road before. I’m still extremely proud of the songs, to me 750,000 in sales is by no means a failure or a disappointment. Things have really settled in for the band and “Let Love In” is doing really well, the gigs are going great and we are enjoying our time while we still have it.

  R.Cat.- The new record brought about some changes on how you record, where you record and with whom you work.  Tell us about bringing in renowned music producer GLEN BALLARD for the new disc?

  ROBBY- We had been working with ROB CAVOLLO for years and obviously enjoyedenormous success, I think we just felt it was time to shift gears a little within the band. We thought bringing in another form of creativity to this new collection of songs would be beneficial to the process. The songs had already been in the formidable stages and we wanted to be  both aggressive and progressive with them. We had all the technical end of things in a place we wanted them, we were looking for someone to come in and work outside the box. Unlike previous albums this was a very open process, things began to flow and that was the vibe we were looking for and that is exactly what GLEN brought to the sessions. It really opened things up, JOHN and I are both very passionate about the music and sometimes that has worked against us in the fact that trusting someone else with something you’ve created isn’t always easy. Even before GLEN came aboard we new the songs had reached a certain level and we knew we had a great record. So really it was his studio savvy and experience that gave us the comfort level we needed to allow him to help polish the gem.

  R.Cat.- You’ve been the principal writer for the band for so many years and it seems such an overwhelming responsibility. What was it like for you to work with GLEN? Tell me you didn’t drag the poor guy to Buffalo in the dead of winter?

  JOHN- We made a conscious decision to move in a different direction and work with new people. The artistic formula that we had created with ROB had kind of run its course.  Before we even entered the studio I knew what kind of record it would be and I didn’t want to make that record again. The interesting thing with GLEN is that he is a completely different animal; he makes you feel absolutely fearless, he shuts the outside world out and gives you confidence by making you feel what your doing is going to be important and valuable.

    As far as getting GLEN up here to Buffalo, NO WAY.  We tortured poor Mark Hunt for six months with the Pro Tools equipment.  Really everyone involved did an outstanding job including Otis and Betty at the Century Grille.  It was really amazing living in the Belasario, believe it or not it was the coolest apartment I’ve ever had in my life.
    NIGHTLIFE Magazine would like to thank both JOHN and ROBBY once again for being the outstanding citizens of Buffalo that they’ve always been.  We would also like to thank Angela Burke from Warner Bros. Records for making this interview happen.
    The GOO GOO DOLLS and Counting Crows would also like to remind fans to show some “Sympathy” to those in need and less fortunate by making food donations to the USA HARVEST.  Drop off locations will be outside the Darien Lake PAC entrance so be sure to “Give a Little Bit” before you enter the show.


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