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 (www.goodcharamel.com)
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
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
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
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.