By MIKE CHAIKEN
Goo Goo Dolls’ latest record “Magnetic” feels as if it’s drawn to the brighter side of the street than the band’s last effort, “Something for the Rest of Us.”
The Buffalo-based band is coming to Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun with Matchbox 20 on Aug. 13.
The band’s bassist Robby Takac said that sense there’s a more positive Goo Goo Dolls out there is well-placed. That was what the band was trying to do when it came time to record “Magnetic.”
“I think we felt like the records over the past few albums took a bit of a dark turn,” said Robby, who contributed two tracks to the album.
“When Johnny (Rzeznik, the band’s lead singer and guitarist) and myself went to begin writing, we thought (the next record) should be a little bit sunnier,” said Robby, calling from the road.
The sunnier point of view wasn’t just a matter of staking out a particular point of view and faking it. Robby said the mood was a clear reflection of the band members’ lives outside of Goo Goo Dolls.
“There were a lot of changes,” said Robby. “John just got married. I just had a baby.”
And once Goo Goo Dolls had time to get off the road from promoting “Something for the Rest of Us,” Robby said the members had a chance to get back to “real life.”
That led to a sense of well-being.
For “Magnetic,” the band members took on some song writing collaborators … their producers Gregg Wattenberg (Train), Rob Cavallo (Green Day), John Shanks (Bon Jovi), and Greg Wells (Katy Perry).
Robby said the process of letting writers outside of Goo Goo Dolls (which also includes drummer Mike Malinin) help write the tracks has been happening for a few years. All but one of the tracks of “Magnetic” was written in a collaboration.
Robby was asked how they were able to maintain something that was Goo Goo Dolls while taking input from outsiders. He said the answer was that the songs started as all Goo Goo Dolls.
For instance, Robby explained, Johnny typically would sit down and begin the genesis of a new track. He would then take it to the band’s producer of the moment, who would add his own twists and turns to what already was Goo Goo Dolls’ ready. Robby’s task, then, was to add his bit when they hit the studio.
Goo Goo Dolls launched in 1986 and first grabbed public attention with the album, “A Boy Named Goo” and its hit track, “Name.”
Along the way, the band, which started as more punk/ modern rock than anything else, has transformed into an act that can be featured on HGTV, as was the case with the band’s first single off of “Magnetic,” “Rebel Beat.”
Despite the evolution of the band’s sound, there is a definite musical strand that ties “A Boy Named Goo” to “Magnetic.”
Asked about what ties the band’s sound together over the years, Robby said, “For me, it’s the thing we’ve been working on (since we started).”
But, he added, “For the average listener… It’s John’s voice that keeps it consistent.”
Despite the differences in nuances such as sound reverb, the transition from recording in analog to digital… “and everything that has happened along the way,” Robby said, Johnny’s voice helps keep everything Goo Goo Dolls in the eyes of the fans.
The band comes to Connecticut this time around with musical peers Matchbox 20. The combo seems like a natural and it seems as if it should have happened already. But, truth be told, it hasn’t.
“It’s been great,” said Robby of the tour with Matchbox 20. “They’re awesome people… We’ve been on tours that aren’t like that and they suck.”
The crowds also have been great, too, he said.
The tour with Matchbox 20 continues through the first week of September, said Robby. After that, the members of Goo Goo Dolls plan to take a few weeks off. Robby said Johnny wants to spend some time with his new wife and have a honeymoon. Robby wants to spend time with his family.
The band will regroup in October and head over to the U.K. for 10 shows, said Robby. After that, they’ll come back to the states for some more touring. Then the band will be playing on a cruise with Matchbox 20 till the end of the year.
After the winter holidays, Robby said, if “Magnetic” is still going strong, Goo Goo Dolls will hit the road again.
Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20 come to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $69 and $49. For more information, go to MoheganSun.com or GooGooDolls.com
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.
By MIKE CHAIKEN