With mere days to go before the opening date of the band’s co-headlining tour with Train (Friday at the White River Amphitheatre east of Tacoma), Goo Goo Dolls lead singer/guitarist John Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac were in Seattle putting the finishing touches on the stage show and squeezing in a few last-minute rehearsals.
“Making sure everything is solidifying,” Rzeznik said in a phone interview. “We want to make sure it’s right.”
The co-headlining tour brings the Goo Goo Dolls and Train to Northern Quest Resort and Casino on Sunday and takes both bands, plus Chewelah’s Allen Stone, who won’t be at this Northern Quest show, all over the U.S. this summer.
According to Rzeznik, it was only a matter of time before the Goo Goo Dolls and Train toured together.
Over the course of both bands’ careers, they’d appeared at the same festivals and done a show together here and there but never anything official.
“We have friends in common that have always said ‘You guys should tour together. You guys should do some work together,’ ” Rzeznik said. “And then finally everything lined up. (Train lead singer Pat Monahan) was free and we were free so it was time.”
The Goo Goo Dolls announced this summer run of dates near the end of its 2018 fall tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its breakthrough album “Dizzy Up the Girl,” which features hits like “Slide,” “Black Balloon” and “Iris,” the latter of which appeared on the “City of Angels” soundtrack and earned the band three Grammy nominations.
Rzeznik and Takac still (and will likely always) play songs off “Dizzy Up the Girl” live, but Rzeznik found the tour to be a good chance to put the album away for the time being and set his sights on a new Goo Goo Dolls record.
“The second we got done with that tour, I started writing the new album,” he said. “I started working on the new album. Very motivated after that tour to have new material.”
The band released “Boxes,” its 11th studio album, in 2016 followed by the “You Should Be Happy” EP in 2017 and live albums “The Audience Is This Way” and “The Audience Is That Way (The Rest of the Show)” in 2018.
When he began to write the new album, Rzeznik found himself inspired by several themes: connection, confusion, clarity, love, hope.
On the band’s upcoming single, “Miracle Pill,” for example, Rzeznik played with the idea of taking a pill in search of instant gratification.
The song, which will be released in the near future, is about a man who is looking for a shortcut out of his own life instead of putting in the work to change what he doesn’t like.
“We’re always looking for this external cure of who we are and what we are and what we don’t like about ourselves,” he said. “And at a certain point in life, you have to accept certain things and there is no miracle pill …
“Really being happy is an inside job. Nothing in the outside world is ever going to fix me. Whatever falls into place is meant to fall into place and whatever doesn’t fall in place, I have had to learn to accept. I don’t have to like it, but I do have to accept it.”
Rzeznik and Takac recorded the album earlier this year. The two write separately and then come together in the studio, where Rzeznik said the songs they’ve been working on individually go “through the filter of what he and I do together.”
“When it comes out the other side, sometimes it’s surprising how little it resembles what it started as,” he said with a laugh. “Sometimes it’s not such a fun surprise but you keep the good stuff and put the bad stuff in a drawer.”
Rzeznik estimates the new album will be released sometime in September.
In the meantime, he’s looking forward to playing a new song or two during this summer tour with Train, though he does call introducing new music to fans a “dangerous proposition” because he’s never sure how they’re going to react.
He’s pretty sure they’re going to like “Miracle Pill,” but even still, he’s developed a top tip for adding new music to a setlist.
“One of the things I’ve learned is you have to put the new song in between two songs people know very well and that way you get a hit sandwich and put the single right in the middle and then people don’t even realize it,” he said with a laugh.
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