Ushering in 2010 is making for a bit of a rush job for the Goo Goo Dolls, who have spent the past few months recording rather than touring.
“Everyone gets together and you sort of have to put your best game on as quick as you can — and that goes from the guys who load in to the dudes who are actually up there playing and singing,” explains bassist Robby Takac, who co-founded the group with frontman John Rzeznik during the mid-’80s in their native Buffalo, N.Y.
“So everybody’s gotta come in and get their game on again in a hurry. But it usually works out.”
And, in fact, playing New Year’s Eve has becomes something of a tradition, not only for the Goos but also their fans.
“The cool thing for us,” Takac, 45, explains, “is we’ve got this gang of people who have been coming out to see us forever, every New Year. It’s sort of cool to know this gang of people has been making this annual ritual, no matter where we are, and locals join in with it as well.
“You see a lot of familiar faces standing in front there. People come up to you, ‘This is my ninth New Year’s show,’ and we’re like, ‘Oh my God ... ’ To think you’ve spent nine New Years entertaining the same gang of people, maybe 10 years in some cases, is kind of exciting, I think.”
Besides playing, however, Takac himself goes light on New Year’s traditions these days.
“Oh, mine have changed dramatically over the years,” he says with a laugh. “It used to be pop a bottle of just about anything that was in front of me — now, not so much. I just like to make sure that my wife’s within arm’s length around midnight so I can go over and get a quick hug, start off the year right, blow off a couple confetti cannons and off we go ... ”
Takac and the Goos will, in fact, be headed off into a busy 2010. The group — which has racked up sales of more than 9 million albums in the U.S. and scored hits such as “Name,” “Iris” and “Slide” — are in the midst of finishing their ninth studio album, which will be titled “Something For the Rest of Us” and come out in the spring or summer. It’s the follow-up to 2006’s gold-certified “Let Love In” and has been recorded primarily with producer Tim Palmer at Takac’s GCR Audio studio in Buffalo.
“Originally, we were going to put it out in the fall (of 2009), and we decided to put it out in the spring instead,” Takac says, “so we had a little bit of time to listen through. I think it really lead us to be pretty hyper-critical about what’s on the record. There’s a few things we want to tend to, so I think we’re gonna get a great result.”
Touring member Brad Fernquist was also involved in the sessions, which Takac hopes will benefit the live presentation of the new songs. “We pretty much walked in with the band we play with and made a record,” he says, “which I think is gonna show during the live performances.”
Takac describes the album as “the extension of what we’ve been doing for our whole career, the next step.” The group already played two of the songs — a buoyant track called “The Sweetest Lie” and the earnestly melodic “As I Am” — on the “Amway Global Improv Ice” special that aired Christmas Day on NBC.
“We usually don’t go out and start playing stuff until the (songs) are out on the record,” Takac notes, “but the way the world is changing these days ... I think it’s gonna be a pretty cool, organic way of introducing some new music to folks.”
And, he acknowledges, after two multi-platinum and another pair of gold albums, there’s always a certain pressure when the group does bring out something new.
“I think you never really lose that,” says Takac, who expects the Goos to hit the road shortly after “Something For the Rest of Us” comes out. “You hope that when you put it out, someone at a radio station goes, ‘Hey, this is the greatest song I ever heard!’ and it catches on like wildfire and you get to No. 1.
“But so much of that is up to the phases of the moon and the currents and ... so much of it is just out of your hands. I think you’ve just got to step out and go, ‘Hey, man, we made a great record and now it’s time to go out and play it for people and celebrate the new songs ... ,’ and before you know it, you have a successful record behind you. Hopefully that’s where we’re headed.”
The Goo Goo Dolls and Gelheads perform on New Year’s Eve at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino-Hotel, 2901 Grand River Blvd., Detroit. Tickets are $50-85.50. Call (313) 237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.
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