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Goo Goo Dolls aren't taking longevity for granted

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Twenty years ago, the Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik and Robby Takac were in Los Angeles and "really depressed."

They'd released four albums, none of which had charted. They'd just lost their drummer and uprooted from their home town, Buffalo. And they found themselves "sitting on a bench on the corner of Hollywood and Highland, drinking whiskey out of a paper bag," Rzeznik recalls.

"We didn't know what we were going to do about the band or anything -- it was a pretty dark moment," says the singer and guitarist. "So we looked across the street at (Grauman's) Chinese Theater and said, 'Come on, let's go see this movie, 'Dumb and Dumber.' So we snuck the bottle of whiskey into the theater with us and watched the movie and just laughed our asses off for awhile."

Rzeznik and Takac, of course, have had the last laugh since then. The Goos' next album, "A Boy Named Goo," was a double-platinum breakthrough that's been followed by five Top 15 albums -- including last year's "Magnetic" -- and a string of hit singles including "Iris," "Name," "Slide," "Broadway" and "Black Balloon." The Goos have been nominated for four Grammy Awards, won four ASCAP Pop Awards and been inducted into the Guitar Center RockWalk Hall of Fame in Los Angeles last year, while Rzeznik received the Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year.

"I'm just grateful we've been able to pull it off and still be out there making a living," says Rzeznik, 48. "That's what I'm most proud of. When I look back at all the bands we came up with and played with and struggled right alongside with, I'm like, 'Where has everybody gone?' I never thought we were gonna be the guys to last this long."

Rzeznik says life in the Goos' world is as good as it's ever been these days. he and bassist Takac "have gotten a lot closer" while his own life is on a happy track after marrying last year for a second time -- a state of mind he feels was reflected in "Magnetic."

"I feel like this album is more about second chances," Rzeznik explains. "All my friends have been married and divorced, which is unfortunate. So the album is about not being a young person anymore but not being old, either -- being in your 50s and looking for your second chance and trying to be optimistic about it.

"We were a bunch of punk kids when we started (the band), and as life goes on I've started to realize my priorities have shifted and I'm not invincible anymore. I'm more focused on family and friends and having a sense of community more than in the past, and I think that kind of fed into the lyrics on ('Magnetic')."

Rzeznik isn't standing pat with those feelings, either. He's already writing new songs and working again with "Magnetic" collaborators such as John Shanks and Greg Wattenberg. And Rzeznik expects to work in earnest on those not too long after The Goos wrap up their summer tour with Daughtry at the end of August.

"I have this strange then when I come off tour," he says. "I get off the bus, I get in a car and go home, I drag my suitcase up the stairs and then I shut the door of my house and I instantly start to have an anxiety attack and go, 'Omigod, I'm unemployed!' I think that's growing up in Buffalo and my old man telling me all the time, 'If you're not working you're spending.'

"So I instantly have to start a project, like fixing up my house, or start writing. That's just the way it is for me."

Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry and Plain White T's

7 p.m. Tuesday, July 2

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township

Tickets are $29.50-$59.50 pavilion, $25 lawn with a $75 four-pack

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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