The Goo Goo Dolls’ Robby Takac keeps it simple: You bring food to his show, he gives you a back stage pass.
No speed dialing radio jocks or paying $100 a pop for a VIP ticket. The Goo Goo Dolls, who are performing Wednesday at the Shrine Auditorium, are simply collecting food for the Billings Food Bank. And to reward the most generous of fans, the band is offering a back stage pass to the person who brings the most nonperishable food.
“We usually bring in thousands of cans of food,” Takac said. “It’s the way of the future. You need a great street team to take care of this. Our fans have been very generous.”
Takac spoke by phone with The Billings Gazette from a recent tour stop in Memphis, where they were playing the Beale Street Music Festival with Widespread Panic, Alice in Chains, and the B-52s. Bret Michaels was scheduled to perform but had to cancel because of medical issues. Still, it was a fine gathering of musicians, and Takac said he planned to take it all in, from the “celebration of charred meat” to Widespread Panic’s set.
“I’ve been living in a bubble for so long, I will probably listen to a little talk radio, go out and play our set, and stop by and listen to a few other performances. It’s funny, though, sometimes I feel like I make my own rock music so that’s the music I like.”
The Goos are playing songs this tour off the not-yet-released LP “Something for the Rest of Us.” The band delayed its release and went back into the studio in January to rework some of the material. It’s set to come out later this year, halfway through the tour, but that’s OK, Takac said.
“This is an interesting time for us,” he said. “We’re out doing the show, some nights playing five or six songs from the new record. We’ve never been out playing songs for people that they’re not familiar with. But watching how the music industry has changed over the last 20 years, I find that it’s less and less crucial to have that release out there. With YouTube and social networking, and the fact that everybody has a movie camera on the end of their arm these days, we have rooms of people singing songs that haven’t come out yet. This is the first time I’ve noticed the Internet having a positive effect on the music industry.”
Even though their hottest streak was a decade ago when “Iris” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1999 and the Goos were nominated for Best Rock Performance by a Group, they continue pumping out best-selling albums and singles. The 2006 “Let Love In” included Top 10 radio hits “Better Days,” “Stay With You,” and “Give a Little Bit.” In 2007, their single “Before It’s Too Late” was used in the “Transformers” film, generating a whole new fan base.
“Every day is not perfect, every relationship is full of sunny days and not quite sunny days. I try to look around and understand how lucky I am. There are people who enjoy what we do and have stuck with us for decades. And we’ve been lucky to attach ourselves to some current projects. So it doesn’t feel like we’re running out there playing only songs we made 15 years ago.”