The forthcoming Walt Disney animated feature "Treasure Planet" boasts two songs written and performed by the Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik. After nearly two decades as the leader of the Buffalo, N.Y.-ba

The forthcoming Walt Disney animated feature "Treasure Planet" boasts two songs written and performed by the Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik. After nearly two decades as the leader of the Buffalo, N.Y.-based band, the project marks the singer/guitarist/songwriter's first solo efforts.

"I saw the film when it was pretty much just sketches with dialogue," Rzeznik tells Billboard.com of writing "I'm Still Here (Jim's Theme)," which is heard during a turning point for the film's main character. "I went home and I wrote it and, you know, it's Disney, I figured that they would say, 'Well, nice try guy, but we're going to go with something a little more kid-friendly,' or something. But, lo and behold, it all worked out, which was amazing to me."

An intergalactic twist on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "Treasure Island," the film tells the story of rebellious teen Jim Hawkins, who stumbles on a map leading to the loot of a thousand worlds. Featuring the voices of Brian Murray, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, David Hyde-Pierce, and Martin Short, "Treasure Planet" opens Nov. 27 in traditional U.S. movie theaters and large format IMAX theaters.

"I think there's a lot of teenagers that are going to be able to relate to Jim," Rzeznik says. "He's a pretty modern kind of character, because his father bailed on the family when he was a little kid, so he's being raised by a single mother. And he's resentful towards his father and he displays that resentment by going out and causing trouble and gets brought home by the cops, and then he runs away on this big adventure to become a man.

"I think that's why it was so easy to write it," he adds. "There was so much in his character that I could relate to."

"I'm Still Here" will be heard during the course of the story, while Rzeznik's "Always Know Where You Are" plays over the closing credits of "Treasure Planet." But the Walt Disney Records soundtrack, due Tuesday (Nov. 19), will feature a version of the latter performed by vocal group BBMak, which records for the Disney-owned Hollywood label.

"I wrote that right at the end of when we were finishing [the Goo Goo Dolls' latest album,] 'Gutterflower,'" Rzeznik says of "Always." "We had to deal with some politics with Warner Bros. They let me write it, obviously, but then they ... wouldn't let me, personally, have another song on the soundtrack, so Hollywood got BBMak to sing it."

Although a little frustrating, the singer didn't let that get in the way of the project. "I wanted to make sure I got it into the movie, because I thought that it fit really well, and all the guys at Disney, they were like, 'This song totally works for the end of the movie,'" he says. "I do it in the movie, but not on the soundtrack. It's not a big deal."

Rzeznik currently has no plans to work on a solo album, and is quick to dispel any notion of splitting the Goo Goo Dolls. "Even if I did [record a solo album], I wouldn't be bustin' up my band," he says. "I might take a break from it for a little while and do my own thing, but [that's all]. I've been with somebody for 17 years. I want to go out and stretch my legs a little bit before I come back in. I want to start writing with other people. I've got offers to write for a bunch of people and write with them and stuff, so I'm gonna check that out.

"I'm a songwriter," he continues, "and any songwriter that's ever had a real career has had to grow and change and evolve. Because if you do music for anything other than the fact that you want to, you're gonna pump out crap... [and] I think that's unfair to your fans."

The Goo Goo Dolls are in the midst of a U.S. tour in support of "Gutterflower." Released in April, the band's eighth studio album debuted at No. 4 and has sold 495,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. While those numbers aren't bad, it's nowhere near the 3.7 million copies sold of 1998's "Dizzy Up the Girl," which featured the hit "Iris," or its predecessor, 1995's "A Boy Named Goo," which moved 1.6 million, propelled by the single "Name."

"It's sort of a lull. We're definitely not as hot as we were on the last record," Rzeznik admits. "I think it's so different to have a career, nowadays, 'cause it just seems like the world is obsessed with these novelty songs.

"But that's why I always worked on being a writer more than a rock star," he adds. "That's a pretty transient, temporary job. But I can always write. That's what I want to do.

After touring theaters through the end of the year, the Goos will hook up with Bon Jovi in February to open the band's U.S. arena tour, which Rzeznik says will be a great opportunity for them. "They're huge, man. I definitely think that their audience can relate to us, so that's why we really want to get out in front of them."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print