The Goo Goo Dolls are heading out on another summer tour this year, the Long Way Home tour (with Phillip Phillips) kicking off in July. But despite being 30 years and countless tours into their career, frontman Johnny Rzeznik suggests that this summer is going to be bigger and better than ever before.
“I think the shows are going to be longer,” he tells Billboard. “Obviously we’re going to play all the hits, but we’re going to go a lot deeper in the catalog.”
While they will be playing some of the classics, part of their set list will likely consist of the four new songs the rock band just released on Friday (May 12). Titled You Should Be Happy — a title with no true relevance; Rzeznik insists it just popped into his head — the EP features four new songs (along with a remix of their song “Boxes”) that “goes back to the old Goo Goo Dolls,” he says.
To promote the tour, Rzeznik recorded a video of his set list-building process, which parodies his band’s most famous hit “Iris.” The song essentially follows Rzeznik everywhere he goes, a concept that he felt was a bit too sappy and serious at first. “I was like, ‘I’m full-on ready to get the piss taken out of me… If we’re going to do it let’s go all the way.'”
Although the video makes it clear that “Iris” has the tendency to be a bit overexposed, Rzeznik insists there has never been a night where he wasn’t looking forward to playing it for fans.
“When the mandolin comes into the top, it’s like people recognize the song and there’s this rush of energy. It’s as new as the first day I played it,” he says. “It’s pretty gratifying to have a song that big and made such a big impact and have a life for so long. I just always find myself always grateful that song came into my life… It’s one of those things like getting hit by lightning: It doesn’t happen very often. When people tell me their stories about their connection to that song, sometimes it’s really moving. I’m overwhelmed, because I’m a guy from Buffalo who was in a garage band.”
It’s that kind of fan reaction and energy that keeps Rzeznik and longtime bandmate Robby Takac wanting to get back out on the road. “You get four, five, sometimes 10,000 people in the same place all there for the same thing — it’s intense, that kind of human contact. A lot of that is missing now. A live show is something that can never ever be duplicated on a computer.”
Another thing that pushes Rzeznik personally is the fact that he gets panicky about not working.
“As soon as we finish a tour, I think, ‘Oh my god, I’m unemployed.’ I swear to God, every time I’m not touring, I hear my father yelling, ‘You’re unemployed if you’re not working every day,'” he laughs.
In other family matters, he’ll have a little sidekick on the road this time around: His 4-month-old daughter, Liliana. “I bought her pink headphones already,” he says, adding with a laugh, “maybe there will be some bedazzling with my wife before the tour.”
With new music, a new tourmate and the same enthusiasm they’ve always had, the Goo Goo Dolls are ready for three months of doing what they love most. And for Rzeznik, that’s all he could really ask for how to spend a summer.
“I’m just happy to be in front of people again. Having another summer and spend every night outside,” he says. “We made a lot of friends on the way and it’s nice to get to see them once in a while.”
Check out the Goo Goo Dolls’ new EP and tour dates below.
Long Way Home Tour dates
July 14 — Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
July 15 — Las Vegas, NV @ Downtown Las Vegas Events Center
July 16 — Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
July 18 — Greenwood Village, CO @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater
July 20 — South Fargo, ND @ Scheels Arena
July 21 — Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Hotel & Casino – Stir Cove
July 24 — Chicago, IL @ Huntington Bank
July 25 — Indianapolis, IN @ Indianapolis Farm Bureau
July 27 — Peoria, IL @ Peoria Riverfront
July 28 — Appleton, WI @ Fox Cities Stadium
July 29 — Plymouth, MN @ Hilde Performance Center
July 31 — Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater
Aug 2 — Huber Heights, OH @ Rose Music Center at The Heights
Aug 3 — Rochester Hills, MI @ Meadowbrook
Aug 5 — Cleveland, OH @ Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
Aug 6 — Philadelphia, PA @ Festival Pier
Aug 8 — Vienna, VA @ Wolf Trap
Aug 9 — Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
Aug 11 — Syracuse, NY @ Lakeview Amphitheater
Aug 12 — Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Aug 13 — Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Aug 15 — Boston, MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Aug 16 — Portland, ME @ Maine State Pier
Aug 18 — Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
Aug 19 — Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Aug 20 — Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Aug 22 — Baltimore, MD @ Pier Six Pavilion
Aug 23 — Raleigh, NC @ Red Hat Amphitheater
Aug 25 — Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
Aug 26 — Asheville, NC @ Biltmore Estate – South Terrace Stage
Aug 27 — Charlotte, NC @ Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
Aug 30 — Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
Sept 1 — Miami, FL @ Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park
Sept 2 — Jacksonville, FL @ Daily’s Place
Sept 4 — Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Sept 7 — Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sept 10 — Albuquerque, NM @ Sandia Resort Casino
Sept 12 — San Diego, CA @ Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
Sept 13 — Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre