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The Goo Goo Dolls are an alternative rock/pop band that have been around since 1986. The band began as The Sex Maggots, formed by John Rzeznik, Robby Takac, and George Tutuska; they changed to the Goo Goo Dolls after being banned from playing in a club because their name was too 'obscene'. Tutuska was replaced by Mike Malinin in 1994, just before the band released their fifth album, A Boy Named Goo, and the success of their single Name pulled them into the public eye.
The band would have probably have been a One-Hit Wonder if not for the 1998 movie City of Angels; Rzeznik was asked to write a song for the movie and thus was born Iris, one of the most played songs of the nineties. Placed on their sixth album, Dizzy Up the Girl, alongside other popular singles such as Slide, Broadway, and Black Balloon, the band enjoyed quite a bit of fame into the early 2000s.
The band continues to play and release albums, but their popularity has decreased quite a bit since the late 90s. Their singles are somewhat successful and they have a contingent of loyal fans. Their sound has changed from punk and music similar to bands such as the Replacements in the late 80s and early 90s to focus more on the power ballads and more pop-friendly rock that made them successful in the 90s.
The band's current line-up, not including musicians hired for touring:
- John Rzeznik: guitar, vocals
- Robby Takac: bass, vocals
- Mike Malinin: drums
The band has released eight studio albums, one live album, three compilation albums, and will have a ninth album, Something for the Rest of Us, released in August.
The band provides examples of:
- All Drummers Are Animals: Averted by Mike. He's easily the quietest in the band, and he's also the best educated musically of the trio.
- Ascended Fanboy: Mike Malinin was a fan of the band before becoming their drummer.
- Audience Participation Song: John will usually have the crowd sing most of Iris's chorus during concerts.
- Black Sheep Hit: Name was quite different from the band's normal sound when it became a hit. Hell, Robby still sang on half the CD Name is on!
- Calling the Old Man Out: Broadway's second verse is this for Johnny.
- Concept Video: Every music video except for Stay With You is this.
- Creator Breakdown: Gutterflower, the album following Dizzy Up The Girl, was written and recorded after years of touring and fame breaking the band down physically and John's divorce from his ex-wife; while his songs have always been darker and moodier than Robby's, they became much more so on Gutterflower, and the album is a fan favorite.
- Flanderization: The band has always put at least one acoustic song or power ballad by Johnny on each album, but until A Boy Named Goo, most songs were harder and sung/screamed by Robby. After Name's success, the band began to add more of John's songs and take away Robby's - on their last studio release, Let Love In, Robby only had two songs. The band has also gone from harder rock to more acoustic, slower and more ballad-style songs over the years.
- Intentionally Awkward Title: Try explaining to high schoolers that Naked is about being emotionally open, not about girls or sex, before they've actually heard the song. And of course, we already mentioned the problem with band's original name.
- Lighter and Softer: Let Love In is much more upbeat than the usual fare. Most fans dislike it partially because the tone is more happy than usual.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Supposedly how the band ended up with their current moniker; after being told to find a new name or they wouldn't be able to play at a club, they scrambled... and saw an old magazine with an ad for the titular doll on the back.
- Lyrical Dissonance: One of their most upbeat sounding songs, Slide, is basically a teenage boy trying to get his girlfriend to come back home and not having an abortion after getting her pregnant.
- Broadway sounds peppy but is half about getting older and just waiting to die because there's nothing left for the singer and half John being pissed off about his father.
- The Pete Best: George Tutuska.
- Punny Name: The name of the album A Boy Named Goo is based on Johnny Cash's A Boy Named Sue.
- Signature Song: If you don't recognize Iris, you were probably hiding under a rock in the late 90s. Also Name, Slide, and arguably Give a Little Bit.