Ask bassist Robbie Takac how things are going for his band, the Goo Goo Dolls, and you can almost hear his smile across the telephone line. "It's almost like a dream-come-true," he says, over the phone from a tour stop in Lansing, Mich. "I mean, our biggest problem with getting songs on the radio right now is we have too many songs on the radio -- which is not a bad position for yourself to be in, really."
Since releasing "Dizzy Up the Girl" in 1998, the Goo Goo Dolls have had two No. 1 singles -- "Iris," which also appeared on the soundtrack to "City of Angels," and "Slide" -- and have been on the charts almost constantly. "Black Balloon," the group's current single, has been in the Top-20 for several weeks.
Although the Goo Goo Dolls have been touring and recording since the mid-'80s, most music fans were unaware of the band before "Name," the big hit off their 1995 album, "A Boy Named Goo." Still, Takac doesn't seem surprised by the band's sudden rise to the top. "I was actually surprised that all the other albums didn't [do that]," he says, deadpan. "No, I'm just kidding," he adds, laughing.
In truth, Takac is grateful that his band is finally doing so well. He and the other Goo Goo Dolls have used their success to help others, by having USA Harvest volunteers on hand at all the band's concerts to collect canned goods for the needy. "We just ask that people bring something to the concert," he says. "Any kind of canned good is fine."
At the moment, the Goo Goo Dolls are on a tour sponsored by MP3.com, the online firm that uses audio compression files to distribute music recordings online.
Takac admits that he's not much of a computer person himself. "We have laptops and stuff, but I really don't do much of that," he says. "I actually just got a WinAmp player [for playing MP3 files] just recently, but haven't used it. To be honest with you, I don't have the time to sort through 50,000 songs and find nine good ones."
Still, he likes the idea of digital music distribution, particularly since it will likely shift the balance of power between musicians and record companies. "The music industry is really getting worried about these downloadable audio compression files," he says. "It's really putting the record companies in an odd position. Like all of a sudden they're distributing singles online for no money. "You know, rock bands are used to getting ripped off, but record labels aren't," he adds. "I think that the artists will probably get a fair shake on this whole online thing. Which is good. I mean, we don't make any more from selling music on a CD. The record companies do."
Goo Goo Dolls
When: Oct 22, 8 p.m.
Where: Towson Center, Towson University
Tickets: $25, $20 with valid Towson University ID
Call: 410-830-2244 for information, 410-481-7328 for tickets