Goo Goo Dolls
their 20th year as a band, the Goo Goo Dolls are riding
an arc that few bands of their vintage could dream of. At
one time considered a poor man’s Replacements, the group
once known as the Sex Maggots (!) have developed into a
heart-on-sleeve pop-rock act, a long way from the raggedy
punk-rockers who sang “Don’t Beat My Ass (With a Baseball
Bat)” on their 1987 debut. And the working-class Buffalo
natives were responsible for one of the most inescapable
ballads of the late ’90s: the behemoth “Iris,” which spent
a record 18 weeks atop the Billboard airplay chart in 1998.
Surely, as one of the most successful bands of the last
decade, they must have some outrageous, even unprintable,
stories about their down time, right?
had a day off,” says bassist-vocalist Robby Takac via telephone
from the Big Apple, “so we came to New York and we all slept
all day.” So much for coke and hookers.
They must need the sleep, now that the Goo machine is back
in high gear. Their just-released eighth album, Let Love
In (not to be confused with the identically titled Nick
Cave album), has already produced a hit on Top 40 radio
(“Stay With You”) and, judging by its ear-friendly sound,
is poised to spawn several more. It’s a very polished, even
release, the product of a few years of hard work—and some
For the preproduction phase of Let Love In, the Goos
chose to ditch Los Angeles in favor of a return to Buffalo
(“a city that’s much, much easier to understand” than L.A.),
where they set up shop in an old Masonic hall. The temporary
relocation allowed them to be surrounded by family and friends—and,
Takac explains, not by unsavory industry types.
decided that being in that atmosphere a lot of people who
had known us for maybe a year or two, who were [only] directly
concerned with the next six weeks of our lives—we just didn’t
feel like that was a great place to be making decisions
based on something that we’re going to be representing for
the rest of our lives.”
Once the songs were all but finished, the Goos returned
to the Botox city, where they teamed with über-producer
Glen Ballard. “We had been working with [producer] Rob Cavallo
for almost 10 years,” he continues, “and we felt like we
wanted to do something different process-wise. . . . [Ballard’s]
whole vibe is very freeing: We’re all here doing something
that’s very important, and if you don’t try everything then
you haven’t tried everything. It was a really advantageous
way of going about things for us.”
The band currently are on a co-headlining concert tour with
perennial draw Counting Crows. It’s “a nice, varied day
of music,” says Takac. “People who aren’t necessarily huge
Goo Goo Dolls fans or vice versa, it’s nice for them to
be able to sit and watch a show full of songs they know.”
In exchange for the familiar sounds, the band, in conjunction
with USA Harvest, will be collecting canned goods for the
hungry. So bring a can of soup to the show; it’ll probably
be the last time SPAC lets you bring your own food through
The Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows will perform at the
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Spa State Park,
Route 9, Saratoga Springs) this Monday (Aug. 7) at 7 PM.
Pavilion tickets are $59.50 and $49.50, lawn tickets are
$20. To purchase tickets, call the SPAC box office at 587-3330.
Philadelphia Orchestra season at SPAC is in full swing;
if you haven’t attended yet, this is a fine week to do so.
The programs are a pleasing mix of styles and composers,
and every night is promising.
Tonight (Thursday), maestro Charles Dutoit will dip into
the French repertory with works by Debussy and Saint-Saëns,
while guest pianist Yefim Bronfman will detour the evening
into Deutschland with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.
Friday is the ever-popular Tchaikovsky night; Saturday,
the fabulous Philadelphians will perform works by Ravel
and SPAC composer-in-residence Bright Sheng. Also, Andre
Watts will be featured on Rachmaninoff’s lush Piano Concerto
Finally, on Wednesday, Yo-Yo Ma (not to be confused with
Tommy Smothers’ Yo-Yo Man) will bring the cello to a program
featuring music from Italy (Rossini), Russia (Shostakovich)
and what used to be called the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Dvorák).
The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform tonight (Thursday,
Aug. 3) through Saturday (Aug. 5), and Wednesday (Aug. 9),
at 7:30 PM at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga
Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs). Tickets for shows on
Aug. 3-5 are $63-$30, $18 lawn; the Aug. 9 show is $73.50-$37,
$23 lawn. For reservations and information, call 587-3330.
Mitchell wouldn’t shut up. While this was bad for her husband
John, and his boss, President Richard M. Nixon, it was quite
wonderful for these United States of America. Oddly, Mitchell’s
role in exposing the Watergate scandal has faded from popular
memory. Jodi Rothe’s new play Martha Mitchell Calling,
which is making its world premiere at Shakespeare &
Company, addresses this historical oversight with wit and
drama: “The play revisits the complex, controversial woman
who blew the whistle, blew up her marriage, helped bring
down a presidency—and paid dearly for her candor.” Annette
Miller (pictured) is Martha Mitchell.
a shared bill with Martha Mitchell Calling is the
Berkshires debut of No Background Music. Normi Noël’s
powerful, wrenching one-woman show draws upon the Vietnam
War experiences of U.S. Army nurse Penny Rock.
Mitchell Calling and No Background Music will
be presented at Shakespeare & Company (Founders Theatre,
70 Kemble St., Lenox, Mass.) through Sept. 2. Tickets are
$54-$15. For show times, call the box office at (413) 637-3353
or visit www.shakespeare.org.