Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hall & Goo

The first time I heard the Goo Goo Dolls was in 1990, I think.

A friend suggested I see them live at CBGBs, describing them as "The Replacements from Buffalo." He wasn't wrong. They were loud and fast and hard, and underneath it all were enough hooks to snag a flounder. Two records, "Hold Me Up" and "Superstar Car Wash" became minor obsessions for about 2-3 years. 

Then suddenly, they tasted the big time with the big, sweeping ballad "Iris," from some Meg Ryan movie. Great tune. I was proud of the boys...except that, the next four albums became less of what they were, and mostly just rewrites of "Iris." They even covered Supertramp! (It's actually a very good cover, if you like the song, but that's not the point.)

Listen to it:

I can't blame leader John Rzeznik. He has the chops and the Bon Jovi thing happening with his looks, so why not use them. There has to be more money headlining summer concerts with Michelle Branch than playing 3 minute punk blasts in dive bars. Plus, you get to appear on "Live From Daryl's House," with Daryl Hall.

I say, why not?

Here are tracks from the aforementioned albums I loved for the first half of the 90s. I think they still sound pretty good.



And check out the performance of "Iris" from "Daryl's House." As big, sweeping, Meg Ryan movie ballads go, I think this is quite fantastic. (The whole show is worth watching, as are most episodes of LFDH.)


Gene Oberto said...

Well, shut my mouth! What a lesson in how the "muzik biz" can get it all wrong.

After being subjected to endless loops of "Iris" back in the day and trying to make John into the next Jon and allowing me to think the guy is a fame seeking twinkie with no filling, this segment shows that Rzeznik is not only a nice guy, but somebody you would want to call a buddy.

How about that little bon mot that Darryl doesn't warm up? What a gift.

Sal Nunziato said...

Yeah Geno. There was something really exciting about that band, that seemed to disappear into the mainstream.

Again, my hats off to Daryl Hall, though I wonder if he knows the early, almost hardcore records.

Anonymous said...

Daryl does no wrong.

Except for the beard.

A walk in the woods said...

Nice post LFDH - love it. And dang it, I DO like the Goos cover of "Give A Little Bit." c'mon! But, I don't love their cover of Prince's "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," and I wish I did, b/c usually I love Prince covers.

Sal Nunziato said...

The Prince cober, like the cover of "Bitch" by the Stones, doesn't work because of Lance Diamond's vocals. Shoulda been John.

cmealha said...

My perception of the Goo Goo Dols was based on Irirs and all the subsequent dirges that got any kind of airplay. That is to say, it wasn't good. Just the Way You Are and Cuz Your Mine showed me a totally different side of them. Cuz You Mine reminds me of the Babys. So I'm looking forward to LFDH with a little less trepidation.

steve simels said...

I'm still holding out for Daryl and Joyce Carol Oates.

WHT said...

I thought they reminded me of the Replacements too, but then again I thought Smells Like Teen Spirit was a replacements song when it first came out.

The interesting dialog was the music techie discussion on open tunings during the LFDH episode. Now I hear the Husker Du influence on those GooGoo songs.

The other deal was the bit on imperfections. The old records had all these imperfections and so do the LFDH episodes, this time Daryl walking over the beginning of John's turn at a verse.

stivseed said...

Once again, you echo my sentiments. I saw them at the Paradise in Boston during Superstar Car Wash, and had first heard them on Hold Me Up. Unfortunately, now they seem to prefer Starbucks Purgatory to rocking out. Sad

Aaron said...

Couldn't agree more. Jed, Hold Me Up and Superstar Carwash demonstrate (in my opinion) a pretty amazing musical trajectory through really good punk to really good pop. What happened next was, well... too bad. Still wish them all the best even if I won't buy their best of.