Goo Goo Dolls
Often compared to the Replacements and Cheap Trick, the Goo Goo Dolls' tattered, anthemic beginnings were documented on Metal Blade Records -- home to such other "alt rockers" as D.R.I., GWAR, and Fates Warning. Perennial headbangers, their noisy forays embraced the excesses of Sonic Youth and Oh My Gawd!-era Flaming Lips as much as they harnessed the raw punk energy of the Replacements. The 'Mats references don't really start to make sense until the fourth and fifth albums, when their songwriting developed past three chords-and-some-noise songs to eventually include string sections and over-rehearsed dynamics (see Superstar Car Wash). Their sixth album, A Boy Named Goo, offered the megahit "Name," a song so sweetly infectious and clean it seemed to deny any previous knowledge of metal. Now comfortably marketed to the 'burbs rather than the seedy, beer-soaked parts of town they once ruled, a VH-1 Behind the Music special about the band would probably seem more like an episode of the X-Files than a documentary. The band followed-up their breakthrough album with 1998's Dizzy Up the Girl, scoring the Goo Goo Dolls another round of chart hits with "Slide" and "Iris," a monster power ballad written for the City of Angels soundtrack. A result of the band's over-the-top success was that frontman Johnny Rzeznik ended up spending a great deal of time in Los Angeles; eventually moving there. In 2002, they released the rather glossy Gutterflower marking the first hiccup for the band. Rzeznik, who was having trouble adjusting to living in Los Angeles and fame in general, found himself divorced, uninspired by his new surroundings and with relative commercial bomb on his hands. In July, 2004, the Goo Goo Dolls played a Fourth of July concert for their fans. The free concert was held in the band's hometown of Buffalo, New York, and captured the magic of the band perfectly -- even the unseasonable rain couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that day. Fittingly, the Goos released Live in Buffalo shortly thereafter. The experience restored Rzeznik's spirits and once again, the singer found himself packing his belongings and moving across country. In the transition, the band's label released What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce, a somewhat wishy-washy compilation of remixes and early tracks. Once back in Buffalo, the beleagured singer's creative juices started flowing once again. He and bandmate Robbie Takac rekindled their songwriting partnership, which had fallen by the wayside after SuperstarCarWash was released. The result was 2006's return to form, Let Love In, an inspired effort produced by Glen Ballard.