Rzeznik performing on September 2, 2013, in Norfolk, Nebraska
|Birth name||John Joseph Theodore Rzeznik|
|Also known as||Johnny Rzeznik|
|Born||December 5, 1965|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
John Joseph Theodore Rzeznik (//; born December 5, 1965) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, and producer. He is best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band the Goo Goo Dolls, of which he is a founding member and with whom he has recorded eleven studio albums.
Early and personal life
Rzeznik was born in Buffalo, New York, the youngest and only son of five children of Edith (née Pomeroy) and Joe Rzeznik, a bar proprietor and postal clerk. Both of Rzeznik's parents were musicians, playing the clarinet and flute. Rzeznik had a strict Catholic upbringing in Buffalo's working-class East Side Polish neighborhood and attended Corpus Christi Grammar School. All four of Rzeznik's grandparents were born in Poland; the original pronunciation of his last name is Rzeźnik [ˈʐɛʑɲik], Polish for "butcher".
Rzeznik's father died on February 2, 1981, from a diabetic coma at the age of 55, when Rzeznik was 15 years old. On October 26, 1982, his mother died from a sudden heart attack in the family's living room at the age of 53. Having lost both of his parents, he was brought up by his four older sisters, Phyllis, Fran, Gladys and Kate, with help from their cousin John Guljas. He paid for his own apartment using Social Security Survivor Benefit checks. It was during this period and while attending McKinley Vocational High School that Rzeznik began playing the guitar. Rzeznik briefly attended Buffalo State College, dropping out after his first year.
Rzeznik met former model Laurie Farinacci in 1990, married her in 1993 but got a divorce in 2003; they did not have any children. He started dating Melina Gallo in 2005 and married her in Malibu, California, on July 26, 2013. On December 22, 2016, he and Gallo had their first child, a daughter, Liliana.
Goo Goo Dolls
In 1985, he formed the band that became the Goo Goo Dolls with Robby Takac. Previously Rzeznik had been in a band with Takac's cousin, called The Beaumonts. It is thought the band was originally called The Sex Maggots, however Rzeznik admitted this was a joke on stage one night, and he was "never actually in a band called The Sex Maggots". They got the name Goo Goo Dolls from an ad in a True Detective magazine when a concert promoter asked them.
In the early days of The Goo Goo Dolls, the band performed at gigs relentlessly, with Takac as the frontman (Rzeznik gradually becoming the frontman over the next few albums, as each new album contained more songs sung by Rzeznik than the last). They were soon picked up by a small record label, Celluloid. Under Celluloid they released their first eponymous album on a $750 budget (later the re-prints would be referred to as "First Release"). This attracted the attention of a larger record label, Metal Blade, who released their next few albums. For the next few years the band toured, produced albums and held down regular jobs.
Following the album Gutterflower, Rzeznik wrote "Always Know Where You Are" and "I'm Still Here" for the Disney film Treasure Planet, which were also released as a single independently from the band.
On April 18, 2015, he participated in the Toyota Celebrity/Pro Race where he finished 12th to actor and former two-time winner of the event Alfonso Ribeiro for which he donated $5,000 to charity.
Most of the music Rzeznik listened to while growing up was influenced by his sisters, and consisted of classic rock such as The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. The youngest of his four older sisters moved towards punk music and Rzeznik became interested in bands such as the Ramones and The Clash. Rzeznik attributes his gift for melody to listening to bands such as Kiss, Cheap Trick, The Cure and Rush in the early 1980s. Rzeznik also cites Paul Westerberg as an "obvious influence" on his music. Westerberg co-wrote the 1993 Goo Goo Dolls song "We Are the Normal" with Rzeznik, who reflected on the experience by stating "To some people, Keith Richards is their hero. I feel that way about Westerberg. Keith Richards got to do his thing with Chuck Berry, and I got to do it with Westerberg. That was amazing to me."
Rzeznik is well known for his distinctive and unusual guitar tunings. Many of his newer songs, particularly the more acoustic-oriented ones, are performed with his guitars tuned to an open chord with several of the strings tuned to the same note but in different octaves. This gives the guitar a shimmery, jangly sound almost like a 12-string guitar. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the B-D-D-D-D-D tuning of his signature hit "Iris", but other examples include "Name," "Black Balloon," "Think About Me," and "Here Is Gone." Conversely, on earlier albums such as Superstar Car Wash and A Boy Named Goo, Rzeznik often used a conventional tuning.
Rzeznik believes writing is not just an inspirational act but that writing music is "ninety nine percent perspiration." He says that when writing a song, he often "runs tape and screws around with stuff," and his songs are often both biographical and autobiographical. According to Rzeznik, before penning down the song "Iris", he was on the verge of leaving the band because he had been writing songs for the past nine years and it had been a low. However, Rzeznik was approached for writing the soundtrack of the movie City of Angels, and after watching the movie, Rzeznik penned down the song, which changed the band's career.
At the 2004 Fashion Rocks! concert in New York, Rzeznik performed a duet version of the song Iris with Canadian pop-punk singer Avril Lavigne. The Goo Goo Dolls also performed the song "Name" at a live concert with LeAnn Rimes. Rzeznik also performed Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" with Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit for the victims of September 11 as a tribute to the heroes.
On July 4, 2004, Rzeznik and his bandmates returned home to Buffalo and played a free show to give back to their loyal fans, over 60,000 of whom attended. The day quickly became a city triumph when rain came pouring down during their performance. It turned out to be one of the strongest rain storms of the year in Buffalo, but the Goo Goo Dolls did not stop playing. Rzeznik declared, "We're going to keep going until this shit stops". This performance was captured on DVD and CD for the public in the Goo Goo Dolls release Live in Buffalo: July 4, 2004.
Rzeznik also performed a version of U2's "All I Want Is You" on the album Les Paul and Friends.
After having their equipment stolen from a van in New York City (which included Rzeznik's Marshall JCM 800 amplifier and his only guitar at the time), following the recording of their 1989 album, Jed, a custom, yellow Stratocaster-style guitar (later nicknamed "Boing") was made for Rzeznik by ESP. Now without an amplifier, Rzeznik borrowed a near-identical Marshall JCM 800 from a mutual friend of the band, Charles Root. This Marshall JCM 800 was then used to record Hold Me Up and Superstar Car Wash. Since the late '90s, Rzeznik has used Fender electric guitars. He has used many variations such as the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar and a "Halfcaster" (a Stratocaster cut in half). He also used Guild acoustic guitars on the "Dizzy Up the Girl" and "Gutterflower" tours. Rzeznik in a 2003 interview noted that "No matter what guitar I have it seems that anything with strings makes music to my ears." Guild models used include several D-55s (unusually, most of his D-55s were built in Fender's Corona, California Shop), a black F65CE, multiple Peregrine/S7CE Customs (a Guild Custom Shop Model), a black Songbird/S4CE, and a black F47M. Live performances of this time sometimes showed the auxiliary guitarist, Greg Suran, using some Guild acoustics such as the DV-52 and F-47M in natural finishes.
Since beginning the "Let Love In" tour, Rzeznik has been experimenting with Gibson Les Paul guitars and semi-hollow body electric guitars. He also uses Taylor 800 and 900 series acoustic guitars while on tour. He has stated the Taylor Expression System (9V version) is one of the only forms of acoustic guitar amplification that still let the guitars "sound like wood" when played through a house PA system.
- Goo Goo Dolls (1986), Celluloid Records later re-released as First Release (1987), Metal Blade Records
- Jed (1989), Metal Blade Records
- Hold Me Up (1990), Metal Blade Records
- Superstar Car Wash (1993), Metal Blade Records
- A Boy Named Goo (1995), Metal Blade Records
- Dizzy Up The Girl (1998), Warner Bros. Records
- Gutterflower (2002), Warner Bros. Records
- Let Love In (2006), Warner Bros. Records
- Something for the Rest of Us (2010), Warner Bros. Records
- Magnetic (2013), Warner Bros. Records
- Boxes (2016), Warner Bros. Records
You Should Be Happy (EP), 2017
|US||US Pop||US Adult|
|2002||"I'm Still Here (Jim's Theme)"||-||38||10||Treasure Planet Soundtrack|
- Limp Bizkit and Johnny Rzeznik – "Wish You Were Here" – America: A Tribute to Heroes (2001)
- "I'm Still Here (Jim's Theme)" – Treasure Planet (2002)
- "Always Know Where You Are" – Treasure Planet (2002)
- "For Your Love" – with The Yardbirds – Birdland (2003)
- "Once in a Lifetime" – Good Morning, Miami theme (2002)
- "All I Want is You" – Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played (2005)
- "Men of War" – with Steve Morse & Michael Lee Jackson (original version from the Gillan album, Double Trouble) – Gillan's Inn (2006)
- "Lightning" – with Cash Cash (2014)
References and notes
- Ellis, Andrew (June 6, 2002). "Goo Goo Dolls: Gutterflower". PopMatters. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
- Anthony, David (June 27, 2014). "Beach Slang offers up the summer anthem of a bygone era". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
- Brennan, Collin, Dan Bogosian and Claire Sevigny (March 17, 2015). "Goo Goo Dolls vs. Collective Soul: 20 Years Later". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
- Matthew Murphy (January 3, 2011). "Goo Goo Dolls' Johnny Rzeznik on His Punk Past, New Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
- "How did the band The Goo Goo Dolls contribute to music? - eNotes".
- White, Timothy (February 25, 1995). "Goo Goo Dolls' Blue-Collar Guts". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 107 (8): 7.
- "English Polish Dictionary". Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- "This Dolls Life". Angelfire. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- "Goo Goo Dolls' Johnny Rzeznik Is Engaged". Starpulse.com. January 22, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Greer, Carlos (July 27, 2013). "John Rzeznik Is Married". People. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Nelson, Jeff; Juneau, Jen (December 23, 2016). "John Rzeznik and Wife Welcome Daughter Liliana Carella". People.com. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
- "Goo Goo Dolls FAQ". Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- 96.9 Phoenix, Interview with Mathew Blades, July 14, 2010
- Flick, Larry (December 7, 2002). "Soundtracks". Billboard. p. 16.
- "The Next Great American Band Official Website". Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- "Songwriters Hall of Fame – 2008 Award and Induction Ceremony Induction Ceremonies". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- "Cash Cash release Lightning EP - Dancing Astronaut".
- Hall, Russell (July 23, 2007). "The Music Blog". independentmail.com. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
- "John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls". ascap.com. Archived from the original on March 18, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- "Rank Your Records: John Rzeznik Plays Favorites with the Goo Goo Dolls Records". Noisey. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls". www.ascap.com. 2000.
- Critchell, Samantha (September 9, 2004). "Fashion Rocks at Radio City Hall". music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
- "Artist Search for "johnny rzeznik"".
- The song was written and performed by Rzeznik in the movie, but it was performed by BBMak on the Treasure Planet soundtrack.
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