From Boys to Men

It should. Released in September, Dizzy Up the Girl is approaching 200,000 in sales, and the first single, "Slide," is currently in the Top 30. Even when the band was on hiatus, it wasn't out of sight. Goo Goo Dolls songs were included on the soundtracks for Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Tommy Boy, Twister, Son in Law and Batman & Robin. They scored really big with "Iris" from last summer's City of Angels soundtrack. "Iris" became the group's second No. 1 song, on MTV and radio.

Dizzy Up the Girl finds the Dolls more relaxed and confident than ever in their roles as pop songwriters who still harbor a bit of angst, to which both teens and twentysomethings can relate. On "All Eyes on Me," for example, Rzeznik alludes to his own problems with the lyrics "Everything you're chasing, it seems to leave you empty." But they can just as well be read by moody adolescents as lyrics of the "nobody understands me" sort. Musically the band still plays edgy guitars, but the instrumentation has been sweetened with strings.

The Dolls will finish their current tour in Pompano Beach. They've taken some of their favorite bands on the road with them, relative unknowns such as Buffalo Tom, Athenaeum, and Frogpond. "That's one of the cool things about having a quote-unquote hit, is that you're selling enough tickets yourself so that you can take whoever the hell you want with you," Rzeznik says.

Still, he's realistic about the Goo Goo Dolls' now-radio-friendly image. "I wanted to ask [the independent pop-punk band] Superchunk to go out with us," he says, "but I don't think they would because we're on a major label."

Rzeznik is well aware that the Dolls are seen by some as a band that gave up its ethics for radio exposure. But he doesn't sweat it. "Once you start selling records, people automatically assume that you did something to sell out," he says. "So it's, like, 'Whatever.'"

One band with which the Dolls debated sharing a stage is the Rolling Stones, who asked the trio to accompany them on the No Security tour this coming spring. Remembering the band the Stones used to be, Rzeznik lobbied the Dolls to do it. "I was like, 'Hell yeah, we should do this. It's gonna be hilarious. We're gonna get to shoot pool with Keith Richards,'" he says, laughing.

Ticket prices for the best seats are expected to go for $300, meaning that older, wealthier audiences than the Dolls are accustomed to will be in attendance. Still, Rzeznik says, playing with the Stones is an opportunity to show respect for rock's elders, for those who set the standards for rock 'n' roll excess.

"It's going to be exciting," enthuses Rzeznik. "Mick Jagger, he's the real deal. The first person you think of when you think 'rock star' is Mick Jagger. He's a cultural icon. Playing with those guys is going to be like visiting Mount Rushmore; they're like a historic landmark or some shit. How many people are able to say, 'I opened for the Stones?'"

After all he and his bandmates have been through, Rzeznik is prepared to savor such moments, even though he knows the Stones are simply throwing a bone to a lesser-known opening act. Says Rzeznik, "I can guarantee you this: Nobody is paying 300 bucks to see my ass."

The Goo Goo Dolls perform Monday, December 21, at Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, 1801 NE Sixth St. 954-946-2402. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $21.

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