The Goo Goo Dolls were ready for a change.
Though singer-guitarist John Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and drummer Mike Malinin are well established as a pop-rock force through such smashes as "Iris" and "Name," they wanted to break new ground with their album "Magnetic" (Warner Bros.), which hit stores in June.
"It's the 10th record, so I wanted to get other people's perspective on what we do," Rzeznik says, lounging in the band's suite in a midtown Manhattan hotel room. "I wanted to see what they could add to the pot."
Instead of working with one producer, the Goos decided to work with four -- an all-star team of Green Day collaborator Rob Cavallo; John Shanks, best known for his work with Bon Jovi; Gregg Wattenberg, of Train fame; and Greg Wells, who has had hits with Katy Perry.
"It was a lot more fun working with someone for a few days and working with someone else a week later," Rzeznik says. "This way, you don't know what it's going to sound like. . . . Hunkering down in a recording studio five or six days a week for 12 hours a day for months -- I really don't ever want to do that again."
While some fans of the band's rougher, more rocking side were alarmed by the news, especially after they heard the pop-leaning, danceable first single, "Rebel Beat," the musical shake-up suited the band's current state. After all, Rzeznik just moved from Sea Cliff so that his longtime girlfriend, Melina Gallo, whom he married on July 26, could be closer to her Manhattan job. And Takac and his wife are busy with their new daughter, Hana.
"The theme of the album, as it unfolded, was this: Get up and get out and live your life, because it's going fast," Rzeznik says. "I'm in my 40s now. I suddenly realized a few years ago the speed that life was moving at and just the frailty of being human becomes so much more apparent, as well as your own mortality. Man, you better go for it, or you're gonna be left behind."
"We couldn't make the same record again," adds Malinin. "You're gonna get -- no matter what you do."
Both Rzeznik and Takac laugh, before Takac adds, "We've been criticized for putting the same record out, but if you take a look at our first record and this record, something obviously happened during that time."
"If somebody wants to criticize it, they can," Rzeznik says. "I'm really proud of this record, and I'm really happy with what we've done. . . . To me, it's already a success."
Another Goo Goo Dolls success this summer is the co-headlining tour with Matchbox Twenty, which stops at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Saturday. Malinin says it's just one of those ideas that had been around for years, but the timing could never get worked out.
"It was one of those situations where 1+1=3," Rzeznik says. "The fans went crazy, and it's going to be the biggest tour we've ever done, aside from opening for Bon Jovi, and the [Rolling] Stones, which is nice so many years down the road."
The band is excited about bringing the new music to its fans, even as it continues to change during the tour.
"The feel of the songs always changes pretty quickly," Malinin says.
Takac adds, "Yeah, you listen back to the record after the tour's over, and you think, 'Why didn't I think of that then?' Why? Because I didn't have seven months to play it every day before we recorded it."
Despite all the changes going on in Goo Goo Dolls world, Rzeznik says fans shouldn't worry that they won't recognize the band.
"It's great having all these great writers and producers put their two cents in -- it forced us to grow," he says. "But it still sounds like us."
A Goo Goo Dolls album guide, from the band
The Goo Goo Dolls say they learned so much from the making of "Magnetic" (Warner Bros.) that it surprised them. Here's their guide to the album:
Rebel Beat "If you listen to the lyrics, there's a split," says Johnny Rzeznik, adding that the song was inspired by a Chinatown block party. "It's really optimistic. I was thinking it must be really nice to be part of something so tight. But then I started thinking about how hard it is to be an individual in a group that's so tight."
When the World Breaks Your Heart "That is a song reminiscing about a more innocent time, a more idealistic time, when you're able to love people without many reservations," Rzeznik says.
Slow It Down "It's like a gentle, teasing way of saying, 'Relax, I love you,' " Rzeznik says. "It tells the story about getting a second chance at that."
Caught in the Storm "It's got that modern, four-on-the-floor beat going," Rzeznik says. "But the lyrics are very influenced by storytelling, like a Springsteen or a Tom Petty song."
Come to Me "Whether or not I meant to at the time, I think the fact that I'm getting married was definitely a huge influence," Rzeznik says. "I'm actually really excited to be getting married."
Bringing on the Light "I had a conversation with my parents once when we were leaving church, and I remember asking them from a very innocent place, 'What the heck is going on here?' " says Robby Takac. "It was based on that conversation and the confusion of being a kid."
More of You "It was fun," Rzeznik says. "The point was I really enjoyed doing it."
Bulletproof Angel "We tried to make a real narrative out of it, writing from a specific character's point of view," Rzeznik says.
Last Hot Night "It's the story of this guy who's thinking, 'Everything in my life is about to be decimated, so I'm gonna go out and enjoy what could very well be my last night here.' " Rzeznik says.
Happiest of Days "It's about taking two seconds to look back and appreciate everything," Takac says. "It was also a challenge to do something downtempo."
Keep the Car Running "It's two young people being disillusioned with 'The American dream,' and they're watching it fade away," Rzeznik says. "They have to figure out a new way to live their lives."