It might seem a little random that the Goo Goo Dolls are releasing a holiday album.
But for lead singer John Rzeznik, it’s simple.
“I love Christmas,” he told CNN in a recent interview.
Rzeznik, who rose to fame in the ’90s as the frontman for the alternative rock band has had a string of chart topping hits like “Iris,” “Slide” and “Name.” So, why plunge into the already crowded holiday music genre? Rzeznik said besides just loving the holiday season, and the Covid-19 pandemic is what inspired him and collaborators Brad Fernquist and Jimmy McGormato to take the leap.
“In my opinion 2020 has been one of the worst years ever and I think a lot of people just need something to lift their spirits be it a little sentimental or cheesy in spots,” Rzeznik said. “I wanted it to be completely different from what people expected from us.”
The album, “It’s Christmas All Over,” features 10 tracks, which include familiar classics like “Let It Snow,” along with two originals “This is Christmas” and “You Ain’t Getting Nothin.'” The latter, he says, was inspired by his three-year-old daughter.
“All the old classic Christmas albums were what we were brought up with Dean Martin, Burl Ives those kinds of things. My absolute favorite singer of Christmas songs is Nat King Cole, I just love his voice. I could never sing like that but he’s just always the one. His voice just has this gravity to it just sucks you in.”
Rzeznik formed the Goo Goo Dolls in 1985 alongside bassist Robby Takac, and drummer George Tutuska and since then the group has had a steady flow of albums and tours. But for the first time Rzeznik says he’s been forced to press pause and reflect.
“I feel this real sense of gratitude that I’ve actually been able to have a career and have more than one song that people know. I’m really proud of that,” he said. “You know, those songs gave me a life and a way to take care of my family … and it’s fun. I never thought in a million years that I would ever get to play music for a living. That’s something that never fades from me.”
Rzeznik acknowledges the country is strained and politically divided but believes music can still unite us.
“The country is so divided but people from all walks of life, a few thousand of them will go into a room and listen to you sing and sing back with you and no body is really thinking about what’s going on [in the world],” he said. “People are just relaxing and having a good time. It’s not a red state versus blue state, mask versus no mask. People from every political stripe everywhere just get together and they have one thing in common and that’s music that they enjoy.”