Johnny Rzeznik, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and founder of the Goo Goo Dolls, was in Washington, D.C. over the weekend to perform at the Creative Coalition Inaugural Ball. We caught up with him this afternoon by phone to pester him about his media preferences and ask about the low and high points of his weekend. Asked if we should call him John or Johnny, he told us men call him “John” and women call him “Johnny.” He doesn’t know why that is. At the conclusion of the interview, we asked if there was anything more he wanted to tell us. As a matter of fact, there was. Their tenth album, Magnetic, is coming out on May 7. The first single is called “Rebel Beat” and is already being played on radio stations. “We’re all really excited to get out there and play our new album, which is upbeat and very positive,” said Rzeznik. “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.”
What was the highlight of Inauguration for you? The highlight for me was standing int he press line during the red carpet and seeing Jesse Jackson Sr. standing right next to us. He’s just one of those people who has an aura about him when he walks in a room. Also, doing the show. That’s why we came to town. That was really exciting. It was a real honor to be asked to be part of that celebration because they do a lot of great work on behalf of the arts.
Are you an Obama supporter? I definitely supported him in the last election. I couldn’t get behind the Republicans’ views on women’s issues and marriage equality. I don’t know, I just felt like they are really out of touch with what is going on in America. Just like Joe the cabdriver, it’s the same thing. Joe the cabdriver gets to have a political opinion, so I’m entitled to mine.
What do you like and hate about Washington? I love the Smithsonian. I’m a real dork for that kind of stuff. I love Georgetown, I love all the row houses, I love the feel and energy of this city. The only thing I hate is the traffic and I live in LA. It’s a beautiful city and it’s got so much character and it’s old and I like it.
Who are your favorite members of the media? I enjoy watching Chris Matthews a lot. He reminds me of a throwback to the older school kind of pundits like Tim Russert. I like George Will, I don’t agree with him particularly, but he’s probably the smartest conservative out there. I refuse to listen to Rush Limbaugh. I listen to a lot of conservative radio when I drive around in my car. I refuse to listen to him because he’s just ridiculous, just a clown. I love Rachel Maddow obviously. Jon Stewart. I know it’s a comedy show, but its probably one of the most informative shows out there. Stephanie Miller! I love her! Like ughhh, she’s the best. I agree with her views on issues, I think they check her facts pretty carefully. She’s got an insane sense of humor. It’s nice to see Tim Russert’s son [Luke Russert] in there and doing well too. I was brought up in a very blue collar, Democratic, pro-union house and that’s soaked into your DNA.
Do you have an opinion about Beyoncé lip syncing America the Beautiful? There’s no question in my mind that even if it was a computer playing it back because it was 20 degrees outside, she actually sang whatever on the page. She is brilliant. When you’re in situations like that and the whole world is watching on television, no one plays live on the Super Bowl. There’s no time for a mistake. Could she have sang that live? Absolutely. It was freezing out there. Unless you know how incredibly hard it is to sing when it’s 25 degrees out there, your opinion means nothing.
Have you ever been burned by the media? No. Not really. Maybe a nasty review of my work in a magazine, but who cares?
Does TMZ follow you around? I’m not dating an actress or a supermodel. Nobody is throwing me out of Hyde.
What networks or cable shows do you prefer? I do watch Fox. Sometimes I really enjoy watching Bill O’Reilly. It’s interesting because the older he gets, the more moderate he seems to get. Sort of like watching the end of how the Grinch stole Christmas. I still have hope for him. I can’t discount that everyone I’ve mentioned is part of an agenda. There is no fairness doctrine with the media and you spend time watching everyone and give them equal time.