Even bassist Robby Takac admits the Goo Goo Dolls' legacy is somewhat unresolved.
"Is there a place for us in history like that?" Takac asks. "After doing this as long as we have, I'd like to think we've had some impact. But I'm not really starving for that label."
The Goo Goo Dolls started as a punk rock band, before big commercial success came in 1995 with A Boy Named Goo.
Since then, the band has routinely released poppy, radio-friendly hits the bane of the music critic. But the Goo Goo Dolls have achieved the kind of long-running success few bands have, releasing a record 12 Top 10 Hot AC singles. And Johnny Rzeznik's ability to play catchy hooks and write graceful lyrics makes the Goo Goo Dolls a bit of a mystery historically.
"Everybody wants to be Radiohead," Takac says. "It would be interesting and titillating to see at some point in a book, to read that [we] were successful and are responsible for a lot of what happened in pop music. But I don't even know if that's true. And really, at this point, who cares?"
Either way, the Goos continue to build a legacy. The band released Let Love In in 2006, working with pop music producer Glen Ballard, who has helped produce Alanis Morissette, Hanson and the Dave Matthews Band.
Working with Ballard marked a difference for a band that had worked with one producer, Rob Cavallo, for almost 10 years. He forced the band to try things it may have otherwise dismissed as too risky.
"Glen's whole opinion of that was, look if we don't even try it, it might have been good," Takac says. "That's something we never did. It was almost as if we didn't want to embarrass ourselves in front of each other by doing something that wasn't good. And we're supposed to make mistakes in front of each other."
The whole experience left the Goos in a far more stable position as a band. While making its 2002 album Gutterflower, the band felt out of sorts, at times apathetic. Takac cited Sept. 11 and the growing acceptance of downloading music as the reasons. What resulted was perhaps the Goos' most somber album yet.
"We had sold almost a million copies, and we were apologizing to the record label," Takac says of Gutterflower. "We went in, talked with Glen a bit. He has a way of putting things in perspective. He's like, "Look, there's people waiting for this record. Let's get to work.' I know it sounds so obvious, but it's what spawned this whole different thing in us."
Let Love In sounded more uplifting than Gutterflower. And, as they did with Let Love In, the Goo Goo Dolls are traveling back to their hometown in Buffalo in September for their next album.
"I think we were in danger of feeling like a band that has a huge body of work and was searching for a place to apply the relevance during the Gutterflower period," Takac says. "I think that stepping out on this tour and thinking of where we are as a band in history, now we look at ourselves as a band that's been around for a long time, and now we're excited to see where we go. I don't think there was that excitement three or four years ago."
Goo Goo Dolls with Augustana
Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Monday, Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $37; visit pikespeakcenter.com.