The lead singer/guitarist of the rock band Goo Goo Dolls, Johnny Rzeznik is a well-known performer and songwriter. Born in Buffalo, NY, Rzeznik grew up in a working-class family the youngest of five siblings. Tragically, Rzeznik's parents died within a year of each other when he was in his teens, and as a result Rzeznik was left largely on his own. One of Rzeznik's sisters helped to find him an apartment, and from age 17 on he lived by himself. During high school, Rzeznik learned to play guitar and gravitated toward punk rock. After graduating high school, Rzeznik spent a year at Buffalo State College before dropping out to pursue music. In 1985, he formed what would become the Goo Goo Dolls with bassist Robby Takac and drummer George Tutuska. Known for a raucous mix of power pop and classic rock cover songs, the band, whose members eventually began writing their own songs, developed into a popular college radio outfit.
The band's 1993 album, Superstar Car Wash, featuring the hit "We Are the Normal" co-written with Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg, was a breakthrough success for the band. Similarly, 1995's A Boy Named Goo, propelled by the acoustic balled "Name," went platinum and officially broke the band nationwide. A subsequent legal battle with the band's label, Metal Blade, landed them at Warner Bros., but a bout with writer's block left Rzeznik struggling to follow up the success of A Boy Named Goo. The ballad "Iris," featured on the soundtrack of the 1998 Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan romance City of Angels, changed that. A hugely popular song, it was included on the Goo Goo Dolls' 1998 major-label debut, Dizzy Up the Girl, and helped cement them as a successful mainstream rock act. Since that time, Rzeznik has continued to write and record with the Goo Goo Dolls as well as write and produce for other artists including Blessed Union of Souls, Anastacia, and Ryan Cabrera. In 2008, Rzeznik was a judge with drummer Sheila E. and Australian Idol judge Ian "Dicko" Dickson on the Fox network's reality music competition The Next Great American Band. ~ Matt Collar
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