Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik Was Freakin’ Ripped in 1994
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On Feb. 4, 1994, Goo Goo Dolls made their national TV debut on ‘Late Night With Conan O’Brien,’ and thanks to buff frontman John Rzeznik, their performance was nothing short of a gun show.
Rzeznik, still a few years from becoming the Jon Bon Jovi of the alt-rock ’90s, showed up at NBC with no shoes and no shirt, and this was no problem. With his sweet tank top and fluffy bob haircut — perhaps the model for Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel cut” — dude looks like he should be wearing spandex and wiping down the weight machines at Gold’s.
Speaking of muscles, the Goos circa ’94 actually rocked. The tune they play here, ‘Fallin’ Down,’ sounds like a lost Replacements anthem, and this was no accident. Rzeznik idolized Paul Westerberg and had recently worked with his hero on ‘We Are the Normal,’ another song from 1993’s ‘Superstar Carwash.’
After eight years and four albums, the Buffalo trio finally had a good thing going, and it was about to get even better. By the time they hit ‘Letterman’ a year later, Rzeznik had come around to sleeves and written the smash ‘Name,’ the soundtrack to many a middle-schooler’s awkward first dance. That kicked off a string of hits — ‘Slide,’ ‘Iris,’ ‘Black Balloon,’ etc. — and by the end of the decade, the Goos had achieved the massive crossover success the Replacements never could.
Conventional wisdom says drinking and general self-destructiveness sank the ‘Mats, but this Conan clip suggests another possibility: Westerberg simply didn’t have the biceps to lift himself to that next level.