John Rzeznik | Goo Goo Dolls to Good Good Life [Best Of]

How does a founding member of one of the biggest bands of the last few decades create such incredible music, enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people, while living a life that is privately falling apart? And what would make him do the work to start to put all the pieces back together, to produce not just iconic music, but also a grounded, fulfilling life? 

That’s where we’re going in today’s Best Of conversation with the founding member, frontman and guitarist for iconic band, the Goo Goo Dolls, John Rzeznik. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, John is a legend in the world of music, with 19 top-ten singles, including mega-hits like Iris (which spent 12 months on the Billboard charts), Name, Black Balloon and countless others. And, like so many who turned to music at a young age as both a way to cope with discord and a form of expression, he’s lived a life of extraordinary artistry and contribution, and along with that, a certain amount of darkness and struggle that for many years found him turning to alcohol as a way to get through each day. Until it all fell apart, and he had to make a decision. One he keeps making every day. 

Now, sober, a devoted dad and husband, he’s telling a new story with his life and music, and taking the giant, global community of Goo Goo Doll fans along for the journey. And, as you’ll hear, he’s headed into the studio to create something that is truly representative not just of this moment in time, but also of how his lens on life, music, and creativity have evolved.

You can find John at: Website | Instagram

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Jonathan Fields: Introduction

So how does the founding member of one of the biggest bands of the last few decades create Such incredible music enjoyed literally by hundreds of millions of people around the World while living a life that is privately falling apart and what would make him stop in his tracks, turn everything around, do the work, just start putting all the pieces back together to produce not just iconic music, but also a grounded fulfilling life. That’s where we’re going in today’s best of conversation with the founding member, frontman and guitarist for the iconic band, the Goo Goo dolls, John Resnick, born and raised in Buffalo, New York. John is a legend in the world of music with nineteen top ten singles, including mega-hits like Iris, which spent twelve months on the Billboard charts named black balloon and countless others. And like so many who turn to music at a young age is both a way to cope with discord and a form of expression. He’s lived a life of extraordinary artistry and contribution and along with that, a certain amount of darkness and struggle that for many years found him turning to alcohol as a way to get through each day until it all fell apart. And he had to make a decision one that he made and continues to make every single day. Now is sober, a devoted dad and husband. He’s telling a New story with his life in music and taking the giant global community of Goo Goo dolls. Fans along for the journey and as you’ll hear, he’s been in the studio creating something that is truly representative, not just of this moment in time, but also of how his own personal lens on life and music and creativity have evolved so excited to share this best of conversation with you, I’m Jonathan Fields and this is Good Life Project.

Jonathan Fields It was fun reading that little bit that you shared just in info with us before that even geeking out a bit on Dalton Trumbo and just like the blacklist era stuff. It was funny because when I read that Dalton Trumbo, his book, Johnny Got His Gun. I read. I think I read in high school. And it blew my mind. It absolutely certainly shattered me in these really weird ways and it’s never left me.

John Rzeznik Yeah, no, it’s really it’s. Yeah that’s, that’s, that’s a heavy heavy book. And the film too is Strange. Yeah, I mean I was like, I Saw the film and I’m like, why do I feel so uneasy? This is really Strange but, but my favorite thing about Dalton Trumbo is just how beautifully he uses words like, you know, and I’ve book by him. It’s out of print, but you can still find them online. Of course, it’s called additional dialogue. And so it’s this big book of letters that he wrote to all kinds of people. And like whenever I’m trying to find something, if I have to write like a quote or something for whatever, or somebody wants a blurb for that. I always go to that book and I’ll just read a few of his letters because the way he uses language and, and you know, you steal little bits of what trumbo said. Yeah, yeah, that’s very cool. Such a eloquent character. 

Jonathan Fields Yeah.  And what he went through You know, the whole, the blacklist era. We had Ellen Harper on, on the podcast a little while back Ben Harper’s mom. But she’s also this kind of icon in the folk music space. And, and her parents started at the Claremont folk music center, which became like, know this hub where everyone was hanging out. But originally they started out in New England and her dad was a schoolteacher. But early in his life he was very public about being a member of the Communist Party and it caught up with him and like trumbo. And so many of that day he got blacklisted and he couldn’t find a job teaching anywhere. So he started working on old instruments and that was like the gateway into that whole world for them because he just, he couldn’t find work, you know, for a long time doing what he wanted to do was really a crazy window in our country.

John Rzeznik I think, I mean, it was, it’s really It was just so bizarre because it was Such a, it was just like taking democracy and just smashing its face against the wall. You know, just to gain some political power and like, but I was so I, he’s Trump, is an inspiration to me because he took a bad situation. And he, I mean, he did what he had to do to feed his kids.  And he you know, he came out on top and, and what really amazed me too because I’m a Kirk Douglas fan. But I never, I have so much more respect for him because he was like, no, you could put Trumbo’s name on the movie. And on Spartacus, yeah. And wow, I mean, can you imagine having to face all that persecution and still generate so many scripts and stories and just write this, this, these brilliant letters to people.  People should read letters. There’s got to be more great. I’m sure there’s a million great books of letters that people have collected.

Jonathan Fields Yeah, there’s, I actually want to say the name of the book is called the book of letters. It’s written by Maria Popova, who has this long standing website called Brain Pickings and she created this massive digest of all of these letters, written by all these amazing writers over the years. Yeah, but I agree. I think there’s something about letters that we’ve moved away from email text, everything is really short form, not deep. There’s something also about I’m curious how you feel about this, about the Physical act of writing, not typing on a keyboard, but literally just sitting.

John Rzeznik I never do that. 

Jonathan Fields Oh no kidding. So tell me more about that. 

John Rzeznik I mean, I write emails and all that nonsense on the search for things on the Internet. But when I’m writing songs, or if I really I make lists, I’m a big list maker and I can’t do it in my phone because it’s just not tangible. Like if I have a to do list, you know, you know, I have to go buy salt for the driveway and you know, make sure you get milk. Oh yeah. Finish the bridge to that song, you know, and just things like that. I need them on paper because I can because I just pulled up, it has to be yellow legal paper. I’m getting into how like neurotic I am, which is kind of Strange, but my yellow legal pad and in pencil on the, on the paper. Fold it, put it in my pocket. And I’m so much more efficient with that than I am with having a little bell ring on my phone. I just, it’s not for me. I think it’s, I think that has something to do with my age. Know, because, because, I mean I was around when you could buy a Mac book one fifty. I think it was called the one fifty. I had one. It was like any, it’s just, it’s like, it almost looks like a, like a piece of steampunk merch. Now, you know, compared to everything else.

Jonathan Fields Yeah. It’s pretty amazing. I mean, when you’re, when you’re working on songs too, is it, is it all by hand on paper as well?

John Rzeznik  Yeah. There’s got to be got to be and you know, Big stacks of books, of quotations. And, and a thesaurus is rhyming dictionaries, you know, just stuff like that. There’s this one online rhyming dictionary that I, I love. But you know, just and go into places like that. But yeah, it’s got to be on paper. And every album, all the lyrics and all the potential lyrics and everything. Wind up in one of those Ah, folios you know, this big fake leather things you know. And it’s just stuffed with scraps of paper napkins and Post-it notes and legal pads. Yeah. And that’s the Home for every album. Now once it’s done.

Jonathan Fields Yeah, that’s amazing.  I feel like the output is just different. You know, and actually there’s research that shows that when you’re, when you’re, especially on the, when you’re in a creative state, that what comes out when you write it, you know, physically by hand. It’s different than if you type it sort of activate your brain differently. You go to different races.

John Rzeznik Well, because you’re creating, I mean, you have these built in neural pathways between your brain. Your thought. Then the part of your brain that physically can make it come out your hand and put it down on a piece of paper. And I think it does, I think I always find I always find myself getting more inspiration and good stuff out of I physically doing it the old way. You know, I mean, once again, I’m so old. You know, I went to Catholic school for nine years and we took penmanship classes. We had, we had to do penmanship. So it’s like when, when I see somebody who has beautiful handwriting, I’m just blown away by it. College destroyed my hand. I know it, you know, I mean, I kind of joke around about here. Let me, let me sign that prescription for you and see if you can get anything for it. Because my handwriting, it looks like it looks like a seismograph during an earthquake.

Jonathan Fields Yeah. Somehow I ended up in the same places. Yeah, we’re same age so I had like that same training, you know, and it all kind of went away over the years. But I’m a writer also and I’d really been itching to get back to actually more of a physical process of creation. There was a shocking terror.  Actually two writers Suleika Jaouad and Neil Gaiman. They both write longhand and they use fountain pens. Wow. And one of the reasons is because if you stopped writing with the fountain pen for too long a source, the clog. So it forces you to keep writing like you can’t just pause. It’s like you have to channel whatever’s in your head out onto the page, or else he gets all gunky. Yeah. So and because of that they leave that really gentle time pressure. It’s almost like they feel like it changes the creative process and the effort of them.

John Rzeznik Yeah, wow. That’s really cool. That’s good if they have to get a fountain pen. Because if I had my way, it’d take me nine years to make one album. But it’s interesting that you say that because this, this New album that I’m working on it’s , it’s very loose. I don’t, I, I, I’m locking out a recording studio for about five months. So I’m going to actually do a lot of the writing in the studio. 

Jonathan Fields No kidding.

John Rzeznik Yeah.  And I think that, that kind of, you know, I, I got the budget for the album and I’m like, let’s blow at all, you know? And so I don’t want to be overly prepared when I go in because I’m interested to, to see what the interaction between the musicians is going to be like. And I’m just going to produce this myself. You know, or, you know, I’ll probably co-produce with a couple other guys in the band and that, but there are ways to make records. There’s different methodology. One is you go in and get your drums all perfect. That’s when you don’t have a lot of money. You got to go in and you do drums for like three days, you got all the drums for your album. But then it becomes this very sort of assembly line type thing. You know, and a lot of a lot of producers and engineers are very, very, they’re addicted to editing. Now, because everything has to be so precisely on the grid. 

Jonathan Fields Yeah. It’s like it’s syncopation boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

John Rzeznik  I’m like, no, no, we’ll start with a click and we’re going to play like a band because I was, I was listening to a lot of live recordings of us. And then I was listening to our studio albums. And I was just like the energy on the live stuff is way better. It’s more aggressive and it’s, it’s, it’s just got more teeth. And it’s really visceral. So I want to try to capture what the band is actually performing. And I don’t want a producer coming in and chopping it to bits and you know, trying to like make it radio friendly. Just not interested in it anymore. 

Jonathan Fields You know, it’s interesting. I feel like everything has been so engineered these days. And you know, every voice is auto tuned. Every beat is it’s, you know, like dropped into a perfect syncopation. But I feel like as human beings, there’s something in us that yearns for like we want to hear when you’re slightly ahead of the beat and solidly behind that. We want to hear when somebody’s voice is cracking or slightly off because like, oh so there’s a human being there and we want to hear when people are just going into their own vibe. And I feel like when that’s edited out, which, which it is a lot these days. It is, you know, so you get, quote, perfection. But you lose what music is about fundamentally. 

John Rzeznik It loses its humanity. You know, and I’m guilty of it too. And I’m guilty of it too.  We all fell victim to when everything went digital, we were like, wow, the sky’s the limit. And then all of a sudden the other thing, the other thing just jumping back to doing the album. Well, what I want to do with this album is limit the amount of tracks that we have. Because now it’s not uncommon to have a digital audio session that’s like one hundred and thirty tracks. And it’s like that’s absurd. 

Jonathan Fields  I remember the old task and four tracks in the bedroom. 

John Rzeznik Like yeah, there was something to that, there was a vibe to that, you know, but you know, kind of kind of limiting your track count, limiting your options. I just think that the digital production thing it had to happen and then in the good side the, the upside to it is, it’s like now you can get programs that are free or practically free. I mean, people are making records on Logic and GarageBand and Qbase or whatever, and you don’t need the twenty thousand dollar pro tools rig with the, you know, six computers chained together and just, you know, it’s, but I think that the technology is leading the creation of the art rather than the creation of the art pushing technology forward, I think it flipped when we went digital, you know, and it’s like you almost get caught up in the tyranny of choice. It’s just like, there’s so many options. What do I do? So in a sort of a, I don’t know what it would be a contrary sort of way of looking at it. I’m just like, you know, you got three or four different compressors there, but it’s all wonky studio stuff. But what I’m trying to do is just make it more vital. You know, I mean I’m getting older and, and I just, I just, you know, when you’re a musician and you do this, I’ve been doing this since I was nineteen. Right. And it’s weird because I never said no to anything because you get this thought in your head. Well, this could be the last time you ever get up on stage or this could be the last time you ever get up in front of the camera. So don’t say no, this might be the last dollar you ever earn doing this. So I don’t say no very much. But now I’ve started to not say no, but be a little more selective about what I want to do. And this whole anxiety about, you know, I had to change my metrics of what success is, because it was always like, okay, to be at the top twenty on the chart was one of those things. And I admit it, you know, I mean, because I’ve had hits and I have not had hits and it’s really nice to have hits. You know, it’s like, it’s really nice to have a hit song. It’s fun. But it’s interesting. But so we’re going to, we’re going to sort of limited and there’s one example that I would like to tell everybody about if you want to hear the most amazing song that is so out of time and so out of key, go back and listen to the Rolling Stones street fight. 

Jonathan Fields  Oh my God, I can’t believe you say that because I was just going to say, I mean not necessarily that song, but I remember hearing some old live studio sessions from the Stones when they were putting songs together. I mean, massively collaborative and I mean at the end of the day they’re really working to create amazing stuff, but also yeah, they were less concerned about perfection. They were more concerned about, like, the feel.

John Rzeznik It was all about the feel and the sway.  And like humans, when they move this way, you know, when you’re really feeling it, you see that, you know, in people who are having religious experiences or in flow at a concert or something. You know, it’s just, and it’s interesting to see that because you’re trying to get into this, you’re trying to tap into some sort of primal part of people. 

Jonathan Fields  Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting that, that the idea of sway because when you’re, you know, so part of the aspiration is like, okay, so let’s create something where we can try and bring that energy to everybody who listens to this. But at the same time you’re creating originally in the studio. And so it’s almost like you and the musicians who you’re in session with you feeling that like you feeling this way becomes the signal that, Oh like I think we’re getting it. I think we’re, we’re going there.

John Rzeznik Yeah. And then what it’s going to entail is you know, me and Robbie the bass player and you know, a drummer just hanging out in the studio and just jamming and just making noise and trying to capture it on a, some kind of a recorder and, and sort of building it from there. Know, because that’s something that we used to do when we were kids because it was all really very, very DIY, like our whole scene was . So, you know, and you know, we would just play for hours. I would come in with an idea and we would play it and play it and play it. And then I would go, oh wait a second, I just thought of something. Let’s go up to the minor here and then down there and then. And then it starts to build and then the drum patterns evolve and everything evolves. And then you actually learn the song, you know, and that I feel is just, I think it’s just, it sounds fresh again because it is. I just believe that people are fatigued from technology.

Jonathan Fields Yeah. I’m right there with you. I’m really excited to see what comes out of those sessions. Five months is a mid-twenties and luxurious time also. 

John Rzeznik I mean, that’s a great way to put it. I got a luxury problem. 

Jonathan Fields Yeah. You got to love that. Are you? Are you recording to a tape or to digital because that’s another really interesting creative constraint right there.

John Rzeznik Yeah, well this is interesting was we did that Christmas record, which I know it’s a Christmas record and people are like, yeah, it’s cheesy and I’m like duh, like Pat Monahan is a friend. And he said it’s supposed to be cheesy, it’s a Christmas record. You know, and he’s such a light and that guy is just, he’s just his outlook on life and his ability to just make people feel great. You know, so I wanted to make that Christmas record,  and I wanted to do it, you know, and part of his, because I have a four year old daughter, you know, and it doesn’t look cool to do it, but I don’t care. And I wanted to but, but see then, because I’m obsessed with vintage recording equipment. And I’m obsessed with vintage microphones, like every musician. And so I’ve gotten this really bad habit and collection of I can basically roll up anywhere with, you know, half a dozen road cases and make a record anywhere I want, you know, and I’ve mixed a small mixing consoles and I chain them together. Lots of all compressors and microphones, and reverbs and things like that, but hey, I didn’t want to be one of those guys. You know, because it’s been so long since I recorded the tape. And when we recorded today, and then mixed it through a very, very, it’s probably one of the rarest mixing consoles in the world. And it’s at a studio called EastWest in Los Angeles. And it’s a thing called a Trident A Range. It’s just this big purple thing. It’s amazing. And it’s just all this ancient technology that’s just based on, you know, I mean, it’s crazy, it’s crazy. And then we mixed it to tape and it was just but we simultaneously put the to track onto the digital as well as the analog. And I was just like, oh, I hate this. I’m one of those guys now. Oh, the tape does sound better, does sound better, and then we got the vinyl, the pressing of the vinyl and the CD. And we were going back and forth back and forth, back and forth listening. I’m just like the vinyl does sound better. I can’t believe it. 

Jonathan Fields You know it’s coming, you know, like at some point some point in the next couple of months you’re going to open your back door and be like, hey, you get kicked out of my yard.

John Rzeznik I know, and I’m like, I know, I know. I, you know, Yeah, pretty much so I turn some every once in a while I will catch myself being an old man, you know, like really being an old man. You know, I will get out of a chair and I’ll take my pants back up, you know, my thumbs. Yeah. Yeah. Go on. I’m like, oh my God.

Jonathan Fields You know, that’s not a bad thing to, you know, I mean, it’s the, because you’ve lived, you’ve had this interesting story, right? You know, and you’re at a moment right now where it Feels like I want to touch back down into that in a really good place. You know, and the journey that got you there brought you through some really turbulent times. Yeah. You know, I mean, I know you came up in Buffalo four older sisters from what I know.

John Rzeznik Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just me and the dog were the only guys in the house and we’re both sitting there going what the hell is going on? You know, but yeah, it was, it was rowdy, I think. I mean I’m, I still feel more comfortable with women than men, just like in general because I grew up in that situation and I, you know, I still talk to most of my sisters almost every day. Yeah. I mean, I’ll talk to one of them. Almost every day, you know, because over the last ten years, I mean, they’ve been Such a big help to me. You know, like emotionally in that settling a lot of old business and that I had didn’t have a lot of recollection of you know, I was lucky that I had people who were older than me to talk to me about this.

Jonathan Fields Yeah. I mean, it’s nice to be that close also. I know you lost your mom and your dad when you’re sort of like in your mid-teens.

John Rzeznik  Yeah. My dad, when I was fifteen, my mom when I was sixteen. Yeah.

Jonathan Fields Did they effectively certainly become surrogate parents for you in a lot of ways or were you at an age where you’re kind of on your own at that point

John Rzeznik I kind of was, I kind of, I was pretty disenchanted with the neighborhood that I grew up in you know, I got a lot of crap from people.

Jonathan Fields Hmm. How so?

John Rzeznik Well, it was just very, it was very, it was just really strange. Strange. It was like my, my family, my sisters are incredibly strong. Women always were, you know, and they still are now. And you know, we weren’t part of the neighborhood like we weren’t part of that culture anymore. You know, my sister had an African-American boyfriend, you know, and in nineteen eighty one that was, oh my God, that’s crazy. You know, so we got a lot of crap from people about that. I was just like, that’s so weird, but it did. It was weird and like, you know, so my life was made a little difficult by some of the neighborhood thugs and I was anxious to get out of there. It was like, it was October and it’s just really rainy cold Buffalo fall, you know, and then I just remember feeling like feeling like I couldn’t get warm when my mom died, no matter how many blankets I put on myself. I couldn’t get warm. But then I said, no, man, you, you have no choice. You have to move on. I mean, I was sixteen, I was like, what am I going to do? So my sisters helped me out and I got my own place. And I didn’t have a lot of money and I did, I did some things that I’m not exactly proud of, you know, but now it’s legal in thirty five states. You know, they put kids like me out of business, but you know, it was an adventure and I moved into the neighborhood near the one of the universities in Buffalo. I just started meeting all these characters. You know, there were older than me. And I met them and I had a small group of musician friends. You know, we would just play play and play and we’re constantly, it was very incestuous. Everybody was sort of, he played with him that night and we all went to this way and it was just, you know, we were all experimenting with different kinds of music and stuff. None of them went to the school that I went to. I went to a vocational training school to be a plumber. Hmm.  And I really should’ve went to art school, but I did. And I’m happy that I got my diploma in plumbing. I really am. I’m very proud of that. It’s  an amazing fact. I would have to go back to school from the beginning again, but just the fact that I can, I can fix little things around. The House is awesome to me and I think it’s therapeutic. It helps you stay grounded.

Jonathan Fields Yeah, I mean it’s interesting also because I think a lot of people look at plumbing as like, well it’s a particular profession that does a particular type of thing, but it’s actually, it’s a trade, it’s a craft, it is true. I mean, especially I remember spending summers and building houses and renovating and stuff like that and it is a true, I mean some of the plumbers who were on location were true artists. Oh yeah, it would blow my mind. It’s like complex problem solving. And when you look at the crease, they give you pulled what they created out of a house or a structure and just put it in a gallery somewhere. Oh my God, people would be like, that is insanely cool.

John Rzeznik Yes, it’s very cool. And you know, it’s beautiful about it is gravity. It’s all just gravity. And it’s like that amazes me. Like, yes of course there’s a ton of technology involved now and everything. Everything’s computerized in there. But a basic plumbing system is just based on gravity and pressure, and it’s beautiful in its simplicity.  But the mathematics that you have to sit and study is crazy. I mean, you can’t be stupid and be a plumber, but you know that it’s amazing and it is amazing. And but, you know, our, our society went through this like, you know, this thirty or forty year period where it was just like, oh, you got to go to college. Got to go to  college, you got to go to college. And a lot of my friends who wound up in the building trades have done better than people who, you know, went go masters degrees, no offense to anybody who wants to go to college. But I think, I think that the building trades. I know that guy, Mike Rowe, the dirty jobs guy, he’s very into that, you know, and, and I agree with them because it’s a way for someone with a high school diploma and, and some training, and some smarts to get into an upper middle class position. And that’s, that’s not easy these days, you know.

Jonathan Fields Yeah, I mean, we have, we’ve definitely gone through this window where knowledge work was sort of like elevated to say like, well, the only legitimate work is knowledge work. And the only reason somebody wouldn’t be doing it is because they don’t have it in them. Yeah. So they have to default to these other things like, no, actually you’ve read this book, you’d probably love it called Shop Classes is Soul Craft. This guy, he was like, I think he went to MIT from what I remember he was, you know, doing a think tank type of thing and he’s like, this isn’t doing it for me. He ends up going to some small town, I think was New Hampshire or something like that. Finds this grizzled old guy who could listen to vintage motorcycles and just by listening know exactly what was wrong with him and starts a study.  And like becomes his student effectively. And then just gives up this whole complex, high flying knowledge, you know, type of world to just hunker down and work on these old bikes and is like the happiest person on the planet. You know, and I think we definitely, we devalue that in a way, but when we do, I think we really, we not only do we label people as not good enough when they’re extraordinary people, but also we stop ourselves from going back to that Physical interaction. Physical creation space, I think so many of us miss.

John Rzeznik I agree. I mean there is so much creative power that goes into designing a Home building a Home, you know, putting a plumbing system into a building, just, you know , a solar panel. I mean, you know, putting solar panels up, you know, and just, it’s amazing because they’re beautiful pieces of art at some stage of its creation. It’s on a drawing table and it’s beautiful. I studied mechanical drawing, you know, drafting and that kind of thing. And it’s beautiful, just getting, having the tools to get the perspective on things correctly and following a formula for this many inches equals that it’s just it’s, it’s crazy. And you have to do doing cut away views of like the inside of a wall and like, and it was very technical drawing is just it’s, it’s exciting like when I just remember this one drawing that we had of an oil refinery. And it was a cut away view and just staring at it and just being blown away. Like they took so much creativity. I mean, maybe from a different part of the brain, but as much creativity, you know, as writing, you know, a symphony.

Jonathan Fields Yeah, I mean. And that’s what I was thinking as you’re just sharing that is, you know, I wonder if you have any sense that the fact that you actually went and, and you studied plumbing and, and you studied mechanical drawing, has any influence in the way that you view the process, the structure, the, the expressive side of, of music, of songwriting, of putting together. Yeah, things, and vice versa, like, does the songwriting, does the musicality actually then affect the way you think about form and structure and sort of like physical spaces.

John Rzeznik Yeah, yeah, I mean, it’s all interrelated. And my mind, I’m off on tangents all the time, which is a bit of a handicap, but yeah, you know, I mean growing up and Learning those skills, you know, it definitely. It has an influence in a way because I allow myself to, you know, get on my artist’s chair, you know, and like, play and wait for the muse and deliver, you know, and, and it’s great when she comes, but she doesn’t always come. You know, then you got to get down and, and do you got to roll up your sleeves and start, start swinging with a hammer and there are different points. I mean, I did, I did a song for a Disney movie. I think it’s like twenty years ago already, the movie called treasure planet. I wrote two songs for the film. So I learned I, they brought me into the project when it was still like in pencil sketches. Mm hmm. And they started talking about these characters, this huge team of people, dozens of people. And I’ve never seen people work so harmoniously in my life. You know, and there’s a certain period of time where you don’t judge, don’t judge, let it all, just come out, dare to suck, dare to suck, you know, it’s like you go there. You got to go there, but at some point in time, it’s like you got to, you know, somebody’s got to like, tap you on the shoulder and wake you up. And  then, and then you got to, you know, you got to start tightening screws and actually crafting something. So it’s like you have this sort of nebulous artistic process going on in your brain and then eventually to make it come to fruition. You have to apply some sort of skill and discipline to it.

Jonathan Fields Yeah. Now that makes total sense to me.

Jonathan Fields You know, it’s interesting also that part of what you become known for is really experimenting with alternative tunings in your work. You know, guitars are your primary jam and it sounds like from the earliest days, you know, for you which kind of ties into this. It’s sort of like, okay, so let me think differently even about this one thing you know. Okay, so I have a guitar in my hands, I have this one instrument and there’s a standard way that ninety nine point nine percent of people play it. But something in your brain is saying, but that’s not necessarily the constraints that I feel I have and let me just completely mess around with them.

John Rzeznik Yeah. It’s fun. It really is fun. Do you play the guitar? I do. Yeah. Yeah, it’s just one night. I don’t, I don’t know if you what you indulge in, but you know, just indulge in a little of something that you enjoy and, and then just sit on your sofa and just just start unwinding and winding strings up and you’ll break one and, but, and just strum and see what see what Feels good at that moment. And it’s almost like you got to relearn how to play the instrument every tuning you use. There’s some musical term for it, but there’s I thought it, you know, I did it out of necessity because I was in a three piece band. And I always hated when a guitar player would go into a solo or something like that. And then everything dropped out. Yeah, except the bass and the drums. And I’m like, you know, and when you go in the studio, you play the rhythm guitar behind it and then you put the solo on top. But it didn’t really, I didn’t want to really do that either, but I just started to see things. It was basically there to fill space so that I could create these droning kind of things that would go through the whole song. And that’s something that I, I really got from Bob Mould, you know, from who could do. Yeah, I thought like, man, listen to that and you create these overtones and harmonics. It’s just insane. Like what am I hearing that is, that is that’s what’s really going on. There and even Bob Mould, I love his guitar playing. He’s such an underrated guitar player. But man, he creates this sonic landscape and it’s jagged on the edges. But there’s so much beauty, like if you just listen a little deeper, there’s so much harmonic complexity and beauty in what he’s doing. 

Jonathan Fields Yeah. And that’s like, it almost sounds like there’s more than one person playing sometimes. Yeah. You know, which I guess is part of what you’re talking about. Like when you go to power trio and you Yeah. The one guitar drops into a lead. If there isn’t something else to like to give it some spaciousness, you know, like, it’s sort of like, okay, so everything kind of it gets thin. Yeah.  But  then you look at guys like, you know, like, people have been doing this for a long time. Like Robert Johnson, right. Zappa.

John Rzeznik  Everybody when I learned that right. When I learned about Joni Mitchell and Jimmy Page and, you know Robert Johnson and do you know all these people Stephen Stills, another guy I felt vindicated. Because I felt like I was cheating. And so necessity is the mother of invention and I only had one guitar. I can afford another one. So what it  did was I was, I was hanging out in a music store, and I Saw banjo tuners, and a thing called a hip shot. I was so wonky, nobody’s going to care, but I put banjo tuners and a hip shot on my guitar. So I could lower the E string to a D, I could tune the B string up to a C and tune the E  string up to an F sharp. So I could do all these other tunings while I was playing just wham and then drop it down to a D and drone that out and play a little solo on a top, you know, but things like that.

Jonathan Fields Yeah. Which simultaneously makes for an amazing Sonic experience and drives anyone who wants to try and figure out how to play what you’re playing completely batty. 

John Rzeznik Yeah, I know what’s amazing to me and I, I don’t do this a lot, but occasionally someone will send me a video of like a twelve year old girl playing one of my songs in a standard tuning better than I can play it. And I’m like, oh, I got to get a hold of this kid. I got to, she’s got to show me how to play the song the right way.

Jonathan Fields Yeah, yeah, that’s amazing. You build on that, you start to build with Robby, I mean, Goo Goo Dolls sounds like it starts out really more like a punk vibe eventually. You know, advanced your sound becomes more melodic. It’s interesting also that in the beginning I’ve heard you share how Robbie was really more of the frontman and it took a number of years for you to sort of, you know, like write more and then also like be more front and center. And I’ve also heard you describe yourself as quieter, more like in a personal and a private setting. Like, yeah, I’m not that person, but there’s something that happens to you when you get on stage where when you step out there, it’s almost like you’re stepping into a different persona.

John Rzeznik Yeah. Yeah, definitely, definitely. You know, Yeah, it’s crazy because You know, there’s a lot of fear still I’ve been doing this for thirty years or whatever and, and I stand on the side of that stage and I’m like, you know, Robbie is a natural born entertainer. He’s, he’s the guy that comes out and goes Ta Da, and you know, I have to force myself to try and keep up with that. Because sometimes I just want to play my guitar and singing. But then I’m like, you know, I also truly, truly believe in the work ethic of what I’m doing. And I think growing up in Buffalo had a lot to do that. And early on, you know, I had my mentors that were from the local music business. And and I’m saying, I mean look at the time it was like, somebody spent ten bucks to come and see you, you better give them a show Kid. And it’s like, yeah , I get it. I get it. You know, and, and, you know, I, I always got  sort of put off by, I’m not naming names, you know, bands that I’ve been on tour with,  and that, and sitting at a bar with, with one of them and just IMs whining about having to play this massive multi-Grammy winning ten million albums, sales song that bought you a House in the Hollywood hills. And you’re going to bitch about playing that. You know. 

Jonathan Fields  That’s the Buffalo in you. 

John Rzeznik Yeah, I know it is, you can only be so pretentious from Buffalo, but it just, it just, it struck me as being like wow, you ungrateful son of a bitch like like, you know, and like, I get sometimes I get, I get the little bit of a sigh before I play Iris, just like it’s the only song anybody knows. And, and then I’m like, shut up, quit feeling, sorry for yourself. That’s what they paid to see. Go give it to them. You know? And, and that’s the way it should be. It’s a contract, it’s like an unwritten contract between you and your audience. And I, it’s interesting because Rob is very very comfortable on stage. And I like being on stage and I can, I can, I can switch into that personality or that persona, whatever. Yeah.  But as soon as soon as I walk offstage, it’s like this, like, it’s like somebody letting the air out of a balloon it’s, you know, and, and I don’t, I don’t Party anymore and it’s, and you know, so I’m, so I’m drinking my club soda and I call home, you know, the real world awaits, you know? 

Jonathan Fields Yeah, I mean, it sounds like it’s the, it’s sort of like the sweet spot of, you know, you’re brought up and you know, like a, like in a town that values hard work. That’s kind of hard Scrabble in a blue collar environment and, but also, you know, having just a quieter sensibility having like more towards the introverted side of the, the spectrum. I know that sort of, it was eye opening to me when a friend of mine actually sort of explained, hey, you know, the difference between extroverts and introverts isn’t that, you know, like one is a raging Party animal. And the other one is, and it’s both are social and are not, are, you know, an introvert is not an antisocial person. It’s just being around large numbers of people. It can be really energizing in the moment. But when you’re done your empty. Yeah. Whereas an extrovert, yeah, goes to that exact same experience to fill up. 

John Rzeznik Yeah. Kind of weird. You know, it’s, it’s sort of like one of the things that I always thought about was, you know, because we came up playing in front of like five people get in a filthy van. You know, just traveling around. We did that for almost ten years before we got a break. And then all of a sudden you get this quote unquote hit and you start selling records. And then all of the sudden, you know, the world is changing around you and it’s, it’s terrifying. Yeah. Especially if you’re a shy ish person because I can be very shy ish person to people and I don’t get that close to too many people that started more. It kicked into a higher gear after we had gotten like a couple of hit songs because I started to feel like, well we’re, we’re all these pretty girls before I had a hit song, which was what, wait a minute. Who are all these people that all of a sudden are inviting me to parties and stuff.  I’ve no idea who these people are or whatever. So I declined every invitation, and I, you know, stuck with who I knew. Kind of circled the wagons and you know, and that was at the point I was like, and this is I really honest to God man. Honestly, I feel like after you wrote your first hit song everyone around you is applauding. Oh my God, that’s amazing. It’s amazing. It’s as if you won the lottery and everyone is going, Oh my God, Jon, you won the lottery, do it again. And I’m like, the pressure of that is insane. Well, that’s where the roots, aside from the genetic predisposition, that’s where the roots of my own addiction sort of started in fear. Just at that point I was terrified because I didn’t know who to trust, because nobody tells you the truth. When you’re really successful in that situation, you hang on to the people who say, Jon yeah, you look fat in those pants, you know, I hear like whatever you know, because you, so many people Wind up with these I don’t know what you call them. What’s a good word just like yes, men around them and some people thrive on it because they’re narcissists, you know? Although, I mean, I guess I’m a narcissist to be somewhat of a narcissist because I want people to love my music. I have no shame about that. I’m not going to completely flip who I am. You know, I stopped playing punk rock music because I didn’t feel it anymore because I was a twenty four year old man at that point twenty five year old man.  And to me, punk rock is kid music it’s, it’s what you do . Yeah. It’s like Joe, strummer said, you know, turn in rebellion in the money. You  know, and it’s like, and Bob Moore, there’s a great Bob Mould, quote, they asked him, is punk dead. Well, I hate that question. You know, it’s not dead as long as there’s a, a thirteen year old boy. You know, wearing a pair of chucks, told he got a funny haircut and it’s like, but Bob Mould said Bob Mould said no punks not dead you can buy it at Kmart. It’s like, yeah, man, that was great.  Then suddenly became, well when punk rock became arena rock and then ultimately stadium rock, you know, it was very formulaic. I think a lot of the, a lot of it, it’s very formulaic and it’s pop music. I’m not shit talking any body. And then I totally get it. I love, I love all that stuff you know. 

Jonathan Fields But, but eventually, you know, I feel like anything that lasts long enough that starts as counterculture becomes the culture. 

John Rzeznik It does. And that was a weird thing. Like when there was a guy named Kevin weatherly who used to run K rock in Los Angeles and was the most powerful radio station in the universe. You know, you know, you got a song played on K rock that became your single and you went and made the video. And you kissed everyone’s ass, you had to and the trajectory was very straight. Then you started getting ads after crack at it. Everybody was going to had you and that radio game was how I defined my success for a lot of years. You know, to crack the top twenty on it. Yeah. What do we debut at? What is it? It’s just, it’s nerve racking. And now because radio is so consolidated and the, the programming of radio, I mean, it seems like…

Jonathan Fields That’s a different beast, It’s algorithm based, right? Yeah, thank you.

John Rzeznik Yeah. Yeah, and it’s not, I don’t, I mean I know that my songs will always get played on the radio and I don’t, it’s not an all these show, but like, you know, like hot like AC radio or hottie or whatever. I’m in recurrent current rotation, a lot of places and I hear one of my songs every single day. You know, I’ll be in the supermarket or the Home Depot or wherever I am. And I’ll, I’ll hear one and I kind of cringe a little and  then I want to know, I’m just like, hey, hey, you’re lucky. Okay, you’re right.  I am lucky and, but you know, it does, it becomes the mainstream at some point.  And a lot of times the people, especially, you know, writers and you know, people who are in but out the shit on the bands, people feel like they have the right to shit on you. If you have a little success, you know, and they think like you automatically did something wrong and different to get that way. And I remember being that way myself, because I Saw U2. When I was fourteen or fifteen, I saw them play at a theater. And I was just like, man,  these guys are amazing. And then it was like, whoa, wait a minute, hold on. Now they’re on the radio. Now they’re now they’re playing at the arena. What, what the hell’s going on? Screw those guys. They sold out, you know, it’s so easy to dismiss that, but, you know, a lot of times artists are thrust into those positions through no fault of their own other than creating something that other people found appealing. You know.

Jonathan Fields Yeah. And I mean, once you land there it’s, I think some people are, you know, they’re equipped to handle it, but it’s almost like, it feels like that is the rare person, especially if it happens earlier in life. We had um Framton on a little bit, and he was sharing how, when printing comes alive, comes out. And then he’s on the cover of Rolling Stone, that classic shot, like topless. And everyone’s like, oh like, this is the biggest thing ever. And behind the scenes, he’s kind of melting down because he’s now become something he didn’t want to be. And now he’s got everyone telling him, this is where you got to keep being. And this is what your next album has to be. And oh, and you have to now try and repeat what you just did, which was like make the biggest selling live album in history. Yeah. And you’re, you know, he’s in his twenties and so, I mean, you know, that’s, I got to imagine anyone who has. Yeah, like you guys, eventually you’re gigging around for a long time, but then the mid-nineties hit and you’ve got this series of things where you got huge things.  It’s almost like how does any human being who’s sentient and who’s feeling and who’s empathic? Deal with that. You know and still come out like, without going through some sort of trough of sorrow or window of darkness.

John Rzeznik Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean all of a sudden everything that I wanted I had, I was terrified, miserable. You know, You know, so they say good therapy, good therapy, you know, go to therapy, and then they’re like, know, take this, you’ll feel better if you take those and you kind of feel better. And then it just becomes this slippery slope of I can’t sleep, I’ll take these and then, then you don’t have those pills anymore. And you can’t sleep. So you don’t get those pills and you start drinking more.  And, you know, it’s very Strange because the question that I always asked myself was, well, who, who’s going to be here when, when all the fun stops? Who’s going to be here at the Party when everybody else is left. And they’re actually going to help me clean up, you know, what I mean? And that was Tough. And I had to, I mean, you know, I’m, I’m, I almost lost everyone in my life and, you know, damn near, killed myself, you know, and it was, and it’s Such a clichéd story. But it was, it’s the fact that people, people feel like they own a little piece of you or they know something about you. It’s like, yeah, it’s cool. It’s nice to be appreciated by it. But you don’t know me, you know, and you know, people talk all kinds of smack all the time. It’s just easy to talk smack. It’s so easy to just make yourself feel better just by. I mean, I’ve done it and we’ve all done it. Screw that guy that could have done it better, you know?

Jonathan Fields Yeah, but, but I think everyone’s been through their version of that, but a lot of people, when it happens, it’s now public. You know, when it happens, there’s not, you know, there’s not the face that you have to then wear to a mass number of people and the brand you have to represent. And there’s these expectations you have to meet.  And then, you know, my sense is it’s different, you know, and it’s harder when you fall. And at the same time, it’s not to say that there’s not a stunning gratitude and appreciation for everything that comes along with it. Absolutely. You know? Yes, like you can feel that coming from you and at the same time, you know, I know you’ve, you’ve, you’ve said very openly about you effectively reaching this moment where you drop to your knees and it’s twenty fourteen ish. And you’re like, all right, so this is either going to kill me pretty soon, or I need to finally figure this out.

John Rzeznik Yeah. You know what I realized, I mean, because at that point, I mean, I was at that point like around 2014, I’ve been trying to get sober for me, you know , ten years. And I get a month, three weeks, two days, couple hours, you know, and it just kept going and going and, you know, and I finally, I had to, I had to, I mean, I found myself in such a dangerous F’ed up situation in a blackout. And waking up from a blackout in a really weird situation is it’s okay, Like my situation I think is hysterically funny in retrospect, where I woke up from my blackout but, and what was going on. And I’m, but, but it terrified me. It terrified me. I’m like this shit, skin dangerous. This is getting dangerous dude. You know, and my wife was, was like, ready to bail. You know, she was like, I don’t want to leave you because I love you. I can’t take this anymore. You know? And she said the sweetest thing to me when I had six years she, she gave me my coin for six years. And she said, you haven’t made me cry in six years. And I was just like, oh Wow. And that’s when you realize where you belong. When you’re Home. Yeah, Mm hmm. Now that was a nice moment.

Jonathan Fields I mean along the way also, you know, six years in almost seven now I guess for you at this point and but one day at a time and still right. And yeah, married you’re dad now. Yeah, you know, and I got to imagine that that the decision like that decision and then being a dad, um, has given you a different perspective on everything.

John Rzeznik I think it has, you know, I mean it, it definitely, it softens your heart and makes you worry less about you, you know, the way you are perceived by other people. Because you have this tiny little genius who just adores you. Do you have daughters? 

Jonathan Fields I have a daughter. Yeah. So I’m looking at your face and I’m just like I know that feeling. Yeah. I know that smile. That’s like full body.

John Rzeznik Yeah. And like Yeah. Sky, eyes full of tears and a hot wheels car with a wheel that fell off. And like, you just feel so like so powerful. When you go come here honey, let me fix it for you pop the little wheel back on. They just think you’re the greatest guy in the world, man. Yeah, I love that. I’m going to miss that. But you know, she’s my silver lining from the pandemic. You know, because I’ve watched her grow. I was literally away from her for half her life. You know and to get to spend as much time with her. And by the way, I, once again, I don’t know how this happened, but I wound up living in a house with five women again. And I’m just like, oh my God, I need some testosterone. I need to go. 

Jonathan Fields It’s your destiny 

John Rzeznik I need to go shoot a gun or something. 

Jonathan Fields You can’t fight it. It’s your destiny. 

John Rzeznik I know, but I love it. I love them. I love. I love that. My daughter has a tribe of strong smart women around her, including my sisters and and, and Nona lives here, grandma lives here and her two cousins live here and you know, and, and with us and, and she’s learning from them now. And, and I love that. I love that, you know, but I try to balance it out, throwing around wrestling with her. Know, doing that whole thing. She’s such a girl. God. And I was with a little boy and her last weekend and they had like the ski resort, but they had an indoor pool and the whole thing.  So we took him in the pool and then about fifteen minutes into like letting the kids jump into the pool and then I grabbed him, put him back up and the jump back. And this a little boy takes a swing at me, you know? And then he asked me why I had long hair like a woman. So was like, what is going on here? Kid? He’s like, he’s, you know, it’s like he wants some.. he’s like challenging me. [laughter] And I’m just like, I love you Lily, because she just loves me, man. There’s no, no, no challenging the dominance. You know, I mean, she’ll manipulate the hell out of me, but you know, you get really good at that sort of bobbing and, weaving the manipulation, you know, with girls they enjoy it. And I’m just like sort of I spoiler a little bit. 

Jonathan Fields Yeah. When you think about, I mean, you know, over the last year, just the time that you may want to have with her. And then you think about, you know, Okay, so as we emerge from whatever this window is, you know, you start to head back into the studio and eventually back on the road for certain way. Is it hard? Do you have any sense that you make decisions differently based on just this last year or so that you’ve had?

John Rzeznik Yeah, yeah, it’s very strange. It is. I mean I grew up insanely poor.  Like, you know, my parents work, but we always had to have food stamps. Sometimes a little help from the pantry and they were good people. They were good people, but they were flawed. You know, like, like all of us, they were flawed. Maybe more deeply than some, but I will do everything in my power to make sure that I’m strong and healthy for that girl because I started so late and I don’t ever want her to feel the things that I felt when I became completely untethered and left to my own devices. As far as the touring situation goes, yeah. She’s going to be coming with me a lot more. A, because she loves and be, you know, traveling this best education, right? Maybe not necessarily with a rock band, but I mean, you know, it’s not like we’re having wild parties on the bus anymore. And you know, she loves it, and I love being with her because she’s totally honest. She doesn’t know how to lie yet. Although she’s learning, she’s learning, you know, like just to cover her ass, she should know, you know, but I just adore her in every way. I just, I see myself in her sometimes so like personality I’m like really like, is this genetic. I’m like jesus, like running down my list of character defects and I’m like, oh God spare her that one I make that happen. 

Jonathan Fields Feels like a good place for us to come full circle and our conversation as well. So yeah, hanging out here in this container, good life project. If I offer up the phrase to live a good life, what comes out

John Rzeznik To have the courage, to be honest with yourself and not worry about the outcome. You know, I mean, I could elaborate a little more, but I don’t want to, I’ll screwed up. You know, like, but we got this thing hanging on the wall in the kitchen, this big poster, it’s made out of newspaper. That says work hard and be nice to people. Generally, that’s not bad. It’s not bad. Sort of,  first step to leading a Good Life. You know, I mean there’s so much, I mean, you’ve been in this for so long and like you’re studying like you’re a student of having a Good Life.  What is that like?

Jonathan Fields It’s amazing. Yeah. It’s, I mean it’s really, it’s kind of breathtaking to be in this project for years now to you had the opportunity to speak to so many different people from so many walks of life.  People who, you know, are a week away from, you know, like hand-to-mouth and people who are at the top of industry, art, science, politics and just see their shared humanity to see sort of like the shared values when they really just get down to it. You know, it’s amazing. 

John Rzeznik It’s, it’s incredible because I mean, to me, that you do this, but I, you know, I have to ask you the question, is your life better? What was the best takeaway from anyone? Like you just, you had a paradigm shift when someone said something to you in an interview. I mean, there must be hundreds of them. 

Jonathan Fields Yeah, there are, it’s really hard to isolate one. But you know, there are moments that have stayed with me that either because it was something deeply personal to me that somebody gave language to me or just because it was a reminder that there but for god’s grace I am or it was a reframe on what success was like when our, producer Lindsay, who you’ve met, reminds me that the person I tend to refer to the most in conversation is Milton Glaser, who was on the show years ago and passed away last year. And for so many different reasons for the choices he made, he’s this iconic designer designed a heart NY logo and that classic Dylan, poster with the rainbow hair, you know? Yeah. His work has touched so many different people and he kept designing and working really like right up until the very end when he was ninety one. So there were a lot of lessons in his life and the choices, the things that he said no to you know, he showed up and he kept a small, but hyper prolific studio in New York City. He didn’t start a massive agency which he could have. He said no to all of these things that would have taken him away from the work. He was very clear on the work that filled him up. And he said no to what a lot of people would have been so tempted to say yes to sure in the name of being able to do the work and to be able to, to spend time with people. He just couldn’t get enough of his wife being one of those people. And he said something to me also which resonated which was he knew why he was here from the time of six year old. And he said, I make things that move people. And that was very personal to me because that’s not everybody. But when he said that I was like, my DNA started vibrating because I was like..

John Rzeznik That’s amazing. 

Jonathan Fields That’s me. Really, you know, and what’s interesting is like I sensed some of that in you too. You know, I sent a lot of that and you, because there’s, there’s like a Maker instinct in you that crosses whether it’s drawing, whether it’s plumbing, whether it’s music, like there’s something that is like a fierce creative impulse and something where you do it in part for yourself, but also because when it moves people, it adds to sort of like the experience of it.

John Rzeznik Yeah. Yeah, no, it does. It really, truly does. That’s a beautiful story. By the way. It’s a really beautiful story.  I mean, you know, I’ve been reflecting a lot about what, what is going on in our society and the, the frustration and the violence. And the, I mean , where we are, I mean, we were a hair’s breath away from a coup to top. And I’m not going political, I’m not saying anything right or left, but at the same time, it’s like, what are the forces that are deeply behind this, this discontent? You know, are we ever going to be back to  I don’t know, you know, and I’m, I’m on the fence I, I blow with the Wind now now to see to see what’s happening. But you know, I just feel like somehow a lot of people in this country, I think a lot of it has to do with the concentration of wealth in very few hands. And people not being able to be part of trade unions, labor unions, whatever. I feel like people are losing their sense of purpose because I truly believe that work gives your life purpose, you know, and sometimes you may not have your dream job. And then you have to find the purpose. And you work. You know, I mean , I had a lot of, I mean, I used to fry peanuts, you know, in a vat of oil for a living. You know, and I had to try  to find the purpose in it. You know, there just seems to be a rush amongst certain people to just make humans obsolete. And it’s like just because we can do it technologically and with that advanced; I think technology has outpaced human evolution. I mean, it’s just how are we going to deal with it?

Jonathan Fields Yeah, I think we’re on the precipice of a lot of really Tough issues right now.

John Rzeznik Tough issues. You think we’re going to be okay?

Jonathan Fields I do, I’m oddly hopeful. 

John Rzeznik Yeah?

Jonathan Fields I’m not, you know, like at the end of the day, you know, like I’m a New York Jew who is not necessarily wired for optimism. Like with all things… 

John Rzeznik Yeah. I’m a Polish Catholic from Buffalo, I’m the same way 

Jonathan Fields You get it right? 

John Rzeznik Absolutely!  

Jonathan Fields But, there is something that about me where I’m kind of like, you know what, I’m hopeful because all the things that are separating us and all the things that are challenging us right now. Approached differently and used differently can become tools for re-humanizing, tools for advancement, tools for growth, tools for connection. So it’s like it’s all there and it’s all available to us. And one of my fascinations is like what switches do we need to flip for us to start to use them, not for division and replacement, but for connection and elevation. 

John Rzeznik Wow. You got to write that down bro. 

Jonathan Fields We got it on tape so it’s all good. 

John Rzeznik Yeah, man, you got to write that down. That was…whew…I really appreciate you taking the time to talk. 

Jonathan Fields My pleasure.

John Rzeznik I’m really glad. Thank you so much man.


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