The band formed in Buffalo, New York, responsible for the post-grunge hits that marked the soundtrack of the late 90s – originally composed of vocalist and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and deceased drummer since George Tutuska – has an unusual name. Goo Goo dolls. Yes, it’s memorable because of its uniqueness, and it’s easy, almost elementary, to pronounce, but strange nonetheless.
However, the group behind “Iris,” the heartbreaking “Name,” the agonizing “Slide,” and many other melodramatic bops, began their careers under an even stranger moniker.
Origin of the name
The Sex Maggots were a tough name to sell on a marquee. Originally joining forces as a cover band, the trio formed under this moniker in 1985. Although the origin of the name The Sex Maggots is unclear, the Goo Goo Dolls were forced to come up with a new name because of it.
“We had a gig and so we had to sort of come up with a name just to play the show,” Rzeznik explained. The trio were, supposedly, leafing through a real detectivea real detective magazine in circulation until 1995, when they came across an advertisement for a toy called Goo Goo Doll.
“That’s how folklore goes,” said bassist, Takac. “[Goo Goo Dolls] it really doesn’t mean anything… The first name was bad, so we moved on to another bad name, we got 15,000 fans, and we were afraid to change it… At the time, we thought [the name] was really inappropriate for what we were doing in this post-punk era that we kind of wallowed in.
What is a goo goo doll? If you Google a slimy doll (try saying that five times faster), the group results will inevitably pop up with terrifying photos of a hand puppet from the 1980s, pictured HERE.
What do you think? Was it the doll the group discovered between the pages of this real detective?
Goo Goo dolls today
Whatever a goo goo doll was or was, the Goo Goo Dolls made a name for themselves with that particular alias. Over their nearly 40-year career, the group has garnered 19 top-ten singles, sold 15 million records worldwide and seen four Grammy nominations.
Revisit the band’s 1998 classic, “Iris,” and let us know which songs you’re having fun with in the comments below.
Photo: Maxine Evans/BBgun Press