Robert Carl Takac, Jr.was born September 30, 1964 in Buffalo, NY. He grew up with one younger sister (Trish) in the town of West Seneca, a suburb of Buffalo.
A self-confessed "sugar freak," Robby started collecting PEZ in early childhood. Even the near-death experience of choking on a plastic PEZ at the age of five didn't stifle his enthusiasm for the candy. As of August 2003, he has over 1400 dispensers!
Robby's first musical instrument was a eukelele, a gift from his grandmother at the age of two. Throughout his school years, he played a range of instruments, including trombone, bass, and drums. When he graduated West Seneca East High in 1982, Robby's uncle gave him his first electric guitar.
At Medaille College, Robby majored in Communications, with a focus on Radio Broadcasting. He graduated in 1986, and throughout college he played in several bands around the Buffalo music scene. He also interned at a local radio station, eventually working his way up to music director, and worked as a "studio rat" in the Allentown district of Buffalo. Non-musical jobs he's held include telemarketing and delivering pizza and flowers.
Robby was playing in a punk band called the Monarchs when his cousin Paul persuaded him to join a band that he wanted to quit. The band - the Beaumonts - fell apart in 1985, but Robby and his new friend John Rzeznik set out to start a new band. They enlisted George Tutuska on drums, John played guitar, and Robby was the lead singer and bassist. They called themselves the Sex Maggots and played hard, fast punk music.
Eventually, they came across a promoter who refused to advertise their scandalous band name, so they were forced to find a new moniker in a short time. An ad in the back of a True Detective magazine for "Goo Goo Dolls" - annoying toys with moving heads - caught their eye. It seemed like a funny and ironic name for a punk band, and it's stuck through the years.
Recording in the studio where Robby worked, on a budget of $700, the Goo Goo Dolls put together a demo in 1986. It was picked up by the French company Celluloid Records and released in 1987 as a self-titled debut. According to various interviews, the band had no intentions of releasing the demo as an album, they were just fooling around in the studio! Nevertheless, they borrowed a friend's windowless van and set out to tour promoting their album. When they couldn't afford a hotel, they slept and ate in the van. They often depended on fans for a place to sleep and take showers. When they couldn't afford to tour, the band members got jobs in Buffalo and coordinated their gigs via pay-phone.
A show in Los Angeles got the attention of Metal Blade Records, who signed them for a multi-album contract. During breaks from their non-stop touring, they released Jed in 1989, followed by Hold Me Up in 1991, and Superstar Carwash in 1993. While they enjoyed a steadily growing base of loyal fans, the Goo Goo Dolls hit breakthrough success with A Boy Named Goo, in 1995. Shortly after recording the album, Robby and John fired George Tutuska because of interpersonal problems. They hired Mike Malinin, but after eight months of touring, were considering quitting altogether. Then Name became #1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Chart, and the album sold over three million copies. Despite overwhelming success in record sales, radio play, and live performances, the Goos were deeply in debt with Metal Blade due to the unfair contract they'd signed as 20-year-olds. A lengthy legal battle got them out of the contract, and they signed with Warner Bros. Records on better terms.
In 1998, the success of the ballad Iris for the City of Angels soundtrack set the stage for Dizzy Up The Girl to reach dizzying proportions. Four of the tracks received over one million plays on the radio, two songs were nominated for Grammys, and the Goos received a Radio Music Award for "Artist of the Year-Pop Alternative Radio." In 2000, the Goo Goo Dolls wanted their new fans to get a feel for their older material, and they released the retrospective, What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art, and Commerce. In 2002, their latest album was released, Gutterflower. Now in 2003, the band is wrapping up a 16-month tour and heading back into the studio to work on their next album.
In the early days, John was terrified to sing, but persistent encouragement from Robby (and turning the lights off) finally persuaded him to develop his vocal talent. As John has become the band's front man and the writer of its "hits," Robby has gracefully taken a more supporting role musically. His high-octane songs bring life to John's ballads, and the two musical styles compliment each other well. Even though Robby only does about one-third of the songs on newer albums, he has always been the motivation and energy behind the band. When the going gets rough, Robby is the one to convince everyone to keep going. His incredible energy, positive personality, and rockin' songs have earned him a loyal fan following and the title of "best kept secret in rock."
Robby isn't content to keep his success for himself - he's determined to share it with the city that reared him. In 2002, he opened ChameleonWest recording studio around the corner from where the Goos' first demo was created. He organized a Music Is Art festival to promote 30 local bands, and is starting a label called Good Charamel to give Buffalo musicians a chance to excel. He's personally done production work for a number of bands and artists, including Last Conservative, Grand National, Fono, and Mikki Howard.
Besides his work with "undiscovered" musicians, he also supports arts education through a number of organizations. He has progressive political views and is not afraid to speak out against war. In fact, an anti-war rant in the fall of 2002 led to the formation of Goo Goo Dolls Fans For Peace, a fan-based organization that he has enthusiastically supported.
Meanwhile, when not on tour or working in Buffalo, Robby lives in Los Angeles with his wife Miyoko, two cats, and 1400 PEZ dispensers.