He used Guild acoustics as well. But as of late he seems to be experimenting the Gibson Les Paul guitars, and semi hollow body guitars. He also uses acoustic Taylor Guitars. The last name "Rzeznik" (which, spelled 'Rzeźnik', means 'butcher' in Polish) indicates his Polish ancestry -- his parents (Joseph and Edith Rzeznik) are both immigrants from Poland. He has four older sisters (Phyllis, Fran, Glad and Kate), and often jokingly complains it's "...one of the worst things that can happen to a man." Unfortunately, his father died of alcoholism when Johnny was fourteen, and his mother the following year from heart problems.
He got an apartment on his own and turned "punk". He was the only punk at his school, Buffalo's McKinley Vocational High School, where he was studying to be a plumber. The band Goo Goo Dolls happened instead. Rzeznik believes that writing is a vocational thing. Inspiration comes rarely when it does come at all, and even when it does, he claims that you still have to hammer the information out.
Music isn't all play. He says he often runs tape and "messes around with stuff", just singing and playing what he feels and keeping the things he likes. He says that it takes a lot of digging around but eventually you will find a nugget of something that is true. He says that he writes the music first and then forms the words around the music.
He says that music inspires words to come forth. He says just pull lyrics from things around you such as past feelings in life, or movies you saw. It's everywhere you just have to use it. Oftentimes his songs are about himself.
 Around 1998, Rzeznik claimed to have "writer's block" when it came to song-writing. However, he claims that his block was broken when Goo Goo Dolls were approached to write a song for the movie City Of Angels. The resulting song, "Iris", is arguably Goo Goo Doll's biggest hit to date. "Iris" is also featured in "Dizzy Up the Girl".
From this album, the Goo Goo Dolls released "Slide" and "Black Balloon", which were both commercially successful. In recent times, Rzeznik has focused some of his attention on producing music for various artists. He wrote a couple of songs for Ryan Cabrera's debut album Take It All Away. The traditional Goo Goo Dolls sound is very evident on Cabrera's song "Illusions". Rzeznik wrote the single "Better Days" (released winter 2005), and co-wrote "Stay With You" (released April 2006), both from 2006 album Let Love In. Read more on Last.fm.
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