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Even though they have been playing across North America and the world for the better part of the past 28 years, this week marks the first time the Goo Goo Dolls will stop in the Limestone City.

"We're hitting a lot of places we haven't been on this run," explained the band's bassist and co-founder, Robby Takac, from Los Angeles, where the band is currently rehearsing for its abbreviated, 13-city Canadian tour.

The band was huge in the 1990s thanks to such mega-hits as "Slide," "Name" and "Iris," its biggest hit to date. The Buffalo, N.Y., group has sold millions of albums, and is touring its latest release, Magnetic, which came out in the summer.

To this day, the band tours as much as they ever have, Takac said.

"The music business has become kind of the carny business, you know? It's tough to sell records these days, so we spend a lot of time on the road keeping the machine running, if you will," he explained.

Similarly, it's tough to get a song into the radio rotation.

"I think the labels and everyone, because times are a little tough in the music business, they're going for what they feel is the sure thing all the time," Takac observed.

"The slice of what's going on out there that ends up on the radio is so small, for sure."

Indeed, Takac and co-founder Johnny Rzeznik have witnessed firsthand how the music industry has evolved over the years.

"We got to watch things change dramatically, you know, from when the band started, and obviously we view things from a bit different place now because we're older and different people," explained Takac, whose gravelled voice suggests he does not work retail.

"When we started, I mean, there were barely (compact discs). Our first record wasn't even released on CD, you know. And we got to watch that whole thing sort of change. The home taping thing, the CD-burning thing, and then the Napster thing. Now the (online sites) Spotify and Rdio, and all these things. It's just changing dramatically all the time.

"The one thing that doesn't change is people like good songs, and I think that as long as we keep on that point, we'll be OK."

The band made their own change in December, parting ways with drummer Mike Malinin, who joined the group in 1995 after the release of name-making fifth album, A Boy Named Goo.

"Mike's been with us an awful long time, but there was just a vibe within what was going on that it was kind of time for a change, and we looked at each other and said, 'How do we make this thing last another 30 years?' " said Takac.

"Unfortunately, we came down to that decision, and we wish him the best, you know, but we're moving on and the band sounds amazing right now."

Changing drummers after 19 years offered a chance to re-examine the band's songs, Takac feels.

"It's been kind of interesting to revisit these songs again after this many years," said Takac, who now lives in his hometown of Buffalo with his wife and young child.

"You go back and look at them again and from what is essentially the brick and mortar of how the song is played and built, you know, especially with me being the bass player, it's been interesting. There's an intimate, cosmic adventure that goes on during a show between a bass player and a drummer's kick-drum foot. It's been fun, and it's been interesting."

Kingston will likely hear five or six of the band's new, upbeat Magnetic numbers blended with its older crowd-pleasers.

There's one song Takac always enjoys playing: the terribly popular "Slide," which appears early in the set list each night.

"It's really the first song we play that I know everyone in the room knows, you know? And it's kind of fun. It's definitely like turning on the turbo rockets at the show," he observed.

"Even though that song's like 15 years old now, I just still love playing it."

peter.hendra@sunmedia.ca

ESSENTIALS

Who: The Goo Goo Dolls with opener Tim Chaisson.

When: Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Rogers K-Rock Centre, 1 The Tragically Hip Way.

Cost: Tickets are $62.25, $47 and $35 plus fees and taxes.

For more: Go towww.rogersk-rockcentre.com for tickets, to www.googoodolls.com for information about and videos of the band.
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