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Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac relaxed in his room in what he had been told is the best hotel in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. In a few hours, Takac and bandmates John Rzeznik and Mike Malinin were scheduled to kick off their cross-country American tour with a concert at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center next door to the hotel.

In honor of Halloween, Takac said he and Rzeznik would be appearing in costume as the '80s pop duo Hall & Oates.

Takac said he was excited to start the new tour, especially because this time around the band will be playing smaller venues.

"We're out of the amphitheaters, which is nice after being in them for eight weeks," he said. "We're good for about 5,000 people in most cities, so it's actually going to be really nice. The shows are going to be full."

Their concert tonight in Dillon Gym will be one of the Goo Goo Dolls' stops on this small venue tour.

"It's gonna be a great night to rock," Takac said. "I think it's gonna be great, man. College shows are awesome. Everybody's up for a good time."

In the band's early days, college bars and gymnasiums were their bread-and-butter gigs.

"It's a ready-made place to have rock concerts," Takac said. "It's a bunch of kids who are normally stuck in classrooms doing their thing. They get a night to go out and paint the town red" ā€” or orange and black as the case may be.

Even with less equipment than stadium concerts, the show at Dillon will not be stripped down, Takac said.

The Goo Goo Dolls are coming to put on what Takac describes as a "huge rock show, my friend, huge rock show."

The band just returned from Japan, where the crowds were so good that they pumped up guitarist, lead singer and heartthrob Rzeznik, who was a little sick, Takac said.

Together, Takac and Rzeznik write all of the band's music. Their drummer, Malinin, has been with them for the past seven years of the pair's 16-year collaboration. During most of this time, the Goo Goo Dolls were a relatively unknown band.

"We spent 10 years being a fairly unnoticed band doing something that we really believed in," Takac said. "Six years later, I think that we've really tried to maintain that.

"I think we got popular much to the surprise of many people, including our record label and everyone else involved," he added. "I think a lot of it was because we really didn't know what we were doing. We were just sort of doing our thing. And, we still do that."

Takac tried to account for his band's success and popularity.

"We try to write records full of really good songs, and I think we've been lucky enough that a few of them have connected," he said. "People have related to them and that has allowed us to stick around all this time."

Takac said although the band's early influences were hardcore and punk groups like the Replacements, the Cure and the Lime Spiders, their tastes have evolved with their music.

"We started listening to Springsteen, John Cougar and Tom Petty," he said.

"I've actually been getting into a lot of sort of DJ music as well," Takac said of his own personal taste.

He liked that artists like Tortoise, Cornelius, Moby and DJ Shadow seem to be concerned with having solid albums as opposed to one or two singles and a bunch of throwaway tracks.

The preponderance of throwaway tracks on overpriced albums has partially fueled the MP3 revolution, which Takac said has hurt the band's record sales.

The first week their new album "Gutterflower" was available it sold 106,000 copies. During the same time, 1.6 million Internet users downloaded the songs, according to BigChampagne.com, a website which keeps track of the most popular downloads. The figure, however, does not include copies made using peer-to-peer sharing.

"Am I getting screwed? Absolutely," he said. "But, hey man, it's the way it is, right? Some things ain't fair."

Yet Takac said he can still put the pirating of his music in context.

"It's a small problem when you consider the state of the world right now," he said.

MP3s and the ability to burn compact discs quickly and inexpensively are "murdering the music industry, absolutely crucifying it, murdering it, wringing it out to dry," Takac said.

But this is not necessarily a bad thing, he said.

"I think it's been an unfair scenario forever," he said. "They charge too much for records. I will say this for myself: 'They generally treat their artists like sā€”-.' I mean, we are the last to get paid."

"Do I think they deserve it? Absolutely," he said.
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