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Twenty years ago, life for the Goo Goo Dolls was changing.

Previously, the Buffalo band had Replacements ambitions as a punkish act that dabbled in metal.

However, that would all change when the group wrote and recorded the song “Name.” After nearly a decade of obscurity, the band was about to be ubiquitous, with an unexpected and unintended style change that would forge its pop future.

“It’s funny — when we were doing the demos for [1995’s] ‘Boy Name Goo,’ I remember when that song was coming together,” said bassist Robby Takac, calling from San Jose, California. “We were kind of looking at each other going, ‘Oh, wow, this is pretty real.’ It definitely felt different, but at that time it wasn’t weird for heavy bands to have acoustic songs on the record.

“For us, it almost felt like, ‘Wow, this is a great song, but this isn’t what we do.’ So we never really felt it was going to change our lives. It was nothing we were known for.”

Still, fate has a funny way of making its presence known. For the Goo Goo Dolls, that would be during the video shoot of the “Boy Name Goo” second single “Flat Top.”

Takac said, with cameras rolling, the band was on set alongside a bunch of hipsters jumping around when word came down influential Los Angeles radio station KROQ added “Name” to its playlist.

At the time, the Goo Goo Dolls were still very much of the college radio-band mindset looking for any sign of mainstream attention.

“We finished the video and booked another video, like three days later, for ‘Name,’” Takac said. “I don’t know if the video for ‘Flat Top’ ever came out, but yeah, that was sort of the changing point.

“Also, shortly after that record came out, we recorded ‘Iris’ for the ‘City of Angels’ soundtrack. We really hadn’t gotten into [1998’s] ‘Dizzy up the Girl’ at all. We were sitting there with an orchestra playing. At that point, it was pretty evident that something had shifted. We were out of the garage and in Capitol Records making music. That was definitely a huge turning point.”

The Goo Goo Dolls’ have sold more than 10 million albums, scored 14 top-10 radio hits (“Name,” “Naked,” “Iris,” “Slide,” “Dizzy” among them) and boasts three songs on Billboard’s “Top 100 Songs from 1992-2012” list, including the No. 1 tune, “Iris.”

Now the group is supporting its recently released 11th studio album, “Boxes,” with a summer tour that pulls into Northeast Ohio Aug. 10 for a show at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.

In addition to playing old hits and new songs, such as lead single “So Alive” and the anthemic “Over and Over,” the Goo Goo Dolls are covering Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.” The tune, which the band covered on its 1990 album “Hold Me Up,” is arguably one of the Purple One’s most underrated pop creations.

“Yeah, I think you’re right,” Takac said. “It was funny — when we recorded that song, we were a much different band than we (are) today. It was really kind of a cool exercise to take that song we had completely deconstructed and bring it back into sort of the realm we’re in now. I think it’s in a really cool place.”

As far as meeting Prince, Takac said that happened.

“It was at an after-hours club in Las Vegas a long time ago,” Takac said. “It was officially strange. He did have someone send a message to my girlfriend.”

Perhaps the message was he could never take the place of your man?

“No,” laughed Takac, “it was perhaps that he could.”
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