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You might expect Sting or U2 to release a greatest-hits album titled What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce (1987-2000) — but the Goo Goo Dolls?

"[Frontman] Johnny Rzeznik read that title somewhere, and he liked it and thought it applied perfectly to what we've been going through for the past 13 years," explained bassist/songwriter Robby Takac. "Those four forces — ego, opinion, art and commerce — are the things we've been balancing all these years in our quest to be this rock band."

The new record, scheduled for May 29 release, consists of 22 songs from the Goo's six studio albums. Veteran knob twister Chris Lord-Alge remixed all the tracks from original source recordings. Some of the older tapes were in such bad shape they had to be subjected to a well-known culinary procedure. "We baked them in the oven to restore their resolution," Takac said. "You can play them once or twice and they sound as good as ever. But you have to dub them onto another tape right away because after those couple of plays they're destroyed forever."
In addition to remixing all 22 songs, the band rearranged "Acoustic #3" (from 1998's Dizzy Up the Girl) and recruited spooky alternative-classical band Rasputina to add cello parts to it. The Dolls also completely re-recorded "Two Days in February" from the 1991 album Hold Me Up.

"When we originally did that song, we couldn't catch the groove we wanted in the studio, so we decided to record the song live out on the street," Takac recalled. "You can hear the cars driving by in the background and the neighbors complaining. We've always wanted to redo it and get it right."

The What I Learned About Ego CD includes a bonus "pass key" that, when copied onto a computer's hard drive, allows fans to access vintage video clips, exclusive photos and unreleased versions of Goo Goo classics.

On May 25 the band will perform "Two Days in February" on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." Instead of touring for the album, though, they will return to the studio July 15 to start work on their next record. That disc will be produced by Rob Cavallo (who produced 1995's double-platinum A Boy Named Goo) at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles. The group hope to release it by the end of the year.

"I can't tell you what we're gonna end up recording because we don't have any complete songs yet," Takac said. "But judging from our rehearsals, I can say we've got 30 or 40 ideas which sound great. Now it's just a matter of putting them together and figuring out where we want to go with them."

Takac said the next Goo Goo record will likely be more anthem-oriented than the multiplatinum Dizzy Up the Girl, their most recent studio album. "Right now it sounds like it's gonna be heavier and faster," he said. "But then again, the real rockin' stuff is usually the stuff you come up with first. It's the slower, more melodic things that require more thought.

"We were real happy with Dizzy," Takac continued. "We had a lot of time to get it the way we wanted it to sound. We want this record to be a natural progression from that one."
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