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Three questions for Nine Days' John Hampson

Great South Bay Music Festival, Shorefront Park Smith

Great South Bay Music Festival, Shorefront Park Smith Street, Patchogue: More than 65 performers, including the legendary Christina Perri, Colbie Caillat, Lotus, 311, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Electric Hot Tuna will join and performing contemporary and classic rock, jazz, jam, country, folk, pop, funk. Children's entertainment and an artisan market with arts and crafts. Also, special Sunday afternoon performance by children's favorite: The Laurie Berkner Band. Dates: July 16-19. Credit: Newsday / Jeremy Bales

Nine Days singer-

guitarist John Hampson says the band will be doing some celebrating when it headlines The Paramount tomorrow.

"We just love playing live," says Hampson, calling from his home in St. James. "We're still the same five guys who started out at the Village Pub in 1995, and we're so lucky that we have a reason to still be a band 20 years later."

That reason is getting stronger as the band -- Hampson, singer/guitarist Brian Desveaux, keyboardist Jeremy Dean, bassist Nick Dimichino, and drummer Vincent Tattanelli -- works on the follow-up to last year's "Something Out of Nothing" album in Nashville, where Desveaux now lives.

However, the band's Long Island show will focus on fun, says Hampson. Yes, you will hear its No. 1 hit, "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)."

What can fans expect at the Paramount show?

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We will be leaning heavy on "The Madding Crowd" album, with a little of the newer stuff. People who come out want to hear that record. It's a bit of a nostalgia thing. They want to relive 14 years ago for an evening. It's just something fun for us to do.

How did this mini-tour with Dishwalla and Stroke 9 come together?

Well, this weekend, it's three shows in three different states, so what was I thinking? (Laughs.) Basically, I missed playing. ... Our booking agent was looking at getting us on Sugar Ray's "Summerland" tour, but it didn't work out. We wanted to do something that musically made sense and we all had hits around the same time. These shows are at good venues so we know we're going to go out and have fun. I definitely am looking forward to it.

Where does the new album stand?

We want to do something different this time. I've been spending a lot of time in Nashville with Brian and there are just so many great musicians and writers there -- the energy down there really is infectious.

We have this lofty goal. We want to do a record that can compete with anyone. We are open to different sonic approaches. We want to make a record in a different way. ... The songs we've been writing are so good. We really want people to hear it. ... That is really making us happy.

WHO Nine Days

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Saturday, The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington

INFO $25-$50; 800-745-3000

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