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INTERVIEW - Barenaked Ladies & Steven Page

Special Exhibit Launches at Studio Bell

Celebrity Interview by Jason Clevett (From GayCalgary® Magazine, August 2018, page 10)
INTERVIEW - Barenaked Ladies & Steven Page: Special Exhibit Launches at Studio Bell
Image by: GayCalgary
INTERVIEW - Barenaked Ladies & Steven Page: Special Exhibit Launches at Studio Bell
Image by: GayCalgary
INTERVIEW - Barenaked Ladies & Steven Page: Special Exhibit Launches at Studio Bell
Image by: GayCalgary

It was a performance we never thought we’d see. On March 25th, 2018 at the Juno Awards in Vancouver the Barenaked Ladies – Ed Robertson, Kevin Hearn, Jim Creeggan, Tyler Stewart – reunited with founding member Steven Page to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Their first performance together in a decade – One Week and If I Had 1000000 – was the top-rated segment on the show. It was a thrill for fans to see them together for one night only, and the comfort level of the band members together.

BNL and Page reunited again May 16th at the National Music Centre at Studio Bell in downtown Calgary for launch of Milestones: Barenaked Ladies. Running until February 2019 the exhibit features treasures from the band’s founders, Ed Robertson and Steven Page, including early songbooks and lyric sheets, an acoustic guitar used by Robertson in the music video for "Falling for the First Time," and Page’s 8-track cassette recorder used to make early demo tapes for "Jane" and "Old Apartment." The exhibition will also include an assortment of memorabilia from members of Barenaked Ladies and Page, such as behind-the-scenes photos from the band’s formative years, press clippings, album artwork, and awards.

"This is now the third exhibition that we’ve launched in collaboration with our official partners at CARAS since opening Studio Bell in 2016," said Andrew Mosker, President and CEO, NMC. "We are proud to be the physical home of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and look forward to each induction and producing a coinciding exhibition every year to recognize new inductees. Barenaked Ladies have made an unforgettable mark domestically and internationally, and we are eager to share another important story from the canon of Canadian music with all of our visitors."

"We are thrilled to see this exhibition come to life at Studio Bell in partnership with the National Music Centre" said Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts. "Barenaked Ladies have one of the most unique success stories in Canadian history, and a musical legacy that CARAS was proud to honour at the 2018 JUNO Awards and again, just yesterday, where they officially placed their plaque in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame."

"It’s still hard to get our heads around," Robertson said during a plaque ceremony at Studio Bell. "We’re the band that makes fun of the bands in the Hall of Fame."

"I hope our fans enjoy this exhibition as much as I’ve enjoyed looking back on the early days of our career," said former member Steven Page. "I’m incredibly proud of all we accomplished together and I’m excited to celebrate it with this exhibit."

After the official ceremony Robertson, Kreeggan, Stewart and Page spoke with media, including All 4 were in awe of being in the Hall which includes Canadian Icons like The Guess Who, The Tragically Hip, Joni Mitchell and 47 others.

"After the Junos I started to understand a little better. We’re the 51st inductees. 50 other people have been inducted. It’s pretty amazing," Page said. Stewart added "It is amazing to be amongst such distinguished company like Rush and Neil Young. I wonder who will be next?"

"It’s still surreal. I still can’t make sense of it. This is the music we grew up with, these are our heroes. I joke that these are the bands that we made fun of, but my high school band played 26 Rush songs." Robertson said, looking at the wall of inductees with Kreeggan, who added "You’d go to a jam in my neighborhood and decide if you were going to play (Rush’s) Fly By Night as the studio version or the live version. Leonard Cohen is right there. Sarah McLachlan. Rush."

The reaction to the reunion showed how much BNL has meant to people. Though both the remaining foursome and Page have had successful careers since Page’s departure, their body of work together remains a fond memory for fans.

"Our music has become the fabric of people’s lives and that is an amazing thing. To know that you play music that has changed people or made them happier or feel things even more... what an honour. It’s incredible. With a song like Million Dollars, we don’t even own the song anymore it doesn’t belong to us it belongs to the fans. We’re playing their song," Stewart said.

"We realize too that the songs have a life outside of us guys. A song like If I Had A Million Dollars has become a campfire song that has this huge life beyond the band. It is pretty gratifying to know that we’ve contributed something," added Page. "When you do a concert and the audience sings along with you, they are singing all their memories which is pretty cool."

The exhibit features many facts and memories about the band, such as their memorable banning from playing a New Years Eve 1991 event by then Toronto Mayor June Rowlands who found their name ‘offensive’. Photos, awards, old lyric books and more make up the exhibit that is a must visit for any Barenaked Ladies fan.

‘Walking into a museum and seeing yourself on the wall and knowing every moment was unfamiliar and immediately familiar You’re surrounded by your memories. It’s an honour to share it with people that want to see it. We are still living it of course. I’d love to be the guy hanging out going "oh yeah and this happened there... this was a photo shoot in San Francisco,’ Kreeggan said.

"For me it was going through the boxes to provide material for the exhibit. Looking through my old lyric books and setlists was where all the really nostalgic time was. Opening boxes that hadn’t been opened in 25 years was really fun," said Robertson. "I had already seen little mockups, but it was spectacular to see it on that stage. I am very proud of it. October 1st will be 30 years since the first Barenaked Ladies gig. What’s the wedding gift for 30 years? Let’s go with Pearls, I’m getting pearls for all the boys."

Leading up to the Junos there was a lot of speculation about the reunion. Page and his former bandmates were interviewed separately, they rehearsed away from the public eye, and the first time they appeared together again in a decade occurred during their induction on the broadcast. Any speculation was quickly wiped out – together they didn’t miss a beat. Seeing them together at Studio Bell, it was clear that any past drama was water under the bridge.

"We grew up together. I was in a band with Steven for 20 years. So that’s the way I see it, it’s great to see each other again. Catering to the hopes and dreams of the nation is a lot harder than getting together and playing music again. At the end of the day it’s about being inducted into the Hall of Fame. There is no bigger honor. I think for everyone involved it’s like "wow we really achieved the pinnacle and to be recognized by your peers like that is awesome," Stewart said. Added Page "It would be easy for us to just put it on and just be polite. I think we were prepared to do that if it was weird, but it wasn’t weird. Or it wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be. As we got closer to it I realized it wouldn’t be. It’s outside forces that make you feel like that. It is really nice that people actually watched it a lot."

"In a lot of ways it was a perfect way and healing way to see Steve again after parting ways. To play music and be honored for our career together was a special thing. Like a wave of love coming at us," Kreeggan said.

"Rehearsing and performing together was super easy. That’s something we’ve always done well together. It was a great thing to get together and celebrate and then we went on tour in the UK," added Robinson.

With the Junos behind them, the chemistry still there, and 3 decades of memories, if fans had a million dollars they would likely use it to ask – will we ever see Page and the Barenaked Ladies work together again on tour?

"No idea? How much are you offering?" quipped Page, to which Stewart added "Yeah cold hard cash! We had a great time at the Junos. It had been almost ten years and we had fun. We both have respective things we are going to do. We are going on tour right away, Steven is going to the UK right away. We all continue on with our lives but you never know. Maybe someday Mom & Dad will get back together and Santa Clause will be real."

Ed Robertson has long said the focus of the band is moving forward, and he reiterated that to GayCalgary.

"I think life is long, never say never. We aren’t looking to move backwards, and we have had a lot of fun that night. We both have come so far from that time ten years ago. We’ve released 6 records, Steve’s put out 2 or 3. We’ve done 1000+ shows. We are in a very different place. If we revisit to celebrate the stuff we did together that’s great but it’s still our life and we live it every night."

Related Articles

Contributor Jason Clevett |

Locale Calgary |

Person Barenaked Ladies |Steven Page |

Topic Celebrity Interview |


Image by: GayCalgary
Image by: GayCalgary

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