The Barenaked Ladies get real 

A couple of years ago, things were not all right for Barenaked Ladies. The Canadian pop powerhouse was going through some tough times. In July of 2008, co-founding member Steve Page was arrested on drug charges. Just a month later, frontman Ed Robertson was involved in a plane crash. For a while there, the hits just kept coming. Steve and the band parted ways, leaving the rest of the guys wondering if they should, or could, continue. In the wake of disaster, Barenaked Ladies decided to move in a different direction. Two years on, we touched base with Ed Robertson to see how the Ladies are doing.

How have things been going since Steve’s departure?

Great. It’s been a really good couple of years. We’ve made a record that we’re incredibly proud of. The shows have been amazing. We’ve been touring harder than we’ve toured in 10 years, just to try to harness that new energy that we’re feeling. It was a transition that we thought, maybe, to be impossible let alone difficult. Instead, it’s been a really great journey so far.

Not to knock the guy while he’s not here, but do you think the band is better without him?

It’d be easy to say, “Oh, he’s gone now, everything’s better.” The reality is, he’s gone now, so we’ve made everything different. We had to change the way we interacted with each other. Like you said, it’s easy to point fingers at the guy who’s not here, but I think we’re all very aware of the fact that there was an all- around dynamic that was not good.

How much did you guys know about the issues he was having prior to the arrest?

As much as he’s told us. We were all huge parts of each other’s lives; that’s all I can really say about that. The arrest was a shock to me, but I knew he’d been struggling.

The newest album, All in Good Time, is likely your most mature record to date. Is there any significance to the fact that this relatively grown-up, restrained album comes on the heels of a kids’ record?

No. I think the significance comes on the heels of a reinvention, a plane crash, a death in the family, and a massive shift, you know?

This album covers a whole lot of sonic ground, yet is very cohesive. How do you decide what styles to approach, and how do you blend them into the Barenaked Ladies sound?

I think we have afforded ourselves the leeway of diversity throughout our career. There’s been rock, there’s been rap, there’s been folk. I think people associate us with diversity, both sonically and ideologically.

Was the writing and recording process of this record sort of a coping mechanism for all the upheaval the band was going through?

Yeah, it actually was quite cathartic. For me, it was very healing. It really illuminated a lot of what I was feeling to myself. I felt like I did a really good job on this record of articulating what I was feeling, and letting it heal a bit.

Are you guys still comfortable with the sillier stuff from the early records?

Yeah. It’s still a part of what we do. We get up on stage and goof around every night. I love doing an emotional ballad, then into a rock song, then making up a goofy rap about whatever city we’re in. It’s all part of what a BNL show is. It’s not ever forced, it’s just how we interact. Maybe it’s just my ADD.

Would you care to throw some freestyle at us?

Sure: We started as a duo in the city of Toronto/I’ll tell you what you want, but some you may not wanna know/I’m gonna sing a song for you, off of my head/My last name is Robertson, the first one is Ed/I’m talking to the people in Tejas, San Antonio/If you want a pizza, I’d recommend pepperonio/Double cheese will make it taste better/I’m wearing a jacket, shoulda worn a sweater.

Word. •

Barenaked Ladies
With Jukebox the Ghost
$32-$39
7:30pm Thu, Nov 4
AT&T Center
One AT&T Center
(800) 745-3000
attcenter.com


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