THE AQUARIAN WEEKLY
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An Interview With Barenaked Ladies: Living In Harmonies
—by Samantha Curreli, April 25, 2017
The Barenaked Ladies are back and ready to play another roaring round of gigs. This time, audiences will be presented with new arrangements of songs, as recorded on the Canadian band’s new album, Ladies And Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies And The Persuasions—a collaboration with The Persuasions, who are joining them on the road.
While some may know this band through listening to The Big Bang Theory Theme, these guys have been around making music long before the show had been imagined. In 1988, the Barenaked Ladies came to life. As the years followed, the band grew from a two-piece to a four-part group. Currently, Barenaked Ladies consists of Ed Robertson (guitar, vocals), Tyler Stewart (vocals, drums), Kevin Hearn (vocals, keyboard, guitar), and Jim Creeggan (vocals, bass).
During their nearly 30 years of creating, the band have been recognized for their talent, landing them a couple of nominations at the Grammys and one at the MTV Awards. Of course, music is way more than award ceremonies—while talking to Kevin Hearn, he made sure to note how much fun he has on tour with the band, making up “silly” songs and zig-zagging around the stage. Before leaving for the road, I was able to talk to him more about this new album with The Persuasions, tour life, and learned a little more about the next new album.
You guys have a bit before this leg of the tour begins; how’ve you been prepping?
You know, I’ve been trying to pick songs that I think we should perform, scheduling rehearsal time… But, you know, a part of going on tour for me, means appreciating what I don’t have on tour. So, I’ll go to my favorite restaurant and try to soak in as much of my regular life as I can and kind of enjoy it because I know I’ll be away for a while.
Aw, yeah. It must be tough to spend such a long time away from home. You guys have a slight break in the action later on in the summer—will you spend your time off the same way?
(Laughs) Well, we’ll all look forward to seeing our families, of course. And maybe I’ll look into getting a massage and try to recover a little bit and recharge. There’s so much hustle and bustle when touring between busses and airplanes, elevators, taxis—it’s nice to go somewhere quiet, so maybe I’ll head to the forest if I have a few days and just listen to peaceful things. Listen to pinecones rustling in the wind (laughs).
I guess you don’t get a lot of quiet time on the road.
It’s pretty difficult.
I saw you guys already have a few sold-out dates. How do you feel about that? Fans are gobbling up tickets.
You know, I’m offended. I’m disappointed. I’m sad. (Laughs) I’m very delighted and I’m so happy we’re coming down to do shows—and I know the sold-out shows will be rare, wonderful evenings.
It must really help fuel you guys, too.
Yeah, it keeps us going. I think our shows have always provided a break for people, you know? We play our songs, but we also have fun and it’s generally a pretty upbeat experience and I think that people need that more than ever these days. There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there.
Oh yeah. So, when you’re about to get on stage just before a show, what goes through your mind?
Well, I try to save my energy and pace myself throughout the day so I can do a good show. And then just before I go out, I open a beer so it feels like I just arrived at a party. And I don’t drink before that, but I’ll have one sip before I go on stage and enjoy myself.
Do you still get nervous before getting out there?
You know, I get more nervous playing at family gatherings or a smaller environment than I do at a big show. It’s a lovely feeling going out and playing for people that you know want to be there. It’s a great energy and I love it.
It’s funny how that works.
It is—I’m an introverted person, so it took me a long time to be able to walk out on stage and relax and just be comfortable. But, I realized that all people really want is to see you do what you do best. So, you’ve just gotta believe in yourself and feel comfortable with what you’re doing. Everyone enjoys it. And it’s neat because me and Ed, Jim, and Tyler have been playing for so long with each other that we’re comfortable and we know who likes to zig here and who likes to zag there and it makes it all a little bit easier for us because we can have more fun and make up silly songs and go with the flow on the stage. And with having The Persuasions with us, just hearing their voices and the sound we create, it just makes me so happy. And the record we did together was so fun and it’s gonna be interesting to see that translate onto the stage.
Yeah! I saw that—are any of those songs in your setlist?
Well, we went into the studio for two days and we recorded I think 15 songs from our back catalogue. It was just live on the floor, so we’re going to be playing some of those songs together.
How did you guys all get to work together?
We put an ad in the paper looking for an iconic a cappella group from Brooklyn and they gave us a call.
You guys are touring on and off until November—what do you think fans can expect once this touring is all wrapped up?
They can expect a sad, sinking feeling knowing that we’re gone and won’t be back for a while (laughs). But we have a new record that we recorded that will be out in the fall and it has the working title of Fake Nudes and we’re in the process of mixing it right now and that will come out in the fall and, you know, as usual we’ll hit the roads shortly after.
Aw, see? No sinking feeling of doom and gloom (laughs).
(Laughs) I know—I was just kidding.