Canada has given the world many great musicians over the years, perhaps none more underrated than the infamous Barenaked Ladies. The group was formed in Toronto Canada in 1988 by Steven Page and Ed Robertson and achieved international success with the multi-platinum album "Stunt" the same year. That album remains their most popular despite the release of more than 11 albums. Barenaked Ladies brought their unique style of humor and music to VOA recently to discuss their latest CD called "Barenaked Ladies Are Me" recorded on their own "Desperation" record label. Larry London had an opportunity to talk with the band about their new album and upcoming tour.
It's the perfect time to meet five quick-witted fun guys from Canada with a fun name and an interesting story about that name.
"One of the bands [band names] we made up was Barenaked Ladies,” says Ed Robertson. And we never thought we'd actually be in a band together. I had committed myself to ... not to an institution… but to play a fundraiser for a local food bank in Toronto. And the band that I was working with at the time broke up and so I forgot about this fundraiser and they called me the week before…"
Steve Page off mic - "It was the Smiths..."
"Yeah, they called me the week before and said, "So you're still on for the fundraiser, right? We're really counting on you. And I said, "Yeah! Of course I am, but the name of the band now is (pause) ‘Barenaked Ladies’ and I phoned Steve and said, ‘You wanna [want to] be in Barenaked Ladies?,’ and we thought that would be our one and only show -- and that was almost 18 years ago."
Did I say they were quick- witted? Well, they are, which makes it hard to get a straight answer from them. Like, when we asked about the title of their new CD, "Barenaked Ladies Are Me"?…
"It was Steve's idea,” says Ed. “He said, ‘You know, it'd be great if we had on posters: ‘Barenaked Ladies Are Me’ and then we could just keep adding letters and make it ‘Barenaked Ladies Are Men’, ‘Barenaked Ladies Are Mentally Ill’, cross that out and make it ‘Barenaked Ladies Are Mexican’, ‘Barenaked Ladies Are Meat’ and whatever."
And their answer to the question, where's their favorite place to travel?
"My favorite place that we've ever traveled working as a band was going to Japan for the first time,” Ed told us. “ It’s the first place that I really and truly felt like a foreigner, it’s the first place I felt like I was in the rock band 'Foreigner' as well, which is a great double feeling"
And what are their career highlights?
"Selling out Madison Square Garden, selling out Royal Albert Hall," Ed answered.
Steve, off mic - "Or just selling out in general!"
"Yeah. When we originally sold out in the early '90s that was a great feeling too."
Okay, you get the picture. All joking aside, the Barenaked Ladies are equally creative when it comes to their music. With more than 11 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums, including a 'greatest hits' collection and a career that has lasted 18 years, the Barenaked Ladies have been around a lot longer than just "One Week".
The Barenaked Ladies' new CD "Barenaked Ladies Are Me" is their first in three years. Recorded on their own "Desperation" label and debuting at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #7 in Canada it's no wonder they are so successful around the world. Perhaps one of the reasons is that they make everything look "Easy".
Music video courtesy of Warner Music