SameDiff BNL

Barenaked Ladies in town for "E-Town"

By G. BROWN, Denver Post, March 12th, 2001.

Boulder Theater — Boulder, Colo.
March 9th, 2001

Three years ago, Barenaked Ladies broke through to America with Tthe No. 1 hit "One Week," and folks snapped up over 4 million copies of their album "Stunt."

But in Denver, the cheery Canadian pop-rockers have enjoyed a rabid following since 1992.

So while BNL have been playing arenas in support of their most recent album, "Maroon," local fans rate a more intimate gig — the group will visit the Boulder Theater Friday for a taping of the "ETown" radio show.

What makes a Barenaked Ladies gig so full of fun? It's the way Ed Robertson and Steven Page heat up a crowd — the two frontmen, backed by keyboardist/guitarist Kevin Hearn, drummer Tyler Stewart and bassist Jim Creeggan, feed off each other's quirky jokes, monologues and wordplay. At the Pepsi Center on Oct. 17, they talked/sang between chorus breakdowns on a variety of topics.

"It's in the spirit of improv, somewhere between comedy and jazz, I guess," Page said recently. "In some ways we look at it as blowing solos. That's how I feel about watching great actors and performers. Did you see the movie "Best In Show'? Fred Willard is just talking and talking...

"When you're in a good band, the other members know when to help you out at the appropriate times. If we ever cook anything up before we go on, it falls flat — even if you don't tell anybody else you're working on some kind of rhyme, you get out there and you trip over it or it feels fake. It's always way better if it comes out when you're on stage, because you forget about the stuff that doesn't work, and the stuff that does work shines.

"It's funny; some people get their backs up about it, too — "Well, I don't need to see a bunch of white guys pretending to rap.' That's not really the point. It's the spontaneity, the energy and the singularity of that moment that will never happen again. That's what gets us charged up, and that's what gets the audience a different show every time... " The mock seductiveness of Page's dancing stands as a reminder that a stocky guy can bust a move.

"I watched "Gimme Shelter' recently, (Mick) Jagger strutting around when he was a skinny punk, and I'm thinking, "Geez, I wish I looked like that on stage.' I realize that my body is one of the best sight-gags I have, so you work with what you got," Page said. "I try and be natural but larger-than-life at the same time. I think people get a kick out of it, too, because it's something you're not used to seeing in rock music, that's for sure."

"Maroon," which came out in September, includes the singles "Pinch Me" and the new "Too Little Too Late," and Page introduces a new side of Barenaked Ladies on the grandiose "Sell Sell Sell," a Broadway-inspired number.

"I have this fantasy to write a musical one day. That might be my challenge. I think there are so many possibilities that aren't exploited. You look at what's on Broadway right now, it's either re vivals or it's Disney spectaculars. There haven't been any interesting, creative rock musicals, even stuff they've tried to market like that, like "Rent.' I hate fake rock music. If I was to write a musical, I wouldn't actually make rock music, because I haven't seen it work. I'd try to make musical music."