SameDiff BNL

Barenaked Lady Makes Stop At Hudson Tonight

By GLEN NOTT, Hamilton Spectator, June 28th, 2001.

Kevin Hearn is a Barenaked Lady. He's the one that doesn't look like Drew Carey, and doesn't act like Jim Carrey.

But if there's one person who could make use of a good, silly alter-ego, it is Hearn, a talented and laid-back musician who's packed a lot into 32 years of living so far.

While the Ladies lay in wait of a American tour set for July and August, Hearn is indulging himself with another project, the Thin Buckle Band.

"Before the Barenaked Ladies, I was in a group called the Look People for about six years," he said, "and developed friendships with these people."

These people are not just any people in musicdom. In addition to Hearn, the Thin Buckle lineup has Martin Tielli of the Rheostatics on guitar, Great Bob Scott on drums, Derek Orford on guitar and Chris Gartner on bass.

When the band takes the stage at Hudson tonight (Tielli will open the show) they will bring along newly minted copies of the first CD, titled H-Wing.

H-Wing is not a mythical place. In 1998, just as the Ladies' breakthrough disc Stunt was released, Hearn was diagnosed with leukemia.

While the band headed off to do its first arena tour of the U.S., Hearn was hunkered down in a Toronto cancer hospital — in H-Wing — waiting for a stem cell transplant.

"That's where all these songs were written," he says. Hearn's description of the sound is as a hybrid of progressive country and eclectic pop.

Chris Brown filled in on keyboard duties for BNL while Hearn fought the good fight. Last year, Hearn made a return to the band after, as bandmate Ed Robertson put, "he kicked cancer's ass."

"I just went for my annual check-up yesterday," said Hearn, "and it went OK. Everyone seemed in good spirits."

For all the fun and success he's enjoyed with the Barenaked Ladies, Hearn sees himself as more of a support player. And while the Ladies will pull the odd musical ad lib in concert, the music and shows themselves are pretty static.

With the Thin Buckle Band, there is a load more musical expression and room to stretch out.

"We can get our freak on a bit," said Hearn, "and it's pretty dynamic — we can get loud and then pretty quiet. We just play whenever we can. The Ladies keep me pretty busy."

Hearn isn't the only BNL member manning a side project. Bassist Jim Creeggan and his brother, Andy, perform occasionally as a jazz duo.

The Barenaked Ladies kick off the American tour with a Canadian date — Thursday, July 12 at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. Joining the Ladies on tour this time will be Sarah Harmer.

Interestingly, but not in the least bit related to BNL, Harmer will be on a Canada Day bill in New York City's Central Park along with the Cowboy Junkies and Natalie MacMaster. It's not that long a drive, and it is a Sunday.

The folks at Raven (69 Augusta Street, downtown Hamilton) are jumping on the Canada Day party bus in a big way.

Not only are they running a big slate of shows tomorrow night through Sunday — three bands a night, $5 cover — Raven booker Brodie Schwendiman's Peephole Productions has managed to secure an entire stage for this weekend's It's Your Festival in Gage Park.

There is a heap of good music coming in for these shows, with the highlights being Saturday evening shows by Shallow North Dakota (8 p.m.) and Chore (9 p.m.), and Sunday performances by The Constantines (8 p.m.) and Flux a.d. (9 p.m.).

Night shows at Raven feature The Datsons, with The Huge Trucks and More Plastic tomorrow, A Northern Chorus, with Tetrezene and Ullman Convertible on Saturday, and Cadillac Bill & The Creeping Bent, with guests The New on Sunday.