SameDiff BNL

Steven Page branches out into a Vanity Project

By News Staff,, 20th June, 2005.

He's best known for being part of Canadian-favourite The Barenaked Ladies. But, he's also set to release the first album from his first solo project, cheekily titled The Vanity Project.

Now, it's an old axiom in the music business that when band frontmen start branching out into their own projects, the demise of the band is sure to follow. But Page insists that won't happen with him, that the Barenaked Ladies won't go the way of Genesis in the early '80s.

"I know the fear: Phil Collins started to make those records and became more popular, and Genesis' records got incrementally worse. I promise, I promise not to do that," Page vowed on Canada AM.

"For me, I look at this as a way to energize myself," he says, noting that he and the rest of the Ladies still have plans to start recording again in September.

Page's partner on The Vanity Project is Stephen Duffy, the British pop maestro who was briefly a member of Duran Duran and had a big dance hit in the '80s with "Kiss Me (With Your Mouth)" under the name Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy.

Page says that Duffy has actually collaborated with the Ladies for more than a decade, dating back to 1994's Maybe You Should Drive album.

"We decided that we were most excited about music that came from just within the band and it's what has made us really strong.

"(But) I had a lot of the songs that were half finished and at various stages of completion and it kind of liberated me to make this record."

Page and Duffy recorded their first self-titled album over a couple of years in their spare time. With all the starts and stops, the album took almost four years to complete.

But there was one very scary moment along the way when all that work was almost lost.

"I had all the stuff in my basement on a hard drive on a computer and I had a flood. Half of my house kind of went swoosh," Page recalls.

"Luckily, that was fine. A bunch of gear was wrecked but all the tracks were fine. I bought a farm out in the country and built a little studio there and finished the record."

Although Page is planning to tour through the summer in support of The Vanity Project album, he also hopes that he and the Barenaked Ladies will be able to take part in Live 8, if Canadian organizers can finalize a venue and lineup.

"We've been talking to them about it. I sure hope we're on the bill but they're being very tight-lipped about it," he says.

"I think we would be conspicuous by our absence if we weren't there. People know us—especially in the last few years—to be socially active and progressive thinkers and so on, and I think it would make a lot of sense for us to be there. But also, just because we're a crowd-pleasing band, too."

Although some may scoff that rock stars and social causes are a bad mix, Page says he wholly supports what Sir Bob Geldof is trying to do by recycling the Live-Aid concept and putting on another massive fundraising concert.

"Geldof's point is he barely cares if the stuff is good, he wants to be popular because he wants people around the world to have their TVs on all day," he says. "Because the large amount of people is what influences policy and policy is what effects the change in the world."

"This is essentially a protest concert, as happy and shiny as it is. It makes a lot of sense it's not in front of the House of Commons because to have it in front of Parliament, to have us stand there and say the shame of pledging in 1970 0.7 per cent of our GDP (to foreign aid) and we're still at 0.28. It's shameful.

"Here we are 35 years later, and no further ahead—actually further behind than we were then. That's something that needs to be turned around.

"I think we have a responsibility to our fellow humans."