Barenaked Ladies Celebrate Canada With Extensive Tour

Photo by Matt Barnes

To help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Barenaked Ladies drummer Tyler Stewart felt it was only appropriate the group launch one of the most extensive national tours since the group broke into the Canadian consciousness with their 1992 debut Gordon.

Between now and the time the tour wraps up with a hometown show at Toronto’s Massey Hall on December 9, the Ladies will be touching down in virtually all major Canadian centres, including Moncton’s Casino New Brunswick on Saturday night.

Most notable about the tour, however, is the inclusion of smaller towns and centres in which they will be performing over the next seven weeks.

Stewart says the band sees this tour as a means of connecting with as many of their fans as possible.

“Our original mindset when Gordon was released 25 years ago was to touch down in as many Canadian places as we could,” Stewart says. “We undertook a crazy, exhaustive tour of the country during which I’m pretty sure we played upwards of 70 dates. We thought that with this year being a milestone birthday for Canada, it was the perfect chance to get back on the road to towns and cities of all sizes as a means to say thanks for all Canadians have done to support us these last 25 years.”

Asked what it means to both him as well as the rest of the Barenaked Ladies – singer-guitarist Ed Robertson, bassist Jim Creegan, and keyboardist Kevin Hearn – to still be going strong more than two and a half decades after they first formed, Stewart says they are nothing but grateful to have had the opportunity to carve out the career they have both at home and abroad.

“This is my 27th year with the band, and the whole experience has just been so incredible for me. When I think back to first joining the group, I always knew I loved being a part of the band, but I don’t think any of us could have ever imagined the band would go on this long. Especially now, where people we met back in those early days are bringing their kids to the show. We aren’t those hyper kids in shorts jumping around the stage anymore, but we also collectively feel as though whatever we brought to the band in the first place is still very much alive.”

Although they have more than earned the privilege of easing off the gas pedal at this point in their career, 2017 has seen a flurry of activity from the Barenaked Ladies. This past April, the band released a collaborative effort with American acapella group The Persuasions, whose roots date back to the early 60’s of New York City.

Stewart explains it was BNL keyboardist Kevin Hearn that planted the initial seeds of collaboration with The Persuasions, having met the band at the memorial service for acclaimed former Velvet Underground member and avant-garde solo artist Lou Reed.

“A couple of the guys in The Persuasions told Kevin they’d be interested in doing something together. That’s really what got the wheels turning on the project,” the drummer says. “We were playing a show at Central Park in New York City, and the guys came down and showed us their arrangements for a couple of our songs. They just blew us away, and we knew we couldn’t just let such a great idea go to waste.”

From there, the idea of making a record together was born. With The Persuasions in the driver’s seat when it came to selecting the songs that would appear on the album, the end result, the 15-track effort Ladies and Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies and The Persuasions, is anything but a revisitation of the Barenaked Ladies’ biggest hits.

“We were definitely surprised and flattered by the songs they chose to record. I feel it really speaks to the quality of the songs in their original form that the guys wanted to add a specific and soulful touch to them,” Stewart says. “The guys in The Persuasions were just such great gentlemen and such great singers, the whole record ended up being done in a day. The whole experience was just incredible.”

In mid-November, as their tour winds through Western Canada, the Barenaked Ladies will release their sixteenth studio album, Fake Nudes. At first listen, the album shows a maturing group, but also manages to retain the spirited fun that has come to define much of the group’s work.

“After such a long time together, there is a comfort level we have both as a band and with one another,” Stewart says. “At this point, we feel as though there really isn’t anything we can’t do. You just have to trust your ears and your love of music to guide you.”

What: Barenaked Ladies
When: Saturday Oct. 21, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Remaining tickets are $70.99 plus taxes and service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone 1-866-943-8849 and online at casinonb.ca.