'Kevin Hearn: Financier of the Great Wall of Pancakes on the Moon!'
By combining humor with an eclectic mix of folk and pop/rock, the Barenaked Ladies enjoyed considerable popularity in their native Canada before rising to international status with 1998's 'One Week.'
Indeed, vocalists Ed Robertson and Steve Page launched the band in the late '80s as an acoustic act, traveling to different college campuses and playing warm-up gigs for comedy troupes.
Following the duo's tour of the college circuit, the Barenaked Ladies expanded into a tight musical group with the addition of bass man Jim Creeggan, his brother Andy on keyboards, and drummer Tyler Stewart.
The band then issued their full-length debut, Gordon, in 1992. Featuring 'Be My Yoko Ono,' 'If I Had a $1,000,000,' and 'Brian Wilson,' the album moved over one million units and initiated BNL's reign as Canadian pop kings.
And so now, acclaimed multi-platinum pop-rock group the Barenaked Ladies have just released their lates studio album, ALL IN GOOD TIME.
Currently out on tour, EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE recently had the opportunity to sit down with KEVIN HEARN, guitarist, keyboard player, and vocalist for BARENAKED LADIES, fresh out of a soundcheck. We chatted with him about such stirring things as BNL’s new album, current tour, the Olympics, and ... pancakes?
With your new album, All In Good Time now available, are there any new musical stylings fans can expect? "Yeah, it’s a bit of a different sound to us, but it’s still us. So it’ll sound familiar, but there will be a few different changes. I sing a few songs. Jim sings a few songs. It’s a new sound for us. We had a fun time making the record so I think that spirit is in the record."
Is there any significance within the title? "No, it’s just a title of a song that we recorded. It’s one that didn’t make the record, but we liked it as a title. It sort of fit the bill for where our collective heads were at the time, because we were going through a lot of changes as a band. And it was sort of a nice thing to hang onto, as far as being hopeful and getting through things. Like, all in good time things will get back on track."
Is there any truth that your current radio single, ‘You Run Away’ is about the departure of Steven Page? "Well, I’d sort of be speaking for Ed about that. But I know he’s been saying this a lot, that the song was inspired by those circumstances. But I think it was important to us that the song also works on a universal level, as well. So that it’s not just about that."
Your current tour kicked-off earlier this month, with the first set of dates all in Canada. How important was it that you began this tour in front of your “home” fans? "I don’t know that one is more important than the other, to be honest. It’s just what we decided to do, We certainly enjoy playing for our audience in Canada. And certainly, traveling across our country and seeing Canada in the springtime is a real treat."
Speaking of Canada, you guys had the opportunity to take part in the Olympic celebrations. What was that like? "It was fantastic. There was so much energy in Vancouver. And it was nice to walk around and hear all the different accents and languages. I think Vancouver did a really great job of hosting the event. And we played a whole bunch of shows. Our first show was for 200 people, our next was for 2,000, our next was for 20,000, and then 10,000. So as a band, we got to really get out there and play and let people see us again in our new format. I also took part in a tribute to Neil Young."
Cool, please tell me more "It was organized for the Cultural Olympiad, and they decided to pay tribute to a great Canadian singer-songwriter, Neil Young. Some of the people that were involved were members of Broken Social Scene, Lou Reed, and just a whole bunch of really cool artists. I got to sing a song called ’Expecting to Fly,’ which is one of my all-time favorite Neil Young songs. Elvis Costello was on it too."
Was it just you or BNL also? "It was just me. Once in a while, it’s nice to do things on your own, you know?"
It is. So right across from Canada is Michigan, and you’re coming to Grand Rapids on May 12th. We love Barenaked Ladies so we won’t be disappointed, will we? "Why would you be disappointed?!", he chuckles.
I’m sure we wouldn’t be. You guys are awesome! Let’s talk about the live performance aspect for a minute. Who takes on what role now that you are in your new format? "Well, there are still songs we used to do that Ed is still attached to, because he wrote them. So some of them work really well. Ed sings ‘The Old Apartment’ and ‘Too Little Too Late’ and does a great job. And Jim and I sing some of our own songs as well. But as far as parts, we’ve divvied them all up. Tyler’s singing a lot more, too. It’s actually neat because we went back to a lot of old songs and kind of reinvented them. And it’s been kind of fun to play them again because they feel fresh again. We’ve sort of rediscovered them, in a way, which was really cool creatively."
Which songs from the new album are you guys looking forward to unveiling to the Michigan crowd? "There’s a few songs that we change every night, but some of them we’ve put in the set every night because we really enjoy them. Obviously, ‘You Run Away’ is one we’ve been playing a lot ‘cause it’s the single. I sing a song called ‘Another Heartbreak’ which sort of sounds a bit like a Neil Young song, but I enjoy playing it. There’s a song called ‘4 Seconds,' which is a lot of fun, and is sort of like a distant cousin of the ‘One Week’ song. A lot of free-styling in it. Also been playing the theme song from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ here and there, which people have been enjoying."
Do you have a favorite BNL song to play live each night? "As I said," he chuckles once more, "you know, it’s not just us on stage, there’s the audience, as well. There are certain songs we play every night because we know they’re sort of pillars of our show. ‘If I Had $1,000,000’ is one of those. And a couple of the new ones, ‘cause we’re out playing a new record. So there’s a few we like to represent the new record with."
BNL seems like a fun, energetic group, but has anything unexpectedly crazy ever happen at a concert? "The Almighty Zeus threw a lightning bolt at us once from a cloud. Hit Ed right in his butt!"
Wow. That’s some pretty heavy stuff! Did the show go on? "Yeah. And then Thor and his brother Loki crushed my piano to dust with a golden hammer!"
Yep, that’s pretty crazy, all right. What advice would you give to young artists just starting out, wanting to make it big in the record business? "Consider what you enjoy about other people’s music and consider them your influences, but don’t ever stop being yourself. Figure out what’s unique about you and what you have to say and don’t be afraid to be yourself."
That sounds like a really good piece of advice. All right, one final question: If you had $1,000,000's, what would you do with it? "I’d build a giant wall of pancakes on the moon!"
That‘s intense. Would you go up there and eat it? "I’d let anyone who wanted to go up and ... wait, no, no, you can’t eat the wall! Can’t eat the wall of pancakes. It’s gonna be a tourist attraction. People will go to the moon to see the giant wall of pancakes."
Right. Because I bet we’ll be doing that sort of thing in a few years! "Yeah. And I’ll be flat broke," he laughs.
Interviewed by: Ashley Trombley
And if Exclusive Magazine readers are interested in catching a glimpse of BARENAKED LADIES, the band plays the DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids, MI on May 12, 2010.
Barenaked Ladies with Kris Allen and Angel Taylor
Tuesday, August 10
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Indeed, looking to see a BARENAKED LADIES in concert in your neck of the woods? Check out www.razorgator.com to see if they have any tickets still available.
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