About Barenaked Ladies
The Barenaked Ladies are a Canadian rock band formed in 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario. The band quickly developed a cult following in Canada, with their self-titled 1991 cassette becoming the first independent release ever to be certified gold in Canada. Their debut with Reprise Records, Gordon, featuring the singles "If I Had $1000000" and "Brian Wilson", was released in 1992.
Initially a duo of Ed Robertson and Steven Page, as of 2018, the band is composed of Robertson, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, and Tyler Stewart. Jim's brother Andy was a member between 1989 and 1995. Page left in 2009, reducing the group to a quartet.
The band's style has evolved greatly throughout their career, and their music which began as exclusively acoustic quickly grew to encompass a mixture of a wide array of styles including pop, rock, hip hop, rap, etc. They are most commonly billed as an "alt-rock" band. The band's cult following translated into immediate success with Gordon in Canada, but it was not until the band's 1996 live album Rock Spectacle and their 1998 fourth studio album Stunt, that they achieved major success in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The band is known for their live performances, highlighted by comedic banter and free-style rapping between songs. They have won multiple Juno Awards and have been nominated for two Grammy Awards. The group has sold over 15 million records, including albums and singles, and were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in March 2018. "One Week" remains the band's most successful single. Other well-known singles include "It's All Been Done" , "Pinch Me", and "The History of Everything" . In 2003 they sang the theme song for Odd Job Jack.
Barenaked Ladies began as the duo of Ed Robertson and Steven Page. The two went to school together since Robertson was in grade four at Churchill Heights Public School, but were not friends until they met each other at a Harvey's restaurant following a Peter Gabriel concert. Each was pleased to find that the other liked Gabriel; they began talking and found they had many of the same tastes. The two became friends and bonded further when they were both counsellors at Scarborough Music Camp located in McKellar, Ontario. They would play songs together, and Steve was impressed by Ed's ability to harmonize.
When Page had an extra ticket to a Bob Dylan concert at Exhibition Stadium, he asked Robertson to join him. Bored by the show, the two turned to amuse each other, pretending they were rock critics, inventing histories and comments about the Dylan band. They also made up various fictional band names, one of which was "Barenaked Ladies".
On another front, Robertson had agreed to perform with his cover band in a battle of the bands at Nathan Phillips Square for the Second Harvest food bank. The band broke up, and he forgot about the gig. When Robertson received a phone call a week before the show, asking him to confirm the gig, he improvised that the name of the band had changed to "Barenaked Ladies", recalling the name from the Dylan concert. He then called Page and asked if he wanted to do the gig; Page reportedly could not believe Robertson had given that name. They arranged three rehearsals and missed them all. The two played the show on October 1, 1988, but instead of competing, they played while the other bands set up, playing every song they could think of that they both knew. The show went well, and they were invited to open a show for another well-known local band, The Razorbacks, at the Horseshoe Tavern the coming weekend. They set up three more rehearsals, and again missed them all; they proceeded to improvise their set once again. These acts would set a precedent for an element of Barenaked Ladies concerts, which still almost always contain some improvised raps or songs, as well as general improvised banter.
Map & Directions To Venue