HEADING FOR THE WEDGE: There’s more to Steven than just ‘formerly of Barenaked Ladies’

Steven Page. Picture by Lorne Bridgman

You’ll know his voice, but you may not recognise his name.

Whether it’s the Barenaked Ladies song One Week or the Big Bang Theory TV show theme, Steven Page is likely to have made an appearance in your car or living room.

Now eight years after parting ways with the band he co-founded, Page is making his return to UK shores with a solo tour. In the intervening years the Canadian singer-songwriter has undertaken diverse projects including composing for Shakespearean stage productions.

With new single White Noise set for release The Guide spoke to him ahead of his show at the Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, tomorrow night (October 26, 2017).

Page says that although he hasn’t performed in the UK for a decade he remembers playing at the venue with the Barenaked Ladies.

‘I have one memory of playing the song Crazy from the first record there. During the instrumental section Tyler, the drummer, would do some

kind of shtick to make us laugh. I remember he had found a lightbulb and he held it above his head as if he had an idea. He got no response from the audience, so to escalate the joke he smashed it,’ he laughs, ‘I used to do stuff like somersaults during the show, but now there was glass all over the stage. He sheepishly went behind his drum kit and that was the end of that.’

Page says the spontaneity he’s known for on stage won’t be lacking with his new tour either. ‘It’s not a presentation. It’s not: “Here’s my show, watch it and I’ll meet you at the merch table afterwards”. I have two friends with me, Craig Northey and Kevin Fox, on guitar and cello respectively and we’re very comfortable as an ensemble. There’s a lot of conversation and often that will include the audience. I think people will be weeping with both joy and nostalgia.’

His setlists now include material from across his 25 years as a musician, but Page says its taken him some time to get to that point.

‘For me you have to walk a fine line between living inside your old material and separating yourself too much from it. I’ve grown to realise and appreciate that my old material means a lot to a lot of people and thus it means a lot to me. A big thing that informs the way that I perform all of those old songs now is honestly gratitude. That’s a different thing that I didn’t have before and it’s just part of growing up I think,’ he laughs again, ‘or growing old’.

It took Page some readjustment when he re-emerged as a solo artist.

‘It’s been an amazing learning curve for me. At first, I assumed that enough people who liked the Barenaked Ladies would say “Oh that guy, I like him.” But I forgot and didn’t fully realise that most music fans don’t pay attention to that stuff because it’s not that important to them. It seems stupid now that I didn’t realise it straight away.

‘Existentially it’s an odd thing being solo and you’re always tied to people who want to tag you as “formerly of Barenaked Ladies”. I’m formerly of a lot of other things too. But at the same time I want to embrace where I came from and I also want to tell people who I am.’

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