Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies, August 2012
Background information
Origin Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1988–present
Labels John King Artist Consultants, Page Publications, Sire, Reprise, Desperation, Raisin'
Associated acts The Brothers Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle, Yukon Kornelius, The Vanity Project
Past members

Barenaked Ladies (often abbreviated BNL or occasionally BnL) is a Canadian rock band. The band is currently composed of Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, and Tyler Stewart. Barenaked Ladies formed in 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario (now incorporated into the City of Toronto) as a duo of Robertson and Steven Page.[1] Jim Creeggan and his brother Andrew "Andy" Creeggan joined at the end of 1989, and Stewart was added in 1990 while Andy was on a brief hiatus from the group. Andy left the band after its second album in 1995 and was replaced by Hearn. Page left in 2009, leaving the group as a quartet.

Upon forming, the band quickly developed a cult following in their native Canada culminating in their self-titled 1990 cassette becoming the first independent release ever to be certified gold in Canada. The band then received a major record deal with Reprise Records. Its label debut, Gordon, was released in 1992.

The band's style has evolved greatly throughout its career, and its 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 with a number of popular singles including "If I Had $1000000" and "Brian Wilson", but it was not until the band's 1996 live album, Rock Spectacle with its singles, live versions of "The Old Apartment" and "Brian Wilson", and its 1998 fourth studio album, Stunt that the band finally found success in the United States. The lead single from Stunt, "One Week" remains the band's most successful single. Other well-known singles include Stunt's second, "It's All Been Done", and the lead single from the follow-up album Maroon, "Pinch Me". These and other singles remain in radio rotation in both Canada and the United States.

In 2007, Robertson wrote and the band recorded a theme song for the sitcom The Big Bang Theory for which the band has also become well-known.

The band is also known for their light-hearted, comedic performance style and humorous banter between songs: improvised raps/songs are staples at most concerts.[2] They have won multiple Juno Awards and have been nominated for Grammy Awards. The group has sold over 15 million records including albums and singles.


Indie origins

Barenaked Ladies began as the duo of Ed Robertson and Steven Page.[1] The two went to school together since Robertson was in grade four (Page was a grade ahead)[3] at Churchill Heights Public School, but were not friends until they met each other at a Harvey's restaurant following a Peter Gabriel concert.[3] 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 counselors at Scarborough Music Camp located in McKellar, Ontario, Canada. They would play songs together, and Steve was impressed by Ed's ability to harmonize.[4]

When Page had an extra ticket to a Bob Dylan concert at Exhibition Stadium, he asked Robertson to join him.[5] Bored by the show, the two turned to amusing 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".[5][6]

Co-founder Ed Robertson in 2005

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 he 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.[4][5][6] The two played the show on October 1, 1988,[7] 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. This 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.[2][5][6]

Co-founder Steven Page in 2005

Page and Robertson continued performing and also began writing songs together. The band's first tape, Buck Naked (1989), was recorded on a four-track recorder[4] in basements and bedrooms. The pair became followers of comedy group Corky and the Juice Pigs, to whom they give credit for exposing them to the idea of comedic stage presence. Page and Robertson presented the group with their tape, and were invited to open for the Juice Pigs on their cross-Canada tour.[6] One night, in Toronto, Page and Robertson invited their friends, brothers Andy Creeggan (percussion) and Jim Creeggan (bass), whom they knew from music camp,[3] to play with them at a Christmas time club show. Barenaked Lunch (a.k.a. The Pink Tape) was released in 1990, and featured the two new band members. The tape had problems, however, as it was mastered incorrectly and played too fast.[3]

Jim Creeggan in 2008

After six months, Andy Creeggan went on a student exchange trip to South America, leaving the band without a percussionist. While playing at a buskers' festival in Waterloo, Ontario in the summer of 1990, they met drummer Tyler Stewart, who took over the position.[2] While Creeggan was gone, the band gained some attention when they were winners at the 1990 YTV Achievement Awards.[4] They gained further attention when they squeezed into a small "Speaker's Corner" video booth in Toronto, and performed "Be My Yoko Ono".[4] The clip quickly became popular with viewers, and noticeably increased the band's fanbase. Andy Creeggan returned in early 1991 to find that Stewart had taken over the percussion role. This caused some concern for him, and he then moved more toward keyboards; though he still played percussion (usually congas) on some songs. Soon after, the band embarked upon their first full tour of Canada.[2]

Early Canadian success

The full band's first commercial release was 1991's The Yellow Tape. It was a demo tape originally created for the band's performance at South by Southwest and was the first recording to feature all five members.[3] They spent between $2000 and $3000 on it, and sent a copy to all the labels in Canada; they were refused by all of them.[6] The band turned to selling them off the stage, and wound up selling a lot of them. Word of mouth spread, and people began asking for the tape in local stores. The stores began asking the band for copies of the tape, and the demo tape became a commercial release.[6] Sales began to snowball based simply on word of mouth and their live shows.[2] Page's father Victor created the independent label Page Publications to handle the cassette's manufacturing and distribution.[8] (After the band signed to a major label, Page Publications remained in operation, later releasing albums by artists such as The Lowest of the Low, Leslie Spit Treeo, Annette Ducharme, David Gogo and Bodega.)

During this era, the band also garnered radio airplay with a live cover of Dean Friedman's "I'm in Love with a McDonald's Girl", which included a rap break featuring lyrics from Beastie Boys' "Hey Ladies".[9] Another major break for the band in 1991 came in November of that year when BNL contributed a cover of Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" to the Cockburn tribute album Kick at the Darkness. That song became the band's first Top 40 hit in Canada.[10]

Tyler Stewart in 2005

Sales of The Yellow Tape were jump-started when the band was taken off the bill for the 1991 New Year's Eve concert in Nathan Phillips Square outside Toronto City Hall because a staffer for then-mayor June Rowlands saw the band's name and felt it objectified women;[11] the decision was further affirmed by city councillor Chris Korwin-Kuczynski.[12] The band shrugged it off and booked another show at McMaster University.[3] However, the media got wind of the story and decided to write about it as an example of political correctness gone too far. The first article earned the paper a large quantity of mail against City Hall's decision. The story became more and more prominent until about a week after New Years, when the band was asked to take a photo in front of City Hall for the front page of the Toronto Star. The stories targeted Rowlands even though she had not been directly involved in the decision to remove the band from the concert, but in fact had been out of town at the time. The following week, sales of the Yellow Tape exploded — by February 1992, it was outselling even Michael Jackson's Dangerous, Genesis' We Can't Dance and U2's Achtung Baby in some downtown Toronto record stores.[13] They received enough publicity from the incident that MuchMusic offered them its second-ever Intimate and Interactive special on January 17.[14] The tape eventually became the first ever indie release to achieve platinum status (100,000 copies) in Canada.[2]

By the end of February, Toronto City Council revised its rules for event bookings at Nathan Phillips Square in the hopes of avoiding another similar controversy.[12] The City Hall story has followed the band ever since; Robertson credits the scale of the story to it being a slow news week.[2][4][6]

First albums

Andy Creeggan performing with The Brothers Creeggan in London, Ontario, Canada in 2002

The band were signed to Sire Records in April 1992[15] after a long period of being rejected by every label they approached.

The band's first full album, Gordon, was released in July 1992 and was a big success in Canada;[1] by the end of August, it had already been certified platinum.[16] It included some of the band's most well-known songs, including "Enid", the first single; "Be My Yoko Ono", the single which helped fund the album; "If I Had $1000000", which spawned a Kraft Dinner throwing tradition at live shows that the band has discouraged;[5][6] and "Brian Wilson", named after Beach Boy Brian Wilson (who later covered the song on a live album). It benefited from the fact that a number of songs on the album (including the latter three) had been live favourites for a while and had been recorded on past releases like The Yellow Tape. While the band was doing remarkably well in Canada, they found that it translated into little success in the United States.[2]

BNL's second album, Maybe You Should Drive, released in 1994,[1] fared considerably less well with the Canadian public.[2] They tried touring the United States, but the tour was a failure and ended up losing money despite an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Before the next release Andy Creeggan decided to leave the band. He had become disillusioned with the direction of the band,[4] and was not comfortable with the fame the group had attained.[1] According to Page, he had considered leaving as early as the rehearsals for the Drive album; The rest of the band convinced him to stay to record that album, and for the subsequent touring. In addition, Creeggan wanted to attend McGill University to study music further.[17] Tyler Stewart has also suggested that Creeggan had never fully accepted his replacement by Stewart as percussionist.[2] Andy Creeggan's departure came during a time in which members of the band were starting to become sick of each other, with Page and Robertson rarely speaking to one another. Stewart cites the departure as worsening the situation. Page also began struggling with both alcohol abuse and depression.[2][4] In an attempt to correct the band's downward slide, they signed with Terry McBride and Nettwerk as their management.[4]

The band released Born on a Pirate Ship as a quartet in 1996.[18] The album received two large boosts from the inclusion of the song "Shoe Box" on the Friends soundtrack[18] and from the Jason Priestley-directed video for "The Old Apartment", which got notable American airplay[18] and while the album had stronger sales than Maybe You Should Drive, the album still did not match the success of "Gordon".[1] The Ladies appeared as the guest band on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 ("Spring Breakdown" original air date: April 2, 1997), immediately preceding their 1997 tour; they performed "The Old Apartment," "Life, In A Nutshell," and "Brian Wilson" at the Peach Pit After Dark night club. Tyler Stewart invited his friend Kevin Hearn to replace Andy Creeggan as keyboardist for the tour; Hearn ultimately joined the band full-time. The band also had a cameo in the Canadian Film "The Wrong Guy" with Dave Foley in 1997. They performed the song "Gangster Girl" as police officers in an alley on their break.[2][4]

From two dates on the Born on a Pirate Ship tour during 1996, BNL recorded and released a live album called Rock Spectacle, which had a modest radio hit in the United States with "Brian Wilson." The album became the band's first gold record in the United States, and the success of "Brian Wilson", coupled with the success of "The Old Apartment", led to a new situation for the band. They knew their next album would be their chance to make it big in the United States.[2][4]

Breakthrough success in the United States

They turned out to be right, as the 1998 release Stunt became (and remains) their greatest success and their American breakout album, buoyed by "One Week", which spent one week at the number one spot on the storied Billboard Hot 100. "Stunt" reached number three in the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and number nine in Canada. Immediately after Stunt was released, however, Kevin Hearn was diagnosed with leukemia, eventually undergoing a bone marrow transplant and spending several months at a Toronto hospital recovering.

Kevin Hearn in 2005

The band toured, with friends Chris Brown and Greg Kurstin both filling in on keyboards until Kevin recovered enough to rejoin them on the road. The singles "It's All Been Done" (used as the opening theme song on the short lived animated TV series Baby Blues) and "Call and Answer" (which later appeared in the film EdTV) were also modest hits. The band was also asked to contribute a song ("Get in Line") to the soundtrack of the Fox cartoon, King of the Hill.[18] Barenaked Ladies also had a guest appearance in a 1999 episode of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.

Maroon, released in 2000,[1] did fairly well led by the single "Pinch Me", though not as well as Stunt had in the U.S., reaching only the number five spot on the Billboard Top 100, however, reached number one in Canadian charts.[19] In 2001, they released a compilation album, entitled Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991–2001),[1] in reference to a line from their song "Box Set". It contains 15 singles from previous BNL albums, two singles from other compilations, and two new tracks (including the single "Thanks, That Was Fun"). After finishing a tour on December 31, 2001 to promote the compilation album, the band decided to mostly take a year off, only playing occasional shows before returning to the studio in April 2003.

Everything to Everyone was released October 21, 2003,[1] coincided by the first show of the unique Peepshow tour. The first single off the album was "Another Postcard (Chimps)", which received modest radio play. "Testing 1,2,3" was the second single from the album and received a video, but no CD single, while Celebrity was released later in the UK with a CD single, but no video. "Maybe Katie" and an edited version of "For You" from a concert in Glasgow, Scotland were also released as singles to radio. The album was their weakest seller in years, with a short chart life. With the release, the band fulfilled their contract with Reprise Records, with whom they did not re-sign. This made the band independent for the first time since 1992 (though they retained a distribution relationship with Warner Bros. Records). On the subsequent Everywhere For Everyone tour, in early 2004, the band began offering their full live shows for purchase as a download or CD-R on, as well as subsequent studio releases.[20]

The band recorded the theme song for the 2000 children's program Seven Little Monsters. They also appeared in The Honeymoon's Over, the season 3 premier of Charmed, performing "Pinch Me" onstage at the fictional night club P3.[21]

Return to independence

Steven Page, Kevin Hearn and Ed Robertson live in 2005

The band's next album was Barenaked for the Holidays, which was released on October 5, 2004. It was their first independent record since The Yellow Tape, as well the first album recorded at Steven Page's then-recently completed studio at his farmhouse called Fresh Baked Woods. The band created the record label Desperation Records for this album. The label has been used for all releases since. Currently, the label is just a title used to release the band's own material, and the band is not looking to sign outside artists.[22]

In January 2005, the band taped a television pilot for a variety show, tentatively titled Barenaked Ladies Variety Show, which was ultimately rejected by the Fox network.[23] Later that year, the band was asked to write music for the Stratford Festival of Canada's musical production of Shakespeare's As You Like It.[24] Steven Page wrote most of the music (Shakespeare had provided lyrics in the play), and the band recorded it for the actors to sing over.[25] The recording (with Page's vocals) was available on CD from the festival and on the band's website. On July 2, 2005 BNL took part in the Live 8 concert in Barrie, Ontario.[26] Following several writing sessions throughout 2005, the band went into the studio at Fresh Baked Woods that fall to begin recording 29 songs. They broke from the studio in November and December of that year to play a 22-show holiday tour, each night of which they played one of their new songs. An iTunes Originals – a collection of interviews and live songs (coupled with some old album tracks) was recorded while the band was in the studio and was released in February.

Also in February 2006, the band went back into the studio to finish up the recordings they started the previous fall. Initially unsure of how to release so many songs, the band announced in May 2006 that they would release a one-disc album in early September entitled Barenaked Ladies Are Me. Several alternate versions are available, including downloadable versions and a USB flash drive version. The B.L.A.M. tour in support of the album, and its follow-up Barenaked Ladies Are Men (both of which hail from the same sessions), ran in Fall 2006 for the U.S., February 2007 for Canada, and later in 2007 for the UK. That same year, the band wrote and recorded the theme song for the television series The Big Bang Theory.

The band performing on-board its Ships and Dip III cruise in 2008

On May 6, 2008, the band released an album of original material aimed at children entitled Snacktime!. The album features the artwork by Kevin Hearn in its liner notes, which is also available in the form of a hardcover book with the CD included. The album was promoted with a series of television appearances and in-store appearances at bookstores in the north-eastern and west coasts of the United States, as well as Toronto.

In July 2008, the band chose to cancel scheduled appearances at several Disney Music Block Party concerts following Page's arrest on allegations of cocaine possession.[27] In August 2008, Robertson crashed his single-engine plane (without casualty), and in December 2008, his mother died.[28] Band members made several comments about how the events of the year marred their celebration of the band's 20th anniversary (October 1, 2008).

Departure of Page

On February 24, 2009, Barenaked Ladies and Steven Page separately announced that Page had left the band "[by] mutual agreement." The remaining members continued as a quartet while Page pursued solo projects including theatrical opportunities.[29][30] In July, it was announced the band had left Nettwerk management and had hired the newly merged management firm CAM 8.[31][32]

Robertson commented on the departure of one of the band's founding members:

Our relationship with Steve Page was great and very fruitful. It lasted almost 20 years, but it was time to move on. Now we're doing something that feels really fresh and exciting to me. His departure left four singers and three multi-instrumentalists in the band, so we're not lacking for musical ideas, and now there's more room for the other writers in the band to bring songs to the table.[33]

BNL went into the studio as a quartet in May 2009 to record a new album with producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda. "You Run Away," the lead single from the new album, was released to Canadian radio on January 8. All in Good Time was released March 23, 2010 in Canada and March 30 in the U.S.[34][35][36] On January 6, 2010, the band announced that it had signed an exclusive worldwide distribution deal with EMI Label Services.[35] The same announcement implied that following the departure of Page the band has created a new label for itself called Raisin' Records.[35]

All in Good Time was generally well received by the critics.[37] The band toured the United States and Canada during the summer of 2010, with a leg in the United Kingdom in the fall. When asked about Page's departure, Tyler Stewart said "We don't keep in touch, but we certainly we [sic] wish him the best and there's good will there."[38] In October 2010, Page stated that he has no plans to rejoin the band in the near future, other than a possible one-off performance. He added that it felt strange the band continued to use the same name and perform the songs that he wrote and performed.[39]

Page later commented in August 2011 that around the subsequent time of his arrest, "the band was no longer the joyous place that it once was, but it hadn’t been joyous for a long time before that. It wasn’t that we didn’t put on good shows, we still had a great time onstage every night,” he added. “But it became a place where work was just about the stress and not the end product."[40]

Recent activity

The band released a new greatest hits album, Hits from Yesterday & the Day Before, through Rhino Entertainment (a division of their former parent label, Warner Music Group) on September 27, 2011.[41] Another Rhino album, Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before, containing previously-recorded but unreleased rarities, was planned for release later in 2011[42] but was delayed until May 8, 2012.[43]

BNL was commissioned to compose the original score for a musical based on National Lampoon's Animal House.[44] The project was announced in early 2012. However, by mid-2013, the band had been dropped from the production.

The band went back into the studio in May 2012 to record a single, "Boomerang". The session was produced by Gavin Brown.[45] The band indicated plans for "Boomerang" to be released as a single during the summer of 2012 in conjunction with their Last Summer On Earth tour on which the song was performed nightly.[46] The single was also performed on the late 2012 Symphony Barenaked Tour but remained unreleased. The band had mentioned the possibility of abandoning the album concept and releasing only singles and EPs. However, the band went into the studio in February and March 2013 to work on a full album,[47] which was released as Grinning Streak on June 4, 2013. The band signed with Vanguard Records for the release, their first label album of originals since going independent following 2003's Everything to Everyone.[48] "Boomerang" was added to the new album tracks and was released as a single on March 26, 2013. Two further singles were released: "Odds Are" in late 2013 and "Did I Say That Out Loud?" in mid-2014. Each of the latter singles had a music video produced by Rooster Teeth Productions.[49][50]

On July 1, 2014, the band released The Long Weekend E.P. in Canada, which includes acoustic versions of "Odds Are", "Smile" and "Blame It On Me", as well as a live version of "Did I Say That Out Loud?".[51] In the US, a digital deluxe edition of Grinning Streak was released, containing the three acoustic songs. The live version of "Did I Say That Out Loud?", however, was left off the US version.[52][53]

On November 7, 2014, Barenaked Ladies released a new song titled "Our Blue Dot", written for the David Suzuki Foundation and the Blue Dot Tour.[54]

On December 14, 2014, it was announced that BNL were in the studio working on a new album.[55] The band's 12th studio album, Silverball, was formally announced on April 7, 2015.[56] It was released on June 2, 2015,[57] three days before the band kicked off its Last Summer on Earth 2015 tour with Violent Femmes and Colin Hay.[58] The lead single from the album, "Say What You Want", was released on April 28, 2015.[59][60] On May 19, 2015, Barenaked Ladies released a music video for the song; their third produced by Rooster Teeth Productions.[61] The music video for "Duct Tape Heart", containing live footage of the band's performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on the Last Summer On Earth 2015 tour, was released on October 19, 2015 to coincide with the start of the Canadian leg of the Silverball tour.[62]

The band wrote and recorded a song for the Rooster Teeth movie, Lazer Team.[63]

On February 1, 2016, it was announced that the band would be releasing a new live album, BNL Rocks Red Rocks, on May 20, 2016.[64] It was recorded at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on the Last Summer on Earth 2015 tour. The band also held a Last Summer on Earth 2016 tour with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Howard Jones in conjunction with the new live album.[65] BNL Rocks Red Rocks is the band's first commercial live release since the departure of Steven Page in 2009.

On October 21, 2016, it was announced that the band would be entering the studio with New York City a cappella group, The Persuasions to record a 12-track album composed of reworked BNL songs, along with some Persuasions songs. Recording took place on October 23 and 24, with Gavin Brown producing.[66]

Innovation and technology

Barenaked Ladies has often attempted to use new technologies to promote themselves and their music. They were among the early adopters of computers for promotion when they released an "Interactive Press Kit" on 3.5-inch floppy disk for Maybe You Should Drive in 1994, which earned them a MuchMusic Video Award. They used their website to allow fans to choose between two songs ("Be My Yoko Ono" and "Alternative Girlfriend") for inclusion on their greatest hits CD Disc One (though polling was nearly tied and both songs were included).

Beginning in April 2003, the band began a blog on its website to keep fans updated personally, coinciding with the band's return to the studio for Everything to Everyone. During a subsequent studio session, for Barenaked Ladies Are Me, Ed Robertson began a podcast in addition to the blog which ran from February to August 2006 (with a series of four videos added in early 2007 with highlights from the band's first cruise.

The band has adopted many of the current online social networking sites, including accounts on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. The Twitter feed has been integrated into the band's site, and it also typically announces new blog posts with a link. These accounts have been used for contests and to debut new tracks. Different band members have also had individual accounts on these sites at times.

Barenaked Ladies has sold recordings of almost all of its live concerts since early 2004. Initially, concerts were sold on CD-R or as MP3 downloads. By the end of 2004, lossless FLAC files were also offered. Professionally printed copies of some concerts were later offered through some isolated record stores, and some concerts have been added to the iTunes Music Stores and other digital retailers.

The band was praised for a unique use of USB flash drive technology. The band offered its 2004 Barenaked For the Holidays album on a customized flash drive in MP3 format, with extras including bonus tracks, and photos and videos from the studio sessions for the album. The band used a 128 MB USB flash drive, limiting the bitrate of the music included. The band described the product as a test of the technology and the market for that technology. It subsequently released Are Me in the USB format as well (on a 256 MB flash drive). The band also incorporated the technology into its live music sales, offering fans a copy of concerts in MP3 format on a USB stick at the merchandise booth directly after the show.

In 2009 the band took part in an interactive documentary series, City Sonic. The series, which featured 20 Toronto artists, includes Tyler Stewart reflecting on his memories of the (now closed) Ultrasound Showbar. The films were accompanied by an iPhone application, which uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to unlock more videos when the user is close to the specific location.[67]

In February 2013, the Barenaked Ladies participated in what was billed as the "first space-to-earth musical collaboration"[68] involving the band and Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, along with the Wexford Gleeks, a Canadian student choir. The band, Hadfield and the choir performed a song "I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)" that was commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Space Agency.

Ships and Dip cruises

Following a lead from other artists, the band held a fan cruise called "Ships and Dip", January 15–19, 2007. Other artists who joined the Ladies included side projects The Brothers Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle and The Vanity Project, as well as friends of the band, Guster, Jason Plumb, The New Odds, and others. The ship also featured comedy from band friends Seán Cullen, and Harland Williams.

The success of the cruise led to a second cruise, incongruously named "Ships and Dip III", held January 27 – February 1, 2008. Many of the same artists were joined by newcomers such as Great Big Sea, who were a headlining performer. The third annual cruise, "Ships and Dip V", sailed February 1–6, 2009, again featuring some returning and some new artists, adding Sarah McLachlan as an opening act for each of the band's three main theater shows. Other new acts included Sloan, Luke Doucet, The Mountain Goats and The Weakerthans.

The artists on the Ships and Dip cruises have sailed on board with the rest of the passengers for the duration of the cruises; this contrasts some music cruises on which the artist or artists travel separately to one of the cruise destinations and perform there, or join the cruise for only a portion of the trip. Band members have enjoyed other artists' shows and the ship's amenities freely with the other guests. Barenaked Ladies have performed several full shows on each cruise, and the band members also commonly have sat in with other artists at their shows.

The fourth Ships and Dip cruise (dubbed "Ships and Dip 4", breaking with the odd-numbered naming convention of the first three cruises) sailed February 6–11, 2011 on the Norwegian Dawn from Miami, Florida. Ships and Dip 4 was the first (and thus far, only) Ships and Dip cruise since the departure of Steven Page.

Awards and nominations

Barenaked Ladies awards and nominations

From left to right: Hearn, Stewart, Creeggan, and Robertson watch Page mime golfing during an ad lib in 2004.
Awards and nominations
Award Wins Nominations
Billboard Music Awards
2 2
Grammy Awards
0 2
Juno Awards
7 10
MTV Video Music Awards
0 1
World Music Awards
1 1
Awards won 10
Nominations 15

In 1993, Barenaked Ladies were nominated for their first four Juno Awards: Canadian Entertainer of the Year, Album of the year for Gordon, Single of the Year for Enid, and Group of the year, which was their only win. The group was again nominated for Canadian Entertainer of the Year in 1994 and Group of the Year in 1995.[69] Barenaked Ladies' first Grammy nomination came in 1999 for "One Week" in the Pop Performance by a Duo or Group category, but lost to Brian Setzer's "Jump, Jive an' Wail".[70][71] The song, and its album Stunt, brought the band three more Juno Awards that year, for Best Single, Best Pop Album, and Best Group. Robertson lost to Bryan Adams in the newly revived Best Songwriter Category.[69] The video for "One Week" was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Art Direction, but lost to "Doo Wop (That Thing)" by Lauryn Hill.[72]

The band was nominated for their second Grammy in 2001 for "Pinch Me", again in the Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group category, but lost to "Cousin Dupree" by Steely Dan.[70] They also won three more Juno Awards for Maroon under Best Pop Album, Best Album and Best Group, bringing their total to seven. "Pinch Me" was nominated for Best Single, but lost to "I'm Like a Bird" by Nelly Furtado. Additionally, Page and Robertson were nominated in the Best Songwriter category in its penultimate year for "Pinch Me", "Too Little Too Late" and "Falling for the First Time".[69]

Five more Juno nominations have followed, totaling 18 nominations for the band. In 2004 they were up for Pop Album of the Year for Everything to Everyone, as well as Group of the Year. In 2005, they were up for Music DVD of the Year for the documentary The Barenaked Truth, though they did not put out the DVD themselves. In 2006, they were again nominated for group of the year. They were nominated for and subsequently won a 2008 Juno for their children's album Snacktime!.[69][73]

Billboard Music Awards

The Billboard Music Awards is sponsored by Billboard magazine and held annually in December. Barenaked Ladies has received two awards from two nominations.[74][75]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1998 "One Week" Best Clip (Alternative/Modern Rock) Won
Maximum Vision Award Won
Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. Barenaked Ladies has received two nominations.[74][76][77]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1999 "One Week" Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group Nominated
2001 "Pinch Me" Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Nominated
Juno Awards

The Juno Awards is a Canadian awards ceremony presented annually by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Barenaked Ladies has received seven awards from eleven nominations.[74][78][79]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1993 Barenaked Ladies Group of the Year Won
1999 Barenaked Ladies Best Group of the Year Won
Stunt Pop Album of the Year Won
"One Week" Single of the Year Won
2001 Barenaked Ladies Best Group of the Year Won
Maroon Best Pop Album of the Year Won
Album of the Year Nominated
"Pinch Me" Best Single of the Year Nominated
Songwriter of the Year Nominated
2004 Everything to Everyone Pop Album of the Year Nominated
2009 Snacktime! Children's Album of the Year Won
MTV Video Music Awards

The MTV Video Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony established in 1984 by MTV. Barenaked Ladies has received one nomination.[74][80]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1999 "One Week" Best Art Direction (Art Director: Paul Martin) Nominated
MuchMusic Video Awards

The MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs) is an annual awards ceremony presented by Canadian television station MuchMusic that honours the best music videos. In the past, the awards including some vote-in People's Choice categories that were not specifically tied to videos. Barenaked Ladies has received four awards and several other nominations.

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1992 "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" VideoFACT Award Won
People's Choice: Best Group Won
1993 "Brian Wilson" People's Choice: Best Group Won
1995 Maybe You Should Drive Best Canadian Band Interactive Press Kit Won
2001 "Pinch Me" MuchMoreMusic Award Nominated
"Too Little Too Late" People's Choice: Favourite Canadian Group Nominated
People's Choice: Favourite Video By A Canadian Nominated
World Music Awards

The World Music Awards honours recording artists based on worldwide sales figures provided by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Barenaked Ladies has received one award.[74]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2000 Barenaked Ladies World's Best-Selling Canadian Group Won

Beyond music


Barenaked Ladies have an authorized biography which was released in 2001, titled Public Stunts Private Stories, written by friend of the band and fellow Scarborough native Paul Myers with input from the band.[1] It is published in Canada by Madrigal Press. An updated version of the biography was released in 2003 in the United States with a different cover, several corrections, and additional information about Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits and Everything to Everyone, which were released after the initial printing.

Canadian Music Creators Coalition

In May 2006, Barenaked Ladies, along with other prominent Canadian musicians, formed the Canadian Music Creators Coalition in response to plans by the Canadian government to revisit and update copyright laws. Steven Page has acted as a conduit between the CMCC and the press, urging the government to focus on the Canadian cultural scene. Page has said the formation of the CMCC was in response to what he believes is the wrong direction taken by the RIAA and the major labels, by suing fans for filesharing.[81]

Barenaked Planet

The band has also become a proponent of environmentalism, following from Page's passion for greening (he is himself a board member of WWF Canada). The band began bringing an "eco-village" organized by the Reverb organization on their 2004 Au Naturale tour. The band has since partnered with Reverb to form the "Barenaked Planet" project, which is the band's label for their project to progressively "green" their touring. Efforts the band have made include ensuring backstage materials are recycled, using biodiesel in their tour vehicles (B20 as of December 2006), and offsetting carbon emissions with wind power. This includes both band-sponsored offsets for their own emissions, as well as having volunteers sell "Barenaked Planet" stickers to concertgoers with the money going to offset their drives to the venues.[82]

"If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours" ice cream

In May 2009, BNL partnered with American ice cream company Ben & Jerry's to create the flavour "If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours." Named after the song "If I Had $1000000", the confection consists of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cups, chocolate-coated toffee chunks, white chocolate chunks and chocolate-coated almonds. In the United States, this ice cream flavour is sold under the name "Everything But The...".

BNL is the first Canadian band to receive their own ice cream flavour, following in the footsteps of other band-themed Ben & Jerry's flavours such as Cherry Garcia (Jerry Garcia), One Sweet Whirled and Magic Brownies (Dave Matthews Band) and Phish Food (Phish). All royalties from the sale of "If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours" are donated to the ABC Canada Literacy Foundation, a Toronto-based organization that promotes reading to children at home.[83][84]

Side projects

Tyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Ed Robertson all have past or present side projects during their time off from BNL. Stewart was part of a short-lived trio called Don't Talk Dance which released a self-titled album in 1995 which also included Chris Brown (who later sat in for Hearn with Barenaked Ladies during his late-90s cancer treatment). The album was made for charity and all profits went to Casey House, an AIDS charity in Canada.[85] Stewart also plays occasionally with the rockabilly band Pogo Rodeo which he first joined in high school. The band reunited in the early 2010s and has since played occasional concerts[86]

Jim Creeggan formed the alternative/jazz group The Brothers Creeggan, with brother and former BNL member Andy Creeggan, later joined by Ian McLauchlan (who died in 2009).[87] The group (variously as a duo and a trio) recorded four albums between 1995 and 2002. The group stopped performing regularly in the mid-2000s and have only performed together on rare occasion, such as for the Barenaked Ladies' cruises. Andy Creeggan also has several solo albums with the most recent one released in 2010.[87]

Since 1995, Kevin Hearn has released four albums as the frontman of Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle, and three others with solo billing (with members of Thin Buckle as well as other musicians backing him). Hearn's albums feature a mix of alternative rock and jazz with many other eclectic influences.[88] Hearn continues to perform in the Toronto area, and occasionally tour with Thin Buckle. Hearn was also the musical director and keyboardist for Lou Reed's band from the mid-2000s until Reed's passing in October 2013. He has also released an album of love songs as "The Cousins" in 2004 with his cousin, comedian Harland Williams.

Robertson joined a super group called Yukon Kornelius in 2008 with Dave Matthews Band bass player Stefan Lessard, singer/guitarist Adam Gardner of Guster, and drummer Eric Fawcett of Spymob. To date, the band has played four shows, but they anticipate doing a short tour when work with their other bands permit. Yukon Kornelius is usually joined by special guests during their shows. Some special guests include Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister, Carl Bell (formerly of Fuel), Tyler Stewart, and other members of the Dave Matthews Band. Robertson also hosted three seasons of the 2006 television program called Ed's Up for OLN Canada in which he would fly his own plane to various locations and experience and publicize a variety of interesting occupations.

Former member Steven Page had a side project called The Vanity Project. The first self-titled album was written mostly with long-time collaborator Stephen Duffy. In the wake of a band decision to try to keep songwriting amongst its then-five members, Page said that the project was an opportunity for him to write with non-BNL writers. He indicated that a future release might including other writers and not necessarily Duffy. However, Page did not record a second Vanity Project album before his departure from Barenaked Ladies, and has released his post-BNL works in his own name. Page has also hosted a season of the reality television series The Illegal Eater which features Page travelling to showcase food and drink experiences that are in some way taboo, illicit or outright illegal.

In addition, band members (both individually and together) have often collaborated with other artists, such as making guest appearances on their albums, performing live, or co-writing songs with them.


In December 2008, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was reportedly asked by a session musician which bands he enjoys in the current music scene. The response was the Barenaked Ladies: "Their harmonies are right on. They could outsing us any day of the week. I don’t think John and myself ever had the sort of range they do." McCartney added that he would not mind recording with the band in the future.[89]


Current members

Former members



Studio albums

Video releases

In popular culture


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