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Interview:
Twenty-five years in, Barenaked Ladies would rather celebrate the present -- and future
 

by
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

» See more SOUND CHECK

The members of Barenaked Ladies had a clear idea of how they wanted to celebrate the group's 25th anniversary this year.

"That's a conversation we had with our management; I said, 'I want to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this band by putting out a smokin' new record," says frontman Ed Robertson, who co-founded BNL during 1988 in Toronto with former member Steven Page. "I wanted our anniversary to be about moving forward and not looking back.

"We've been talking about a box set or some sort of compilation for ages. Certainly those voices are always chiming in, but ultimately the band always votes for moving forward."

The quartet's new "Grinning Streak," which came out in June, gave BNL its best Billboard chart debut (No. 10) in a decade. Robertson acknowledges that after 2010's "All in Good Time," the album's upbeat tone reflects a greater comfort after Page's departure in 2009; "I feel like the last record was just about standing up and dusting ourselves off, and on this record we really found our legs and wrote a group of songs we all really liked," he explains.

But, Robertson adds, that did not come easy.

"It took me a long time to write these songs," says Robertson, 42, who also collaborated on a new song with International Space Station astronaut Chris Hadfield that premiered in February. "I spent 18 months going, 'What...do I have to say, and who cares?' I don't know if it was insecurity or self-doubt or whatever. I think I was just really overthinking it.

"And when it came down to it, I just started writing and the songs started coming fast and furious. I took the pressure off myself and thought, 'They're gonna get written eventually, so I'm gonna stop stressing over it. And I had a lot of advice from other friends and songwriters who said, 'We really like what you do, so just do it again.' That helped a lot."

The Last Summer on Earth Tour with Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Guster and Boothby Graffoe plays at 7 p.m. Friday, July 12, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $37-$85 pavilion, $25 lawn with an $80 lawn four-pack. Call 249-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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