Six years and three albums after original member Steven Page's tense departure, Barenaked Ladies is finding a sense of welcome equilibrium.
Singer-guitarist Ed Robertson, in fact, says that making the Canadian group's latest album, "Silverball," was "a pleasure through and through," and much more enjoyable than 2010's "All In Good Time" and 2013's "Grinning Streak."
" 'All In Good Time' was a touch record to make and came with a lot of new pressures," Robertson, 44, says during an interview while driving to a show in southern Ontario. "Then with 'Grinning Streak' it was like, 'OK, we proved we can do this. Now we have to do it again,' and it had all kinds of weird pressure and anxiety with it."
But this time around, Robertson says, "Somewhere before I even started writing this record I thought, 'What have I got to complain about or stress about? Let's just enjoy it!' And we did." And that spirit was present from the get-go.
"Every time in the past I've kinda gotten a little stressed out before writing -- 'What am I gonna write about? Are the songs gonna come? Are they going to be any good?'" explains Robertson, who co-founded BNL during 1988 in Toronto.. "I always have this little struggle like I"m sure a lot of artists do. "This time I thought, 'I'm not gonna stress about it. I know how to write. I'm looking forward to making a record.'" He went to his cottage in northern Ontario expecting to come up with "ideas for three or four songs" and wound up 19, which he promptly sent to the rest of the band.
"I said, 'I either just wrote the same song 19 times or we're well on our way to a new record here.'" Robertson recalls "And immediately I got feedback from the other guys, 'Holy shit! These songs are awesome! This is gonna be great!' They were all super positive, and I think it set the tone for the record that everybody was excited and we all kinda hit the ground running a little bit.
"Then Kev (Hearn) and Jim (Creeggan) both brought great songs, too, so it was a really good process."
Now, of course, BNL's goal on its latest Last Summer on Earth tour is "to kill it every single night and rock the...audiences with our new material and hits from our past" -- and, Robertson adds, with plenty of help from hand-picked tour partners the Violent Femmes and former Men At Work frontman Colin Hay.
"We wanted a really strong bill, and we had the opportunity to play with the Femmes a few times over the years and have always been really blown away by them," Robertson says. "Colin I didn't know at all; of course I know (Men At Work) and grew up with that music, and he's got a great vibe wtih what he's doing now. I think it's a great night of strong performer, people who really know how to work a crowd, so it's gonna be great."
Barenaked Ladies, Violent Femmes and Colin Hay
7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20.
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $28.50-$68.50 pavilion, $25 lawn with $80 lawn four-packs.
Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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