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Barenaked Ladies at SoundBoard, 5 Things To Know

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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It's been 25 years since Barenaked Ladies made the leap from independent act in Toronto to a major label band -- that, of course, raised some eyebrows with its name when its debut album "Gordon" was released worldwide.

Since the it's been 14 studio albums, a Grammy nomination and seven Canadian Juno Awards, along with enduring hits such as "If I Had $1000000," "Brian Wilson" and "One Week." The group's ties to the Detroit area, as an early base of support, are particularly strong; BNL recorded its 2007 live album and video "Talk To The Hand: Live In Michigan" at the DTE Energy Music Theatre; and last year it saluted Red Wings great Gordie Howe during their show at the venue.

BNL is currently working on its next studio album in Toronto and has a live set recorded with a capella group the Persuasions. Tyler Stewart, the group's gregarious drummer (and greatest hockey enthusiast), tore away from the sessions to offer a quick peek into the Ladies' room...

Though BNL is cognizant of the "Gordon" album's silver anniversary, there are no plans for a major commemoration. "Obviously it's a milestone and it's a huge record in our career," Stewart, 49, says by phone, "but we're always a bit wary about looking back and that kind of stuff. Sometimes it plants you firmly in the past, and if you focus too much on that you can either ignore or lessen the present works. So there's no plans to play 'Gordon' top to bottom or anything like that, but I imagine in our own special way we'll probably nod towards it subtly -- or not subtly."

BNL's upcoming show (March 3) at SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel is atypical for the group in the Detroit area, but the group finds those venues particularly interesting. "It's not necessarily all your crowd that shows up, but there's always a crowd, whether it's degenerate gamblers or whatever," Stewart notes. "There always seem to be people in those crowd who are getting a first taste and aren't necessarily over familiar with the band, so that's kind of a pleasure. You never know what kind of audience you're going to get."

Let loose in a casino, meanwhile, Stewart says that Ed Robertson is "definitely a Texas Hold 'Em poker player, and not too bad at that." The drummer and Kevin Hearn "have been known to sit down at a blackjack, table and lose some of our money," while bassist Jim Creeggan "goes to the spa. Actually, we all try to do that, go for a steam and a massage and all that and get pampered a little."

BNL is hoping to release its new album this fall, and Stewart says this time the group and co-producer Gavin Brown are "cooking up something a little different. It's a bit of a departure in some respects. We have a whole bunch of really interesting and diverse songs, from atmospheric, instrumentally lush songs to, like, power pop and...almost R&B ballad type stuff. There's no parameters. I feel like on this record we're not afraid to NOT sound like Barenaked Ladies, occasionally"

A long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan, Stewart is enjoying the team's relative success this year -- and doesn't think Red Wings fans need to worry about that team's fortunes looking ahead. "I'm trying not to count my chickens here, before they hatch, but we're encouraged -- and we've definitely benefited from some Red Wings-ism with (coach) Mike Babcock and (team president) Brendan Shanahan," Stewart notes. "But Detroit's an incredible franchise that's made the playoffs, what, 25 years in a row? That's huge. I don't think it's all going to go away because of one bum season. (General manager) Ken Holland is a really smart guy; I'm sure he has something up his sleeve for the future."

Barenaked Ladies

8 p.m. March 3.

SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino and Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $53-$63.

Call 1-866-782-9622 or visit soundboarddetroit.com.

Web Site: www.soundboarddetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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