Music

Barenaked Ladies at Humphrey’s May 25th – Interview with Tyler Stewart

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This Wednesday at the Humprey’s By The Bay venue, the famous Canadian alternative-rock band, Barenaked Ladies, will stopping by and perform for their tour. The band has composed 11 albums that include Snacktime (2006), All In Good Time (2010), Talk To The Hand: Live in Michigan DVD (2007), Barenaked Ladies Are Me (2006), Barenaked For The Holidays (2004), Maroon (2000), Stunt (1998), Rock Spectacle (1996), Everything to Everyone (2003), Maybe You Should Drive (1994), and Gordon (1992).  They have been performing together for over 20 years and are still tight as ever.

The group was founded in 1988 by Ed Robertson and Steven Page, who went to the same school together. The duo quickly expanded to five members as others joined in; Andy and Jim Creeggan were friends from music camp, and Tyler Stewart came from a buskers’ festival were they performed together.

They quickly took over Canada with their cassette album, The Yellow Tape. Their popularity quickly spread over North America and the U.K. with their “frentic blend of high-energy melodic-pop, crack musicianship and spontaneous repartee.” (Barenaked Ladies band site). They quickly gained attention and were releasing multi-platinum albums such as Rock, Gordon, Stunt, and Maroon. They have changed their line up group from five to four after the group’s decision to let go co-founder Steve Page and move on.

Barenaked Ladies is now composed of Ed Robertson, the co-founder of the group, the guitarist and vocalist Jim Creeggan, the vocalist and bassist Kevin Hearn (he also performs with a variety of instruments that include the keyboard, guitar, and accordion), and Tyler Stewart, the group’s drummer and vocalist. Their summer tour this year includes concerts that span across the US as well as the UK.

The Entertainer had the opportunity to interview Tyler Stewart about the band, the upcoming concert and tour. It was a very thrilling and humorous experience talking with the witty drummer. He provided a lot of interesting insight of his experience with the Barenaked Ladies. Here we provide you his voice:

Entertainer: What influenced you the most?

TS: We are all influenced by good music. If the genre is interesting to us. I am pretty influenced by newer avant-garde bands like Spoon and Phoenix.

Our influences are usually from the music we grew up with. In my youth every influence was by Led Zepplin and Rush. Ed Robertson, our chief singer, was influenced by country music. Jim Creeggan was taught piano by his mom, so he was influenced and around a lot of classical music. Kevin Hearn was in choir school influenced by music with harmony in it.

Entertainer: What bands do you try to model after?

TS: Well…there’s not a lot of bands that are like Barenaked Ladies. With songwriters, everybody takes turns singing. Every band has some comparison to the Beatles, but we really try to just model after ourselves. After 20 years we can finally become ourselves.

Entertainer: What brought you guys together and decide to perform? What got the band started?

TS: The biggest thing is geography. The band started with Ed Robertson and Steven Page, who no longer plays with us. When they started they were at same school. The others met because they were at the same music camp. For me it was while at the buskers carnival. I happened to meet them and we joined up. They are all interesting guys – very creative. I was drawn to them. Basically it was cause of geography proximity.

Entertainer: What do you enjoy the most about being in a band?

TS: The opportunity to work with such creative human beings. Guys who are very musical and multitalented. They are quality human beings. I’ve been collaborating with quality people for 25 years. There is still lots of collaboration going on, which is good.

Entertainer: If you had to describe your music in only a few words, what would you call it?

TS: I would call it high quality pop music. The finest in pop music.

Entertainer: What is your biggest challenge both for you and the group?

TS: The Biggest challenge after 25 years is to not take it for granted. It’s like marriage. You can’t take marriage for granted. You have to communicate, have hot passionate sex, take care of the kids…Being in a band is pretty much like that. Maybe not the sex since we are all guys. (Laughs) The key is to really to not take it for granted. To realize what you have is special and full of tension. You have to keep working on it.

Entertainer: What is your dream tour? Who would you like to perform with?

TS: Hmm good question. We love the Beastie Boys. Have always loved them. Playing with them would be great. The Foo Fighters have been very inspirational to us. They are serious about the music. Rush, our fellow countrymen. Playing with them would be great as well. Neal Young. Done it once before, we would like to do it again.

Entertainer: How is the tour coming along? Is there anything you guys are looking forward to?

TS: This summer is more of a sporadic tour. We are doing pretty big gigs. At the Glastonbury Festival in England we will be playing for at least 80-100,000 people, which is usually pretty interesting.

We’re also looking pretty forward to playing at Humphreys in San Diego. It’s a really fun gig. Great place. People pull up in their boats to watch us perform. Very sunny. Nice to play in a nice warm place.

Entertainer: Have you performed here before? If so what did you like best about the city?

TS: I like what you did to the downtown area. More pedestrian-friendly. It has really come alive.

Entertainer: What are your favorite and least favorite venues?

TS: Over the years, my favorite is Red Rocks Theater. It’s an outdoor theater in Colorado. Madison Garden, really enjoyed playing there. If you can make it there can make it anywhere. Once you played big places you realize how fortunate and lucky you are to have fans coming. After 20 years of sleeping on tour bus tend forget it’s a real privilege. Seeing other groups and trying to appreciate them.

Entertainer: What do you enjoy the most at a concert? What thoughts go on through your mind before you up there?

TS: The great thing about it, being a drummer, is you get to beat to things for a living. Making people feel and dance. The fact that it is something exciting for me. I look forward to expending energy, which is directly related to people moving their hips to the beat.

Want to see Barenaked Ladies in concert? They’re playing Humphrey’s By The Bay on Wednesday, May 25. Can make it? Here is a list of their upcoming concerts and locations.

Barenaked Ladies Summer Tour 2011

05/25/2011 San Diego, CA à Humphrey’s
05/27/2011 Las Vegas, NV à Red Rock Casino Resort
05/28/2011 Little Rock, Arkansas à Riverfest 2011
06/03/2011 Fairbanks, Alaska à Blue Loon
06/04/2011 Anchorage, AK à Chilkoot Charlie’s
06/24/2011 Glastonbury, United Kingdom à Glastonbury Festival
06/25/2011 Glasgow, United Kingdom à O2 ABC
06/26/2011 Hyde Park, United Kingdom à Hard Rock Calling Festival (with Rod Stewart and Train)

07/23/2011 Saint Louis, MO à Celebrate St. Louis
07/29/2011 Oswego, NY à Oswego Harborfest
07/30/2011 Whitehouse Station, NJ à Festival of Ballooning
07/31/2011 Saratoga Springs, NY à Saratoga Performing Arts Center (with Goo Goo Dolls and Michelle Branch)

08/16/2011 Hampton Beach, NY à Hampton Beach Casino
08/18/2011 Glen Allen, VA à Innsbrook After Hours
08/19/2011 Fredricksburg, VA à Job.com Pavilion (Celebrate Virginia Live)

Group photo courtesy of James Minchin via Andrea Yee, Career Artist Management.

Tyler Stewart Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder via Flickr.

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