Steven Page

Exclaim! - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

IN MARCH, STEVEN PAGE AP­PEARED WITH BARE­NAKED LADIES FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE LEAV­ING HIS OLD BAND IN 2009 when they were in­ducted into the Cana­dian Mu­sic Hall of Fame and per­formed at the Juno Awards. “[That was] hon­estly the only thing we’d talked about,” Page ad­mits. “I don’t think any­body wants there to be any kind of per­ma­nent re­union, but I feel like we’ve got­ten so much stuff in com­mon it would be fun to do.”

Page is too busy any­way. He just re­leased his sixth solo ef­fort, Dis­ci­pline: Heal Thy­self Pt. 2, a se­quel to his 2016 al­bum. “Ini­tially I thought [ Heal Thy­self] would be one record with 30 songs. Over those two years be­tween the al­bums, I fi­nally found some time to fin­ish it off, only to dis­cover that some songs didn’t fit any more, and then I found my­self writ­ing a bunch of new songs.” CAM LIND­SAY

What are your cur­rent fix­a­tions?

I just saw Sorry to Bother You and had my mind blown. I thought it was amaz­ing, and I’m telling ev­ery­one I know to go see it. I will prob­a­bly be proven wrong or ev­ery­one will tell me they hated it, but for me it was the per­fect movie, be­cause it’s ab­surd, po­lit­i­cally con­scious, fun, scary and it se­cond-guesses it­self all at once.

Name some­thing you con­sider a mind-al­ter­ing work of art:

This is gonna sound ridicu­lous be­cause it’s so sim­ple, but I have some kind of in­sanely deep con­nec­tion with “Hey Jude.” The song is so sim­ple, but there is some­thing in the per­for­mance and how the acous­tic gui­tar, piano and cym­bals all mush to­gether that it trans­ports me ev­ery time. If I am feel­ing dis­ori­ented or out of sorts, that is the eas­i­est way to get me back.

What has been your most mem­o­rable or in­spi­ra­tional gig and why?

We did a gig in Chicago around 2000 at a race­track in this huge sta­dium. The day­time acts were all of these al-

ter­na­tive or mod­ern rock bands. I re­mem­ber it was Third Eye Blind, then us, and af­ter us, Stone Tem­ple Pi­lots, Kid Rock and then Me­tal­lica. We were the last of the non-hard rock bands, and dur­ing our set, the hard rock fans were get­ting closer and closer to the stage, and the nerdy al­ter­na­tive fans were get­ting pushed far­ther back. We could see our fans in the back en­joy­ing our show, but then this big fight broke out right in front of us. We stopped what we were do­ing and started play­ing “Say You, Say Me” by Lionel Richie, and the fight stopped. It worked! The magic of Lionel Richie.

What’s the mean­est thing ever said to you be­fore, dur­ing or af­ter a gig?

I don’t know if this counts, but I will al­ways re­mem­ber NME’s re­view of the “Brian Wil­son” sin­gle in 1992. It said, “Fat, beardo, painfully pro­vin­cial. Ob­vi­ously all of the lit­ter­spik­ing jobs were taken where this lot are from.”

What ad­vice should you have taken, but did not?

I wish more peo­ple had given us the right ad­vice. Like not that al­bum cover for Gor­don. That would have been nice. Ei­ther ver­sion. With the first one, fea­tur­ing us on it, we were like, “That’s not what it was sup­posed to look like.” But it was too late to change. And then when they re-re­leased it in 1996, we got the same peo­ple to do the art­work [laughs]. I don’t know what we were think­ing.

What would make you kick some­one out of your band and/or bed, and have you?

I’m not the kind of per­son to kick any­one out of any­thing. Oh, but my pol­icy for a band is you must be a high drum­mer and low bass player. The drum­mer has to sit high on a drum throne, like Ringo or Pete Thomas, be­cause too low and you’re like a race car driver. And you’ve got to wear your bass down low. If you wear your bass up high like you’re gonna slap it, you’re not in my band.

What do you think of when you think of Canada?

Right now I think of how dif­fi­cult things are. The kitsch that Bare­naked Ladies spent in the early ’90s cel­e­brat­ing in an ironic way seems to be less fun when you start to re­al­ize that it’s only one type of Cana­dian iden­tity. It’s only re­ally white Cana­dian kitsch, and it doesn’t in­clude all of the voices of the other Cana­di­ans out there. We’re hav­ing to look back at how we view our coun­try. We spend a lot of time feel­ing su­pe­rior to our South­ern neigh­bours, and I think that’s dan­ger­ous, be­cause there are sim­i­lar things hap­pen­ing at home. So I think we need to have some hu­mil­ity and lis­ten to each other. That’s the new Canada.

If I wasn’t play­ing mu­sic I would be…

Cry­ing. I’ve been do­ing it for so long, I don’t know what I would be do­ing in­stead. If you had asked me this when I was 18, I would have said a writer or a poet or a novelist, and my day job would be teach­ing at a uni­ver­sity. But that could have been a pipe dream too.

What do you fear most?

An­i­mals. Mice, prob­a­bly more than any­thing, but I’m ter­ri­fied of them. If I see them scur­ry­ing across the floor in my stu­dio at 2 a.m., I just shriek.

What makes you want to take it off and get it on?

I don’t if I want any­body to have to pic­ture me tak­ing it off and get­ting it on at this age or any age. That just sounds like, “Dad, put that away!”

What does your mom wish you were do­ing in­stead?

My mother loves what I do, but for the long­est time I think she wished I was a can­tor.

What song would you like to have played at your fu­neral?

“Pop­corn” by Hot But­ter, hands down. I’ve al­ready de­cided that and it’s in my will. I think that if some­one’s com­ing to my fu­neral, I want to make them feel the way “Pop­corn” makes them feel. Re­mem­ber the good times.

“I wish more peo­ple had given us the right ad­vice. Like not that cover for Gor­don.”

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