Sun. May 7, 2017
Page split from the Barenaked Ladies in 2009, a group that he helped turn into one of the biggest bands Canada has ever produced as their lead singer and primary songwriter.
Since then he’s got divorced, remarried, moved to New York in 2011 and has forged ahead with a solo career.
A new avenue has been the development of a career as a foodie. In 2013 he hosted a 13-episode series called The Illegal Eater that earned several awards. In 2016 he became a Chopped Canada champion and earned $10,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which supports a group of grandmothers that are raising a generation of African children orphaned by the AIDS disease.
He doesn’t fancy himself a professional chef, but an amateur who is passionate about cooking good food for his family.
The easiest change for Page should have been his solo career, but even that has had its challenges. He spent 20 years getting up in front of full stadiums with a full band at his back. As a solo act with maybe one or two people as his accompaniment at more intimate venues, he found his confident on stage bravado was absent.
“Whenever I had been called upon do anything without the band … my knees would be knocking, I was so nervous … I could play Air Canada Centre but I couldn’t actually sing in your living room with you, me and three other people, I’d be too nervous,” said Page. “Going solo forced me how to be my own performer, to connect with the audience and work with a lot of different people.”
He now has three main arrangements for his concerts, but he will be bringing his favourite grouping to Hunter River. Page will be joined by guitarist Craig Northey, a founding member of Canadian band The Odds, and cellist Kevin Fox who has worked with some of the biggest artists Canada has produced, including Justin Beiber, Celine Dion, Chantel Kreviazuk and Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace. Page has played as duos with the two of them for years, but only recently did they decide to come together as a trio.
“They’re two of my favourite guys in the world, they’re two of the greatest musicians,” said Page. “We just have a great time on stage, it’s a really nice middle point between perfection and chaos. It’s three guys who know each other that well and get along that well, we can push each other to teeter over the edge just a little bit and then fish them right back. It can make the shows really fun.”
Page will still be singing many of the songs he wrote with BNL, including “Brian Wilson,” “It’s all Been Done” and “Old Apartment” but he will also sing some of the songs he has written since then. As a solo artist he has produced three full-length albums, including his 2016 effort Heal thyself, Pt. 1: Instinct.
“People hear the records and they say ‘that’s sounds like what I remember from the Barenaked Ladies,’ well that’s my voice,” he said. “One thing that has stayed the same is my sense of melody and the lyrical humour and symmetry and word play. Musically I’m able to hear where my groove is, where my pocket is and that’s just a fun thing to discover.”
Heal Thyself is a retrospective look at his past eight years, but with a typical BNL satirical wink and a nod.
“It’s about a new life and trying to fix what’s wrong with you, but then also thinking is that really what you need to do is fix what’s wrong with you or do you just learn to be a better, more enlightened person?” said Page.
Harmony House Theatre