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Barenaked Ladies soldier on after rough few years

Ed Robertson and Tyler Stewart are in a good mood — encouraging, giventhat the last couple of years haven’t been easy: Robertson’s planecrash, the death of Robertson’s mom, and, of course, the departure ofSteven Page last February. Not the best way to celebrate the band’s20th anniversary.

Ed Robertson and Tyler Stewart are in a good mood — encouraging, given that the last couple of years haven’t been easy: Robertson’s plane crash, the death of Robertson’s mom, and, of course, the departure of Steven Page last February. Not the best way to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary.


“It was a huge transition and a scary one to undertake,” Robertson says, “but it’s been so galvanizing and so liberating for the four of us.”


How does a band compensate for losing a co-founder, frontman and songwriter?


“There are four guys left in the band who do a lot of things,” adds Tyler Stewart. “The fact that we’ve been together for 20 years, we really know and support each other. The compensation is that we’re way more into it than we’ve been in the last 10 years. We want to continue the legacy of Barenaked Ladies.”


The new album — the band’s 11th — called All in Good Time (due March 30) is the first record after, as Tyler says, “an intense couple of years.”


Robertson and Page wrote together for two decades, churning out a long string of hits, but that all came to an end last winter. Robertson is philosophical about that.


“Change is good, especially in the creative process. You get in certain ruts. It’s been nice for me to explore writing on my own. It was also a chance for Jim (Kreegan) and Kevin (Hearn) to come to the table with songs. We approached the new record as an adventure and it was a challenge that everyone rose to and everyone embraced.”


The first single, You Run Away, started showing up on radio this week. And going against type, it’s not goofy at all. Instead, it’s a very beautiful and poignant song. “A lot of the lyrics on this record are very close to the bone,” Robertson explains. “I allowed myself to go there this time.”


Next month, they’re off to Miami to perform at a Super Bowl event. Then Robertson will run with the Olympic torch in Vancouver before the band plays four shows during the Games. Much touring will follow, including a North American tour in the spring and summer and the U.K. in the fall.


“Yesterday, I saw our schedule for the next six months. It’s 1997 all over again!,” Ed says. “Hello, rock ’n’ roll pace. I’ve missed you!”