If the Barenaked Ladies miss former frontman Steven Page, they’re doing an excellent job of hiding it.
After winning a Juno Award for children’s album of the year for “Snacktime!” on Saturday, singer Ed Robertson said the group felt “reinvigorated and revitalized.”
“It’s been a tough year for the band, but at the same time it’s been a really galvanizing year,” he said backstage at the private dinner ceremony. “The four of us feel really confident and really proud of what we’ve done.
“We have all felt really reinvigorated and revitalized and to kick things off like this is a great boost.”
The rest of the Junos were to be handed out Sunday night during a gala show airing on CTV.
The Barenaked Ladies announced in February that Page would be leaving the group after 20-plus years to pursue other projects, including a career in theatre.
Page’s departure followed a tumultuous year for the band.
Last summer, Page, his girlfriend and her roommate were charged with drug possession after police found cocaine at a Fayetteville, N.Y., apartment.
In late October, all three secured a deal that will result in their charges being dropped if they stay out of trouble for six months.
Drummer Tyler Stewart acknowledges that the group has been through a lot, yet he says it’s drawn the remaining members closer together.
“Everyone I think is looking for us to say one way or the other that, you know, it’s been an incredibly hard year, so I’m going to say it: it’s been an incredibly hard year,” he said. “These three guys and myself have become closer than we ever have been over the last year, and we’re committed to each other, and committed to the music, and committed to you, everyone, all of our listeners, because we love what we do.
“And we feel like, in some ways, we’ve rescued it out of a certain fire, and we are very, very grateful to do what we do for a living. We’re going to protect it, we’re going to nurture it, and we’re going to soar into the stratosphere. That’s our goal and we couldn’t be happier.”
Robertson said the group is still finding its way as a four-piece, but they seemed right at home on Saturday in an entertaining question and answer session, which closed with Robertson freestyling a rap about winning the award.
When multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn said he hoped their latest album inspired children the same way the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” affected him when he was a kid, Robertson interjected: “Kevin’s directly comparing us to the Beatles.”
“Well, there’s four of us now,” replied Stewart.