Barenaked Ladies (often abbreviated BNL or occasionally BnL) is a Canadian rock band. The band is currently composed of Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, and Tyler Stewart. Barenaked Ladies formed in 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario, then a suburban municipality outside the City of Toronto.They are best known for their hit singles, "One Week", "The Old Apartment", "Pinch Me", "If I Had $1000000", "Brian Wilson"; as well as the theme for the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. They are also known for their light-hearted, comedic performance style, and humorous banter between songs and improvised raps/songs are staples at virtually every concert. They have won multiple Juno Awards and have been nominated for Grammy Awards. Original keyboardist Andy Creeggan left the band in 1995, and founding member Steven Page departed in 2009. The band has sold over 15 million records including albums and singles.Indie originsBarenaked Ladies began as the duo of Ed Robertson and Steven Page. The two went to school together since Robertson was in grade four (Page was a grade ahead) at Churchill Heights Public School, but were not friends until they met each other at a Harvey's restaurant following a Peter Gabriel concert. Each interested to find that the other liked Gabriel, they began talking and found they had many of the same tastes. The two became friends, and bonded further when they were both counselors at Scarborough Music Camp located in Manitoulin, Ontario, Canada. They would play songs together, and Steve was impressed by Ed's ability to harmonize.When Page had an extra ticket to a Bob Dylan concert at Exhibition Stadium, he asked Robertson to join him. Bored by the show, the two turned to amusing each other, pretending they were rock critics, inventing histories and comments about the Dylan band. They also made up various fictional band names, one of which was "Barenaked Ladies".On another front, Robertson had agreed to perform with his cover band in a battle of the bands at Nathan Phillips Square for the Second Harvest food bank. The band broke up and he forgot about the gig. When he received a phone call a week before the show, asking him to confirm the gig, he improvised that the name of the band had changed to "Barenaked Ladies", recalling the name from the Dylan concert. He then called Page and asked if he wanted to do the gig; Page reportedly could not believe Robertson had given that name. They arranged three rehearsals and missed them all. The two played the show on October 1, 1988, but instead of competing, they played while the other bands set up, playing every song they could think of that they both knew. The show went well and they were invited to open a show for another well-known local band, The Razorbacks, at the Horseshoe Tavern the coming weekend. They set up three more rehearsals, and again missed them all; they proceeded to improvise their set once again. This would set a precedent for an element of Barenaked Ladies concerts which still almost always contain some improvised raps or songs, as well as general improvised banter.Page and Robertson continued performing and also began writing songs together. The band's first tape, Buck Naked (1989), was recorded on a four-track recorder in basements and bedrooms. The pair became followers of comedy group Corky and the Juice Pigs, to whom they give credit for exposing them to the idea of comedic stage presence. Page and Robertson presented the group with their tape, and were invited to open for the Juice Pigs on their cross-Canada tour. One night, in Toronto, Page and Robertson invited their friends, brothers Andy Creeggan (percussion) and Jim Creeggan (bass), whom they knew from music camp, to play with them at a Christmas time club show. Barenaked Lunch (a.k.a. The Pink Tape) was released in 1990, and featured the two new band members. The tape had problems, however, as it was mastered incorrectly and played too fast.After six months, Andy Creeggan went on a student exchange trip to South America, leaving the band without a percussionist. While playing at a buskers' festival in Waterloo, Ontario in the summer of 1990, they met drummer Tyler Stewart, who took over the position. While Creeggan was gone, the band gained some attention when they were winners at the 1990 YTV Achievement Awards. They gained further attention when they squeezed into a small "Speaker's Corner" video booth in Toronto, and performed "Be My Yoko Ono". The clip quickly became popular with viewers, and noticeably increased the band's fanbase. Andy Creeggan returned in early 1991 to find that Stewart had taken over the percussion role. This caused some concern for him, and he then moved more toward keyboards; though he still played percussion (usually congas) on some songs. Soon after, the band embarked upon their first full tour of Canada.Early Canadian successThe full band's first commercial release was 1991's The Yellow Tape. It was a demo tape originally created for the band's performance at South by Southwest and was the first recording to feature all five members. They spent between $2000 and $3000 on it, and sent a copy to all the labels in Canada; they were refused by all of them. The band turned to selling them off the stage, and wound up selling a lot of them. Word of mouth spread, and people began asking for the tape in local stores. The stores began asking the band for copies of the tape, and the demo tape became a commercial release. Sales began to snowball based simply on word of mouth and their live shows, and the tape became the first indie release by any band to achieve platinum status (100,000 copies) in Canada.Sales of the cassette tape were jump-started when the band was taken off the bill for the 1991 New Year's Eve concert in Nathan Phillips Square outside Toronto City Hall because a staffer for then-mayor June Rowlands saw the band's name and felt it objectified women. The band shrugged it off and booked another show at McMaster University. However, the media got wind of the story and decided to write about it as an example of political correctness gone too far. The first article earned the paper a large quantity of mail against City Hall's decision. The story became more and more prominent until about a week after New Years, when the band was asked to take a photo in front of City Hall for the front page of the Toronto Star. The stories targeted Rowlands even though she had not been directly involved in the decision to remove the band from the concert, as the decision had come from a direct representative of City Hall. The following week, sales of the Yellow Tape exploded. The City Hall story has followed the band ever since; Robertson credits the scale of the story to it being a slow news week. Another major break for the band in 1991 came in November of that year when BNL contributed a cover of Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" to the Cockburn tribute album Kick at the Darkness. That song became the band's first Top 40 hit in Canada.First albumsThe band's first full album, Gordon, was released in 1992 and was a big success in Canada. It included some of the band's most well-known songs, including "Enid", the first single; "Be My Yoko Ono", the single which helped fund the album; "If I Had $1000000", which spawned a Kraft Dinner throwing tradition at live shows that the band has discouraged; and "Brian Wilson", named after Beach Boy Brian Wilson (who later covered the song on a live album). It benefited from the fact that a number of songs on the album (including the latter three) had been live favourites for a while and had been recorded on past releases like The Yellow Tape. While the band was doing remarkably well in Canada, they found that it translated into little success in the United States.BNL's second album, Maybe You Should Drive, released in 1994, fared considerably less well with the Canadian public. They tried touring the United States, but the tour was a failure and ended up losing money despite an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Before the next release Andy Creeggan decided to leave the band. He had become disillusioned with the direction of the band, and was not comfortable with the fame the group had attained. According to Page, he had considered leaving as early as the rehearsals for the Drive album; The rest of the band convinced him to stay to record that album, and for the subsequent touring. In addition, Creeggan wanted to attend McGill University to study music further. Tyler Stewart has also suggested that Creeggan had never fully accepted his replacement by Stewart as percussionist. Andy Creeggan's departure came during a time in which members of the band were starting to become sick of each other, with Page and Robertson rarely speaking to one another. Stewart cites the departure as worsening the situation. Page also began struggling with both alcohol abuse and depression. In an attempt to correct the band's downward slide, they signed with Terry McBride and Nettwerk as their management.The band released Born on a Pirate Ship as a quartet in 1996. The album received two large boosts from the inclusion of the song "Shoe Box" on the Friends soundtrack and from the Jason Priestley-directed video for "The Old Apartment", which got notable American airplay and while the album had stronger sales than Maybe You Should Drive, the album still did not match the success of "Gordon". The Ladies appeared as the guest band on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 ("Spring Breakdown" original air date: April 2, 1997), immediately preceding their 1997 tour; they performed "The Old Apartment," "Life, In A Nutshell," and "Brian Wilson" at the Peach Pit After Dark night club. Tyler Stewart invited his friend Kevin Hearn to replace Andy Creeggan as keyboardist for the tour; Hearn ultimately joined the band full time. The band also had a cameo in the Canadian Film "The Wrong Guy" with Dave Foley in 1997. They performed the song "Gangster Girl" as police officers in an alley on their break.From two dates on the Born on a Pirate Ship tour during 1996, BNL recorded and released a live album called Rock Spectacle, which had a modest radio hit in the United States with "Brian Wilson." The album became the band's first gold record in the United States, and the success of "Brian Wilson", coupled with the success of "The Old Apartment", led to a new situation for the band. They knew their next album would be their chance to make it big in the United States.Breakthrough success in the United StatesThey turned out to be right, as the 1998 release Stunt became (and remains) their greatest success and their American breakout album, buoyed by "One Week", which spent one week at the number one spot on the storied Billboard Hot 100. Immediately after Stunt was released, however, Kevin Hearn was diagnosed with leukemia, eventually undergoing a bone marrow transplant and spending several months at a Toronto hospital recovering.The band toured, with friends Chris Brown and Greg Kurstin both filling in on keyboards until Kevin recovered enough to rejoin them on the road. The singles "It's All Been Done" (used as the opening theme song on the short lived animated TV series Baby Blues) and "Call and Answer" (which later appeared in the film EdTV) were also modest hits. The band was also asked to contribute a song ("Get in Line") to the soundtrack of the Fox cartoon, King of the Hill. Barenaked Ladies also had a guest appearance in a 1999 episode of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.Maroon, released in 2000, did fairly well led by the single "Pinch Me", though not as well as Stunt had. In 2001, they released a compilation album, entitled Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991–2001), in reference to a line from their song "Box Set". It contains 15 singles from previous BNL albums, two singles from other compilations, and two new tracks (including the single "Thanks, That Was Fun"). After finishing a tour on December 31, 2001 to promote the compilation album, the band decided to mostly take a year off, only playing occasional shows before returning to the studio in April 2003.Everything to Everyone was released October 21, 2003, coincided by the first show of the unique Peepshow tour. The first single off the album was "Another Postcard (Chimps)", which received modest radio play. "Testing 1,2,3" was the second single from the album and received a video, but no CD single, while Celebrity was released later in the UK with a CD single, but no video. "Maybe Katie" and an edited version of "For You" from a concert in Glasgow, Scotland were also released as singles to radio. The album was their weakest seller in years, with a short chart life. With the release, the band fulfilled their contract with Reprise Records, with whom they did not re-sign. This made the band independent for the first time since 1992 (though they retained a distribution relationship with Warner Bros. Records). On the subsequent Everywhere For Everyone tour, in early 2004, the band began offering their full live shows for purchase as a download or CD-R on www.barenakedladies.com, as well as subsequent studio releases.The band recorded the theme song for the 2000 children's program Seven Little Monsters.Return to independenceThe band's next album was Barenaked for the Holidays, which was released on October 5, 2004. It was their first independent record since The Yellow Tape, as well the first album recorded at Steven Page's then-recently completed studio at his farmhouse called Fresh Baked Woods. The band created the record label Desperation Records for this album. The label has been used for all releases since. Currently, the label is just a title used to release the band's own material, and the band is not looking to sign outside artists.In January 2005, the band taped a television pilot for a variety show, tentatively titled Barenaked Ladies Variety Show, which was ultimately rejected by the Fox network. Later that year, the band was asked to write music for the Stratford Festival of Canada's musical production of Shakespeare's As You Like It. Steven Page wrote most of the music (Shakespeare had provided lyrics in the play), and the band recorded it for the actors to sing over. The recording (with Page's vocals) was available on CD from the festival and on the band's website. On July 2, 2005 BNL took part in the Live 8 concert in Barrie, Ontario. Following several writing sessions throughout 2005, the band went into the studio at Fresh Baked Woods that fall to begin recording 29 songs. They broke from the studio in November and December of that year to play a 22-show holiday tour, each night of which they played one of their new songs. An iTunes Originals – a collection of interviews and live songs (coupled with some old album tracks) was recorded while the band was in the studio and was released in February 2006.Also in February, the band went back into the studio to finish up the recordings they started the previous fall. Initially unsure of how to release so many songs, the band announced in May 2006 that they would release a one-disc album in early September entitled Barenaked Ladies Are Me. Several alternate versions are available, including downloadable versions and a USB flash drive version. The B.L.A.M. tour in support of the album, and its follow-up Barenaked Ladies Are Men (both of which hail from the same sessions), ran in Fall 2006 for the U.S., February 2007 for Canada, and later in 2007 for the UK. That same year, the band wrote and recorded the theme song for the television series The Big Bang Theory.On May 6, 2008, the band released an album of original material aimed at children entitled Snacktime!. The album features the artwork by Kevin Hearn in its liner notes, which is also available in the form of a hardcover book with the CD included. The album was promoted with a series of television appearances and in-store appearances at bookstores in the north-eastern and west coasts of the United States, as well as Toronto.In July 2008, the band chose to cancel scheduled appearances at several Disney Music Block Party concerts following Page's arrest on allegations of cocaine possession. In August, Robertson crashed his single-engine plane (without casualty), and in December, his mother died. Band members made several comments about how the events of the year marred their celebration of the band's 20th anniversary (October 1, 2008).Departure of PageOn February 24, 2009, Barenaked Ladies and Steven Page separately announced that Page had left the band "[by\] mutual agreement." The remaining members continued as a quartet while Page pursued solo projects including theatrical opportunities. In July, it was announced the band had left Nettwerk management and had hired the newly merged management firm CAM 8.Robertson commented on the departure of one of the band's founding members:Our relationship with Steve Page was great and very fruitful. It lasted almost 20 years, but it was time to move on. Now we're doing something that feels really fresh and exciting to me. His departure left four singers and three multi-instrumentalists in the band, so we're not lacking for musical ideas, and now there's more room for the other writers in the band to bring songs to the table.BNL went into the studio as a quartet in May 2009 to record a new album with producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda. "You Run Away," the lead single from the new album, was released to Canadian radio on January 8. All in Good Time was released March 23, 2010 in Canada and March 30 in the U.S. On January 6, 2010, the band announced that it had signed an exclusive worldwide distribution deal with EMI Label Services. The same announcement implied that following the departure of Page the band has created a new label for itself called Raisin' Records.All in Good Time was generally well received by the critics. The band toured the United States and Canada during the summer of 2010, with a leg in the United Kingdom on the fall. When asked about Page's departure, Tyler Stewart said "“We don't keep in touch, but we certainly we [sic\] wish him the best and there's good will there” In October 2010, Page stated that he has no plans to rejoin the band in the near future, other than a possible one-off performance. He added that it felt strange the band continued to use the same name and perform the songs that he wrote and performed.Page later commented in August 2011 that around the subsequent time of his arrest, "the band was no longer the joyous place that it once was, but it hadn’t been joyous for a long time before that. It wasn’t that we didn’t put on good shows, we still had a great time onstage every night,” he added. “But it became a place where work was just about the stress and not the end product."Recent releasesThe band released a new greatest hits album, Hits from Yesterday & the Day Before, through Rhino Entertainment (a division of their former parent label, Warner Music Group) on September 27, 2011. Another album, Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before, containing rarities and never-before-heard songs, was planned to be released later in 2011 but was released May 8, 2012.BNL was commissioned compose the original score for a musical based on National Lampoon's Animal House. The project was announced in early 2012. However, by mid-2013, the band had been dropped from the production.The band went back into the studio in May 2012 to record a single, "Boomerang". The session was produced by Gavin Brown. The band indicated plans for "Boomerang" to be released as a single during the summer of 2012 in conjunction with their Last Summer On Earth tour on which the song was performed nightly. The single was also performed on the late 2012 Symphony Barenaked Tour but remained unreleased. The band had mentioned the possibility of abandoning the album concept and releasing only singles and EPs, in late January 2013, Ed Robertson announced that the band was returning to the studio that month to record a full album. The band went into the studio in February and March 2013 to work on the album which was released as Grinning Streak on June 4, 2013. The band signed with Vanguard Records for the release, their first label album of originals since going independent following 2003's Everything to Everyone. "Boomerang" was held back for the album, and the single was announced for release on March 26, 2013.On October 8, 2013, Barenaked Ladies released a music video for their single "Odds Are", produced by Rooster Teeth Productions.The band recently finished a tour of Canada, the US, and UK in support of the new album.BiographyBarenaked Ladies have an authorized biography which was released in 2001, titled Public Stunts Private Stories, written by friend of the band and fellow Scarborough native Paul Myers with input from the band. It is published in Canada by Madrigal Press. An updated version of the biography was released in 2003 in the United States with a different cover, several corrections, and additional information about Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits and Everything to Everyone, which were released after the initial printing.Canadian Music Creators CoalitionIn May 2006, Barenaked Ladies, along with other prominent Canadian musicians, formed the Canadian Music Creators Coalition in response to plans by the Canadian government to revisit and update copyright laws. Steven Page has acted as a conduit between the CMCC and the press, urging the government to focus on the Canadian cultural scene. Page has said the formation of the CMCC was in response to what he believes is the wrong direction taken by the RIAA and the major labels, by suing fans for filesharing.Barenaked PlanetThe band has also become a proponent of environmentalism, following from Page's passion for greening (he is himself a board member of WWF Canada). The band began bringing an "eco-village" organized by the Reverb organization on their 2004 Au Naturale tour. The band has since partnered with Reverb to form the "Barenaked Planet" project, which is the band's label for their project to progressively "green" their touring. Efforts the band have made include ensuring backstage materials are recycled, using biodiesel in their tour vehicles (B20 as of December 2006), and offsetting carbon emissions with wind power. This includes both band-sponsored offsets for their own emissions, as well as having volunteers sell "Barenaked Planet" stickers to concertgoers with the money going to offset their drives to the venues."If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours" ice creamIn May 2009, BNL partnered with American ice cream company Ben & Jerry's to create the flavour "If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours." Named after the song "If I Had $1000000", the confection consists of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cups, chocolate-coated toffee chunks, white chocolate chunks and chocolate-coated almonds. In the United States, this ice cream flavour is sold under the name "Everything But The...".BNL is the first Canadian band to receive their own ice cream flavour, following in the footsteps of other band-themed Ben & Jerry's flavours such as Cherry Garcia (Jerry Garcia), One Sweet Whirled and Magic Brownies (Dave Matthews Band) and Phish Food (Phish). All royalties from the sale of "If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours" are donated to the ABC Canada Literacy Foundation, a Toronto-based organization that promotes reading to children at home.Side projectsTyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Ed Robertson all have past or present side projects during their time off from BNL. Stewart was part of a trio called Don't Talk Dance which released a self-titled album in 1995. The album was made for charity and all profits went to Casey House, an AIDS charity in Canada. The trio is no longer together. Jim Creeggan is part of the alternative/jazz trio The Brothers Creeggan, with brother and former BNL member Andy Creeggan and formerly Ian McLauchlan (who died in 2009). Andy Creeggan also has several solo albums with the most recent one released in 2010. Hearn is the frontman of Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle, who play a mix of alternative rock and jazz with many other eclectic influences. He is also the musical director and keyboardist for Lou Reed's band. Robertson joined a super group called Yukon Kornelius in 2008 with Dave Matthews Band bass player Stefan Lessard, singer/ guitarist Adam Gardner of Guster, and drummer Eric Fawcett of Spymob. To date the band has played 4 shows, but they are in the works to do a short tour when work with their other bands permit. Yukon Kornelius is usually joined by special guests during their shows. Some special guests include Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister, Carl Bell formerly of Fuel, Tyler Stewart, and other members of the Dave Matthews Band.Former member Steven Page had a side project called The Vanity Project. The first self-titled album was written mostly with long-time collaborator Stephen Duffy. Page has said that the project was an opportunity for him to write with non-BNL writers, and a future release might not necessarily include Duffy. The Vanity Project ultimately evolved into Page's post-BNL solo work.In addition, band members have often collaborated with other artists, such as making guest appearances on their albums, or co-writing songs with them.ReceptionIn December 2008, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was asked by a session musician which bands he enjoys in the current music scene. The response was the Barenaked Ladies: "Their harmonies are right on. They could outsing us any day of the week. I don’t think John and myself ever had the sort of range they do." McCartney added that he would not mind recording with the band in the future.