Thursday, August 28, 2008

Killing Yourself to Live: Canadian Edition

By Kodiak in Cambridge

I have strong disdain for the Barenaked Ladies, or BNL to Canadians, but damn it if I don't respect them. The Canuck uber-band formed in 1988, believe it or not, and have been making goofy pop songs ever since. They hit their wheelhouse in the late 90's and early 2000's with the massively crappy, mega-hits "If I had a Million Dollars!" "Brian Wilson," "Pinch Me," and "Old Apartment." (Fun fact; Jason Priestley aka tv's Brandon Walsh directed the video for "Old Apartment.") I say crappy, but I kind of enjoy "Brian Wilson." I don't really know why, its one of those songs that reminds me of a time and place I enjoy remembering, other than that I have no use for their nonsense.

The last half decade has not been very kind to BNL. Surprisingly, people stopped buying into their lame gallivanting and sugary upbeat attitude. Naturally, they did what any self-respecting Canadian act would do when the money stops rolling in: They made a children's album. It was a natural progression, going from cheering crowds of college kids listening to BNL's plans for doling out their imagined millions, to recording a song about being a popcorn kernel in a frying pan. It was a lucrative plan, they sold a lot of copies and they were signed on to the Disney Music Block Party Tour hosted by Raven Symoné and sponsored by Playskool. Clearly life couldn't have been better.

But that's when BNL hit rock bottom. This July, Steven Page, co-lead vocalist, was arrested in Syracuse for felony possession of cocaine. Judging from the newspaper reports, Page is not a criminal mastermind. Police were on routine patrol in the area and found a vehicle with the door open. They ran the license plate and found it was registered to a women who lived across the street so the officer went to the home of women, and with detective skills on par with a young Andy Sipowitz, observed Mr. Page blowing lines at the kitchen table. How could the officer see the drug use you ask? Because the kitchen table was in front of a large sliding glass door. Good work Steve, you are a boob.

When news of the arrest broke, Disney gave BNL the boot. Good bye gravy train. If all this was not tragic enough, more bad luck struck the band last week. Ed Robertson, the other lead singer, crashed his small float plane in eastern Ontario, when it failed to gain airspeed during take off. He and his passengers were unharmed, but they had to kick out a window and hike through deep woods to report the crash. The aircraft was a total loss.

Most folks would chalk up these events to bad luck and coincidence, but I have my suspicions. Allow me to elaborate. BNL had lived the rock star life, lots of money, fame, possibly women, but now they've been relegated to kid music. Its akin David Caruso driving an ice cream truck, we all know that would be cold, "as cold as ice." (On a recent twelve hour flight, I had to sit through three episodes of CSI Miami on a continuous loop, Caruso, as Horatio Cane, used that phrase at least twice a episode.) My point is this, once people have tasted success they don't want to let it go. So BNL came up with a plan.

Steve and Ed said to themselves, "selves, we gots to get back our rep!" How do rock stars get rep? They blow coke and crash planes, obviously, (see: Leonard Skynard; Left Eye Lopez). So we may be witnessing the rebirth of the Barenaked Ladies, rising like a Canadian Phoenix from the ashes of airplane parts and white powder. Look out world BNL may be back to making childish music for adults instead of childish music for children quicker then you can say, "I can't believe how much this Page guy looks like Seth Rogen!"

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