There was a time in the not too distant past when a rock star was arrested for drug possession, that it was just a blip in the news.
Rock star and drugs went together like peanut butter and jelly. However, times have changed. When Barenaked Ladies founder/singer-songwriter Steven Page was nabbed for cocaine possession in 2008, that was the beginning of the end for him with his longtime Canadian rock band.
Page, 40, left the group in 2009. “The fallout after the arrest shook the whole foundation of the band,” Page said while calling from his Toronto home. “I put them in a volatile situation. I messed with the band’s reputation. I spent a lot of time trying to make up with them. It just became obvious it was time to move on. It’s funny because back in the day, it (drug possession) was just part of the (rock) thing. But it’s clear it wasn’t part of the Barenaked Ladies thing. Sometimes in life, it’s just time to move on.”
After a lengthy run with the Barenaked Ladies, who formed in 1990, Page has embraced the solo experience. Page, who will p perform August 31 at World Café Live, has released a pair of solo albums this year, ‘A Singer Must Die,’ a covers album and ‘Page One,’ an album of original material.
The former was a labor of love for Page, who recorded versions of his favorite songs, including Radiohead’s brilliant ‘Paranoid Android.
“I was nervous about cutting that one,” Page said. “Radiohead is a sacred cow and it’s such a great song but I wanted to take a shot and have fun with that song and other songs. I did my best with it. I didn’t want to just give it the Rod Stewart (who has released a number of big band albums) treatment.”
The amiable tenor had a blast with his covers record but was dead serious with ‘Page One.’ The catchy and literate songs, which alternate between amusing and dark, sound familiar and well, Barenaked Ladies-esque.
“I planned to submit some of these songs for the next Barenaked Ladies album,” Page said. “I also wrote some of the songs with Steven Duffy but they (Barenaked Ladies) didn’t want any songs co-written out of the band so the songs made this album. Well, I moved on. The bottom line is that I needed to make music. I couldn’t wait to take that next step in my career.”
Page is looking forward to his life’s next chapter. “I’m excited about what my life and career will be like after leaving the band,” Page said. “It’s a new challenge and that’s great. We were together for 20 years and we lived in a rarified place. We were lucky to have that. A lot of bands never experience that. But we worked hard for it. We earned it but as far as me in that band, well, you can’t push things beyond their expiration date. I couldn’t be happier where I’m at today. I have no regrets. I moved on and I feel good.”