Rejuvenated Steven Page excited to play Lowell

BMS talks with the former Barenaked Ladies vocalist before his show in Lowell

, Contributing Writer

Steven Page is in a good place. Barely three years after a drug bust and not even two years  after leaving his frontman/songwriting gig with the Barenaked Ladies, he has a new wife, a new album in the works, and a new tour.

You could say Page is in his honeymoon phase – literally. When BMS caught up with him earlier this week, it was at the tail-end of his honeymoon in Europe, about to embark on a 10-date mini-tour of North America (including a date at the Lowell Summer Music Series on Saturday) in support of his latest solo album, Page One, with a crack backing band.

“On this run, it’s gonna be a kind of a four-piece rock band,” Page explains. “I’ve got three brothers as the backline… they were actually Feist’s band for the last bunch of years until I poached them!”

Undaunted by the “quirky” image often assigned to him and the Barenaked Ladies, Page has always explored a variety of musical genres with his songwriting. His passion for musical eclecticism is even more evident in his solo studio releases.

“I think as a band we sometimes felt a little bit pinned down by people’s perceptions,” Page says. “We always had a pretty wide range of styles and topics and so on in the music we did. I don’t feel that I’m ever hemmed in by the styles, but at the same time I didn’t want, when I was making Page One, to turn my back on what I knew I was good at. And part of what I’m good at is writing pop music – pop music in a classic sense – in that 60’s kind of style. I think that even that sometimes surprised people, because I think they kind of figured I was trying to get away from the sunny nature of the Barenaked Ladies. But I’m not leaving that music behind; when I play live now, I still play a good portion of BNL songs as well as the new stuff.”

The move to play some BNL songs is sure to go over well in Massachusetts, a place where Page and his ex-bandmates have always enjoyed a strong following.

“Boston was really where BNL broke through biggest,” Page recalls. “When Stunt first came out, we played at City Hall Plaza and 65,000 people suddenly showed up for this free concert. And we had shown up with all our acoustic gear, thinking it was a Newbury Comics in-store gig that they happened to move outside because it got too big for the store. We showed up and the streets were all blocked off and we couldn’t get our bus through. There were all these people coming to see us playing! It was one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life. I’ll never forget that.”

With a new wife, a new band, and new music on the horizon, Page has a lot on his plate but is happy with where he is and what he has planned for the future.

“Well, in the short-term, I know that I’m gathering songs now for the next album, which I’ll be recording through the fall,” Page says. “Also, I’ll have some shows that I’ll continue to be doing – and I’m doing another songbook with the Art of Time Ensemble [with whom he recorded, A Singer Must Die, an album of cover songs in 2010] which we’ll perform in Toronto in November. Long-term, I’d like to be able to do what I do. I’d like to be able to continue to write and be able to sing my songs. As far as personally, I’m in a place that I actually want to be in so I just want to strive to maintain that.”

Steven Page will perform at Boarding House Park in downtown Lowell on Saturday as part of the Lowell Summer Music Series. Tickets for the show can be purchased through the Lowell Summer Music Series website in advance for $26 or $30 on the day of the show. For more information on Steven Page, please visit his official website.

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