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courtesy Warner Music

25 years of Barenaked Ladies

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Embarking on their latest tour to promote their new album Grinning Streak, the Barenaked Ladies are celebrating a career that has spanned a quarter century.

“We talked a lot about 25 years and how do we approach it,” lead singer Ed Robertson says. “Then we said the best way to do it is to make a new record and go out on the road. Probably the best way to celebrate 25 years is to have a really great 25th year. And ultimately, I’m super proud of all the work we did in our 25 years.”

Robertson says their latest album is evidence of how the band has fine-tuned their craft over the years.

“I never made a record as easily as this one,” Robertson says. “It was totally spontaneous in the studio. We used a lot of live off the floor band performances, and there are a lot of first takes on this record.”

An example Robertson uses is the song “Smile,” which is the first time he sang that song in studio. Robertson says their producer had a hard time finding anything wrong with the track and wanted to go with it.

“A lot of the record had that feel,” Robertson says. “Nothing got in the way of a creative atmosphere and a collaborative performance. The stars aligned. It’s cheesy to say, but that’s what happened.”

And speaking of stars, not only has the band had success on Earth, but they are also one of the first groups to venture onto the extraterrestrial circuit. They performed the song “ISS” — which stands for “Is Somebody Singing” — with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, which was dubbed the first space-to-Earth musical collaboration.

“Chris has been a friend for a long time,” Robertson says. “He dropped me a note. ‘I don’t know how your record is doing on Earth, but it’s sure getting a lot of playing time here on the space station.’ So we have been in touch and been pals for a long time. Given the chance to write a song with him and to perform it with him on the ISS, and us here on Terra Firma, now that was exciting.”

The Barenaked Ladies are playing at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Jan. 21.

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