He may have a new album and a new outlook on life, but Steven Page is still witty, thoughtful Canadian music sensation.
Page visited Huntsville and sat down with Hunters Bay Radio’s Jeff Carter for an interview and spoke about several subjects, including a brand new album just released called Heal Thyself Part I: Instinct.
Page says he’s spent a number of years working on this project with Craig Northey from The Odds. Page describes The Odds as an “awesome Canadian band” while lauding Northey’s ability as a song-writer and producer.
“It’s really about me and my journey to self acceptance,” says Page. “But it also has tongue-in-cheek, as most of my stuff usually does, and a sense that we’re never really ever fixed. We’re all works in progress.”
Page says the lead single from the album Surprise, Surprise is about not always being what others expect us to be.
“Realizing that being authentic and genuine is what people really want us to be,” he says. “Being your true self is being your best self.”
Another track from the album, No Song Left to Save Me, is Page’s effort to describe how music can be emotionally helpful to those needing help getting through an issue.
Page says Heal Thyself Part I: Instinct has more of a direction than his first solo project, which was put together shortly after splitting from the Barenaked Ladies.
He says that first album was quite eclectic with tunes he wrote for himself, tunes he wrote for the Barenaked Ladies and tracks he wrote after leaving the band.
“This record is a little bit more focused,” says Page of Heal Thyself Part I: Instinct. Page says Part II of Heal Thyself is two-thirds done and should be finished by the end of the summer.
Page has been in the music industry for over 30 years and says one must keep it fresh to prevent from becoming stale. He recalls being in Arizona for a show early on in his career while with the Barenaked Ladies.
“I think Steppenwolf had played there the night before and they had taped under the stage: Tonight you are in Phoenix,” remembers Page. “I always thought never let me get to that point where I don’t know where I am, where I just roll off the tour bus and stand on stage and have no connection of who I’m playing for or what the city is . . . Since then I’ve pushed myself to be engaged with what my surroundings are.”
Page was asked by Carter his thoughts on the beginnings of Barenaked Ladies and how they would have been classified, would it be Pop music, Top 40 music, alternative or something else?
“We were lucky at the time that we grew up,” says Page. “We definitely weren’t aiming to be a Top 40 band. We kind of almost wanted to be a Top 40 band for the Indie kids, their definition of a Top 40 band. Whether we succeeded or not, I don’t know. But there were times our music was supported on radio of all formats.”
Page says it was amazing being able to play live at Much Music and the amount of exposure the Barenaked Ladies were able to get via the music video television station.
“Much Music had lots of bands in the studio all the time,” says Page. “We could kind of drop in when we wanted and be on TV and do a TV special . . . Those kinds of opportunities are gone.”
Page says the Barenaked Ladies were an honest, genuine band in terms of their music. He says tracks like Be My Yoko Ono were created because it was fun and crazy and they enjoyed doing it.
More recently Page enjoyed stopping in to Huntsville in early May as the mystery headliner for the Huntsville Hospital Foundation fundraising event called After Party–Night on the Hill. The event raised approximately $25,000 for the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.
Carter told Page that there was much speculation the mystery headliner was going to be Jim Cuddy, who is known to spend a lot of time in Muskoka.
“That’s why they were disappointed,” jokes Page. “I’m not quite as handsome as Mr. C.”
Still the show was well-received and Page was left with fond memories of his visit to Huntsville.
“It’s a beautiful place to come and play and a beautiful place to come and hang out,” says Page.
Photographs courtesy of the amazingly talented KELLY HOLINSHEAD.