Having churned out 13 live and studio albums with essentially the same lineup since their debut album, "Gordon," was release in June 1992, Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies, are by rock'n'roll standards, a picture of stability of consistency.
And while little has changed for the band over the past two decades, save the departure in 2009 of band co-founder and lead singer Steven Page in 2009, drummer Tyler Stewart says he can't say the same for the band's audience.
"I'm noticing that the people who came to see us like 10 to 15 years ago and we took a picture with them and a baby, they'll come to see us now and they'll bring this six-foot-two hulking gentleman," Stewart said. "And he's like, 'Yeah, I haven't seen you guys since I was like 4.' It's amazing that people are bringing their kids to the shows and their grandkids to the show. People are sharing our music with their family and their friends and that is something that is really special to me right now."
And the band doesn't seem poised to stop giving their fans music to share anytime soon.
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Barenaked Ladies released "Grinning Streak," their 10th full-length studio album last month, a record Stewart said it took the band only two months to make.
"(Lead singer) Ed (Robertson) kind of prepared the whole thing and came to the table with a whole bunch of great songs," Stewart said. "I remember hearing the demos and getting really excited. And then we started workshopping the songs with our producers .... and we knew we have some really special songs. It was a creative and liberating session."
The band will play songs from "Grinning Streak" and others from their expansive song catalog when they perform July 27 at Family Circle Magazine Stadium on Daniel Island with Ben Folds Five and Guster.
Stewart discusses keeping a band together for 25 years, how music has changed in that time and his favorite Barenaked Ladies songs.
Question. You guys have such a deep body of work, what is it like coming up with a setlist each night?
Answer. Well, on this tour, we're playing a lot of the new stuff because we're really excited about it. I think when we're excited about what we're playing, it really makes for a better experience for our fans and the people who come out to see us. That being said, we're also conscious of the need to dig back into the catalog and play some deeper cuts and, of course, we have to play the hits so it's a mixed bag.
Q. What are some of your favorite songs, either to play or in general?
A. One that I've always loved is "Light Up My Room" off "Stunt." I love "Blame It On Me" off of "Gordon" that we've been playing some on this tour. It's fun playing those old songs because I realize how much we've evolved as musicians over the years. I hear a song and go, "Wow, I would never play that drum part like that now."
Q. You appear front and center on the cover of "Grinning Streak." Was that vindication for all the drummers out there who have languished in the back all these years?
A. I think it was really that my head is just so darn big that they had no choice but to put me in front. (Laughs) Actually, I'm in the back but my head is so big it makes me look like I'm in the front. But really, it was cool to be in the front of that shot but I think it was just a matter of that being one of the only frames we took during that shoot where everyone had their eyes open or wasn't making a goofy face or something.
Q. Twenty-five years is a lifetime for a band to be together, how do you guys make it work?
A. For us, the key is really mutual respect. It's about giving each other support when we need it and giving each other space when we need it. Luckily for us, we've had some success in our career, and there's an audience for what we do ... so you have to find a way to get along with the other guys. I really think that Steven leaving the band was really a huge step in the right direction for us and made us more galvanized as a band. We were in such a dark place as a band then and that really helped pull us out of that place and brought us together.
Q. What do you make of how the music business has changed since the release of "Gordon?"
A. People are listening to more music now than they ever have. You have entire libraries of music available at your fingertips on your cellphones and on your computer and that's awesome. You don't have go to some boutique record store to seek out music anymore. So on that front, the access to music has never been better and I think that has helped the live business because people want to see these bands whose songs they stream. On the flip side, music has been devalued. No one wants to pay for it anymore and that's not the musicians fault. Record companies created that problem by making music too expensive and hard to get. So, because of that trend, the advice I always give to bands starting out is that you have to be a kick-ass live band. Play well live and people will want to see you and will want to buy your records.
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.
Video for "Boomerang," the first single off Barenaked Ladies new album, "Grinning Streak"
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