Steven Page

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This article is about the Canadian musician. For other people named Steven Page, see Steven Page (disambiguation).
Steven Page
StevenPage1a.JPG
Steven Page in 2008
Background information
Birth name Steven Jay Page
Born (1970-06-22) June 22, 1970 (age 44)
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, Flute
Labels Zoë/Rounder Records
Cooking Vinyl
Associated acts Barenaked Ladies, The Vanity Project
Website www.stevenpage.com

Steven Jay Page (born June 22, 1970) is a Canadian musician. Along with Ed Robertson, he was a founding member, lead singer, guitarist, and a primary songwriter of the music group Barenaked Ladies (BNL). He left the band in 2009 to pursue a solo career.

Early life[edit]

Page was born in Scarborough, Ontario. After skipping first grade, Page was enrolled in Scarborough's gifted program at Churchill Heights Public School.[1] Page's father, Victor, was a drummer,[2] as is his brother, Matthew. As a child, Page would attempt to play songs on the piano, while his dad would keep the beat on the drums.[2] Page took ten years of piano lessons (though claimed he did not learn to play).[3] He also was a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir.[3]

During childhood, Page had his best friend "stolen" by a schoolmate, Ed Robertson, and resented Robertson for some time. The two went to high school at Woburn Collegiate Institute but steered clear of each other until Page spotted Robertson at a Harvey's restaurant after a Peter Gabriel concert and was surprised to find that Robertson was also a fan. This led to Page and Robertson to talking, becoming friends, and ultimately, forming BNL.[4] They were both counselors at the Scarborough Schools Music Camp in the summer of 1988, where some of their early collaborations in music were born. Page wrote songs with his friend Geoff Pounsett and made tapes of those songs; Robertson had obtained a tape the two had made, and knew some of Page's songs.[1] Page was flattered by this and the two eventually became good friends.

Career[edit]

Barenaked Ladies[edit]

Page at Massey Hall in 2005

Robertson invited Page to perform with him at a charity show under the name Barenaked Ladies in 1988, and ultimately the show led the pair to full-time careers in the band. Page attended York University in the English program with a minor in theory and choral studies,[3] but dropped out to focus on the band's rising success.

Page was a main songwriter from the band's inception. A majority of the band's material came either from Page alone, or co-writing with Robertson. All but one of the songs on the band's first album had a songwriting or co-writing credit for Page. He is credited on every song from both Maroon (2000) (other than the album's hidden track) and Everything to Everyone (2003). In all, 97 of the 113 songs on the band's primary studio albums during his tenure (not including its holiday or children's albums) are credited or co-credited to Page. Though his level of credit remained steadily high, the contribution of initial song ideas became more evenly distributed to Robertson, and later other bandmates Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan; though Page continued to contribute his skill in completing or just polishing lyrics.

Page had also been the band's main lead singer since the beginning, though he always shared some of the lead vocal duty with Robertson. This stemmed, in part, from the band's common practice of writing for one's own voice; as Robertson came up with more song ideas, he would sing lead on more songs. All of the singles from the band's first three albums featured a Page lead vocal (not including "If I Had $1000000" which featured a call and answer lead vocal from both Robertson and Page), and nine of the 11 songs on the band's first live album, Rock Spectacle, featured a Page lead. Following the success of "One Week", the band's first single with a Robertson lead, songs with a Robertson lead became selected equally as singles from that point on.

Page played acoustic and electric guitar (and occasionally other instruments) for the band both in the studio and live. Most of the time, he played rhythm parts on songs he wrote, allowing Robertson to play more of a lead guitar role; but occasionally, he played a lead guitar role to Robertson's rhythm guitar. Page sometimes assumed guitarist duties on tracks he did not sing on, though never to the exclusion of Robertson on guitar as well.

By 2004, Page was having reservations about his contributions to the band. He has indicated that he participated in the recordings of Barenaked for the Holidays and Snacktime! despite being opposed to the recording of both albums.[5] Concerning Snacktime!, Page indicated, "[i]t was a lot of fun to do, but it wasn't my idea. I was along for the ride."[5]

On February 24, 2009, it was announced by both Page and the other members of Barenaked Ladies that Page would be leaving the group to pursue other opportunities including solo projects and theatrical opportunities, and that the remainder of the band would continue in his absence.[6][7] The decision had been made about a week and a half before the public announcement, with one reason being the rest of the band's desire to record a new album, and Page's reluctance to do so.[8] Page believes that his much-publicized drug arrest in Syracuse, New York was a catalyst that hastened his already-imminent split with the band.[5]

Page commented in August 2011 that around the subsequent time of his arrest, "the band was no longer the joyous place that it once was, but it hadn’t been joyous for a long time before that. It wasn’t that we didn’t put on good shows, we still had a great time onstage every night,” he added. “But it became a place where work was just about the stress and not the end product. And (the arrest and band tension) made me gather the strength to go out and do what I always wanted to do."[9]

Partnership with Stephen Duffy[edit]

As a young man, Page was a fan of songwriter Stephen Duffy, and began corresponding with him after Duffy replied to a fan letter. Page was ultimately invited to co-write with Duffy in the early 1990s, and several co-written songs subsequently appeared on BNL albums, starting with Maybe You Should Drive. With the aforementioned shift to a stronger intra-band writing process, Page/Duffy material found itself without a forum.

In June 2005, Page released his first "solo" album, of which all but one song were Page/Duffy co-writes (the other was written by Page alone). The project was billed as The Vanity Project (as both the album and artist name). Page implied in interviews that the project was his alone, and that it was a forum for him to collaborate with writers/artists outside BNL. At the time, he suggested that future albums might not involve Duffy, but could feature other collaborations. However, given his subsequent departure from Barenaked Ladies, Page elected to label his follow-up solo record as a "Steven Page" record.

Solo[edit]

Page during his tour for Page One.

Following his departure from Barenaked Ladies, Page's first major project was completing his work writing music for the first production of Bartholomew Fair: A Comedy at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Summer 2009. During that summer, he also embarked on a tour of music festivals (mostly folk festivals) accompanied by Kevin Fox on cello.

Page set up promotional accounts for himself on several social networking websites both under his name and under the billing "The Steven Pages".

Page's first release following his split with Barenaked Ladies was A Singer Must Die. Page had previously performed a pair of concerts entitled "Songbook II" with the contemporary-style classical group the Art of Time Ensemble. At these shows, Page performed songs he had always wanted to sing and was backed by the Ensemble performing innovative arrangements which had been commissioned specifically for the concerts. A Singer Must Die is a studio recording by Page and the Ensemble of the songs from these concerts. Following the album's release on February 16, 2010, Page and the Art of Time Ensemble embarked on a 12-date concert tour.[10] Page has also participated with other singers in other concerts with the Art of Time including Take This Waltz (a collection of Waltzes), and a performance of the Beatles' Abbey Road album, also arranged in unique semi-classical arrangements specifically for the Art of Time. In November 2011, Page performed an all new songbook concert ("Songbook 6") featuring a new set of songs arranged for the show. He was scheduled as a performer in a 2012 performance of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album akin to the previous Abbey Road concert.

Page's first original-material album, Page One, was released on October 19, 2010. Page toured the record across Canada and the US, including a string of shows supporting Goo Goo Dolls.

On January 1, 2011, Page performed at the NHL Winter Classic and led the singing of Canada's national anthem before the game.

He performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at the state funeral of Jack Layton on August 27, 2011.[11]

On January 17, 2012, Page released a new single containing two new songs, "A Different Sort of Solitude" and "Manchild".[12] "A Different Sort of Solitude" was written for the film French Immersion. "Manchild" was co-written with Craig Northey and is the b-side of the single.

On the same day as the release of the single, Page was nominated for the 32nd Annual Genie Awards for the composition of "A Different Sort of Solitude".[13]

Page also hosts a new show on Esquire Network called The Illegal Eater where he travels to various cities in search of underground and/or pop up supper clubs.

In July 2014, it was announced that Page is currently working on a new studio album.

Personal life[edit]

Page was born to an Ashkenazi Jewish mother and a father of Anglo Protestant background. Although Page's father, Victor, converted to Judaism to appease Page's mother's traditionalist grandparents, her grandparents disowned her nonetheless.[14] As a result, Page never met his great-grandparents. His mother's Jewish background was the subject of an episode of a CBC genealogy program called Who Do You Think You Are?.

Page has been married twice. His first wife was Toronto musician and teacher Carolyn Ricketts, whom he wed on December 28, 1993. The two separated in February 2007,[15] and divorced in 2009.[16] They have three sons: Isaac (b. November 12, 1996); Benjamin (b. December 1998); and Jonah (b. April 16, 2001).

Page purchased a house in Fayetteville, New York with then-girlfriend Christine Benedicto in 2009, and splits his time between there and Toronto, where his children reside.[17] Page married Benedicto on July 23, 2011,[18] and the couple spent their honeymoon in Paris.[9]

Page stated publicly in 2011 that he suffers from bipolar disorder. He said that he has gone through periods of self-medicating in order to relieve the symptoms. Since leaving Barenaked Ladies, he has been able to focus more on managing and treating his illness and has cited his sons as being his source of strength for keeping healthy and continuing treatment.[16]

Among Page's relatives in the Toronto area is Page's second cousin, reggae musician Snow.[19]

Drug arrest[edit]

On July 11, 2008, Page was arrested while visiting the apartment of Christine Benedicto in Fayetteville, New York, along with Benedicto and another tenant.[20] According to police, just after 2:00 am, officers were investigating Benedicto's car, which was suspiciously parked across the sidewalk or driveway (reports vary) in front of the home.[20][21][22] The officers noticed Page and the other tenant, Stephanie Ford, at the kitchen table through a glass door. The two quickly covered the table with a towel when they noticed the officers.[23] Though initially claiming that the white powder he was snorting was calcium, when Page was informed by the police that it was testing positive for cocaine Page allegedly said, "Yeah, it's cocaine."[24][25] Officers also found two capsules in Page's pocket. The total mass of the cocaine discovered was 0.314 ounces (8.9 g).[25] Police subsequently found marijuana in the apartment as well.[21][22][26]

Page and Ford were arrested and charged with fourth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class C felony. Ford was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.[21][22] When Page's car was returned to and searched, additional cocaine was found in the vehicle, but no charges were laid in connection to those at the time.[27] During the arrest, Ford identified Page to police as the lead singer of Barenaked Ladies, which Page confirmed.[28] Though she was not home at the time, Benedicto was later charged with seventh degree possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana.[20][21][22] Page was due back in court on July 17, 2008 after posting $10,000 cash bail,[26][29] but the date was adjourned three times, to August 26,[30] October 14,[31] and finally October 28.[32] Page also paid Ford's $5,000 bail himself, and Benedicto was released on her own recognizance.[33]

Terry McBride of the band's Nettwerk management refused to comment on the case in a statement but said he was confident Page will be cleared, and that "in the meantime it's business as usual."[20][22][23][26] Bandmate Jim Creeggan said that "we're fighting the charges and hopefully they'll just go away."[26] Page played a scheduled Barenaked Ladies concert at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana the next night (July 12).[29][34] On July 16, a statement credited simply to the band was posted on its official website echoing the statements, and noting that "Steven has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and the validity of the charges against Steven will be strongly contested."[35] McBride also announced that the band chose to cancel its appearance at several Disney Music Block Party concerts to avoid putting Disney in an awkward position pending the resolution of the matter.[36] Page also hired the Sitrick and Company public relations firm, who reportedly also managed Paris Hilton's legal issues, to help him handle his situation.[15]

On October 28, Page appeared in court in Fayetteville, New York. Charges against him and the two women were reduced to misdemeanor possession. In accordance with an arrangement made with the court, the charges against Page were dropped on April 28, 2009, after he had complied with certain conditions for six months, including drug screening.[37][38]

Other activities and interests[edit]

  • Page has been an avid member of the New Democratic Party, and has been a notable supporter of former federal NDP leader (and his riding's MP), the late Jack Layton. He performed Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah at Layton's funeral.
  • As of August 31, 2008, he was a member of the board of directors marketing and events committee for World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada).[39]
  • As of July 2007, Page was a member of the WindShare co-op that built/owns the wind turbine at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.[40]
  • Page owns a farmhouse near Toronto. At some point prior to the recording of Barenaked for the Holidays, he invested in building a recording studio at his farmhouse, which he has named Fresh Baked Woods. The band's first record there was the aforementioned Holidays album. The band also used the studio for the recording sessions for the Barenaked Ladies Are Me / Barenaked Ladies Are Men albums. Page acquired the console from Le Studio, where the band recorded Gordon (among the many famous albums recorded at that studio), and integrated some of its equipment into the console at Fresh Baked Woods.

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Moll, George (executive producer) (2000). Behind the Music (TV-series). New York, New York: VH1. 
  2. ^ a b Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Steven Page, Ed Robertson, Tyler Stewart (2004). The Barenaked Truth (Television documentary/DVD). Take 3 Productions/Casablanca Media Television. 
  3. ^ a b c Jones, Craig (August 1994). "The Barenaked Ladies: Maybe You Should Drive". Canadian Musician. pp. 36–41. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  4. ^ Robertson, Ed & Frohman, Lorne (Interviewer/Host) (2005). Distinguished Artists (TV-series). Toronto, Canada: Humber College School of Media Studies. 
  5. ^ a b c McCoy, Heath (July 21, 2009). "Steven Page stripped bare". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2009-07-21. [dead link]
  6. ^ www.bnlmusic.com Accessed February 24, 2009. "By mutual agreement, Steven Page will be parting company with the remaining members of Barenaked Ladies. Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, and Tyler Stewart will continue recording and touring together as Barenaked Ladies. Steven Page will pursue solo projects including theatrical opportunities while the band enters the studio in April 2009, and hits the road in the fall.
  7. ^ The Steven Pages@Blogspot: Gone Solo Accessed February 24, 2009.
  8. ^ Medley, Mark (February 26, 2009). "Steven Page interview: 'Wow, I'm not a Barenaked Lady anymore'". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  9. ^ a b Gottlieb, Jed (August 26, 2011). "Ex-Barenaked singer Steven Page is his own man: No longer one of the ladies". The Boston Herald. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  10. ^ Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page to drop new albums
  11. ^ "An Anthem to Remember". CBC News Network, August 27, 2011.
  12. ^ http://stevenpage.bandcamp.com/album/a-different-sort-of-solitude
  13. ^ http://www.genieawards.ca/genie32/press/G32_Nominees.pdf
  14. ^ Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?
  15. ^ a b Köhler, Nicholas; Gulli, Cathy (2008-07-23). "Barenaked Mess". MacLean's. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  16. ^ a b "Mental Health Special - Steven Page". The Current (CBC News). 7 January 2007. 
  17. ^ Goldberg, Delen (2009-07-19). "Fayetteville village home bought by ex-Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page". The Post-Standard. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  18. ^ "@stevenpage: I married @I_never_rhyme about 9 hours ago! Call me mr. Rhyme if you please.". Self post on Twitter. 24 July 2011. 
  19. ^ Road Stories with Alan Frew - SNOW
  20. ^ a b c d Reaves, Michele (16 July 2008). "Barenaked Ladies' Steven Page arrested in Fayetteville". Central New York News (Syracuse.com). Retrieved 16 July 2008. 
  21. ^ a b c d ""Barenaked Ladies" singer faces drug charge in Fayetteville". 9WSYR.com. July 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  22. ^ a b c d e "Barenaked Ladies singer faces drug charge in N.Y.". CBC News. July 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-16. [dead link]
  23. ^ a b "Singer arrested on drug charge". WSTM NBC3 News. July 15, 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2008. 
  24. ^ Article(subscription required), The Globe and Mail, 17 July 2008.
  25. ^ a b Scan of Pre-Trial notices hosted by WSTM NBC3 News]
  26. ^ a b c d Popplewell, Brett (July 16, 2008). "Cocaine bust nabs Barenaked Ladies' Page". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  27. ^ "Supporters rally around Barenaked singer Page". The National Post. July 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  28. ^ "Barenaked Ladies singer faces drug charge". CTV.ca News. July 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  29. ^ a b Mulcahy, Matt (July 16, 2008). "Singer's court documents released". WSTM NBC3 News. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  30. ^ Szklarski, Cassandra (July 16, 2008). "Barenaked Ladies fans stunned by news of Steven Page drug charge". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2008-07-16. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Court date delayed for BNL singer Steven Page". Canwest News Service. August 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-25. [dead link]
  32. ^ "Next U.S. court date for Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page now Oct. 28 e". The Canadian Press. October 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-09. [dead link]
  33. ^ Kates, William (July 16, 2008). "Barenaked Ladies singer arrested on drug charges". Newsday (Associated Press). Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  34. ^ Barenaked.net message board thread confirming the concert's occurrence.
  35. ^ News page, Barenaked Ladies official website. accessed July 16, 2008. "Many of you have probably read or heard press accounts about Steven Page's recent arrest in New York State. Steven has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and the validity of the charges against Steven will be strongly contested. While this is happening, it's business as usual for Barenaked Ladies. We will continue to perform and look forward to heading into the studio later this year to record a new album. We want to thank our loyal fans for their continued support during this difficult time. -BNL"
  36. ^ News page, Barenaked Ladies official website. accessed July 17, 2008. "'Members of the band completely support Steven Page,' said McBride, 'but we don't want to put Disney in an awkward position before issues involving Steven's arrest are resolved.'"
  37. ^ Rook, Katie (28 October 2008). "Page could be spared jail time for drug charges". National Post. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  38. ^ Kates, William (October 29, 2008). "Barenaked Ladies' Page gets reduced drug charges". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-10-29. [dead link]
  39. ^ WWF Annual Report
  40. ^ Pioro, Matthew. "My Toronto: Steven Page", Toronto Magazine, nationalpost.com, 8 July 2007.

External links[edit]