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Barenaked Ladies
Barenaked Ladies went from a five-piece to a four-man group in February 2009. Photo by David Bergman

The March release of the Barenaked Ladies CD "All in Good Time" and its positive reception is proof that the Canadian band made the right decision, bass player Jim Creeggan said.

"Reconnecting with our fans is really important to us right now," Creeggan said in a phone interview. "If we can do that, that's success."

The band - which plays at the Wilma Theater on Thursday, May 20, as part of a North American tour - went from a five-piece to a four-man group in February 2009, a year after co-founder and co-lead singer Steven Page was arrested for cocaine possession.

It was a mutual decision to split with Page and to continue with four Barenaked Ladies, Creeggan said.

"It was not an easy decision, for sure," he said. "It was a long relationship, 20 years, and we had to dig deep and do some soul-searching to figure out if we wanted to move forward at all. This was something we wanted in our lives and was worth fighting for, so here we are as a four-piece."

Ed Robertson, the band's other co-founder and co-lead, took over on all of the songs, many of which he had co-written with Page.

"It was really easy for him to take on those songs since he had a strong attachment to them," Creeggan said.

The move has shaken up the live show, he said, including the addition of a pre-show ritual where a dartboard decides what song from the band's catalog to perform and what offbeat style.

"It's not that far from what we've done before," Creeggan said of the new album. "We're proud of what we've done with Steve, but really like what's happening right now with the four-piece."

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Hits such as "One Week" and "If I Had a Million Dollars" get some new vitality in the live show, Creeggan said.

"There's always been a plethora of trash talking and goofing around in the band," he said, "and now you get a little more of that."

The split also was difficult because it meant losing a friend of 20-plus years, Creeggan said. But as in any kind of divorce, those left behind band together.

"As soon as we started moving forward, because of the process of separating, it put us in the mood of being really really good to each other and conscious of each other's space and trying to communicate more," he said. "If anything it got better."

Recording and releasing "All in Good Time" was much smoother than the band anticipated, he said.

"Once we got into the studio and patched up the songs we realized we had songs that it was hard to leave off the record," he said. "The songs that didn't make the record are really worthy too."

The future may include releasing those remaining songs on a CD, as well as the possibility of a tour with symphonies, Creegan said.

"What's in store for us is momentum in our career. We're really riding a wave of positivity," he said.

One of the hallmarks of the band, which surfaced during the 1990s, was its sense of humor - even evidenced on the choice of the band to perform the theme to the sitcom "The Big Bang Theory."

"We like to make each other laugh," Creeggan said. "That's something you can't avoid."

 

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