12198 – Well, they are solo until the inevitable reunion!

BNL, Steven Page split ‘bittersweet’
“I was back in the cockpit after eight days” – Ed Robertson joking about his float plane crash last year.
TORONTO – Ed Robertson can say first-hand when you have survived a plane crash, not much that happens on the ground after seems as traumatic.
Not even parting ways with your long-time wingman?
“After a plane crash, every day after seems kind of special,” he said in an interview at the Sun last night.
And you want each day to be fun.
It’s not to make light of the big announcement that key Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page is splitting from the group and won’t record on the next record or part take in this fall’s 20th anniversary tour.
But it is to keep it in perspective.
“It is difficult, no question,” Robertson said. “It is hard on everybody but the primary emotion I would say would be excitement. We needed a blast of positive energy. It is a weird day. But I know for all of us, it is a necessary day.”
Page pretty much echoed the same message in an interview on CP24, calling it “bittersweet” and that it was “time.”
It was strange seeing them do so much media yesterday — separately.
The unusual aspect of that was not lost on Robertson — who jokes, “I am going to have to propose to him to do a pop-song war — a gangster rap showdown but the pop-rock version.”
A lot of people have put forward ideas of replacements — everybody from J.D. Fortune to Paul McCartney to Jimmy Page and Ellen Page.
“I would never say never,” Robertson said on hiring a new musician. “But right now we are focusing on the four of us.”
Although Robertson said he did like Page’s idea of Meatloaf.
“It would be nice to have a nice protein snack on stage.”
Twenty years has flown by since the controversy of this band with the crazy name being banned from playing City Hall.
Fame and accolades, adulation and even fortune came their way in the years that followed. But 2008 was a tough year for this group.
Page’s brush with the law and cocaine possession was well-documented in the press — as was Robertson’s near fatal float plane crash near Bancroft.
But what did not get aired publicly was the creative and philosophical differences that had come between the band, which includes Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Tyler Stewart.
For example, the band’s foray into a children’s album was a critical and commercial success — but it’s kind of difficult to market a record for families called Snacktime when one of your key members is on the news, busted for cocaine use.
It’s not that the band turned on Page for what was a life mistake, but the fact is, it did not help the band — which had to cancel a Disney-sponsored concert — and perhaps a new direction for them to go.
The next project was the band’s new album.
One industry producer said yesterday the other members of the band politely put it to Page that they wanted him focused “100%” and certainly did not want further distractions.
Robertson, though, said it did not come down to any one meeting, but he did say recording an album is “a mountain that you have to be prepared to climb as a unit and we knew for us to move forward it would be without Steven.”
Page, speaking from Syracuse, said this as well on CP24: “They are anxious to make a record as Barenaked Ladies and I am anxious to make a solo record.”
Of course, the fan forums are going crazy with gossip — some even suggesting Page’s new girlfriend, Christine Benedicto, is the “band’s Yoko Ono” — life imitating art but still a woman who has helped break up the band.
Robertson just laughs. “God bless the fans. We have an amazing fan base and I know they feel gutted, but the truth is it does not come down to one thing or one person. He added, “I really wanted to reach out to people and let them know this is a good thing for us and not to worry about what it will be because it will be great for us and for Steven.”
And while no separation is done easily, he said, this one was done amiably.
“There is a ton to look back on and be proud of,” Robertson said.
“We accomplished far too much to split acrimoniously. It’s a pivotal moment but it is not a hurdle or a stumbling block. It’s just a new direction.”
Just like when he crashed his plane, Robertson has already started to plot out the takeoff of the new-look Barenaked Ladies.