Canada's BARENAKED LADIES pull off the greatest Stunt of their career—watching their hit "One Week" rocket up the charts while keeping their feet on the ground

By Tom Sinclair
Updated August 07, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Stunt

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It’s been nine weeks since the bouncy radio hit “One Week” propelled Canadian popsters Barenaked Ladies from semi-obscurity to the big leagues, and already four of the band’s five members have taken to lounging in swimming pools surrounded by worshipful, buck-naked babes.

Not to condone such lascivious lollygagging, but you could argue that the group (all males, their name notwithstanding) has every right to indulge in a bit of old-fashioned rock & roll debauchery. After spending the better part of the ’90s struggling to crack America’s pop charts, they’ve finally got a hit song, a top 10 album (Stunt), and a slot as co-headliners on this summer’s H.O.R.D.E. tour: What bunch of red-blooded male musicians wouldn’t be tempted to shout “Bring on the nubiles!”?

So on July 24—the same day the band would deliver a rousing performance at the Columbus, Ohio, H.O.R.D.E. stop—they found themselves in the sort of situation usually prefaced by the words “Dear Penthouse….” The lads insist, however, that the nude get-together was as idyllically lust free as the pre-apple Garden of Eden.

“The idea was, barenaked ladies meet Barenaked Ladies,” says singer-guitarist Ed Robertson, 27, somewhat sheepishly explaining how Columbus radio station WNCI persuaded the group to participate in the on-air poolside interview attended by a dozen unclad female fans. “At first I thought, ‘This is horrible. I don’t want any part of something where you have to take your clothes off to meet the band….’ But I think we turned it into a fun thing by getting naked and jumping into the pool first. It could have been a let’s-ogle-at-women-with-their-clothes-off thing, but we turned it into a Barenaked Ladies skinny-dipping party.”

“Which is really what this band is all about,” pipes in singer-guitarist Steven Page, 28, the band’s beefy, bespectacled coleader, who, along with Robertson, writes most of the group’s material. “It’s not about strip clubs, it’s more about just having fun—the innocent side of stuff.” Tipper Gore, your work has not been in vain.

Barenaked Ladies’ American bust-out has been a long time coming (they released their first full-length album, Gordon, in 1992), but the gods have finally decided to cut them some slack. The band—which also includes drummer Tyler Stewart, 30, bassist Jim Creeggan, 28, and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn, 29 (on sabbatical due to illness)—has been huge in Canada since its 1988 inception but has only slowly ascended the ladder from cult contenders to buzz-bin heroes here.

Some credit is due to Beverly Hills 90210 star (and fellow Canadian) Jason Priestley, an early fan with whom the band formed a fortuitous alliance. “We just started seeing [Priestley] at our shows,” says Robertson. “I guess after [seeing him] about three times, our record-company person came back and said, ‘Jason Priestley wants to come back and say hi. We said, Of course.”

Priestley and the boys got on so famously that two years ago, the actor wound up directing the video for their song “The Old Apartment”; he also helped get them a gig on an episode of 90210 in April 1997. (The following week, sales of their 1996 live CD Rock Spectacle doubled; the album subsequently went gold.)

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Stunt

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