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Feb. 22nd, 2010 | 06:11 pm

I've been a Barenaked Ladies fan for a very long time. I saw them at the Waterloo Buskers Festival in 1989 or 1990. I have The Yellow Tape from 1991; I hunted it down in the local indie record store asking every week until they were totally sick of me. I went to the alternate show they scheduled when they were removed from the Toronto New Year's show at city hall.

I've seen them perform live 61 times. I've seen them play for 40 people in front of a record store, and I've seen them perform for 20,000 at the Philips Arena. Once, by complete accident, I saw them 6 times on tour (I was traveling a lot in 2000, and without intending to, every time I was going somewhere...BNL was going to be there, too. With Guster, who I first saw on the street when they were Gus, in Harvard Square (right behind the Coop). That was the 'Bands Stephanie First Saw Busking' tour, as far as I was concerned)).

And I'm done. 10 minutes ago I just unsubscribed from the mailing list. the Sleepingcat address has been subscribed to their email list since 1997, and I'm just finished.

I've spent the last year giving them a chance. They seemed thin, when I downloaded the free concert album of a performance after Steve left, but hey, maybe they needed some time. You don't just give up. I gave them some time. Heard more performances. It never got better (and btw, I like the Creegan Brothers cd and Kevin Hearn's stuff; I used to go see him at a pub a block away from where I lived in Parkdale every couple weeks).

The lyrics to the latest bnl song are a big 'fuck you, steve' bonanza. (link).

Now, I've met everyone in the band a couple times, and Steve's always been a bit of a bastard to me. But....
when he sings, when he really lets go from his heart and gut, he wrenches me so badly that sometimes I can't breathe, what he's expressing is so painfully close to my soul. Hell, lots of people consider me a bastard, too. I'm totally fine with him being a bastard when he gives a voice to my pain in his songs.

Sadly for BNL, while they're all very talented musicians, Steve was actually the genius of the group, that freaked out anguished hiding behind the humour type that gave the band *depth*, and in sharing his brokenness made the band whole. This song....well, really proved it. It's a spiteful, emo, pretending to be heartfelt piece with lyrics so simple 3 lines through I started finishing every line for them while they were making BIG DRAMATIC PAUSES. (link).

22 years is a good run. It's longer, really, than I've loved anything else in this life (including my family; I didn't learn to really love them until my late 20s). I just sort of wish that we had just drifted apart, instead of me getting to the end of the new video and going, 'What a steaming pile of crap. How much longer am I waiting?'

I hope Steve's recovery continues and we hear something lovely and heartwrenching from him someday.

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Comments {10}

Soul Sucking Psycho Twinkie

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from: wyera
date: Feb. 22nd, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
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gah! After listening to that I don't want to hear anything else they do. BNL=kitschy, fun, quirky and ecclectic. Not whiney, EMO, why didn't you just stay with us crap.

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stephanie m. clarkson

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from: thespian
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
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hell, when Steve did emo, he did Tonight Is The Night (I Fell Asleep At The Wheel). He fucked you over with his death songs, big time. He expressed so much angst about his weight issues in Stomach VS Heart, with a poppy melody and singable lyrics. he got metaphysical with the idea repeating the same arguments in a relationship with It's All Been Done.

But welcome to the new BNL.

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Soul Sucking Psycho Twinkie

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from: wyera
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
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Eh, if this is the new BNL, I'll pass. I liked the clever way Steve turned the lyrics before. I loved the emotional draw even the happy songs had. I could relate to them. But that drek? Not so much.

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Rikibeth

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from: rikibeth
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
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Oh, man. If I offer the same sort of condolences I would for a romantic breakup, it sounds like it wouldn't be out of place.

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stephanie m. clarkson

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from: thespian
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 04:51 am (UTC)
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you know, in the last long term relationship I was in, I didn't really need out, or want out, but it was obvious he did. So...I decided to just see how long it took for him to break things off (in retrospect, if I'd actually wanted to 'keep' him, I should have broken up with him, because he'd totally had fought for things then). In a lot of ways this sort of feels the same - I would have liked it if they'd gotten things together and been good, even if they weren't what I think of as BNL. But they didn't, and I can't be bothered to fight for this fandom.

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古崇賢, aka Brother Claymore of Perpetual Peace

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from: dcseain
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
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Egads, that was awful!

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stephanie m. clarkson

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from: thespian
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 04:47 am (UTC)
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I know - and the thing is, Ed's stuff before wasn't LIKE that; I think that working with Steve was maybe curtailing stuff? I don't know. Steve seems to be, like myself, a REALLY cynical optimist. I think it might have tempered Ed before, but now....

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Chip

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from: ceo
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
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Completely off topic, what is the gentleman in your icon saying? I'm parsing it as "Shut the fuck up", but that doesn't look right.

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Esprix

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from: esprix
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
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It is, and that's Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller.

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Dr. Ben Mack: Prominent User of the Internet

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from: epi_lj
date: Feb. 23rd, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
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I heard the song a while back on CBC and immediately texted clawfoot with more or less the same observation. I've never been as big a fan as you were, but it also seemed to be both incredibly petty and entirely lacking in the spark that BNL had before.

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