Hi everyone - hope your winter is treating you well. I’m writing you with a few announcements, the first being that I will be stepping down as Pope effective February 28th. Apparently the Vatican just found out that I’m Jewish.
Second of all, I wanted you to know that I have indeed been busy doing shows and working on new music for you to hear. I have a bunch of new songs in various stages of completion and am in the midst of organizing which songs go with which. Stylistically, they’re all over the map (what’s new?) and after agonizing over the ongoing “Is The Album A Dead Artform?” arguments, I’ve decided I should, for now at least, release music in smaller doses on a more regular basis, and then these can be compiled at a later date onto a long-form album release for those who still cling to such things (as I sometimes do). So, that being said, watch for a new EP this Spring, with more to come shortly thereafter. I’m aiming to release the short-form releases digitally and on vinyl, and then trot out the old CD burner for the full-length one when it comes along.
I’ve also been busy getting our garden ready for spring. Neither my wife nor I are fans of the traditional North American lawn, both for environmental and aesthetic reasons, and we’ve decided to turn most of ours into a flower and vegetable garden. The flowers and meadow will be Christine’s domain, and the vegetables are mine. We had a smaller vegetable garden last year that was basically a disaster, but this time I’m SERIOUS. We tilled most of it up last fall and she planted bulbs and wildflowers, and I’m getting ready to start a bunch of my vegetable seeds indoors. Which leads me to my next point:
In order to make room for my seedstarting, we’ve been cleaning out the boxes and boxes of stuff I have in the basement and have decided to have an impromptu ONLINE GARAGE SALE on eBay. Between the two of us, we had a lot of duplicate items, and, being something of a hoarder myself, I had even more duplicates of things. Rather than just leaving them at the local Salvation Army store, I thought perhaps some of you would be interested in some of these pieces from my collection. They include a wide selection of laminates (backstage passes) spanning the last 20 years, t-shirts, hockey jerseys (you know me: Mister Hockey), and other bits and pieces. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Real Diaper Association (http://www.realdiaperassociation.org), a non-profit that promotes the use of reusable cloth diapers.
The link for the eBay auction is: http://bit.ly/YY3hxW and the auctions will only be up for 5 days. If you win an auction and want it signed, please let me know when you pay for it. Hope you find something you like, and thank you for helping with the basement. Next time I see you, I will give you a radish.
Did you guys see my brief appearance on How I Met Your Mother last week? I had a couple of lines in their “Everyone from Canada Talks About Robin Sparkles” episode. It was a fun shoot, but no, I didn’t get to meet the cast. I sat in a room in New York City in front of a green screen and talked to the producers, writers and directors via Skype while I did it. I was totally flattered that they asked me to be a part of the show, and the fact that it’s one of my kids’ favourites gave me a couple of extra Cool Dad Points, which is probably the best part.
If you missed it, here’s a link to the CBS site - I’m not sure if this works outside of the US, but if it doesn’t, I bet our old friends at Google can help you. http://bit.ly/11XSeEV
Speaking of video, please feel free to take video if you’re at any of my shows - sometimes I get home from doing a bunch of shows that I’ve been really happy with and want to show my family and then realize that people were being polite and hadn’t posted stuff. I think YouTube is a pretty cool resource for archiving shows, and you can be a part of that. Basically what I’m saying is that if they announce on a ticket or onstage that no photos or video is allowed, it’s not coming from me!
We’re also going to start posting some of my favourite live moments from YouTube on my site, www.stevenpage.com, so you can go there to watch them, already curated (or with the embarrassing flubs edited out).
One thing I am seeing more and more of, which I think is super cool is people uploading videos of themselves singing songs I’ve written. This is totally flattering and humbling. There are some really great performances out thereWe’re also going to start linking to many of these on the videos page of my site. If you want to try your hand at singing one of my numbers, go ahead, and tag them with my name and we’ll start linking to your video on my page.
Either way, you should check on the videos on the “media” section of my site - we recently uploaded a fun documentary on the Page One tour of 2010 that was made by our violinist, Karen Graves. It’s also on YouTube if you’d like to look there. http://bit.ly/X5RXAW
I’ll leave you with a list of shows I have upcoming - I’ve been doing shows in many configurations lately: solo acoustic; as a duo with Craig Northey from the Odds; as a duo with Kevin Fox on cello; or with my full band, featuring Bryden Baird on Keyboards and Trumpet, Jay Baird on Bass, Sax and Clarinet; Jesse Baird on Drums; Kevin Fox on Cello and guitar, and Karen Graves on violin (although Karen is currently on the road with Sarah Slean and Miranda Mulholland has been doing an awesome job filling in).
Pass the Music On: A Night of Music Benefitting Kids in Camp (Club Revival,Toronto, ON) – band show
WXOU 47th Annual Birthday Bash (Rochester, MI) FREE EVENT ON OAKLAND UNIVERSITY CAMPUS – band show
Mecca Music presents: Steven Page (Leduc, AB) – solo show
Verrado Founder’s Day Celebration (Saturday Night Block Party) Buckeye, AZ– band show
Duo show with Craig Northey (St. John’s, NL)
Duo show with Craig Northey (Clarenville, NL)
Duo show with Craig Northey (Marystown, NL)
Osprey’s 10th Anniversary (Shelburne, NS)
But keep checking stevenpage.com for more shows to come, and for more details about these ones. They’re also up on my facebook page, facebook.com/stevenpage which I urge you to “Like,” because I don’t use any of those facebook-fan-buying schemes like some other musicians do. Unless you consider my bribe of a free radish. I’m also on Twitter, @stevenpage if you are a tweeting type.
Thanks for reading and I hope you’re feeling a little more caught up now. Now back to gardening and music!
This week, I lost a friend, a teacher, and a hero. On holiday yesterday in England, I
reluctantly checked my email, Facebook, Twitter, dreading the flood of bills and
business correspondence Iʼd ignored for the past week. Instead, I was greeted with the
news of the death of Jack Layton. Blindsided, I simply closed my laptop and hugged my
wife. We have all lost something great. One of the best, in fact.
Although I knew Jack as a dynamic, passionate and sometimes controversial city
councillor, I first got to know Jack Layton well when I began working with The White
Ribbon Campaign to counter violence against women in the 1990s. At the musical
events I was a part of, Jack would stir up the crowd and unite them in their desire to
improve themselves and the world around them. At the posher gala events, he was a
tireless fundraiser, as an auctioneer heʼd coax the patrons with the deepest pockets to
empty them for the cause.
After watching Jack in action, I would whisper to him and to Olivia that he needed to run
for the NDP leadership. When he decided to throw his hat into the ring in 2002, he
invited me to come to their house for the media announcement. We rode around the
block on his and Oliviaʼs tandem bike for a photo op, fitting, as he had been an early
crusader for bike lanes in Toronto. He made sure I wore a helmet.
I continued with Jack to Ottawa for his formal announcement. Both solo and with
Barenaked Ladies, I played concerts for him and the NDP to bring young voters into the
political sphere. None of this was cynical - Jackʼs idealism was real and heartfelt. He
believed that we as Torontonians, and we as Canadians had an opportunity and a
responsibility to work together to make our world a better one for all of us.
Jack was not just ours - he cared deeply about the world, and the tributes pouring in
from all corners attest that the world cared back. He was deeply respected
Jack loved music, and wasnʼt afraid to sing out loud and wasnʼt afraid to dance in front
of a crowd. In fact, he wasnʼt afraid of much. He loved to ride his bicycle with Olivia all
over this country he so loved, and he was a proud and close parent of Mike and Sarah.
My thoughts are with them now.
Jack taught me that idealism is not naïveté, that it is about finding a common set of
values with others, and a path toward realizing their fruition in society.
In the darkest of times, Jack could always find the possibilities of the future and lessons
we could learn from His respect for the true values and history of Canada - the link
between families of all stripes and labour, agriculture and industry, along with his tireless
crusade against poverty, showed us who Jack was, and acted as a mirror for all of us.
At last yearʼs Riverdale Share concert, a neighbourhood holiday fundraiser (Jack was
also my MP in Riverdale-Danforth), I proudly watched as he engaged my fourteen year
old son in a nearly hour-long conversation. He loved people, and nurtured relationships
with them, introducing them to each other. He would then stand back and watch new
networks and alliances grow from the seed he planted.
In my sadness, I want to say Jack is irreplaceable. As a man, he is. As a leader, his
vision cannot simply die with him. He took Canada and the NDP to new heights and
made us all better for it. It is right to feel such sorrow right now, but we cannot despair;
we are a nation schooled by Jack, and we can battle the anger and bitterness and
exclusion that is growing around us with the kindness, love and inclusiveness that Jack
exuded from every pore. Although Iʼd like to say we will not know his like again, I know
that we all must ensure that we do, in fact, know his like again. And soon.
Our sadness is justified, but the tribute that Jack would really want, and truly deserves,
is the growth of what he started in Canada.
Hey folks - sorry for the last-minute cancellation. It wasn't for health or family reasons, but because of a tour opportunity I got offered for February. Which we can't announce until Monday. Stay tuned and thanks for the good wishes.
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