..........Bassist Jim Creeggan
of Barenaked Ladies
.......Ji The Barenaked Ladies have
quite the life and they have fun just taking things one step at a time. "I
think that there is sometimes that anxiety to have something all happen at
once, but ultimately before that happens there are all those steps that must
take place," says Creeggan. "As a band we've sort of stopped worrying
about the end of the line result. I think we're more committed to the process
rather than some unrealistic ending point. We're just now realizing that we
should enjoy the success while it's happening. The goals that we do arrive at
from now until then can only build longevity to our careers . Jim Creeggan from
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Is currently the bassist for the Barenaked
Ladies, and is one hell of a bassist, if I may say so. He is the other half of
the ingenious Brothers Creeggan. When not touring
with BNL, Jim And his brother Andy have ventured into a musically solo venture
as the "The Creeggan Brothers " which is currently touring now.
- ............INTERVIEW with Jim
- Q: How are things going?
- A: Going pretty good. We're played in Austin, TX. Last night good show.
- Q: Last time I saw Barenaked Ladies was at the Bridge Show Benefit last
year for Neil Young ,does BNL do many Benefits?
- A: We were ask to do Farm Aid which we are honored to be part of it.. You
know, we were luckily asked to do Farm Aid, which is a real honor to be a part
of and so we did a big benefit there, in Nashville. It was just really great to
be a part of something run by people who are big inspirations and also seeing
the music and seeing something positive going to a worthy cause like Farm Aid
and Bridge School. It's kind of an emergency isn't it. Its' even from being
there getting more awareness about it and talking to the guys, it just seems to
be even more of a pressing matter. Even though its only a half hour set
- Q: Does any one from BNL live in the States?
- A: No, we all live in Toronto, We all live around Toronto actually.
Actually, our keyboard player is sort of ill right now, so a guy from Giggytau,
which is based in LA is sort of filling in, he's a good friend. So, he's the LA
guy in our band.
- Q: How is keyboardist Kevin Hearn since his illness?
- A: He's on the road to recovery. He was actually just down to do a few TV
shows with us. We just did Good Morning America and he came down to do those
- Q: So how is the Creeggan Brothers solo project doing?
- A: Were just releasing a new record, and were going to tour too, starting
in February work our way down the west coast across the bottom states, then up
the northeast. My brother Andy plays: piano, percussion, accordion, hammered
dulcimer, steel pan and vocals
- Q: Do you have a brother you worked with on a couple of projects?
- A: Yeah, yeah. We're actually just releasing a new record. We're going to
tour it too man. Yeah we are going to be touring it like in the U.S. down the
West Coast on February 1st and we're going to go across the bottom and then up
to the Northeast. In the great tradition of brothers. He used to be in the Bare
Naked Ladies actually, so he was in the band all the way to "Maybe You
Should Drive", which was our second record. So he plays piano and
percussion . It's kind of nice, because it allows other musical endeavors that
jump into the Bare Naked world which makes it a more well rounded experience
- Q: I see that your coming to San Francisco.
- A: Oh yeah, for sure. We're definitely going to be there. It's probably
going to be the beginning of February, like the 2nd or 3rd.
- Q: And how about BNL tour ?
- A: Not really, because we're going to be pretty much writing for the next
album. While I tour with my brother, Steve and Ed are going to be getting the
tunes together for the next record.
- Q: Anything new in the works musically?
- A: Well Tyler did a thing called "Don't Talk Dance" a couple of
years ago. It was only in Canada, but that was definitely like a great thing.
It was like a real dance based thing as the name sort of lends itself. Totally.
It's good. Hopefully we can allow for the band to be a long lasting career so
we can distribute our energy and allow for a little bit of variety.
- Q: What kind of guitar amps do you use?
- A: Alright, let's get down to it. I use Eden base amps. Steve and Ed use
Fender. Ed uses a Matchless amp as well. I have always been shopping around,
but I sort of landed on SWR a long time ago and then found out about Eden. He
used to be involved with SWR and tried out his amps and it sort of suited the
double base perfectly. It's just like a really warm sound and fit what I do
excellently, so it made sense. Actually, I signed a deal with those guys and
they helped me out all over the place. They are a really great company. They
are really family based. Went out and had Chinese food with the family.
- Q: Did you start out with a double base when you were younger?
- A: Yeah. That has always been where I started - I started like a string
orchestra in school.
- Q: I have a lot of respect for bass players that play with no frets ,how do
you do that.
- A: Definitely, you have to work at that intonation. There is a whole new
element of music introduced there.
- Q: For the Bare Naked Ladies, when did you feel was really the turning
point for you?
- A: I think things started turning around for us - well ultimately it was a
slow burn - all the success we did gain, was mainly through playing live shows.
Just persistently coming down and playing. That sort of set us up to have a
real fan base, a foundation and then from there, a few radio people took a
chance on us. This one guy on the Planet in Detroit called Garrett, he took a
chance and when he took a chance and got great results on people phoning back
and saying what was that, he sort of ploughed the way for the rest of America
radio. And then you know, other things started happening. Like the people
started listening to that and it spread radio wise and having a chance to be on
Cohen and O'Brien, and stuff like that. Things started really growing. People
like Cohen and O'Brien taking a chance on us, it's great. Then luckily we did a
live album which really caught on and people really dug it because it reflected
exactly what we did and why tons of people would be coming to see us live. It
was a document to that whole scene. Then the mainstream just slowly caught on,
like this last record. Luckily our single - everything was in place. We had the
fan base, we had the live shows, we had radio stations interested in us, and
then the single was good and totally worked for everybody and the video was
successful at Much Music. Everything was in place and when the signal showed
up, everything, all the mainstream walls just came tumbling down and everybody
was really interested.
- Q: Was the humor side of your show always there ?
- A: It's actually been there right from the beginning. Like Steve and Ed
when they were a duo, like a year before I joined in l988, were opening for a
sort of musical-comedy troupe called "Corky and the Juice Picks" and
they are absolutely amazing. There's one guy, Sean Cullen, who's actually on
the West Coast right now, he's doing lots in LA, is like our entertainment
guru. He is like the guy. He's not really well known here, but he's known
really well in Toronto. So that was the beginning, and through that, we've
always had fun on stage and you know, you would be touring so much that you
would just be so completely exhausted and sticking to any strict schedule is
not in your interest at all or just where you want to be. So we would just go
off on tangents and when we would do that, we started realizing that the
audience was actually having a better time when we were relaxing and going off
and trying stuff. So we began to trust that whole improvisational element of
the show more and more.
- Q: So your live show is where the energy's at ?
- A: I think we believe in the music as well and that's one reason we stick
to it and when we didn't believe in the music or what we were doing, fans did,
so we believed then. So, I think in a lot of ways, playing live and listening
to what the fans are doing is the reason why we are still together and still a
happening musical group ensemble - because the fans sort of pulled us through
some tough times. We saw a reason to be together.
- Q: Are your so skids on stage totally ad-libbed, or do you get together and
talk about what your going to do before your live show ?
- A: Actually most of the time, it's what's on the mind of the day. We'll
just stumble into something. Steve and Ed will be chatting away and if they
come up with something that is mildly amusing to me, I will sort of back it up
in a musical way and we'll take it from there, or one of the other guys. You
know, Tyler will start a drum beat behind some sort of thing that they talked
- Q: Were you guys a college band when you started?
- A: We played around Toronto a lot when we in university. My brother was
actually in high school when we started playing.
- Q: What do you feel your projecting to the audience, is there any statement
you are trying to make?
- A: I think if anything, it's a do don't tell kind of scenario. Our message
is mainly what we are and what we do and that is sort of more, that by having
so much fun being in the moment, that is more of what we are and what we are
projecting. It's sort of trusting that there is something always there to play
on, there is always something to have fun with.
- Q: A lot of your songs are well written, even though your having fun on
stage, your songs are actually hitting the charts, did you strive for this?
- A: Yeah, it's something that has always been a strong aim for the band - is
putting out songs that actually have a life and soul to them. I think that
there are other layers to the group that are always available if someone is
- Q: The song about Brian Wilson the Beach Boy leader, was that difficult
getting his permission to sing about him?
- A: No actually. Well luckily we heard that he actually likes the song, so
that's great, but we did not clear it with him. It was more a song about him
- Q: Is this a Promo tour?
- A: This is a promotional tour about 12 dates. Then, the shows after
Christmas are sort of an annual thing.
- Q: Which one's your favorite song?
- A: I like "Call and Answers". I actually like "One
Week" as well. The extreme of consciousness, it seems really genuine in
the verses. I like those things that are polar opposites almost, but they are
both my favorites.
- Q: You played the Bay Area a lot in the past didn't you?
- A: Yeah, it was sort of the beginning of stepping into, I guess including
ourselves in a musical relationship with other bands. We've always been sort of
out playing our own shows. Sort of an entry into a scene that was already
- Q: Didn't Justin Priestly do something with you guys, like a documentary?
- A: He did one video for us, "The Old Apartment Video", and he
just did a documentary, he came on the road last year for two weeks and put
cameras on what we do. So, it appeared in the "Trial Film Festival"
and it's a really great thing and we are just trying to get it into the
"Sundance Film Festival".
- Q: Are you guys basically the same as you were before with all the fame?
- A: It's definitely an adjustment. It's a page of reality for us. Things
have totally changed for us and a lot of my friends don't have money. Probably
90% of my friends are just scraping by and just trying to find some kind of
profession that they can put some time into and grow with and I have already
been in something for ten years and its starting to carry me financially and
then some. As it relates to the band, there is five of us and we've known each
other right from the beginning and I think if someone sort of starts getting
out of hand or off, not that anybody has, but if someone gets a little bit more
distant or high in their loafers, then it really just doesn't wash with the
rest guys of the guys that have been there for the whole time. So we have each
other to kind of balance ourselves out.
- Q: I read that you fans are absolutely amazing. You have total commitment
with them don't you?
- A: We are interested in not severing ties, by nurturing our career and
keeping in touch with fans. We sort of stopped looking for that sort of
glorious ending where we can chill out on an island somewhere. Like I want to
live in Toronto and I want to keep on playing for people. Its where I learn the
most. Its where there's more offered by interacting with people, then sort of
cutting off people just because we have money. I don't want money to delegate
to me what I do.
- Q: Your value system sounds like it's right on track.
- A: I did just buy my house and I thought wow, I am really happy to be able
to afford that. I am really lucky. I definitely want to keep that place for
people to come and hang if they don't have a place to stay, because I've been
in that position.
- Q: A lot of your albums, there is similarity in your albums, do you think
Bare Naked Ladies will branch out in other areas?
- A: I think we are sort of interested in working with different people and
that will always bring something different out of the band, As well, I think we
get bored pretty quick. Not that we get bored with what we do now, but we are
always sort of interested in something new and I think, carrying with us what
we have learned and what really works well for us in the past and then sort of
adding something new to it. I think we are more interested in making ourselves
entertained as well.
- Q: What famous comedy team would you compare yourselves to, like the Max
- A: You know that's funny you should say the Marx Brothers, because I think
Neil Young said to us after watching us perform at the Bridge Benefit a while
back, "Hey, you guys are like the Marx Brothers". I don't know. Maybe
that's it. There's the answer from Neil Young himself - we're the Marx
- Q: What was the strangest thing you ever witnessed on stage the stage.
- A: This is one thing, when we were playing in LA outside, and there was
these two extra amazing dancers. They are like, they were two guys dressed in
green dresses and they could do flips and shit and they were like dancing major
happening babe. So, we brought them up on stage and this one guy did a whole
backflip. It was awesome. That was fun. Lot's of shit has happened, but that
was one thing that came to mind. He looked at me too. He came up to me and
looked into my eyes and I said "what are you doing" and he did this
- Q: At the Warfield, Ed gave the guitar to the security guard and asked him
to start playing, that's wild stuff !
- A: Yeah, that was cool. It's funny. We've started since then sort of
getting different people to play the guitar in the audience and its fun,
because usually they don't know what's going on, but its amazing how we can get
them playing something.
- Q: Have you tried any of the modern double bass's?
- A: I actually play a - Ned Steinberg made a five string stand up electric
- and that's great. It's just a really great base.
- Q: Is that your favorite?
- A: It is kind of in a way. It's like a thin base and it sounds awesome, so
that's definitely what I am. I might even be using that as my main base in San
Francisco, just because it flies well and it's sort of interchangeable with my
stand up. It's really tough to. A forklift hit the case when I was coming up to
Toronto and hit actually blew one of the case out and there is a hole at the
other end of the case where the instrument actually pierced the wall of the
casing it went through and the thing didn't even get bent - like it's so tough.
- Thank You it's been a real pleasure....
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