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Barenaked Ladies Part Ways With Lead Singer

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Barenaked Ladies lead singer Steven Page is leaving the Canadian rock band under what he called "mutual agreement," and plans to begin a solo career. The remaining members of the band plan to continue recording albums under the Barenaked Ladies band name.

Barenaked Ladies lead singer Steven Page, who was arrested for cocaine possession last July, is leaving the Canadian rock band to begin a solo career. The departure follows a tumultuous 2008 for the band which also saw Page sentenced to six months probation for the drug charge and singer Ed Robertson survive an August plane crash. “By mutual agreement, Steven Page will be parting company with the remaining members of Barenaked Ladies,” the band wrote on its official Web site on Tuesday evening. “Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, and Tyler Stewart will continue recording and touring together as Barenaked Ladies. Steven Page will pursue solo projects including theatrical opportunities while the band enters the studio in April 2009, and hits the road in the fall.” “These guys are my brothers,” Page said in the statement. “We’ve grown up together over the past twenty years. I love them and wish them all the best in the future.” Band co-founder Ed Robertson says the group is energized and looking forward to its “new era” without Page, according to an interview Robertson did with Billboard.com recently. Page’s departure, he noted, had been brewing for some time and “was not a shock to everyone involved. It was a decision none of us took lightly or flippantly, but it was something that had to happen for the future of the band.” “Steve still has our support, and always will have it,” Robertson said. “We’re still intrinsically tied together both logistically and emotionally. I think you’re going to see great things from Steve.” Robertson said he, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn, bassist Jim Creeggan and drummer Tyler Stewart plan to hit the studio in April with an eye towards a fall release, most likely with “a very fancy producer” he can’t yet name. “The new songs we’re writing are great,” Robertson reports. “There are still four writers and singers and four multi-instrumentalists in Barenaked Ladies, so there’s a lot to draw on going forward.”Robertson added that he wasn’t planning to make any public comments regarding the split with Page. But reading fan postings on message boards after the announcement “was really difficult, because they’re so freaked out,” and he urged them “just to try not to draw any conclusions yet. We’re going to go in and make a great album, and we’re going to go out and do a bunch of great shows. That’s what we plan to do.” Plans for a Barenaked Ladies 20th anniversary box set, also due out this year, are also proceeding, according to Robertson.