Steven Jay Page (born June 22, 1970) is a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter. Along with Ed Robertson, he was a founding member, lead singer, guitarist, and a primary songwriter of the music group Barenaked Ladies. Page left the band in 2009 and has since pursued a solo career.
Page was born in Scarborough, Ontario. After skipping grade one, Page was enrolled in Scarborough's gifted program at Churchill Heights Public School. Page's father, Victor, was a drummer, as is his brother, Matthew. As a child, Page would attempt to play songs on the piano, while his dad would keep the beat on the drums. Page took ten years of piano lessons (though claimed he did not learn to play). He also was a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir.
During childhood, Page had his best friend "stolen" by a schoolmate, Ed Robertson, and resented Robertson for some time. The two went to high school at Woburn Collegiate Institute but steered clear of each other until Page spotted Robertson at a Harvey's restaurant after a Peter Gabriel concert and was surprised to find that Robertson was also a fan. This led to Page and Robertson talking, becoming friends, and ultimately, forming BNL. They were both counselors at the Scarborough Schools Music Camp in the summer of 1988, where some of their early collaborations in music were born. Page wrote songs with his friend Geoff Pounsett and made tapes of those songs; Robertson had obtained a tape the two had made, and knew some of Page's songs. Page was flattered by this and the two eventually became good friends.
Robertson invited Page to perform with him at a charity show under the name Barenaked Ladies in 1988, and ultimately the show led the pair to full-time careers in the band. Page attended York University in the English program with a minor in theory and choral studies, but dropped out to focus on the band's rising success.
Page was a main songwriter from the band's inception. A majority of the band's material came either from Page alone, or co-writing with Robertson. All but one of the songs on the band's first album had a songwriting or co-writing credit for Page. He is credited on every song from both Maroon (2000) (other than the album's hidden track) and Everything to Everyone (2003). In all, 97 of the 113 songs on the band's primary studio albums during his tenure (not including its holiday or children's albums) are credited or co-credited to Page. Though his level of credit remained steadily high, the contribution of initial song ideas became more evenly distributed to Robertson, and later other bandmates Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan; though Page continued to contribute his skill in completing or just polishing lyrics.
Page had also been the band's main lead singer since the beginning, though he always shared some of the lead vocal duty with Robertson. This stemmed, in part, from the band's common practice of writing for one's own voice; as Robertson came up with more song ideas, he would sing lead on more songs. All of the singles from the band's first three albums featured a Page lead vocal (not including "If I Had $1000000" which featured a call and response lead vocal from both Robertson and Page), and nine of the 11 songs on the band's first live album, Rock Spectacle, featured a Page lead. Following the success of "One Week", the band's first single with a Robertson lead, songs with a Robertson lead became selected equally as singles from that point on.
Page played acoustic and electric guitar (and occasionally other instruments) for the band both in the studio and live. Most of the time, he played rhythm parts on songs he wrote, allowing Robertson to play more of a lead guitar role; but occasionally, he played a lead guitar role to Robertson's rhythm guitar. Page sometimes assumed guitarist duties on tracks he did not sing on, though never to the exclusion of Robertson on guitar as well.
By 2004, Page was having reservations about his contributions to the band. He has indicated that he participated in the recordings of Barenaked for the Holidays and Snacktime! despite being opposed to the recording of both albums. Concerning Snacktime!, Page indicated, "[i]t was a lot of fun to do, but it wasn't my idea. I was along for the ride."
On February 24, 2009, it was announced by both Page and the other members of Barenaked Ladies that Page would be leaving the group to pursue other opportunities including solo projects and theatrical opportunities, and that the remainder of the band would continue in his absence. The decision had been made about a week and a half before the public announcement, with one reason being the rest of the band's desire to record a new album, and Page's reluctance to do so. Page believes that his much-publicized drug arrest in Syracuse, New York hastened his already-imminent split with the band.
Page commented in August 2011 that around the time of his arrest, "the band was no longer the joyous place that it once was, but it hadn't been joyous for a long time before that. It wasn't that we didn't put on good shows, we still had a great time onstage every night," he added. "But it became a place where work was just about the stress and not the end product. And (the arrest and band tension) made me gather the strength to go out and do what I always wanted to do."
In September 2015, TMZ discovered court documents filed by Steven Page over "The Big Bang Theory Theme". He alleges that he was promised 20% of the proceeds from the song, which includes revenue generated from the greatest hits album that includes it, and claims that former bandmate Robertson has kept that money entirely for himself.
On March 25, 2018, Page performed with Barenaked Ladies for the first time in nine years at the Juno Awards in Vancouver, in celebration of the band's induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Though there were reportedly no plans to make the reunion permanent, neither side had necessarily ruled it out.
Partnership with Stephen Duffy
As a young man, Page was a fan of British singer-songwriter Stephen Duffy, who was a founding member of Duran Duran and the frontman for the group The Lilac Time, and began corresponding with him after Duffy replied to his fan letter. Page was ultimately invited to co-write with Duffy in the early 1990s, and several co-written songs subsequently appeared on BNL albums, starting with Maybe You Should Drive. With the shift to a stronger intra-band writing process, Page/Duffy material found itself without a forum.
In June 2005, Page released his first "solo" album, of which all but one song were Page/Duffy co-writes (the other was written by Page alone). The project was billed as The Vanity Project (as both the album and artist name). Page implied in interviews that the project was his alone, and that it was a forum for him to collaborate with writers/artists outside BNL. At the time, he suggested that future albums might not involve Duffy, but could feature other collaborations. However, given his subsequent departure from Barenaked Ladies, Page elected to label his follow-up solo record as a "Steven Page" record.
Following his departure from Barenaked Ladies, Page's first major project was to complete writing music for the first production of Bartholomew Fair: A Comedy at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Summer 2009. During that summer, he embarked on a tour of music festivals (mostly folk festivals) accompanied by Kevin Fox on cello.
Page set up promotional accounts for himself on several social networking websites under his name and under the billing "The Steven Pages".
He performed in the song "He's a Really Useful Engine" for Thomas and the Magic Railroad in 2000.
Page's first release following his split with Barenaked Ladies was A Singer Must Die, a studio recording of songs he performed in a pair of concerts, Songbook II, with the contemporary music group Art of Time Ensemble. Following the album's release on February 16, 2010, the artists embarked on a 12-date concert tour. Page participated in other concerts with Art of Time Ensemble, including Take This Waltz (a collection of waltzes), and a performance of the Beatles' Abbey Road album, using semi-classical arrangements by Art of Time Ensemble. In November 2011, Page performed a songbook concert, Songbook 6, featuring new songs. He also sang in performances of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album akin to the previous Abbey Road concert.
Page's first original material album under his own name, Page One, was released on October 19, 2010. Page toured the record across Canada and the US, including a string of shows supporting the Goo Goo Dolls.
On January 1, 1, 2011, Page performed at the NHL Winter Classic and led the singing of Canada's national anthem before the game. He performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at the state funeral of Jack Layton on August 27, 2011.
On January 17, 2012, Page released a new single containing two new songs, "A Different Sort of Solitude" and "Manchild". "A Different Sort of Solitude" was written for the film French Immersion. "Manchild" was co-written with Craig Northey and is the b-side of the single.
On the same day as the release of the single, Page was nominated for the 32nd Annual Genie Awards for the composition of "A Different Sort of Solitude".
In July 2014, it was announced that Page had been working on a new studio album. The album, Heal Thyself Pt. I: Instinct, was released on March 11, 2016.
Page released the first single "White Noise" from the album Discipline: Heal Thyself, Pt. II, which was released on September 14, 2018.
Here's What It Takes, a musical written by Page and Daniel MacIvor, was slated to premiere at the 2020 Stratford Festival. With the production shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, Page has performed a weekly series of home concerts through Dan Mangan's Side Door platform. He and the show's cast recorded a version of the musical's closing song "No Song Left to Save Me" for an appearance on CBC Radio's Q.
On July 16, 2016, Page performed a show as a member of a band called the "Trans-Canada Highwaymen", a supergroup of fellow Canadian musicians, including Moe Berg of The Pursuit of Happiness, Chris Murphy of Sloan, and Craig Northey of The Odds (Northey also performs as Page's lead guitarist at his solo shows). The band subsequently announced a tour which began in April 2017. The band has not written any original material and instead performs sets completely of covers of popular songs from the members' respective bands.
Page was born to an Ashkenazi Jewish mother and a father of Anglo Protestant background. Although Page's father, Victor, converted to Judaism to appease Page's mother's religious grandparents, her grandparents disowned him nonetheless. His mother's Jewish background was the subject of an episode of a CBC genealogy program called Who Do You Think You Are?
Page has been married twice. His first wife was Toronto musician and teacher Carolyn Ricketts, whom he wed on December 28, 1993. The two separated in February 2007, and divorced in 2009. They have three sons: Isaac (b. November 12, 1996); Benjamin (b. December 15, 1998); and Jonah (b. April 16, 2001).
Page was arrested for cocaine possession on July 18, 2008. Page was found guilty of possession and ordered to drug treatment and to stay clean for six months.
Page purchased a house in Fayetteville, New York with then-girlfriend Christine Benedicto in 2009, and splits his time between there and Toronto, where his children reside. Page married Benedicto on July 23, 2011, and the couple spent their honeymoon in Paris.
Page stated publicly in 2011 that he suffers from bipolar disorder. He said that he has gone through periods of self-medicating to relieve the symptoms. Since leaving Barenaked Ladies, he has been able to focus more on managing and treating his illness and has cited his sons as being his source of strength for keeping healthy and continuing treatment.
Other activities and interests
Page has been an avid member of the New Democratic Party, and was a notable supporter of the late Jack Layton, who was the party's leader. He performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at Layton's funeral.
As of August 31, 2008, he was a member of the board of directors marketing and events committee for World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada).
Page owns a farmhouse near Toronto. At some point prior to the recording of Barenaked for the Holidays, he invested in building a recording studio at his farmhouse, which he has named Fresh Baked Woods. The band's first record there was the aforementioned Holidays album. The band also used the studio for the recording sessions for the Barenaked Ladies Are Me / Barenaked Ladies Are Men albums. Page acquired the console from Le Studio, where the band recorded Gordon (among the many famous albums recorded at that studio), and integrated some of its equipment into the console at Fresh Baked Woods.
Page was a contestant on the Canadian game show Bumper Stumpers.
- The Vanity Project (2005)
- A Singer Must Die (2010)
- Page One (2010)
- A Different Sort of Solitude (E.P.) (2012)
- Heal Thyself Pt. 1: Instinct (2016)
- Discipline: Heal Thyself, Pt. II (2018)