Ex-Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page, Sarah Slean and Broken Social Scene’s Jason Collett are among the stars set to recreate Neil Young’s legendary 1971 concert in Toronto.
Canadian Songbook: A Tribute to Neil Young’s Live At Massey Hall will take place at – where else? – Massey Hall on June 10. The event is part of Toronto’s third annual Luminato arts and culture festival, which runs from June 5 to 14.
The lineup for the concert, which will feature 18 songs, also includes Holly Cole, The Cowboy Junkies, The Bill Frisell Trio, Danny Michel and Carole Pope, among others. Among the classics being covered are “Helpless,” “Old Man” and “Ohio.”
Steven Page, singer and guitarist for the Barenaked Ladies, has been arrested for drug possession in upstate New York.
Police say Page, 38, was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance Friday in the town of Fayetteville.
Authorities say the arrest occurred after officers who were investigating a suspicious car found a man and two women in a nearby apartment along with cocaine and marijuana.
Two American women are also facing drug charges.
Page, who was released after paying $10,000 bail, had been scheduled to appear in a Fayetteville court on Thursday, but the date has now reportedly been pushed back to Aug. 26.
Following the news, the Barenaked Ladies thanked fans for their support via the band’s website, saying that Page has pleaded not guilty and “the validity of the charges against Steven will be strongly contested.”
They added, “While this is happening, it’s business as usual for Barenaked Ladies. We will continue to perform and look forward to heading into the studio later this year to record a new album.
“We want to thank our loyal fans for their continued support during this difficult time.”
Formed in Toronto in 1988, the Juno-winning Barenaked Ladies are known for hit singles like “Brian Wilson” and “One Week,” and recently released a children’s album titled “Snacktime.”
Last Thursday, on the official opening day of the 2006 North by Northeast festival in Toronto, dozens of members of the Canadian music industry gathered for the first NXNE Town Hall.
Panelists at the event included the likes of MuchMusic vice-president David Kines, Edge 102′s Alan Cross, Barenaked Ladies’ Steven Page, and Swollen Members’ Prevail, in addition to more than two dozen reps from labels, broadcasters and funding organizations.
But the upcoming three days of music, conferences and other events would merely be an afterthought in the discussion.
Instead, host Terry McBride (founder and CEO of Nettwerk Productions) had a different agenda for the industry meeting; he wanted to try and form an image of how the Canadian music industry might look four years down the road. There was just one catch: panelists and question-askers had to speak as though it was actually 2010.
“The Olympics are in Vancouver. American Idol is in its 8th season, and Clive Davis is still around,” joked McBride. “I’ll only interrupt to stop people from fighting or talking like it’s 2006.”
The foundation of the afternoon’s discussion was based on McBride’s prediction that, in four years, the music business will have grown to be a $34 billion per year industry ? with $8 billion of that comprised of revenues from mobile digital music.
According to both Kines and Cross, the digital revolution will mean that content on music television and radio will be programmed democratically by the fans.
“[Radio] will be much more responsive to our audiences,” said Cross. “And the Cancon debate has completely gone away because everything is driven by the consumer rather than any regulatory body.”
Kines agreed, suggesting that the future of MuchMusic will look something like a round-the-clock MuchOnDemand Vote-a-Matic.
“I just uploaded eight gigabytes of information to the MuchMusic web site,” he said, playing into McBride’s futuristic setup, “where viewers can go on and pick and choose exactly what they want to see.”
Of course, the music downloading debate was also brought up, but no panelist was too eager to address the controversial topic. McBride himself had to make an educated guess as to the future effect of downloading on the industry.
“Prime Minister Steven Page put a $5 toll on all mobile and cable bills,” he said, playing on an ongoing joke that Page would enter the world of politics with the NDP. “Because there’s been a lot of free content for a lot of time, but ‘free’ takes time and ‘free’ takes money. Our business should grow on all levels: major labels, indie labels, artists, songwriters. And every time we’ve blocked technology, when we finally relent, we grow.”
The talk of technological changes also extended to artists themselves. With the focus on audience control, many panelists predicted that the role of promotions ? traditionally taken on by outlets like radio and television ? would increasingly become the sole responsibility of the artist.
The prediction worried at least one musician in attendance. He asked the congregation of insiders how they think bands could survive if they don’t happen to have the financial flexibility or technological know-how needed to promote themselves in a solely web-based industry.
“Buy a van,” answered Page, likely the most experienced touring musician in the room. “As new and emerging artists get shuffled to the bottom of the deck, artists are still filling venues without the traditional channels of marketing. The best marketing is your band and your music.”
And if NXNE is still around come 2010, bands with a van will still have a worthwhile destination on their map.