Behind the Band Name: Barenaked Ladies

Throughout their career, the alt-rock outfit Barenaked Ladies has blazed a trail for geek-rockers everywhere. Infusing their distinct sound with dry comedy and a delightful quirkiness, they’ve made a name for themselves with buoyant songs full of sharp wits and lasting wisdom.

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Their moniker is the cherry on top of their off-kilter style. The name Barenaked Ladies captivates the masses with a little shock and little awe, but that was never the group’s intention.

Behind the Name

The Canadian chart-toppers – today, made up of frontman Ed Robertson, bassist Jim Creeggan, drummer Tyler Stewart, and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn – originally began as a duo between Robertson and friend Steven Page.

The two shared similar music tastes and became fast companions while in high school. They would often throw around nonsense band names to amuse each other. One of those names was Barenaked Ladies.

According to the 2002 documentary, The Barenaked Truth: The Life and Times of Barenaked Ladies, the band’s name was solidified in a moment of panic.

Robertson was to perform with his cover band for a charity battle of the bands, but the group reportedly broke up at the last minute. When Robertson received a call to confirm their place in the showcase, he improvised, saying the band had changed its name. They were now called Barenaked Ladies.

Robertson then enlisted Page to help him out during the battle of the bands. While his friend couldn’t believe he gave the organizers that band name, it was a moniker that stuck.

The name has since become a calling card of sorts. “You remember it,” the band explained in the below interview. “I think people mistakenly assume that the name, Barenaked Ladies, was meant to be like ‘Free Beer’ or ‘Five Cent Wing Night,’ like we were trying to fool people into what the band was and that was the furthest thing from our mind. … To us, it was just something funny.”

Watch the quartet discuss their band name below.

The Band Today

Barenaked Ladies are still going strong today and have a tour slated for the summer. They are bringing back their Last Summer on Earth Tour for the seventh time around, a tour that was inaugurated in 2012 when they thought the end was near.

This year’s 34-date North American trek will kick off on June 2 for a near-two month-long journey that will come to a close on July 22. The group will see support from Semisonic, Five for Fighting, and Del Amitri along the way.

Photo by Matt Barnes / Courtesy of KP Publicity Group

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