Volume 93, Issue 60
Tuesday, January 18, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Creeggans spread brotherly love
Gazette file photo
By Aaron Wherry
For many great musicians, musical education begins early.
Identified as child prodigies, they are immediately immersed in the finest schools with the best teachers. In other cases, musicians develop slowly as 12 year olds struggling through Bach, with their fathers belting out their own renditions of "Chariots of Fire" on the piano. The Creeggan Brothers would be one of the latter cases.
"I never used to think that our family was musical. I would watch the Waltons and they would be out on the patio, playing together and that's what I thought was a musical family," explains Jim Creeggan, half of the brother act.
"But my mom taught piano lessons to all the kids in the neighbourhood, so I have memories of classical music like Bach, but played very humanly by kids. My dad played by ear. Well not completely by ear, really just the black notes. But he had his repertoire everything from 'Shantytown' to 'Chariots of Fire.'"
Creeggan then launches into his own improvised rendition of "Chariots" before detailing his treacherous climb to rock super stardom. Before he would find himself as one fifth of the Barenaked Ladies, Creeggan had a brush with another pop band.
"We were in a high school rock band, called the Backstreet Basement Boogie Blues Band," Creeggan says. "I got the first realization that no one was going to be able to remember that name when no announcer could ever get it right."
Of course, if a few announcers had been more verbally inclined, it's quite conceivable the Creeggan brothers could have launched the first Backstreet Boys. Instead, Jim and Andy opted for a more barenaked ride to the top.
"In a lot of ways, I was along for the ride. I didn't know I was going to get into a really successful pop band. Steve [Page] and Ed [Robertson] both wanted that and I'm grateful for it. It's really pushed my musical career.
"We owe a lot of our fan interest to the Barenaked Ladies. But we've started little mini-scenes all over the place," Creeggan relates. "We've played every Sunday in September and October at Say What in Toronto. We've played three or four times in Montréal, so we're actually starting to get people out who are there to see The Brothers Creeggan and aren't necessarily a fan of the Barenaked Ladies."
This BNL influence has also carried over into the Creeggan's latest album, Trunks a mellow, poppy, jazzy mix that reminds many of the long removed Gordon days of the Ladies.
"This album, Trunks, is closer to a certain element of Gordon. More in the essence of 'You Can Blame It On Me' and 'The Flag' more on the intimate side," Creeggan explains.
But the Creegans are definitely forging their own path. Their rise into the spotlight has come slowly and now the ever-evolving Brothers Creeggan are finding their own voice.
"It's a big change Andy and I are learning a lot. Andy jumps out of writing his end of year composition [at McGill University], to being on the Mike Bullard show the next day. It's totally disorienting for him and I suddenly being the focus. But it's getting easier to talk because I feel more involved with this, so I know what to say."
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