When Ed Robertson smokes a perfect piece of meat, he makes sure to take a picture and send it to his longtime friend Tyler Stewart.
“It’s probably what we communicate about more than anything else when we’re not making music together, ” laughs Robertson, wedged into a booth at a Toronto diner, shoulder to shoulder with Stewart.
“How to slow cook meat most effectively, that’s what we focus on, ” adds Stewart, also laughing.
The Barenaked Ladies, known for their jocular attitudes, have refound their footing with their latest album Grinning Streak, their second since a tumultuous split with founding member Steven Page in 2009.
After 25 years, the last four spent overcoming the split, the band is again at peace, comfortable enough to start Grinning Streak with “Limits, ” a funky, almost psychedelic sound none would pin as Barenaked-esque.
“It’s a bit of a statement putting that song on there first, ” says Stewart, the band’s drummer.
“As soon as we played that song back in the studio, Ty said: ‘First song on the record, it’s gotta be the first song on the record, ‘” lead singer Robertson chimes in. “It’s exciting.”
With a mix of new sounds, familiar melodies and deeper lyrics than usual, the guys feel they’ve crafted a record that tells a story of hope, love and dogged determination to push forward.
David Zancai would not sit down and continued doing squats, grunting and grunting until his mother, Lorna, finally persuaded him to leave his apartment and go to the hospital.
Once she had him in the car, safely in the back seat, she felt some relief, some control.
“I just heard a bang and I looked back, and he wasn’t there, ” Lorna said last week, shaking her head on the porch of her Etobicoke home with David by her side, recalling that day in 2008. “He’d jumped out of the moving car.”
Lorna rushed to her son’s aid, forcing him to wait for an ambulance. She then accompanied him to Toronto General Hospital, after which psychiatrists treated him at St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
That day was the beginning of the end for Zancai’s notorious public persona: Zanta, a shirtless Santa hat-wearing character who roamed Toronto doing pushups from 2004 to 2008.