The brothers have been playing music together since they were teenagers, long before they got together with Steve Page and Ed Robertson to form a band. "Growing up in (the Toronto suburb) Scarborough we were happy little guys, with all the teenage angst mixed in, of course," says Andy, 28. "But busy little guys too, we were always involved in sports, and music most of all."
Their mother was a classical piano teacher, and consequently the boys "had Bach two-part inventions in our ears before we ever started playing," says Andy, now a fourth-year student of music composition at McGill University.
The Creeggan's latest CD, Trunks, is kind of a family album, a side project that happend for the simple reason that the two are good musical company. "I'm interested in it being an outlet for me to play with Andy forever," Jim, 29, says melodramatically while his brother makes doubtful, sarcastic noises. "Actually, to be quite serious, that's a reason to do it."
Trunks is the third Brothers Creeggan CD, and like the others -
The Brothers Creegan (1995) and The Brothers Creeggan II (1997) -
is being released independently.
A gentle, unassuming album, Trunks drifts expertly through catchy pop harmonies laid over vaguely jazzy rhythms. With its personal stories of unrequited love and family exploits, like the tiem the pair accidentally locked their elder brother John in a basement fridge, it's much more wistful and soothing than the usual frenetic Ladies fare.
But there are inevitable similarities, though subtle, that likely result from the time they've spent with Page and Robertson. The Barenaked Ladies' songwriting duo has had its influence on the brothers, if only to lead them toward making Trunks a little more song-oriented.
"People who check out the Brothers Creeggan are usually keen Barenaked Ladies fans, and they're usually searching out something else," says Jim. "They want to find all the stuff in the cracks and usually they're pretty happy to find it."
Sometimes, though, ebing connected with the Ladies means you take the name
with you wherever you go.
"I've definately had that experience with people," says Jim. "I can see it in their eyes, they wanted a Barenaked Ladies show and it's just not what they got.
"It's hard not to have expectations. Some clubs are going to be billing us as 'With Jim from the Barenaked Ladies,' That's a lot of the reason we can do a tour because we have that relationship through the band."
Using the Barenaked Ladies' name to sell their own project is a bit of a balancing act: they don't just want to ride the band's coattails. Then again, the publicity that comes from being associated with it won't hurt on their upcoming 45-date tour across Canada and the United States.
"We don't really think of avoiding anything in particular," says Jim.
"We are definately conscious the Ladies are there and that people will make the connection. But we don't necessarily go, 'OK, well, we can't make it too much like the Barenaked Ladies' - we just do it."