paul myers has tons of insider information about the Barenaked Ladies, and he's not afraid to use it. Barenaked Ladies: Public Stunts, Private Stories painstakingly details the local band's success. It's a testament to their drive and talent -- and to the fact that there may be such a thing as a too-meticulous biography.
Two types of people will get something out of it: rabid Ladies fans hungering for the most comprehensive account of the band they can find, and hardcore junkies of behind-the-scenes accounts of artists and their craft.
Both will pounce on the book's hidden treasures, including info on the high-concept word games the band play while on tour (not to be attempted without a high IQ) and inside jokes stemming from the X-rated monologue of an eccentric security guard, most of which can be found in the Intermission chapter.
But apart from that segment, we get much more background than we need. Every action and decision the band have ever made since their inception is thoroughly documented, as is every action and decision made by the musicians before and outside of the band's history. The whole thing sags under the weight of all this information.
To the book's credit, there's some interest in tracing the steps of a local band who make it big. And there's a whole lotta entertainment crammed into the Intermission chapter.
But after that spirited recess, returning to the history lesson is a chore. Would-be musicians may find all this data useful, but the mind of the average reader will wander -- the universal sign that you should put the book down and find some real entertainment.KIA KOTSANIS
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BARENAKED LADIES: PUBLIC STUNTS, PRIVATE STORIES by Paul Myers (Madrigal), 262 pages, $19.95 paper. Rating: NN