TORONTO (AP) -- Singer-guitarist Steven Page said a big reason he decided to leave the Barenaked Ladies was he felt his songwriting voice was occasionally being squeezed out as a result of being in a five-member band.
A day after he announced on the band's Web site that he was leaving the group, Page said the Barenaked Ladies has so many songwriting voices that he's looking forward to a future as a solo artist.
"Frankly, the band itself was a five-way democracy and one of the great things about it is that it's been about the five-way collaboration, but it's also one of the things that's made me decide to be a solo artist," he said Thursday.
The Barenaked Ladies were formed in Toronto nearly 20 years ago. Their hits include "If I Had $1,000,000," "Brian Wilson" and "Too Little, Too Late."
Ed Robertson, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Tyler Stewart plan to continue, and have no immediate plans to replace Page. They will return to the studio in April and tour in the fall.
Drug charges against Page, 38, were dropped in the U.S. several months ago. His arrest in upstate New York came after the band, known for its clean-cut image and whimsical lyrics, released an album of children's songs titled, "Snacktime."
Page, his girlfriend and her roommate were charged with drug possession in July. In late October, all three secured a deal to have charges dropped if they stayed out of trouble for six months.
Page said that a tumultuous 2008 played a role in the split only in that it made him and the rest of the band re-evaluate their goals.
"Even after all the stuff last year, everybody was very supportive of each other, which was great," he said. "But what last year forced everybody to do was take a good hard look at what it was they wanted from their future."
Page is excited about the future, but he said leaving the band is bittersweet.
"I will miss being a Barenaked Lady like crazy, but there are lots of other things I'm really looking forward to," he said. "No one's going anywhere. I'm going to continue to make music and those guys are going to continue to make music as well. I think it will be good for everybody."
Page said he is scoring his third play for Ontario's Stratford Festival, has finished an album with Toronto's the Art of Time Ensemble, and will begin work soon on a record.
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