Andy and younger brother Jim Creeggan grew up in Scarborough, Ont, feeding off each other’s energy and creativity with the various instruments in the house. While still teenagers, they rented their first four-track tape recorder, and laid down their first compositions.
In 1992, the brothers joined Barenaked Ladies, just before the band was on top of the world, with Jim taking on the bass and Andy handling keyboards and percussion. With them, BNL became the hottest ticket in the country – synonymous with fun-loving, tight and light pop, scoring huge several times over with tracks like “If I Had A Million Dollars,” “Brian Wilson,” “Jane,” and “Old Apartment.”
But feeling creatively stifled, they released their first solo album, BROTHERS CREEGGAN in 1995 while BNL was taking a break. Capturing the brothers’ eclectic personality, it was produced by Michael Phillip-Wojewoda. The record included the jazz-tinged “Shopping For Shoes” (an adaptation of another song they’d written dubbed “Creeggan Christmas”), “Clown Song” which featured guest vocals by Jon Millard, “Scared Song” ( a spoof monster tale), and “Bienvenue” with a cameo from Moxy Fruvous’ Dave Matheson, and “Shantytown,” which featured their father Andrew Sr. on keyboards.
Andy left BNL for good later that year. Tired of the constraints of traditional pop, he disappeared for the next half year, drawn to different locales in South America, for both a change in scenery as well as musical inspiration. And in between Jim’s commitments to BNL, the brothers carried on where they’d left off, picking up the pieces of songs that didn’t make the cut the first time around. The result was 1997’s BROTHERS CREEGGAN II. A production collaberation with Rick Kilburn, “Live at Montreaux” was their jazz influenced tribute to Oscar Peterson, “Ma Gusta Mis Bombachas” was written while Andy was in Uruguay. Also included was a pair of tracks that started out as lullabyes they’d written for their kids.
While Jim went back to play with ‘the ladies’ again, Andy released his first solo album a year later, ANDIWORKS, the bulk of which was actually more leftovers from the last record from the duo. But the two have always been pretty much inseparable, and they hooked up again in 2000 for TRUNKS, featuring the playful “John’s In The Fridge,” “She Married A Cowboy,” about a woman that runs off to find romance in the rodeo, and “Inch Worm,” originally sung by Danny Kaye in a movie both brothers watched many times, but couldn’t remember the title.
In between sittings with the meal ticket known as BNL, Jim dined with Andy and they continued to write material together, and next up was 2002’s SLEEPY HEAD. More seriously thought out than previous offerings, the record showed a different side of the brothers lyrically. The lead-off “You Will Be Adored” told the sarcastic story of saying goodbye when the one you’ve lost isn’t around to hear it. “Anna on the Moon” and “Sometimes” both touched on the definition of ‘home’ and how it changes as you grow older, while the simple laziness of “Coastline” was a perfect summer tune.
While Jim returned to BNL for the rest of the decade, the brothers continued to get together now and again for the odd show or live collaberation with someone. Andy also released two more solo albums, ANDIWORK II in 2004, and ANDIWORK III in 2010. Aside from Brothers Creeggan and their time in BNL (both together and Jim solo), Andy and Jim have both worked with a venerable who’s who in the business, including Luba, Sarah McLachlan, and have also worked on the projects for “Royal Canadian Air Farce” and “King of the Hill,” and with the All Scarborough Wind Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.