https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2019/10/18/new-headstones-album-is-another-mile-on-hugh-dillons-wild-ride.html

When faced with discrepancies between truth and legend, the guardians of rock-’n’-roll history tend to follow the advice of the late Tony Wilson and “print the legend.”

One has to ask a chap with a past as legendarily chequered as Hugh Dillon, then, if the messy personal circumstances that saw the Headstones finally blow apart at the seams in 2003 were really as a bad as popular lore makes them out to be.

“Yeah, it was bad,” affirms the good-humoured Dillon, long sober but still intense at 56. “It just fell apart. With the state of music at the time and the Spice Girls and the horsesh–, nobody gave a f—, y’know? And out of Nirvana and all the greatness that was the early ’90s, by the end of it we were f—ed, just drug addicts and alcoholics, and there was no coming back from it.

“Luckily we all have great families and we’ve got great people around us. My wife was a huge part of it, a huge part of it, and to this day I have the finest rock ‘n’ roll manager in the world, Bernie Breen, who managed the Tragically Hip and still manages the band and my acting career. Anybody else would have kept us on the road — anybody, because that’s their bread and butter — but Bernie just said, ‘Y’know, nobody wants to see you die.’ And the good news was our bass player, Tim White, was also saying ‘We can’t continue.’ It was one of those moments. That was my whole life, but to walk away from it really enabled me to save my life and to figure out how to clean up.”

Stepping away from rock ‘n’ roll was no small feat for Dillon, as that was all he’d ever really wanted to do, and by any means necessary. He would not be dissuaded. In his late teens, his mom packed him off from his hometown of Kingston — where he was primarily known for dealing drugs but one of his early dabblings in rock “professionalism” was doing lights for Gord Downie’s first band, the Slinks — overseas to London hoping that he’d clean up his act. Instead he spent the next five years living in squats, busking for booze money in the Tube and in Leicester Square and generally learning how to become an even more authentic gutter punk at the source.

Ultimately, the thing that would finally knock Dillon off course after actually fronting a notably ass-whuppin’ rock band for 15 years — one whose snarling breed of punk-derived heaviness sufficiently caught the grunge-era zeitgeist to give it unlikely mainstream prominence in Canada with early albums like 1993’s “Picture of Health,” 1995’s “Teeth and Tissue” and 1997’s “Smile and Wave” — was heroin. His umpteenth relapse into addiction came after the release of 2002’s “The Oracle of Hi-Fi,” and this time it was evident to all around him that a life-or-death situation was developing.

Dillon chose life, luckily, and soon found himself enjoying a second life as a film and TV actor. He’d established that he could do the gig after essentially playing his old, nihilistic self as Joe Dick in Bruce McDonald’s terrific adaptation of “Hard Core Logo” in 1996, but by 2007 he was suddenly a familiar face on national TV playing cops, of all things, on series such as The Movie Network’s “Durham County” and CTV’s “Flashpoint.” He’s currently playing a sheriff again on pal Taylor Sheridan’s hit U.S. Kevin Costner series “Yellowstone,” which he concedes is indeed rather amusing “if you know the back story.”

It’s been a pretty spectacular, and unforeseen, turnaround. And now that the reformed Headstones are firing up again toward the Oct. 25 release of their best album in a couple of decades, the no-fuss, old-school-punk barnburner “PEOPLESKILLS,” Dillon is more than a little gobsmacked that he’s been able to return to his first true love, music, and still find not just willing co-conspirators in his much-abused longtime bandmates White and Trent Carr and producer/co-writer Chris Osti but an actual audience for what the Headstones do.

No label would touch the prospect of a new Headstones album after the band — these days a six-piece that also includes Steve Carr, Rickferd Van Dyk and Jesse Labovitz — reunited to play a benefit gig for a dying friend’s young son in 2011, realized they were past the “bullsh–” and decided to record again. Yet they were able to crowdfund what would become 2013’s “Love + Fury” within 24 hours. “Devil’s On Fire” from the Headstones’ next reunion album, 2017’s “Little Army,” subsequently became the band’s first-ever No. 1 hit on the rock-radio charts.

“Well, I got kinda lucky in that I didn’t plan it. I thought we were done and over and I think that’s why this is just, like, stunning. On every level. On every level,” says Dillon, admitting that even during the drive to new label Cadence Music’s office in rapidly gentrifying Corktown for this interview he was struck by what a wild ride he’s had. “I drive by places where I go, ‘F—, I had a bad experience there’ or ‘But I had a great experience there.’ It’s black-and-white kind of feelings sometimes. It was so low and it was so high.

“This was today: I remember scoring drugs on the bad strip over there and I had a terrible job because I’d just moved back from England and I was driving a fork truck and I remember the foreman was just such a f—in’ dick and I hated the job so much that I put the forks up and drove them straight into the f—in’ load and walked away, not knowing that I was gonna have another job. I wanted to play music and I couldn’t handle it and I was paid f— all. And then as I was turning the corner to come here, I was, like, ‘Oh, hey, ‘Flashpoint’ shot on the roof of that building once.’ ”

The Headstones will stage ‘PEOPLESKILLS’ grand Toronto unveiling at the Phoenix on Dec. 7, to be followed by another cross-Canada trek as soon as Dillon’s busy acting schedule permits. He’s got a couple more projects in the works with Sheridan, he confides, while his moviemaking buddy also just sent word that “Motorcade,” a Dylan-esque new number from ‘PEOPLESKILLS,’ will feature in his next film “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” starring Angelina Jolie.

Being back onstage is where it’s at, though.

“When I left, you could still smoke onstage. And we did. So to come back to there’s no smoking and everybody’s got phones was a little bit of an adjustment,” he laughs. “I was on the fence with all of it until I embraced it. It’s magical.

“It’s magical. And then to be able to do things that I didn’t know (about) back then that I can do now. I’ve learned so much about filmmaking so we make these great little videos and make cinematic little pieces that go with the music. I control the artwork. I love the whole process. And now it’s all in, and I love the ability to work with guys I know and trust and who I’ve known forever because that chemistry — you can’t find it, you can’t make it, it is there. Tim and Trent have been friends since they were 10 and we’ve been friends for f—in’ ever and it’s amazing.

“And on the road is fun. We laugh our asses off. We have the weird luxury of being this weird, little Canadian band because that prevents us from getting burned out or overplaying. That doesn’t happen to us. So when we want to play from coast to coast in this country, when we go and it’s been building, we go hard and it’s exciting. We don’t go ‘Oh, f—, we’re here again?’

“Every show becomes an assault. Well, maybe that’s not the right word, but we don’t phone it in. Now we make sure we stay in places we like to stay in and go to restaurants we like going to and when it’s time to play, it goes off and we have the ability to get where we want to go faster and have it be stronger and meaner, in a sense.

 “We’re honest and committed. It’s the old thing: we love it. So if we happen to get lucky or anybody else responds, that’s great.”
 

Saturday, December 7, 2019
Toronto, ON @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre
94.9 The Rock Craig Venn & Lucky’s UnSilent Night
with Special Guest Finger Eleven

SOLD OUT!
This is a 19+ event

 

HEADSTONES ANNOUNCE PEOPLESKILLS OUT OCTOBER 25
 
PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW

(Toronto, ON – September 25, 2019)  –
  The HEADSTONES are one of the hardest working bands in the country. Following up their successful 2017 release Little Army, which produced the number 1 hit “Devil’s On Fire” and a sold-out national tour, the band have returned with their brand new studio album PEOPLESKILLS due October 25 via Cadence Recordings/Known Accomplice. Pre-order/Presave HERE
 
In the band’s own words, “PEOPLESKILLS is an obsessive dissection of lyric and melody. It’s an intensely honest record that showcases our evolution as songwriters, musicians and friends.”
 
The first single “Leave It All Behind,”quickly climbed the radio charts hitting #10 and still going up.The visuals perfectly bring the song to life. Directed by Gord Hawkins, the video was shot at the Kingston Penitentiary, the decommissioned former maximum security prison, serves as the ideal location to capture the claustrophobic quality of being trapped – both metaphorically and physically – and the instinctive drive to persevere.
 
 

The Headstones have a recording career that spans three decades eight albums and multiple chart topping singles; however Little Army is the band’s highest debuting full-length in over a decade, hitting #3 on the Alternative Album Charts and #13 on The Current Album Charts. Lead single “Devil’s on Fire”  lived in the Top 5 on the Canadian Active Rock Radio Charts for 20 weeks, and sat at #1 for three weeks. PEOPLESKILLS stays true to the Headstones DIY and punk rock attitude, and is set to be the band’s biggest record yet. The Headstones are Hugh Dillon, Tim White, Trent Carr, Steve Carr, Rickferd Van Dyk and Jesse Labovitz. 

  
PEOPLESKILLS Tracklisting
1. Leave It All Behind
2. Dimes and Pennies
3. Damned
4. Horses
5. Motorcade
6. Caught In A Loop
7. Best You Can Do 
8. Dark Side Of The Doomed
9. Part Of Me
10. By Sunday
11. That’s What I Get 
 
To celebrate the release of their brand new album, the Headstones invite fans to pre-order and pre-save PEOPLESKILLS now.  Fans who order the CD through the band’s website will get a signed copy of the album and a set of collectible buttons, and fans who pre-save the album to their Digital Service Provider of choice are automatically entered to win a prize pack of band merch.  
 
 
PRE-ORDER/PRE-SAVE PEOPLESKILLS NOW
 

 

LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND by Headstones 2019. Licensed to Cadence Music Group

Video by Gordon Hawkins http://gordonhawkins.com/
Additional camera work by Tracy Cox
Song Produced by Chris Osti & Hugh Dillon

Drone production by SkEye Stream Inc https://skeyestream.ca/
Jeff Reitzel – Drone Pilot
Darren Keuhl – Drone Pilot
Sandy Berg – Mission Manager
Saif Elmaghraby – Mission Assistant

THANK YOU to The City of Kingston, Tourism Kingston and the Kingston Film Office https://www.visitkingston.ca/

 

Home

Introducing the HEADSTONES new single – LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND – from our upcoming album.

‘Leave It All Behind’ AVAILABLE NOW on all streaming and digital services https://headstones.lnk.to/LIAB

 

SUMMER 2019 CONCERTS…

Saturday, June 8, 2019
Burlington, ON @ Sound Of Music Festival
This is an ALL AGES event
Tickets onsale NOW
https://soundofmusic.ca/

 

Saturday, June 22, 2019
Mount Brydges, ON @ Rockin Wheel 
This is a 19+ event
Tickets onsale NOW
https://www.ticketscene.ca/events/23419/

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Calgary, AB @ RoundUp Music Fest
This is an ALL AGES event
Tickets onsale NOW
https://roundupmusicfest.com/

 

Saturday, July 13, 2019
Buffalo, NY @ Artpark
This is an ALL AGES event
Tickets onsale NOW
https://www.artpark.net/

 

Saturday, July 27, 2019
Edmonton, AB @ CHAOS AB
This is an ALL AGES event
Tickets onsale NOW
https://www.chaosalberta.com/

 

Saturday, September 14, 2019
Kingston, ON @ Rockin’ The Big House
THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT
https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/rockin-the-big-house/

Concerts

 

visitkingston.ca presents ROCKIN’ THE BIG HOUSE, in support of United Way of KFL&A, the first-ever public concert to be held on the grounds of the oldest penitentiary in Canada, Kingston Penitentiary.

Saturday September 14
4:30pm doors open; rain or shine
19+ event
Includes live music, specialty food trucks & restaurants, local wineries & breweries

 

Tickets onsale to the public May 11th
Tickets and hotel packages available through www.rockinthebighouse.ca and www.visitkingston.ca

Featuring Headstones, The Trews, The Pursuit of Happiness and Kasador with VERY SPECIAL GUESTS Tom Cochrane and The Tragically Hip members, Paul Langlois, Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker.

 

 

HEADSTONES SHARE COVER
OF GORDON LIGHTFOOT’S CLASSIC TRACK
“THE WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD”

 

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW!

BUY AND STREAM THE TRACK HERE

 

Following on the heels of their successful album Little Army, Headstones have once again been busy recording new music in Kingston, with plans to release a new record later this year.  After working at The Bathouse Studio, the band was inspired to release their version of the Gordon Lightfoot classic “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.” Always a song on their radar, circumstances finally clicked into place to give them the right opportunity to share their take with their fans.

This impactful interpretation of the iconic track chronicling the sinking of the bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975 was a #1 hit for Lightfoot and remains one of his best-loved songs. While showing respect for the past, Headstones have put their unique spin on the song to introduce it to a whole new rock audience.  The accompanying video was shot on location in Kingston, Ontario. 

About the track the band says, “We’ve always loved this song. It’s profoundly meaningful. We started to play it during our tour VIP soundchecks, and our fans really responded to it…. The feedback was exceptional.”
 

After wrapping a successful 2018 celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut album Picture Of Health with a Canadian tour and a remastered edition of the album, Headstones have begun to rollout dates for the summer. Recently announcing a performance at the 2019 Kick Off Concert for The Sound Of Music Festival in Burlington, Ontario on June 8thalongside Monster Truck, Bush and LIVE, as well as dates at the RockinWheel for Spinal Cord Research in Mount Brydges, Ontario on June 22nd and the Roxodus Music Festival in Clearview, Ontario happening July 11 – 13th 

For more information or tickets please visit: www.headstonestheband.com and watch our socials for more announcements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
CBC Radio host Paul Haavardsrud talks to Hugh Dillon about his early days in Kingston, the Headstones, and the 25th anniversary of his band’s debut album, Picture of Health.

Live fast, die young, and leave a good lookin’ corpse. That was the early expectation for actor and Headstones’ front man Hugh Dillon. But a funny thing happened on the way to becoming James Dean. Hugh Dillon chose life instead.

 

POSTMEDIA NEWS. BY ERIC VOLMERS

 

Hugh Dillon can speak eloquently about his band’s debut album, Picture of Health.

After all, he’s had 25 years to think about it. The album itself has aged incredibly well, introducing Kingston, Ont., expats The Headstones’ as a fully formed, raucous rock ‘n’ roll band powered by old-school punk and prone to exploring dark subject matter with both a brutal honesty and gallows humour. It provided sturdy musical and aesthetic DNA for the band, helping it survive, off and on, for more than a quarter century in the Canadian music scene.

So Dillon can certainly wax poetic about the album, the band and those early days. But the word that seems to spring up the most in conversation with him about Picture of Health is “lucky.”

“That record kept us out of jail,” says the vocalist. “It was a crossroads of just bad decisions and bad lifestyles. We were so lucky to focus all our energies and our life on the band … We were so lucky to have survived it in one piece. We were so lucky to survive the drug addiction and the things that come along with playing in the band in the 1990s. And we were lucky just to have had those audiences.”

Dillon, alongside the band’s co-founders guitarist Trent Carr and bassist Tim White, may be leading the Headstones on a cross-country tour to celebrate the reissue of a 25-year-old album, but it could be argued that the band is also in the midst of enjoying its second act.

Or maybe it’s their third act.

After releasing five studio records and becoming one of the country’s most reliably exciting live acts, the Headstones did call it quits in 2003, a breakup that was at least partially due to Dillon’s relapse into heroin addiction. The charismatic frontman would go on to have a successful acting career after his breakout role in Bruce McDonald’s 1996 Hard Core Logo — he recently showed up in David Lynch’s surreal 2017 Twin Peaks reboot, for instance — and released a 2005 solo record under the name the Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir. The Headstones reunited in 2011 for a successful tour and began recording again a few years later with 2013’s Juno-nominated release Love + Fury.  In 2017, the band released Little Army, which included the No. 1 single Devil’s On Fire.

So while the most recent tour, which hits Calgary’s Grey Eagle Casino on Nov. 16 may find the now six-piece band playing its debut album from beginning to end, it’s hard to see The Headstones as a nostalgia act.

Dillon says the band is recording new material. As a songwriter, Dillon’s life may be very different from that of the angry young man who wrote about mental health issues and addiction on songs such as Heart of Darkness and It’s All Over, but he says the writing process hasn’t changed all that much in 25 years.

“It’s almost unconscious, you have to go in and find what drives you or what makes you angry,” he says. “Most people walk around saying ‘No, I’m fine. Everything is great’ and underneath it isn’t that. That’s what’s great about this band. It’s therapeutic. Even on Little Army, those songs aren’t ‘Hey baby, baby … ‘ They are talking about everything, from existential angst to you-name-it. It is a place for us to go that allows you to use your poetic license and express yourself. Because there are so many places you can’t express yourself.”

“Sometimes it’s a good exercise to quote that raw rage, or whatever it is, into an articulate piece of art that enables you to continue with your life as opposed to exploding on the street,” he adds with a laugh.

One song on Little Army that directly addresses Dillon’s past is Kingston, an ode to his hometown that was inspired by an old postcard his friends The Tragically Hip sent him when they were touring the world in the 1990s. Dillon grew up with them and was inspired to put his own band together by the Hip’s success. He credits the Tragically Hip, particularly the late Gord Downie and guitarist Paul Langlois, as being instrumental in helping build the buzz that landed the Headstones its major record deal for Picture of Health.

As with the rest of the country, Dillon is still processing Downie’s 2017 death from brain cancer.

“I shot the lyrics (of Kingston) by him before he passed away,” Dillon says. “It’s all just a matter of coping, you have to find ways to cope. For me, it’s songwriting. It’s not just coping, it’s appreciating the time. For a guy like that, he did so much for so many people, including me, on such a personal level.”

Downie was not the only loss, of course. Dillon says there are a number of people from the Headstones’ early days who have died, including the band’s original drummer and co-founder Mark Gibson.

So while the Headstones may not be a nostalgia act, Dillon admits that revisiting the songs from Picture of Health certainly reminds him of the band’s all-for-one attitude in the early days, long before the major labels came calling.

“We set up our own shows because we believed in it,” he says. “We postered the streets ourselves. This became our life, and our social life. Every weekend we dumped our money into a rehearsal space and buying a few cases of beer and some weed. And we stayed in that place and wrote songs. At the end of the weekend, to get us through our sh-t jobs, we now had this obsession.”

 

 

https://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/music/the-headstones-stay-relevant-and-healthy-25-years-after-debut-record/wcm/f2890686-75fa-41cc-a291-d41998b9abf6

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