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

HEADSTONES ADD DATES IN SASKATOON + PETERBOROUGH TO
THE PICTURE OF HEALTH TOUR

PICTURE OF HEALTH REISSUE AVAILABLE
OCTOBER 26 VIA CADENCE RECORDINGS

 

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of their critically-acclaimed debut Picture of HealthHeadstones  reissued the album on October 26 via Cadence Recordings. After announcing The Picture of Health Tour, they’re thrilled to announce they will be adding a stop in Saskatoon. They will be bringing along special guests The Matchstick Skeletons to open each show. Fans can purchase VIP Fan Experience Upgrade Packages here, and see a full list of tour dates below! 

Picture of Health was Headstones breakthrough debut album that went Certified Platinum in Canada. Originally released on June 1, 1993, the re-issue package will include remastered versions of the 13 original tracks plus four bonus tracks – demos of “Sweet Pea” “, “When Something Stands For Nothing,” “Cemetery” and the newly re-recorded “Skin Me Alive,” all originally featured on their Demo Gods cassette, which ignited their career. Leading up to the release on October 26th, follow the band on their social channels to see some rare footage and photos from the Picture of Health era, including this video of the band performing “Judy” on MuchMusic in 1993. The album will be available for pre-order on all digital retailers and through the band’s website, as of September 21st.

Picture Of Health follows the Headstones release of their critically-acclaimed album Little Army (2017 Cadence Recordings). The album was their highest debuting full-length in over a decade, hitting #3 on the Alternative Album Chart and #13 on the Current Album Chart. The lead single “Devil’s on Fire”  was the #6 most played track at Active Rock radio in 2017, spending 20 weeks on the chart and reaching #1 for three weeks. On the album, Noisey raves, “Little Army still retains that piss and vinegar Headstones built their reputation on, but it also sounds as if they’re doing it more out of love than anything.”

 

The Picture of Health Tour

Tickets and VIP Upgrades for SASKATOON
presale Wednesday, Oct 31 at 10am. Password: POH18
public onsale Friday, Nov 2 at 10am. Password: POHVIP18

ALL other shows are NOW AVAILABLE
headstonesband.com/concerts/
http://www.fanexperience.ca/headstones

Nov 01 – Hamilton, ON – FirstOntario Concert Hall
Nov 02 – Thorold, ON – Moose & Goose
Nov 03 – Oshawa, ON – Oshawa Music Hall
Nov 08 – Winnipeg, MB – Club Regent
Nov 09 – Winnipeg, MB – Club Regent
Nov 10 – Brandon, MB – Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium
Nov 12 – Medicine Hat, AB – Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre
Nov 13 – Regina, SK – Casino Regina
Nov 15 – Grand Prairie, AB – Better Than Fred’s
Nov 16 – Calgary, AB – Grey Eagle Casino
Nov 17 – Edmonton, AB – The Starlite
Nov 19 – Edmonton, AB – The Starlite
Nov 20 – Kamloops, BC – CJ’s Nightclub
Nov 21 – Victoria, BC – Capital Ballroom
Nov 22 – Nanaimo, BC – Port Theatre
Nov 24 – Vancouver, BC – The Commodore
Nov 26 – Kelowna, BC – Kelowna Community Theatre
Dec 27 – Saskatoon, SK – Coors Event Centre
Nov 28 – North Battleford, SK – Gold Eagle Casino
Dec 04 – Waterloo, ON – Maxwell’s Concerts & Events
Dec 06 – London, ON – London Music Hall
Dec 08 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
Dec 14 – Ottawa, ON – Bronson Centre
Dec 15 – Peterborough, ON – The Venue
Dec 22 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall

www.headstonesband.com/concerts

PICTURE OF HEALTH – REMASTERED is AVAILABLE NOW, for purchase and streaming
https://headstonespoh.lnk.to/nN1vF

Tracklisting:

  1. It’s All Over (Remastered)
  2. Heart Of Darkness (Remastered)
  3. When Something Stands For Nothing (Remastered)
  4. Tweeter And The Monkey Man (Remastered)
  5. Absolutely (Remastered)
  6. Three Angels (Remastered)
  7. Oh My God! (Remastered)
  8. Losing Control (Remastered)
  9. Cut (Remastered)
  10. Judy (Remastered)
  11. Won’t Wait Again (Remastered)
  12. Where Does It Go? (Remastered)
  13. Cemetery (Remastered)
  14. Skin Me Alive (Re-recorded Demo)
  15. When Something Stands For Nothing (Original Demo)
  16. Sweet Pea (Original Demo)
  17. Cemetery (Original Demo)

HEADSTONES REISSUE PICTURE OF HEALTH TO CELEBRATE
25th ANNIVERSARY 

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 26th

ANNOUNCING THE PICTURE OF HEALTH TOUR THIS FALL

 

 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Headstones’ critically-acclaimed debut album Picture of Health and to celebrate, they will be re-issuing the album on October 26 via Cadence Recordings

Headstones will also be heading on the road this fall for the official Picture of Health Tour, playing this seminal album from front to back live, as well as your favourite hits! They will be bringing along The Matchstick Skeletons to open each show. Fans will also have access to the VIP Fan Experience Upgrade Package at each show – learn more here. See below for full list of tour dates. 

Picture of Health was Headstones breakthrough debut album that went Certified Platinum in Canada. Originally released on June 1, 1993, the re-issue package will include remastered versions of the 13 original tracks plus four bonus tracks – demos of “Sweet Pea”,”When Something Stands For Nothing,” “Cemetery” and the newly re-recorded “Skin Me Alive,” all originally featured on their Demo Gods cassette, which ignited their career. Leading up to the release on October 26th, follow the band on their social channels to see some rare footage and photos from the Picture of Health era, including this video of the band performing “Judy” on MuchMusic in 1993. The album will be available for pre-order on all digital retailers and through the band’s website, as of September 21st. 

Picture of Health follows the Headstones release of their critically-acclaimed album Little Army (2017 Cadence Recordings). The album was their highest debuting full-length in over a decade, hitting #3 on the Alternative Album Chart and #13 on the Current Album Chart. The lead single “Devil’s on Fire”  was the #6 most played track at Active Rock radio in 2017, spending 20 weeks on the chart and reaching #1 for three weeks. On the album, Noisey raves, “Little Army still retains that piss and vinegar Headstones built their reputation on, but it also sounds as if they’re doing it more out of love than anything.”  

 

The Picture of Health Tour

Tickets & VIP Upgrades for ALL shows are NOW AVAILABLE

headstonesband.com/concerts
www.fanexperience.ca/headstones

Nov 01 – Hamilton, ON – FirstOntario Concert Hall
Nov 02 – Thorold, ON – Moose & Goose
Nov 03 – Oshawa, ON – Oshawa Music Hall
Nov 08 – Winnipeg, MB – Club Regent Casino
Nov 09 – Winnipeg, MB – Club Regent Casino
Nov 10 – Brandon, MB – Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium
Nov 12 – Medicine Hat, AB – Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre
Nov 13 – Regina, SK – Casino Regina
Nov 15 – Grand Prairie, AB – Better Than Fred’s
Nov 21 – Victoria, BC – Capital Ballroom
Nov 22 – Nanaimo, BC – Port Theatre
Nov 24 – Vancouver, BC – The Commodore
Nov 25 – Vancouver, BC – The Commodore
Nov 28 – North Battleford, SK – Gold Eagle Casino
Dec 04 – Waterloo, ON – Maxwell’s Concerts & Events
Dec 06 – London, ON – London Music Hall
Dec 08 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
Dec 14 – Ottawa, ON – Bronson Centre
Dec 22 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall

www.headstonesband.com/concerts

NEW SHOWS ANNOUNCED!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Edmonton, AB @ Century Casino
This is an 18+ show
Tickets onsale NOW
https://www1.ticketmaster.ca/event/110054C698422FF2

 

Thursday, August 16, 2018
Edmonton, AB @ Century Casino
This is an 18+ show
Tickets onsale NOW
https://www1.ticketmaster.ca/event/110054C773901F57

NEW SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT!

Saturday, August 11, 2018
Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON @ Legacy 420 Indigenous Cannabis Musicfest
This is a 19+ show
Tickets onsale NOW
https://www.ticketweb.ca/event/indigenous-awakening-music-festival-tyendinaga-mohawk-territory-tickets/8443405

NEW SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT!

Thursday, August 9, 2018
Buffalo, NY @ Canalside
FREE ADMISSION with purchase of a $5 food voucher
This is an All Ages show

NEW SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT!

Saturday, August 18, 2018
Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings Theatre
This show is Licensed All Ages
Tickets available HERE on May 4, 10:00am local time

NEW SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT!

Friday, April 6, 2018
Orillia, ON @ Casino Rama
This show is 19+
Tickets available HERE on February 17, 12:00pm EST

 

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