The Headstones still standing for something

The Headstones still standing for something

By Kyle Wells

Getting back to basics and doing what they love for all the right reasons has Canadian rockers The Headstones all fired up with renewed energy and focus.

So said frontman Hugh Dillon, speaking after a rehearsal session in Ontario, as the band best known for 1990s hits “Tweeter and the Monkey Man,” “When Something Stands for Nothing” and “Cubically Contained” get set to hit the road and introduce audiences to their new album, Little Army.

It can be easy to dismiss reunions of 1990s bands as nostalgia acts or greatest hits tours, but with the new album out, a track at the top of Canada’s Active Rock Radio charts and a rediscovered thirst for playing live, the Headstones are bucking the trend.

“Whatever it is when bands break up, and with us it was all sorts of drugs and alcohol things, we had to grow up ourselves,” said Dillon. “So when we got back together … we started playing the songs and realized, fuck, this is fun. … And because there is no pressure to sell out dates or make records or anything, we did it because we enjoy hanging out and we enjoy playing rock and roll.” The same spirit is why the band got together in the first place, when they were all just kids in Kingston who enjoyed getting a case of beer on the weekend, hanging out and banging out some songs. Dillon said they were all “hypercritical” of the music of the time, and simply wanted to see if they could do better, in search of “that authentic sound.”

Dillon feels they’ve found it with Little Army, released this past June. He’s enjoyed working on new songs, loves guitarist Trent Carr’s latest riffs, said bassist Tim White wrote a killer track with “Sunlight Kills the Stars,” and feels he himself has become a huge fan of the band all over again.

“With this record here there was no letup on the gas, it was just complete focus, completely intense, and we did it all ourselves,” Dillon said. “And that translates into the live gigs.”

After one show in Calgary, the Nov. 9 stop in Victoria at the Capital Ballroom (formerly Sugar Nightclub) kicks off a string of gigs in Western Canada, plus Ontario and a dip down into Buffalo, New York.

Dillion remembers playing in Victoria in 1993 at Harpo’s in Bastion Square, but said his fondest memories of the city primarily happened off stage, such as nearly falling off a balcony before Edwin of I Mother Earth pulled him back at the last moment. He also remembers renting mini-bikes.

“We were very young and just starting to tour and drunk all the time, and wiping out on the mini-bikes was a big thing,” said Dillon.

“You remember all sorts of things, just craziness.”

With sobriety and, presumably, maturity, the off-stage antics have relaxed, but the on-stage commitment to that Headstones sound and spirit hasn’t.

“First of all, you’ve got to love it,” Dillon said.

“If it’s just your vision, and it works, it’s fucking gratifying. There’s no compromise.” Visit ticketfly.com for tickets.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Most Read