Canadian punk-rock band Headstones, formed in Kingston, Ontario in 1987, began their early music career performing to anyone who would listen. At the time, artists such as Neil Young and Leonard Cohen were gracing the charts on Canadian radio while American musician Stevie Ray Vaughn was reviving the blues south of the border. Headstones decided to take a much different approach.
Carrying a similar attitude to Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins, Hugh Dillon led members Trent Carr and Tim White into becoming a band synonymous with the real Canadian road-worn punk, touring their anti-social behaviour across the country to rough and restless fans.
With nearly six years of touring, songwriting and growing infamy, they were signed to MCA Records (now Universal Music Group) in 1993. They quickly released Picture of Health through their new label, earning them platinum status on the Canadian charts. Their second release, Teeth and Tissue, reached gold in 1995.
Within a couple of years, the band had solidified itself as a commercial force in the music industry, dominating the charts and airwaves with hits off 1996’s gold-selling album Smile and Wave. Their achievements soon culminated, when the band received Juno Award nominations for Best Group and Best Rock Album that same year. Following this peak in their success, Headstones put out two other records, Nickels For Your Nightmares in 2000 and The Oracle of Hi-Fi in 2002. The band officially broke up one year later in 2003, still ranked as one of the most commercially successful Canadian rock bands.
In 2010, Hugh Dillon received an unexpected phone call from a longtime friend and collaborator who had co-wrote “Cemetery”, one of the Headstones’ most popular songs. He was terminally ill, and would be leaving his young family in dire straits. Almost immediately, Dillon rushed to get the Headstones back together to play a benefit concert, which resulted in a handful of sold-out shows in Ontario. This experience allowed the Headstones to re-capture the spirit of camaraderie that originally drew them together.
In 2011, the Headstones officially reunited for fans at Toronto’s Sound Academy. Storming the stage, the Headstones seamlessly picked up from where they left off ten years ago. Off stage, they began collaborating and writing new music. They entered the studio and recorded the track, “binthiswayforyears,” releasing it for free via their website.
October 2012, they began crowd-funding through PledgeMusic in the way of grass-roots self-promotion, as a way to directly engage their fans. Within a day, they had reached 100% of their goal; as of the album release, they had reached 295%. With this overwhelming response from fans, they too committed themselves to creating an authentic record true to their punk-rock roots.
The band wrote a collection of hard-hitting new songs during their time in the studio, including #1 hit single ‘longwaytoneverland.’ The Headstones released Love + Fury worldwide, earning them a top 10 album for the first time in their career, and a 2014 JUNO Awards nomination for Best Rock Album of the year.
After a successful run of Ontario shows at the end of 2013, it was time for the band to get back into the studio. In March 2014, they launched their second PledgeMusic campaign, reaching 100% in only 12 hours, and 301% at the end of the project. This time, the Headstones would be looking back at their history, and reimagining some of their biggest hits, with the release of One In The Chamber Music. Their first vinyl release, featuring two brand new tracks, was released late 2015.
Currently joining Dillon, Carr and White onstage and in the studio, are Steve Carr, Rick van Dyk and Lyle Molzan. Early 2017 has seen the band return to the studio, to begin recording their new full-length album. To be released on Cadence Music, Little Army is a testament to the band’s connection with their followers, as they live stream the recording process and walk their fans through the making of the album.
During his self-imposed hiatus, Hugh Dillon devoted his time and energy to his acting career. He had already appeared in several films in his early punk rock days, including the cult hit Hard Core Logo, as well as Dance Me Outside and Trailer Park Boys: The Movie. It was his role in Debra Granik’s Down to the Bone during its debut at Sundance Festival in 2004 that lead him to his most globally successful roles to date as Mike Sweeney on the television series Durham County, and as Ed Lane, lead sniper for five seasons on CTV/CBS/ION’s Flashpoint. He remains in the forefront of success stories, with his role in AMC’s The Killing, guesting on David Lynch’s series Twin Peaks, a coveted role in feature film Wind River with Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, and opposite Nicolas Cage in The Humanity Bureau. His current role on CBC war drama X Company is now airing its third season.