Headstones' upcoming tour and future a true Picture of Health
Those fans of the hard rocking punk-influenced band the Headstones who saw them at the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre less than a year ago get another opportunity Nov. 12.
This promises to be a different concert for one main reason.
The Nov. 12 visit from the Kingston crew is a final salute and a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Headstones' successful debut album Picture of Health. The concert will consist of the band playing all 13 songs from the certified platinum (100,000 copies sold) CD plus a handful more tunes. It will be nothing like their most recent visit which rocked the Esplanade's foundations with a mixture of favourites from everything from Teeth and Tissue, Smile and Wave and all the way up to 2017's Little Army and the highly successful single 'Devil's on Fire.'
Talking to lead singer Hugh Dillon, what you see on stage is what you get in conversation: someone who is extremely passionate about the music, the songs and the craft. He is excited to do this particular tour "for the fans."
With Dillon’s schedule in shooting a movie in Utah soon, the band writing for a new album and a tour to promote that work, he says the time of the Picture of Health tour was perfect. The band marvels at how well the songs still resonate.
"It's amazing the music stands alone today," explains Dillon. "It is exciting to do (this tour). We are doing it for the fans. They wanted it...13 songs back to back to back... it’s a challenge — front to back. We had some work to do.
"It is the last opportunity to hear those songs. We will never play those songs again.
"Well, except Cemetery. We will always play f----ing Cemetery."
He notes when Picture of Health first came out in 1993 they had no idea how it would resonate with music fans then, let alone 25 years later.
To celebrate it, they have re-issued Picture of Health in a package of demos, old photos and television along with four bonus tracks.
Dillon, one of the stars of the popular police drama Flashpoint (2008-2012) says looking back on it, Picture of Health represents the DNA of the band. Straightforward, honest, tackles some dark topics, but never shies away from anything one would deem controversial.
Despite the fact they were in Medicine Hat not that long ago, Dillon is excited to hit the road and be in Medicine Hat again. He loved the massive energy from their last southeast Alberta visit and calls the Esplanade a "great .... venue."
Fans of the Headstones will remember Dillon as an intense, brooding performer back in the 1990s. However, now in his mid-fifties, the lead singer seems far more energetic, if not even more intense. He says he's eating healthier, stopped smoking amongst other unhealthy lifestyle choices.
He and longtime bandmates bassist Tim White and guitarist Trent Carr have gone through a lot together. As cliché as it sounds, despite a couple of band break-ups and reuniting, it always goes back to having the freedom to write songs and make music the way they want. Hitting the stage, just tops it off. The band’s frontman calls it therapy and cathartic.
"Playing live is like making the music, you can't bullsh-yourself or anyone else or just don't bother doing it," explains Dillon. "You get out there and embrace the fans. Us as a band, we take it seriously.
"Every gig was like every song was like our last one. We brought it 110 per cent."
The Headstones will be performing Nov. 12, starting at 8 p.m. at the Esplanade in Medicine Hat. Special Guests will be The Matchstick Skeletons.
Hugh Dillon, centre, brings the intensity of 25 years of rocking stages all over the world.