September 21st, 2018

Older Headstones ‘more explosive’

By Medicine Hat News on November 9, 2017.

Photo by Gordon Hawkins
Canadian rockers Headstones will perform at the Esplanade on Nov. 14. It's the band's first show in Medicine Hat in at least a decade, according to frontman Hugh Dillon.

They may not be the young punks they once were but they still know how to bring an in-your-face, hard-rocking show. In fact, says Headstones frontman Hugh Dillon, the show today is an even more explosive version of what people may have seen when the band was last here.

“Everything’s just gotten faster and meaner and leaner,” said Dillon this week. “I think the old days were just anarchy, it was just more chaotic. It still has that quality, we’ve just become better songwriters. When you put the songs together and then play them live they just explode. You’ve gotta see it.”

Old hits like “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” and “Cemetery” are staples of the show, of course, and new songs come from the band’s April album “Little Army.” Dillon says he’s never has a record perform as well as “Little Army,” noting two songs from the album have hit the top 20 at rock radio.

Headstones will be at the Esplanade on Nov. 14 for an 8 p.m. show.

Taking the songs from the initial stage of an idea, a lyric or a guitar lick and building them to the point they get played on stage for their fans is an incendiary experience, says Dillon.

“Once we plug it in and amplify it and it goes out to a bigger space and all those people show up and their energy builds on it, it’s really something to see,” he said.

Those people that show up are sometimes as big a part of the show as the guys on stage. Headstones fans — a certain breed of people to begin with, Dillon calls them — have been known to cram the front of the stage hoping that by the end of the night a little of Dillon’s spit or a flicked cigarette butt would have hit them.

“They’ve got an ability to see through pretension and they don’t buy it. They’ve got an intolerance for BS. It’s exceptional. I appreciate it,” Dillon said.

Dillon’s appreciation extends beyond fans to his fellow musicians and to a fellow Kingston band in particular: The Tragically Hip and Gord Downie, who died last month after a battle with brain cancer.

“I wouldn’t be here without them,” Dillon said matter-of-factly.

Dillon said he and Downie were friends in high school and “Little Army” features a song he wrote for Downie, called “Kingston.” The biggest shows Headstones played in the early days were with the Hip and Downie came to Headstones’ showcase gig, his mere appearance helping move the record label closer to signing Dillon and his mates.

“He was just the kindest guy in the world. He always looked out for other people and he’d inspire to be more like that,” Dillon said. “He was one-of-a-kind in terms of decent human kindness and a great musical spirit. And that quality of being able to have that kind of generosity is rare.”

Tickets, $39 plus service charge and GST, are available at by calling 403-502-8777 or in person at the Esplanade box office or the Medicine Hat Mall customer service desk.

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