Head Of The Herd Make It Big On Their Terms


It is as though Canadian modern blues rockers Head of the Herd have been called up to the big leagues. And with good reason:

After building an impressive fan base courtesy of their 2011 debut record On The House, the band went on to win Vancouver radio station CFOX’s Fox Seeds Competition, a title previously won by the likes of Matthew Good, Default and Nickelback.

The group’s momentum continued picking up along the way, affording the group the opportunity to open shows for the likes of Guns n Roses, Alice In Chains, The Sheepdogs, Monster Truck and The Trews. But to quote the illustrious Bachman Turner Overdrive, “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.”

Their sophomore record, By This Time Tomorrow, is the product of a band finding their stride. The album serves to highlight the beastly, melodic and honest storytelling that their fans have come to love of the group. The latter point was driven home when the title track from the album, a duet with Mother Mother’s Jasmin Parkin, hit the coveted No. 1 position on the national rock charts last year.

Given the various career highlights of the last few years, it is not terribly surprising to have seen labels come calling. Together with Universal Music Canada, they recently released a digital deluxe edition of By This Time Tomorrow, which includes the original record with live tracks and song remixes tacked on.

Comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Neu Mannas and guitarist Clayton Frank, the past few years have been an absolute whirlwind for the group, however Neu says that he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Feeling somewhat bolstered by the confidence of the CFOX contest win, Head of the Herd wanted to reach for the stars when it came to the making of their latest effort. The album features production by renowned producer GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine) as well as Finger Eleven members James Black and Rick Jackett.

One has to wonder if Head of the Herd – performing at Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub on Saturday evening – were the least bit nervous about getting such heavyweight producers on board.

“Right off the bat, we knew that those guys picking up the phone to speak to us was a crazy big deal,” Neu says. “So when we fired off the demos to them, we knew that we had to give them something that was the best of what we had but also something that would pique their interest.”

The making of the record wasn’t a total walk in the park, however.

Neu jokes that there were more than a couple of occasions that he and Clayton wondered if they were in over their heads. They made By This Time Tomorrow independently, meaning they were footing the bills for studio time as well as the producers. And though all is well that ends well, it was a risk that they were initially not sure would pay off:

“We made our newest record without the benefit of a label behind us. All of the money being spent was ours. Sitting around drinking beer in the studio just wasn’t an option,” he laughs.

“We had a lot of people encouraging us though, telling us the power was in the songs and if we had that, the rest will all work out. So we dove in head first, not really knowing what to expect. There was more than one occasion where we were probably crying in our beers, spending our life savings to get this album realized but it was a risk that I am so glad we took.”

What: Head of the Herd with The Balconies
When: Saturday May 17, 9:00 p.m.
Where: Tide & Boar Gastropub, 700 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $15, available online at www.tideandboar.com or by phone at (506) 857-9118