In Conversation With Hugh Dillon

Hugh DillonIf you’re a fan of homegrown Canadian rock n roll, you’ll most likely know the name of Hugh Dillon.

Dillon was the front man for Canadian hard-rock band The Headstones for five records before the group sadly but amicably disbanded in 2003.

And while his band was wreaking havoc in nightclubs throughout the country, Dillon was simultaneously building up an impressive resume of work in films.

Dillon landed key roles in the Bruce Macdonald films Dance Me Outside (1994) and Hard Core Logo before moving on to bigger roles in Durham County and the CTV/CBS hit crime drama Flashpoint.

Dillon is celebrating the release of his dynamic new solo record Works Well With Others, released this past Tuesday. It is only the second post-Headstones record for the artist and it is obvious that he remains in peak form despite this being his first recorded output in years.

There is a little something for everyone on Dillon’s new record: From the remarkably restrained yet somehow soaring first single and album-opener Friends of Mine to the wistful Sentimental Me and the poppy Surface of the Sun, Dillon sounds completely relaxed and completely natural throughout the record’s 14 tracks.

Producing his new record is longtime friend Paul Langlois, whose name you might recognize as a member of Canadian band The Tragically Hip. Dillon says working with Langlois was the perfect fit for him and his songs.

“Making this record, I felt as though I could get back to the fun of writing and recording music. I made the record without worrying about the pressure of how to perform the songs live or how fans will perceive it,” Dillon says.

“Going into this record, I worried about

the art of songwriting and nothing more. It was incredibly gratifying.”

Fans of Dillon (and The Headstones) are undoubtedly thrilled with this long overdue return to music. Even though there might have been a greater emphasis on the acting side of his career over the past couple of years, Dillon is quick to remind me that he has always been a songwriter and that it was never a matter of him choosing one industry over the other.

“I have been writing songs since I was 17 years old,” Dillon explains from his management’s office in Toronto. “I have never looked at those two worlds (music and acting) as being separate entities.

“I just write songs and keep at it no matter what. It’s what I do naturally.”

Dillon’s new record is being released via Warner Music Canada, one of the country’s four major labels.

Ironically, Dillon wasn’t necessarily seeking a label deal, but the crucial puzzle pieces fell into place at the right time. And perhaps more importantly, his gut was telling him that Warner would be a good fit for his music.

“Warner Canada had earned a lot of my respect for having signed Buck 65, who I am a big fan of. The way they have guided his career has been remarkable,” Dillon says.

“I initially started having chats with Steve Blair (Warner Music Canada Vice-President) and we really hit it off. Warner has been incredibly supportive of my career and let me feel as though I can do what I want to do and not feel pressured into changing anything.”

Dillon admits that touring behind the record is not an immediate priority but one that he is hopeful will come his way during the spring and summer of 2010.

“I think that the band and I will play a few shows during the holidays but there won’t be any significant stretch of touring until the New Year for certain.”

With The Headstones dissolution being amicable and all of the members staying in touch with each other, does Dillon foresee a time when the band might give it another go?

“We talk about when we might get back together but truth be told, everyone is so busy. Things have changed for each of us.

“I think that The Headstones truly had a killer run and I think we did the right thing by stepping down when we did. We walked away when it felt right to do so and we’re good with that.

“Going with that instinct to step aside was an important decision.”

With no regrets looking back, Dillon is living life for the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

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