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Hugh Dillon may be older, a little wiser, recognized as an actor as well as a singer, perhaps even a poet or a member of the "Canadian Rock Establishment", but he appears slightly bemused when someone wants to talk to him about being a musician. Always ready with a laugh and a self-deprecating comment. Dillon wastes no time in establishing the musical hierarchy in The Headstones.
"Today, I'm happy to do interviews," he claims. "This is what I do, and I'm an egomaniac, so I love to talk about myself, it's a given. But these guys are proper musicians, and when I hear the stuff they come up with, I think. 'Man, am I shallow.' So then what I do is call them shallow!"
The fact that he still has bandmates to insult is not unimportant to Dillon, a well-known troublemaker whose sole remaining vices include self-expression, working out and strong coffee. While he's lost the hassles and ill health of his old ways, he still retains his snarling voice and outsider's perspective on The Oracle of Hi-Fi, the Headstones fifth album proper (not including last year's The Greatest Fits). Dillon sits with bassist Tim White in the offices of their new label, MapleMusic, to talk about Hi-Fi, while guitarist Trent Carr chimes in over the phone a few days later.
"To finish the thought, these guys are so talented, it makes me laugh that often the shallowest guy in the band is the singer, the one who does all the talking," continues Dillon. "Technically I know so little about the process of making music, and people come up to me and ask about recording all the time, so I just make shit up. I like writing songs and even some of the business aspects. I just don't have patience for any of the technical aspects." So cross questions five through ten off the list, then.
The terms 'rebirth' and 'clean slate' are so heavily used when talking about rock bands that have survived their most egregious habits that they often fail to signify the real development that has taken place. The sound on Hi-Fi is still that of vintage Headstones, a rowdy, visceral journey through the lives of the has-been and never-were people that populate Dillon's subconscious. The difference this time around is in the overall attitude of the band offstage.
"We've been trapped before," says Dillon. "Two mistakes we have made is making videos and hiring producers. Do you really need to spend the fucking money? …