Darby Mills

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    A Canadian Classic Rock & Roll band was founded by members of Chilliwack, Brian ‘Too Loud’ MacLeod and Ab Bryant (Prism) as a side project in 1979. This took place while Chilliwack was on hiatus waiting for the dust to settle. Mushroom Records where Chilliwack was contracted, suffered a catastrophic blow with the sudden passing of Shelly Sigel owner-operator. The Label and Studio now in limbo left them in a precarious position waiting to reorganize their future.  Now focused on the Headpins, MacLeod hired vocals ‘Denise McCann’ and drummer ‘Matt Frenette’. Matt having recently left the band ‘Streetheart’ to join former bandmate ‘Paul Dean’ in ‘Loverboy’, was looking to keep his chops up while waiting for the release of their début recording ‘Loverboy’. The Headpins worked the Sam Feldman Agency ‘A’ circuit for the better part of the next 6 months. They very quickly built a fan base while earning the notorious reputation of not only one of the hottest new Acts but defiantly the loudest on any bill that year. 

1980 McCann was replaced and MacLeod scouted screamer ‘Darby Mills’ from a local club act ‘Steelback’.  With Loverboy now on tour, drummer ‘Bernie Aubin’ stepped in to fill Matt’s role. Within the next year ‘Headpins’ had inked a record contract with the same Label as Chilliwack, Solid Gold Records.  Chilliwack proceeded back into the studio, while Headpins continued to haunt the clubs in Vancouver nightly. Chilliwack now finished recording, and making some tour dates, Macleod and Bryant were also headed back into the studio with Mills to write and record their now double platinum début record ‘Turn it Loud’.  With both records now in place Too Loud and Bryant had a decision to make, who they would go out on tour with? Both players deciding to stay on hand for Chilliwack, the search for their replacements aptly called the ‘B team’ began. Knowing that the release of the ‘TURN IT LOUD’, CD reaching Gold status in Canada faster than any other debut album of the day.

 

1981 The ‘Lock up your Sons’ tour, hit the road and did the ‘B’ Team prove worthy.  Headlining 20+ shows cross Canada was the band ‘Toronto’ and supporting was Mills, Aubin, Scott Reid on guitar and Jim Buckson then Dave Riemer on Bass.  They stole the show on more than one occasion according to the press and the write ups in the papers.  The reaction was so strong that the ‘B’ Team landed the ‘KISS’ tour that same year. By the end of that year the ‘B’ Team had left such an impression with the audiences and buyers that Brian and Ab decided to take their leave from Chilliwack, and rejoin the Headpins full time. 

The Headpins toured for the next 5 years thorough out Canada the States and Europe.  Atco Records, NYC signed the Band in their second year but unfortunately dropped the ball. While ‘Turn It Loud’ was charting and selling BIG time in Canada, there was no product in the stores across the US and the band sadly lost any momentum. At this time Solid Gold Records in Canada had gone insolvent and in turn, the Headpins chose to sign with MCA Music USA. Producing two more records “Line of Fire’ and ‘Head over Heels’ both selling good numbers on Canadian and the European markets. Then band toured and opened for the likes of Eddie Money, Joe Cocker, the Pretenders, Helix, Pat Travers, Richie Blackmore, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, the Romantics,  Loverboy, Helix, Whitesnake and the ‘After Burner’ tour with ZZ Top. At one point bussing from Vancouver Canada to the east coast of the US to join forces with ‘Quiet Riot’ and ‘Saga’ for an extensive tour across the USA. Three shows in however, Quiet Riot internally combusted and the entire tour was cancelled. Thanks to some fast thinking on the labels part the Headpins ended up in California on tour with ‘Eddie Money’ returning home to repack and immediately depart for Europe to join ‘Whitesnake’ on an exciting run throughout England, Germany and Denmark.

The fall of 1985 during the final days of the Canadian ZZ Top tour, with a pending USA tour to follow, Mills was informed she was no longer in the band. She did however; retain the recording contract with MCA records USA.

(More details on that can be found on the Darby Mills Biography page.)

1988/89 there was an attempt to reboot the HEADPINS with Mills, Too Loud, Ab, and John Stolz (drums).  Although there was US interest, the internal struggles could not be resolved and a compromise could not be reached. Brian "Too Loud" Macleod passed away in April of 1992. He was a massive talent that will be remembered by many.


In 1993, Aubin and Mills found themselves back together on stage and somewhat unexpectedly the Headpins were live again!

Within two years, Bryant was back with the band with ‘Tony Dellacrocie’ on guitar and ‘Alfie Galpin’ on rhythm guitar and Keys.  Dellacrocie, Ontario born was a sound technician at the Yale Hotel, and played guitar for Canada's own Jerry Doucette.( "Mama let'm Play) Galpin played in one of Mills solo projects prior called ‘Plain Jane’ also made the rounds with ‘A’ Circuit bands during the 80's

2014 served as an awakening for Mills. Losing her Mother unexpectedly and her Husband’s heart attack she knew it was time to invest him taking a huge leap of faith and attempt to redefine her remaining year as a vocalist and a performer. 2016 Mills gave her notice to Aubin’s version of the Headpins and formed The ‘Darby Mills Project’.

(More on the Darby Mills Project on the DMP Bio page)

 HEADPINS BIO

Just One More Time

Released in 1983 the second Video produced by Doug Bennett. Off the Record 'Line of Fire' released in 1983. Reaching Platinum status in Canada. Yes, that is a real MGB they blow up and there were fire trucks and police on set when the explosion took place. The band toured with 'Quiet Riot' on what was to be a 6 week tour only to find that after a back stage fist fight, Quiet Riot broke up 4 shows in. A quick reboot landed them with Eddie Money for a west coast jaunt then over to Europe for a month with Whitesnake.

Don't It Make Ya Feel

The first Video recorded by the band in 1981 released shortly after to support the record 'Turn It Loud'. Selling well over a million copies world wide by the year 1999.   Reaching double Platinum in Canada faster than any record at that time. Brian 'Too Loud' Macleod and Ab Bryant were not in the video as they were under contract to Chilliwack and did not tour with the Headpins for the first year of touring across Canada, including the 'Lock up Your Sons' tour and the Kiss  'Creatures of the Night' tour.

Stayin' All Night

Released in 1985 for the 'Head over Heels' record reached Gold status in Canada accompanied by multiple tours across the Canada the high light being ZZ Top. Unfortunately by the end of that tour the band found irreconcilable differences would end the time for Mills in the band and the Headpins disbanded until a reunion tour in 1989. New plans and contracts were presented but unfortunately a compromise could not be reached. Too Loud and Mills went off on their own again.