The Headpins

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

The Headpins

Headpins

 

Formed in Vancouver in 1980, The Headpins were founded by Brian McLeod and Ab Bryant as a sort of 'side project' from Chilliwack. The group was originally rounded out by drummer Matt Frenette and singer Denise McCann. Soon after the original inception, Frenette and McCann were replaced by Bernie Aubin and Darby Mills. The group released TURN IT LOUD on the independant Solid Gold Records later that year. Co-produced by fellow Chilliwack-mate Bill Henderson the record allowed the Headpins to hit the scene with an experienced master behind the controls. Charged with emotions, MacLeod's guitars rang predominant, almost a friendly battle with Mills' immediately signature voice. With Bryant and Aubin serving as the backbeat, the lead-off title-track grabbed you by the balls and refused to let go, and was immediately recognized as one of Canada's greatest rock-anthems of all time. Mills' screaming/singing would become as trademark as their simple but energized live show. "Don't It Make You Feel Like Dancing" turned the FM stations upside down, backed by the killer "Breakin' Down", about one person's handling personal problems via suicide, "People" and the almost ballad "Winning". The Headpins were here and were soon rewarded with a gold debut record. Word of the band's raucous, charged show spread and by the time TURN IT LOUD turned gold, the band had already toured most of the continent.

The band came back in '83 with their follow-up, LINE OF FIRE. Backed by the single, "Feel It (Feel My Body)" and "Don't Stand In The Line Of Fire", the album stayed true to the course its predecessor laid out the year before. Other notable tracks included "Mine All Mine" and "Celebration". LINE OF FIRE not only played the same chords at varying volumes like TURN IT LOUD, but the group also showed growth and diversity with "Feel It", incorporating synthesizers as well as a horn section. Another extended tour ensued, including dates with the likes of Kiss, Billy Squier, Helix, Quiet Riot and Whitesnake.

Nearly two years would pass before the Headpins would emerge from the studios again. The result was HEAD OVER HEELS. Typical Headpins ... it served up a healthy dose of MacLeod's blazing riffs, Bryant and Aubin in charge of the heavy backbeat and Mills' unmistakeable voice on "Still The One" and "Death Of Me" Other noteable cuts included "Hot Stuff", "Chain Gang" and the powerful "The Danger Zone". The 'Pins also again tried to venture into somewhat unchartered waters with "Be With You" and "Afraid Of The Dark". Melodic and heavy on the keyboards, HEAD OVER HEELS showed the group's growing maturity and depth.

Caught in the political 'bs' that is the record biz, the group found themselves the next year without a deal. Still the group carried on for the next couple of years touring across North America. The response given them showed interest from the fans HADN'T waned. Unfortunately in 1989 the band's plan of taking the world over again came to an abrupt halt when Brian "Too Loud" MacLeod lost his bought with cancer.

Unsure as to whether or not to proceed without him, the band disappeared for the next few years, with each member venturing out to do outside projects, including Mills' '91 solo effort NEVER LOOK BACK. But the emergence of the classic rock radio format of the '90's has brought The Headpins out of the shadows and back into the spotlight where they belong. The group reformed and started doing gigs again in the mid 90's, and was met with sold out shows. With the re-release of TURN IT LOUD in April of 2000 and a possible new record with all new material in the works, the future of The Headpins looks bright once again.

Brian MacLeod's untimely passing makes it tough to say where the group would've headed ten years ago. But hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. With a new lineup and a renewed vigor, the 'Pins are on the road again ... ready to turn it loud. Check them out when they rock your city.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox

Discography

Turn it Loud
Turn it Loud (1982)

Turn It Loud
Keep Walkin' Away
Don't Ya Ever Leave Me
People
Don't It Make You Feel
Winnin'
You Can't Have Me
Breakin' Down

Line of Fire
Line of Fire (1983)

Mine All Mine
Feel It (Feel My Body)
I Know What Your're Thinking
Just One More Time
Don't Stand In The Line Of Fire
Celebration
Double Trouble
I've Heard It All Before

Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels (1985)

Still The One
Death Of Me
Stayin' All Night
Hot Stuff
Chain Gang
The Danger Zone
Don't Matter What You Say
Be With You
You're Only Afraid Of the Dark
Burnin' At Both Ends

Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits (1988)

Turn It Loud
Keep Walkin' Away
Don't Ya Ever Leave Me
People
Don't It Make Ya Feel
Winnin'
You Can't Have Me
Mine All Mine Feel It (Feel My Body)
I Know What You're Thinking
Just One More Time
Don't Stand In The Line Of Fire
Celebration
Double Trouble
I've Heard It All Before


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