author: ethan butterfield | staff writer
The Headstones set for new album release
Hey all! Canada has been the home to several talented musical acts throughout its history and Kingston, Ontario rock group The Headstones are certainly no exception to that. The amazing hard rock group released their newest album on June 2nd under the title Little Army, and between you and me, it’s definitely not something you want to miss. Before release, I was fortunate enough to discuss the band’s history and the current happenings with guitarist Trent Carr.
Ethan: So first question, how did the band come up with the name The Headstones?
Trent: Ah, it’s funny. Hugh and I would play in this tiny little bar called ‘The Blue Moon Salon in Toronto. Like literally, like the size of… probably like the size of your bedroom, tiny little bar. We would call ourselves The Tombstones at the time and he was really big on that name, and I just suggested Headstones. Like as a, I don’t- I didn’t really like Tombstones, so then i suggested Headstones and it stuck ever since. (Laughter) Not really much of a… a real dramatic story, or much meaning.
Ethan: To sort of go back, one of The Headstones’ biggest singles is “When Something Stands for Nothing”, where did the idea of that song come from?
Trent: Oh that’s a Hugh song mostly, I’m don’t really know what his meaning behind the song really was. I remember standing on the rooftop of a friend’s house and we were just playing acoustic guitars, and he kept focusing on this line, you know, “Rock n’ roll, comic books and bubble gum.” That was really standing out to me, and I remember it just being a real standout piece, and it just fully evolved into the song that it became. As for it’s actual meaning, it’s funny, we were just talking about that recently, the meanings of songs and what do we say about what certain songs mean. Most of the times, it’s pretty obvious that we’re talking about, it’s usually about the bullshit that you go through in life, the bullshit that people give you, and stuff that you have to take. A lot of our songs I think you can look at that and go, “Yeah, that’s what that’s about.” Usually it’s not about one person in particular, it’s usually about a group of people and It just becomes a amalgamation of different people put into one. Like we have some pretty angry songs on this record, and people are like, “Who’s that about?” It’s about a bunch of people really, it’s not about any one individual. Then you sort of run with the idea, like once the sentiment is sort of in place, it escapes from being about that one person at all and you sort of run with the idea. We’re really into the fun, sort of, craft [of] songwriting and what we can do with it. So… yeah, is that kind of an answer? (Laughter)
Ethan: For sure, it absolutely is. Moving away from older songs and into current happenings, the new single “Devil’s On Fire” from the album Little Army, what was it like making that piece and that album?
Trent: Well that was one of the first songs that kind of signified the fact that we were back in the writing mode. It was one of those songs that I had written just musically on my iPad, I use GarageBand on my iPad all the time as sort of like a musical sketchpad in a way. And Hugh immediately gravitated to the riff, as he’ll do with certain riffs, like he did with “Long Way to Neverland”, you know. I was in the rehearsal space going, just sort of noodling on the guitar, not thinking about anything, and he just immediately gravitates to it and lyrics just immediately fall into place, and it just sort of grows from there. And that same thing happened with “Devil’s on Fire”, like right when he hears the riff and he gets inspired to a certain vibe, a certain feeling or a setting will appear in his mind. Then we went to a place called Revolution in Toronto and just had a really great vibe there, and then we went to Kingston in The Hip studio called Bathhouse. We ended up spending two weeks there with this amazing engineer named Niels who was sort of the house guy, he’s the house engineer guy, and he’s worked on a bunch of hit records and a whole bunch of others records. And this guy is like a genius in a way, one of those guys that’s insanely focused, where he doesn’t even know what’s going on around him. And he’s always listening to what we’re talking about, like we’ll be in the background arguing about how a song should go, and he’s up there on the computer doing something. Then he’s like “Here check this out.” And we’re like “Fuck, that’s awesome!” He was amazingly able to translate our anger, take it and make it just the perfect solution to what we trying to get through. So he was amazing to work with, he was like an extra member of the band for those few weeks and he deserves a lot of credit for this sale. It was super fun, we’d definitely like to work with him again.
Ethan: Nice. So, moving broader, what is like for the band to perform live?
Trent: Yeah, that’s something that we’ve always loved. That’s like one of the best parts about being in a band is obviously — maybe not obviously — but playing live in front of people and getting that immediate response, gratification. So, one of things we’ve always wanted to do was be a band that we wanted to see and when we go see a band, we want to see a band that really engages the audience. Not standing up there looking at their fucking shoes, you know what I mean, not being very precious with their instruments and their pedals and their effects and being “Hey, look at me.” We like to really engage in the audience and if you’ve seen our shows, you know Hugh likes to get out there, right in the audience and climb to the back of the room. If there was something to climb, he’ll get up on it. We’ve always just enjoyed that real connection to the audience and we’ve ended up, over how many years it’s been now, like we’ll go across the country and there’s people coming that’ve been seeing us since day one and we know these people. It’s just become this really great community of people across the country, like super, dedicated, hardcore fans. Like we’ll see other bands with, maybe, larger statuses than us and they don’t have nearly the same devotion of fans as we do. Like we’ll come across Headstones tattoos all over the place. That’s…that’s pretty amazing to see, the fact that you’ve been able to touch people like that is pretty humbling.
Ethan: So, the last question I wanted to ask was, other than the Little Army album release, what does the future hold for The Headstones?
Trent: Well we’re just going to take it sort of year by year. Ever since we reunited five years ago, we’ve really… for lack of a better phrase, we’ve grown up a lot and, you know, you learn to appreciate each other. You learn to appreciate the things that you bring to the table in the band and our friendship. How much better friends we’ve become, especially between me, and Hugh, and Tim. I’ve known Hugh for like thirty-something years, I’ve known Tim for forty-something years, and my brother’s in the band, who I’ve known all my life. So we have this pretty insanely, tight bond that is only growing. And to have come back, you know, we kinda fell apart in 2013, kind of bitter at the whole music industry and frustrated with each other. Now to have come back, and that’s all water under the bridge. We’ve realized we have a really good thing in this band, you know. In terms of bands, we’ve got a pretty good band (Laughter). We just enjoy being back here and running with it as much as we can.