Music veteran Darby Mills, was born the last of 4 children, into a musical family on December 3rd in 1959 in Vernon BC. She is a daughter, a mother of 2 talented sons, a wife of 32 years to Brian Wadsworth, is an athlete, singer, song-writer & recording artist & so much more. 36 years into her musical story, Darby Mills (former voice of the Juno nominated Canadian rock band the Headpins) has embarked on her 1st solo project in years, after 3 decades as the popular Headpins front woman. 1 of Canada’s vocal driving forces, is ready at 57 to breathe life and passion into her new and re released masterpieces, showing the world she’s “FLYING SOLO” and sure to “Never Look Back” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTSNr1y75rI I had the honor to catch up with the lovely Darby on the afternoon of August 3rd.
Deb: Hi Darby. What a pleasure it is to chat with you. How’s the weather today? Darby: “It’s smokey, hot and smokey” Deb: Here is hoping there will be some relief soon from the smokey skies that are continuing to smother some B.C. towns with air quality measured as extremely poor. On a scale of 1 of 10, Kamloops was 16, Eastern Fraser Valley was a 10 all due to the wildfires in the Cariboo region of BC, only hours away from Darby Mills home and family.
Deb: You performed on Sat July 29th at the 2017 Mattawa Voyageur Days Festival, where you and I first met in 2012, while I voluntarily worked your merchandise table.
Darby: Yes we did. We performed to say goodbye to the chair of the Mattawa Voyageur Days, Jacques Begin, this gentleman had head speared it for the last 20 years. So it was awesome that he had the option to go with my former band or with me & the vote came, that I would get the show. That was in fact my 1st connection with all my or at least a handful of the former 80’s bands that I’ve toured with over the past 20 years endlessly. It was a very very… here we go kinda…open the doors and run like the dickens event for us, the band did great and we are on our way, we’re doing this.
Deb: That is so exciting. I am so happy for you Darby.
You are quoted as stating: “I desire to be…..Something” Your career has amounted to a whole lot of somethings! You became 1 of Canada’s renowned female rock vocalists and front woman in the biz today, you were nominated in 1992 for a JUNO Award for Most Promising Vocalist of the Year, nominated in 2005 for a STAR on Canada’s Walk of Fame, you are an internationally acclaimed Queen of Canadian Screamers, you made musical history as a multi-platinum success, you toured with the largest names out there like: ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Lee Aaron, KISS, Whitesnake. You obtained vast experience with various genres ranging from blues/jazz in a band called Forecast, rock n roll with SARGENT, to a Harlem (New York’s borough of Manhattan) then Edmonton Alberta based disco, dance funk 7 piece cover band “Business Before Pleasure, settling once a again in the rock n roll realm with STEELBACK. Not to long thereafter, Brian MacLeod asked you to join HEADPINS and the rest they say is history as 1980 was the year CHILLIWACK, PRISM, LOVERBOY, TORONTO, SOLID GOLD RECORDS and HEADPINS became a way of life for you. Huge successes followed at such a young age.
Deb: Most recently would you say the heavens opened up for you & that your solo time had come?
Darby: I’m not so sure that they have opened up. Perhaps a better description would be I grabbed a ladder and a really big shovel and i have been banging at the bottom of that glass ceiling, (as she laughs) with all my might, to try & see if there is an opening, because the world of music is so different from those days. It’s no longer for bands of my calibre, it’s not just go get shows and arrive and do your gig. You are now the source of everything, at least as an independent artist that I am and have been for a long time. Now that I am a solo independent artist, I am publisher, I’m my own artist in the sense that all of the posters and everything that is done, comes out of my computer with the help of my son who is a graphic artist and my husband who is the computer guy, between the 3 of us we put the pieces together of the puzzle and can’t forget Sandra Bradbury’s incredible talent and assistance with putting together our website. With these shows coming up in Ontario especially the club shows, I am the promoter as well. I have to get off the high horse as an artist and get down with my knee bent and ask for people to see the show and if you have a ticket to make sure the show runs well and maybe help promote, and share the event, as you are helping me do right now. It’s everything, everything rests upon your shoulders and this was my decision to take this on and I will either reach the heavens as you brought up Deb, or I will go down with the ship, as that is the responsibility that comes with the job these days.
Deb: Infusing your life with musical action, never idle in 36 years, not waiting for it to happen, plethora of creativity and passion with a drive to leave your fans inspired and in the rock n roll frame of mind. What is your most valuable memory or piece of advice given to you back in the day that serves as a motivator, to keep you driven forward in your passions and your new Darby Mills Project?
Darby: You know that is a tough one, not one comes to mind instantly, other then what i have come to believe especially over the past 3 years, when the decision became evident that it was time to take the wheel and drive or shit or get off the pot. Which ever way you want to describe it, there are enough people out there that will tell you it can never happen because they have tried or they are too scared to try and they don’t want anyone to exceed, there is always going to be that. If you are lucky enough, which i have been, over the past 3 years to run into not only my husband, who has been my rock here but a handful of women that have not let me fall into the self doubt, who have just supported me, so it’s a team. You need a team and I have been really lucky to have that.
Deb:What can we expect from your Eastern Ontario tour dates that hits the Etobicoke Rockpile Nightclub on Aug. 16th, the Ottawa’s Brass Monkey Aug. 18th & the Cornwall Music Festival on Aug.19th? Darby: A handful of musicians who are dead hungry because they have worked their tales off for years and years and years and never seen the results they deserved to get. That is why they are in my band, all 4 of them are talented instrumentalists and hard working musicians and they have rode beside me the last year and a half, against so many odds. I am so grateful that they came to mind and rallied to be a wonderful team, it’s a pleasure to me. My guitarist/vocalist Randy Gabel is so gifted, I have a solid keyboardist/vocalist Doug Rasmussen, my bassist Ricky Renouf is a lead vocalist in his own right & last but never least Ed Cliffe as my drummer/vocalist & our story is wonderful. You will hear classic Headpins hits & songs from the 1991 Darby Mills and The Unsung Heroes CD-“Never Look Back” and some covers, or as I call them, re covers that were instrumental in the creation of my voice, bringing the fans and younger ones to the fold.
Deb: Thanks so much for your time and your insightful interview, see you at the show.
Etobicoke’s best live venue (www.therockpile.ca) The Rockpile Bar and Nightclub and superb staff serve up a friendly atmosphere, delicious food and amazing light and sound 7 nights a week. S & S Promotions and Up Close and Personal PRESENTS the majestic Darby Mills Project with local support from Toronto’s rockin’ cover act, Jaded Edge https://www.facebook.com/jadededgerox
Photo by Char Davidson
Hurry don’t delay get your $25 Darby Mills Project tickets today online for the August 16th, all ages show that begins at 7:30 pm and runs to 11:00 pm at The Rockpile Nightclub located at 5555 Dundas Street West in downtown Etobicoke. http://www.ticketweb.ca/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=7434055
Look out Ottawa, Darby Mills Project is performing the infamous Brass Monkey (www.themonkey.ca) at 8pm with local support SUSSEX-a vocally driven 5 piece rockin’ band http://www.sussexrocks.ca on August 18th at 250 A Greenbank Road and the 19+ event that serves you live music 7 nights a week and yummy pub grub – $20 tickets are available online now at: https://www.ticketzone.com/darbymillsottawa
Photo by Char DavidsonDarby Mills Project co head-lines the 2nd Annual Cornwall Music Festival on August 19th, and shares the festival stage with Michel Pagliaro, The Box, The Barstool Prophets hosted at the Nav Centre and organized by Limelight Entertainment in conjunction with booking agent Alkaline Entertainment & partnered with NAV Centre and Corus Entertainment. $30+TICKETS can be purchased by visiting https://www.cornwallmusicfest.com/tickets
Folks, Darby Mills is a loving soul with a caring heart, that puts her fans 1st! So for a rock n roll stroll down Darby Mills music lane and to jump on board the fastest moving musical train on the horizon, make sure you follow the Darby Mills Project in a town nearest you or stay in tune at www.darbymills.com