Darby Mills is in the subject matter of a biographic video about herself and her career, courtesy of Vancouver’s Telus TV; her new band about to take shape and invade Eastern Canada as she takes those first tentative steps towards establishing a solo career.
“This video will document my rise and fall,” Mills laughs on the phone from her Vernon B.C home, alluding to her decision in August 2016 to leave classic rock band, The Headpins and assemble her own outfit. But she is hoping that she is adding an additional chapter to chronicle her rise again as Mills sets out for concert dates Friday July 28th in Kingston Ontario’s Overtime Sports Bar in preparation for her festival debut Saturday July 29th at Mattawa Voyageur Days where The Darby Mills Project will link up with former Solid Gold label mates, Toronto plus fellow Vancouverites Prism and Trooper to celebrate Mattawa’s 20th anniversary.
Then it’s an appearance at the major Cannafest event in Grand Forks B.C August 10-12 where Mills & Co will line up with the likes of April Wine, Randy Bachman, Loverboy and Platinum Blonde before trucking back East to appear in Toronto at Rockpile East August 16th, Ottawa’s Brass Monkey August 18th and Cornwall’s Music Fest August 19th on a bill with Michel Pagliaro, The Box and the Barstool Prophets.
Leaving such an established rock band like The Headpins, where Mills was so firmly established as the band’s vocal driving force is obviously a massive gambit, but it’s a challenge she felt she needed to take.
“I was trying to get The Headpins to change it up a bit,” Mills allowed. “But we couldn’t agree on where we wanted to go. Things were being suggested that I didn’t think suited me or my voice. In the end, they were comfortable leaving things the way they were and just continue to ride the waves. But I wanted to change things up and experiment, I still wanted to grow musically.”
Mills’ decision to re-release “Flying Solo”, an album she had previously released 26 years ago, did not sit well with band drummer and group manager, Bernie Aubin. “I attempted to do both my solo career and stay in the band but they made it apparent this was not an option so I had to chose and I made my choice,” Mills explained. “In May 2016 I started to travel to Vancouver each week to find musicians for my new band and in August it was announced that I had left the Headpins.”
Her new band is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Randy Gabel, bassist/vocalist Ricky Renouf, keyboardist/vocals Doug Rassasson and on drums/vocals, Ed Cliffe.
Mills notes that although her band is called The Darby Mills Project, she is still the voice which launched all those great Headpin hits like “Don’t It Make Ya Feel”, “Line Of Fire”, “Feel My Body” and “Just One More Time” but now she is also mixing her set with Nazareth and other golden hits as well as tracks off her solo album including her new single “Monkey”.
“That song maybe 26 years old but the environmental message in those lyrics is as poignant today as it was when I co-wrote it,” Mills noted. “We are still succeeding in fucking this planet up.”
Mills is aware that the critics will be out to see if she can succeed on her own terms yet she believes she and her new band are up for the challenge. “As one of my friends said, “You are the Queen of Your Own Castle”, now the onus is on me to make this new band work, I have to look at it as just another challenge and I’m set on doing it.”
Understanding that The Headpins are still out on the concert circuit with new vocalist Katrina Lawrence, Mills wishes them the best but is making a point of telling all her face book friends that if The Headpins are being announced as playing in a certain venue, that everyone knows it’s not Darby Mills singing lead vocals for them.
“I’ve had a number of people contact me and say they are looking forward to me playing with The Headpins at a certain venue and I have to tell them that it is not me singing in the band anymore,” Mills explained. “I mean if my band is playing in the same area and these fans want to see and hear me sing, I would rather them hold on to their $40 and attend my concert rather than show up at a Headpins’ concert and find out that it’s someone else singing those hit songs.”
For more information on The Darby Mills Project please link to www.darbymills.com.