Former HEADPINS Singer DARBY MILLS Reflects On Touring With WHITESNAKE, ZZ TOP, KISS - "There I Was, Sitting Having Dinner Every Night Across The Table From GENE SIMMONS Without His Makeup On"; Video

March 16, 2023, a week ago

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Former HEADPINS Singer DARBY MILLS Reflects On Touring With WHITESNAKE, ZZ TOP, KISS - "There I Was, Sitting Having Dinner Every Night Across The Table From GENE SIMMONS Without His Makeup On"; Video

Jimmy Kay from Canada's The Metal Voice spoke to former Headpins singer, Darby Mills. In the chat she spoke about the her time in the Headpins; being excluded from performing today, and recalled tour stories of opening for bands suck as KISS, Whitesnake and ZZ Top. Watch below.

Talking about the Headpins opening for KISS on their Creature Of The Night tour, Darby reveals: "I think it was six shows in total (with KISS) and it was incredible. I was seeing Gene and Paul without their makeup on. When I was in high school the guys that I hung with that were in bands were KISS fanatics. I never quite understood the KISS thing until I found out I was going to go on tour with them and there I was sitting having dinner every night across the table from Gene Simmons without his makeup on. It was quite an experience and I left enough of an impression on Gene. A year or two later, KISS was on tour in Europe with Helix and Gene went up to Brian Vollmer and said, 'hey you know that chick from the Headpins? Do you know her? What's she all about?' So I tell that story with great passion because you know to leave an impression on somebody like Gene, um that's an accomplishment, uh that's a feather in my cap."

Did she interact with Eric Carr or Vinnie Vincent at the time? "They were not overly social, but for Vinnie, that was his first tour and he was having a bit of a time. I think we were in either Montreal or Quebec City and we got there for our sound check which would have been directly after KISS. Gene was on stage with Vinnie and (Gene) he's like you walk up on stage (to Vinnie) and you stand there (growl) yeah give them a growl walk up there and then turn around and walk back and I'm like wow okay stage presence 101. So that night people who were there might remember it was the tour where they had the big tank, with the risers on the side that looked like the tracks of a tank and then the drum riser rotated with the big barrel out front. Well he (Vinnie) jumped off one of the tracks and of course he's wearing platforms and of course he twitches (falls) and boom into the barrel. And I'm like, oh my God because I'd never seen a pro have an accident like that. I was like, 'that poor guy', especially after getting stage presence 101 that afternoon from Gene right but it was like okay you know I guess you can go up and make mistakes we all do it."

On opening for Whitesnake in Europe: "Yeah we did in Europe, we went over and toured with Whitesnake. We did a month and a half I think with Whitesnake and played the Hammersmith Odeon. Meeting the Whitesnake guys was the thrill of a lifetime even bigger than a KISS, Cozy Powell, David Coverdale, John Lord, John Sykes and Neil Murray. The shows were sold out every night we were playing the big stadiums."

On being fired from the Headpins: "I'm a pretty strong personality and I will only take abuse so long or I only watch someone else being abused so long before I'll stand up and say something, granted I was not perfect. I didn't know everything that everyone else knew but I had an opinion and at certain points I would express it even though nobody wanted to hear it. So I think at that point I had just expressed my opinion enough that Brian (MacLeod) had just decided this is his project he's not going to take any flack from some woman uh telling him how his project should go. There are some specifics that I won't go into because you know quite honestly I don't think it makes Brian look good so I'll stay there."

On almost being the singer of Blue Murder with Carmine Appice and John Sykes: "Blue Murder was recording at Little Mountain (Vancouver) and Carmine (Appice) was the drummer and he would come out and see my side projects. I was already out of the Headpins by that time and working on numerous side projects. We would play Club Soda in downtown Vancouver and he (Carmine) came in on more than one occasion. He called up and said you need to come down and you need to sing the Blue Murder stuff. Then the next time I saw him he's like, 'yeah John Sykes said no way he doesn't want a woman in the band because they'll get all the credit', and I'm like, 'oh come on, like seriously?' Had it been up to Carmine, I'd have had the job according to what he was saying but John was saying I was not going to have a female in the band. They had a male singer in there tracking with them they weren't sure if they were going to hire him and then they ended up with John doing all the vocals for that album."

On being excluded from performing; "This could possibly get really really messy in the future, it's been years now since I was part of the Headpins. I was a possession, I was a property and it was just so frustrating I couldn't work in that environment anymore. Here I am going out on the road working with an individual who had taken over the identity of the Headpins and every decision that the Headpins were made for and it didn't coincide with what I saw in the future. They were okay just being what they were. I had the experience, I had the knowledge but I was being told I didn't know anything. I didn't have an opinion and I was just tired of it and realized that if I was gonna do original songs, if I was going to collaborate, if I was going to try to be more of an artist than someone writing a coattail from 45 years ago I had to sever ties. I had to do it because my ability to do it within the Headpins was non-existent. So I left and it created a situation that is very unfriendly and I'm not going to name names. Unfortunately I'm butt heading against this individual who in the past 25 years of not only booking the Headpins (current version) but the other acts that he's brought into his fold. He's developed a lot of clout and the ability to say to a festival you want my bands or not and unfortunately as you saw it's even gone to interviews now. You know you can't interview her. I've been fighting the boogeyman my whole career, 45 years. I'm just gonna keep putting one foot in front of the other. I hate the fact that I'm having to say these things publicly that we can't solve them behind the scenes but it's right now costing me greatly in acquiring work."

Headpins are a Canadian rock group, founded as a side project in the late 1970s. The Headpins began gigging around the Vancouver area throughout 1981.

Headpins released their debut album Turn It Loud in 1982, which quickly went platinum and topped the charts for six weeks, with the hit single "Don't It Make Ya Feel". Their second release, Line Of Fire, was another multi-platinum success, and included the hits "Just One More Time" and "Feel It (Feel My Body)", resulting in the band touring Europe with Whitesnake at the beginning of 1984. The group's sole entry on the US charts, "Just One More Time", spent nine weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 70 in February 1984.

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