Hugh Dillon, former Headstone turned TV star, has often depended on the musical muse to lead him in the right direction.
“I got in the habit of songwriting long ago, it was consistent when everything else wasn’t consistent,” the 46-year-old explains, referring to when his hard rocking group disbanded in 2003.
Works Well With Others, his new solo album out on Warner Music today, features a couple of songs heard on the two shows he stars in, Flashpoint and Durham County. The music is muscular yet introspective, filled with clear-headed determination. What did he intend with the title? “Well, it was something written on my report cards when I was a kid until one day it wasn’t,” he says. The angry young punk has come full circle.
Produced by Paul Langlois of the Tragically Hip, the album is a farewell to the boozed up addict who didn’t think he’d see age 40. First song Friends of Mine, is spare and to the point, a confessional of sorts. “I lost a lot of friends, it’s part and parcel of the lifestyle. When you’re young you emphasize the drugs and rock ’n’ roll. But they take over life. I knew I had to change everything.” Dillon packed his bags and headed to Los Angeles (where he still lives) to start over. “It was terrifying. I had a s—y little apartment and my guitar. I had to fight depression and misery and rise above the problem. Once I had identified that the problem was me, I had a shot.”
Acting in indie movies Hard Core Logo in 1996, and Down to the Bone in 2004 helped land him plum roles in Durham County and Flashpoint. He credits his wife, Midori Fujiwara, for supporting him as he got his life back together.
“We’ve been together 21 years. I wrote the song Puzzle I Am for her. It’s very different for me, no rage, and no heavy rock ’n’ roll. It was liberating.”
This month the Gemini-nominated actor/musician starts shooting the next season of Durham County in Montreal. Come January he’ll be in Toronto revving up for another season of Flashpoint. He hopes to do a few live music gigs in December and possibly tour next spring or summer.