By Tim Leeds
Havre will usher in the third millennium with a combination concert and New Year's Eve party at the Bigger Better Barn Sunday.
The Headpins will be performing the concert, complete with a balloon drop and a video viewing of the apple at Times Square at midnight.
This concert will culminate the 21st year of the Headpins. Drummer and publicist Bernie Aubin said they formed the band in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1979. While the band only recorded three studio albums, they hit the music scene in a pretty big way with their first album, "Turn it Loud," released on the independent label Solid Gold Records in 1982. And that's exactly what it did.
"It went gold in Alberta alone in one week," Aubin said.
He said the album sold about half-a-million copies in Canada alone, not to mention sales in the rest of the world.
The band consisted of Aubin, guitarist Brian "Too Loud" MacLeod, vocalist Darby Mills and bass player Ab Bryant. Their music fit in well with the energized hard rock that was popular in the early 1980s. Aubin and Bryant provided a solid rhythm for the performances of Mills' signature voice and MacLeod's guitar work, which has been characterized as almost a duet and a competition between the two.
Mills' opening line of the title track of the album, "Turn it up Turn it loud!" is perhaps the most famous, most recognizable, part of the album, but the band had success with many singles from the production. They received quite a bit of radio play from several. June Erickson, who has been organizing the concert in Havre with the band, said since they started promoting the show personnel from Montana radio stations have told her they still receive quite a few requests to play the Headpins.
Aubin said they have played at a lot of clubs and in a lot of concerts over the years. He said they played from 1982 through 1986 solid. They also released their second album, "Line of Fire," in 1983, also on the Solid Gold label, followed by their last studio album, "Head Over Heels" on MCA Records in 1985. A greatest hits compilation was also released in 1988.
The band went into something of a hiatus in the late 1980s. Aubin said they were working on playing as a band again in 1991, when MacLeod was diagnosed with cancer. He died on April 20, 1992.
Aubin said they did re-form the band once again in 1994, with Vic Nickiforek taking over on guitar and Mills returning for the vocals. Bryant took over the bass once again in 1998.
Aubin said they have been pretty busy playing once again the last few years. The band has a fairly major tour across Canada planned to start in February.
They have toured extensively over the history of the band, Aubin said. He said they have played most of the United States and Europe as well as doing Canadian performances. The list of bands they have done concerts with and the events they have played is also quite impressive. It includes touring Europe with Whitesnake for two months; playing with such bands as KISS, ZZ Top, Loverboy, Alice Cooper, 38 Special, Foreigner, Def Leppard, Lynrd Skynrd, Nazareth, Eddie Money, Heart and more, and playing in clubs, fairs and big festivals.
Aubin said touring today is a little different for the band than it was in the 1980s.
"It's more relaxed, low pressure," he said. "We don't have anything to prove; we just play good."
He said playing with Nickiforek has also worked out pretty well.
"I've had to teach him to groove, but it's doing good," Aubin said jokingly.
Erickson said there are still tickets available for the show, and they will be sold at the door as well. She said she recommends buying them in advance, since that will avoid standing in line at the door and save a couple of dollars as well. The advance tickets are $18, and tickets will be $20 at the door.
Shamrock's Bar and Casino will be serving drinks in a "beer garden," and North Star Gymnastics will have a concessions stand set up. Marty Severson's Great Falls company will be producing the concert, with a light show and video screens. His company has produced the Wheatstock music festival for the last couple of years. Shamrock's will also be using a vehicle, on loan from Western Trailer & Marine Sales and Service, to provide a free "taxi bus" to and from the concert, Erickson said. She said people should contact Shamrock's to find out where and when the pick up and drop off points will be.
She said there will be prizes, donated by local merchants, in some of the balloons during the balloon drop. She said they include certificates from various taverns, restaurants and other businesses, with a special ticket for a coat with the Headpins logo on it donated by Pennington's Inc.
The concert is being sponsored by several local, state and national businesses, including the TownHouse Inns of Havre, Q106 FM radio out of Great Falls, Coors Lite and Miller Lite. Tickets are available at Pardi Gras, Creative Leisure, Holden's Hot Wheels, and Shamrock's Bar in Havre, as well as other locations in the state. Erickson said a lot of credit for the concert has to go to the sponsors. She said it just couldn't have happened otherwise, with advertising and various expenses.
Erickson said there has been a lot of interest around the state for the concert. She said she has heard that fans will be coming from all around, including Great Falls, Kalispell and Billings. She even got a call from Canada asking about the concert, she said, and those fans will probably be here as well.
Erickson said it was interesting how the Havre New Year's Eve concert came about. She said she has been a fan of the Headpins since she first heard them while she was in junior high. She and her husband saw a show at a club in Canada, she said, and she asked the owner if he ever had the Headpins play there.
Erickson said he told her that they wouldn't be playing there anytime soon, but he thought they were playing in Calgary. She said after calling the contact he gave her she found out that, no, the band wouldn't be playing there soon, either. Her contact was a friend of members of the band, however, and pretty soon she was talking to Bernie Aubin. The next thing she knew, she said, they were talking about the Headpins playing in Havre.
Erickson said the members of the band are just nice people, and that they are really anxious to come and play in Havre. She said she is anxious for the concert, too.
"It's been a really long time since we had a rock concert in Havre," she said. " It's New Year's Eve; it's not just going to be a concert, but it will be a fun event to go to. It's going to be fun. I'm really excited."