A native of Vernon, BC, Darby Mills began her rise to the top of Canadian rock’s most recognizeable voices in the mid 70’s, doing mostly what she termed ‘BG’s (background vocals), and then joined Vancouver’s Steelback for a short period prior to their sole album in 1981.
After signing on with The Headpins as Denise McCann‘s replacement, they released TURN IT LOUD in 1980 and began a three album run on the Canadian charts, breaking major ground in the US and backed up the likes of Whitesnake, KISS and Aerosmith among others around the world throughout the 80’s.
She also helped make the Lock Up Your Sons tour in the mid 80’s the stuff Canadian legends are made of. The Headpins were featured on a string of cross-country shows with Holly Woods & Toronto and Lydia Taylor, and appeared on the duet “Cats & Dogs” with Woods on Toronto’s ASSAULT & FLATTERY lp in ’84
After leaving The Headpins in the late ’80s, she assembled Plain Jane and shopped for a deal to no avail at the time, but inked one with WEA in ’91. Produced by Dave Pickell, she released her debut solo lp, NEVER LOOK BACK later that year. Backed by the Unsung Heroes, which consisted of Corey James Phillips on guitars, Jeff Slewidge on drums, bassist Shelley Andrushko and Paul Minshall on keyboards, the album showcased MIlls’ passion and energy in one of the year’s sleeper hits in 10 original tracks, including some written with Kenny Kaos and Ron Vaugeois and Gord Maxwell of One Horse Blue fame.
She returned to reform the Headpins with Bernie Aubin and Ab Bryant a few years later, and reclaimed her throne as the Queen of Canadian Screamers, and has been a fixture on the tour circuit ever since. In 2005 her name was nominated for a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, and the band carried on playing Canada, as well as making a few trips to the US as well as Mexico.
In mid ’16 Mills branched off on her own after remixing her 1991 solo album, repackaged as FLYING SOLO. She continued on, touring across the country and after Telus released the documentary “Queen of Scream,” she recorded her shows throughout 2017, releasing DARBY MILLS PROJECT LIVE early the next year. Along with a couple of Headpins tracks, the album was predominantly her solo material, as well as several covers of her biggest musical influences, including Nazareth, Janis Joplin, and Aretha Franklin, among others.