TORONTO – The broad backlash against pop-rockers Hedley has been swift and stunning in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations that emerged online.
The band has said the claims are unsubstantiated but the group acknowledges that they have “engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock ‘n’ roll cliches.”
Once considered Canadian music darlings, the quartet of Jacob Hoggard, Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison are now weathering intense scrutiny into their off-stage antics.
Here are five things to know about the band:
1. They had a “bad boy” image from the start
The band rose to fame after the “Canadian Idol” appearance by frontman Hoggard, who parlayed outrageous performances on the CTV reality show into a chart-topping music career with his rambunctious pop-punk bandmates. Red carpet appearances routinely involved suggestive comments or bleeped expletives and their personas seemed to cater directly to their substantial teen following, many of them female.
2. “Canadian Idol”
For many the band is still synonymous with this CTV reality smash, thanks in large part to the indelible images Hoggard ingrained as the breakout star of its sophomore season. There was the time Hoggard wore a shiny electric blue unitard to belt David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” and he gave host Ben Mulroney a wet willy in the ear following his take on Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown.” Then there was his eager willingness to bend over and pretend to pick up something off the floor while wearing skin-tight pants. The audience shrieked approval every time.
3. TV darlings
With their exuberant frontman and his over-the top personality, it didn’t take long for Hedley to become a music video favourite and staple booking on Canadian TV awards shows. The band had been a mainstay on broadcasts including the MuchMusic Video Awards and the Junos — he even hosted the show in 2015. The tattooed, eyeliner-adorned and lip-pierced Hoggard could always be counted on to push broadcast standards with a pair of short-shorts or an obscene gesture.
4. Before the fame
The band began in Abbotsford, B.C., in 2003 and originally consisted of Hoggard with Kevin Giesbrecht, Kevin Heeres, Ryan Federau and Brandon McKay. The band broke up shortly after Hoggard’s “Idol” run, only to reform with all-new members, save for Hoggard.
The band is currently in the midst of a cross-Canada tour in support of their latest album “Cageless.” It extends through March 23, when it wraps in Kelowna, B.C. Halifax-based band Neon Dreams said Friday it is dropping out as an opener, while Shawn Hook has decided to stay on the tour as a supporting act.