Carl Dixon's career as a musician and performer began in 1979. Over the decades since then he recorded and toured with Coney Hatch, The Guess Who and April Wine. Such things don't happen by accident. For each of those career milestones there was a period of preparation and planning. Each success came about through careful management.
In a stunning and sudden reversal of fortune, Carl was knocked off his flight path by a 2008 head-on auto accident in Australia. His recovery from the devastation of 50 injuries was now dependent on the successful management of one specialists team after another: the Emergency Rescue Team, the Police, the Air Ambulance and Paramedics, the Hospital Trauma Unit, ER Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, Psych and brain therapists, even a Music therapist, each playing their critical role, each executing their individual plans but everyone working as team with one primary goal…..get Carl back on stage performing. Those many hands on deck made it possible for Carl to resume his own project, namely the restoration of his broken body to a state that he could one day return to where he'd left off, singing for The Guess Who.
Carl's actual rescue & transfer from ground team to air ambulance
Carl with nurses, surgeons and therapists
Carl's return to The Guess Who 2016
“Wanting to get back what he may have lost, Mr. Dixon is a real life example of the indomitable human spirit”
Attendee, Saskatchewan Conference 2015
"I sat on the edge of my chair captivated by the story" Michael Williams Head Safety
Carl Dixon is described as a man of titanium rock and soul. Here's why: CARL is a Canadian rock musician and recording artist who originally hails from Sault Sainte Marie, in Northern Ontario. He was signed to his first international record deal at just 22-years old with his break through band CONEY HATCH. He toured North America opening for IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST and toured with some of the biggest names in North American music. Carl's powerful vocals soon led to him being offered the spot of lead singer of THE GUESS WHO after Burton Cummings left the iconic Canadian band.
Carl pictured with Walter Gretzky, CM, O.Ont - both survived brain injury
Carl jumped at the chance and stayed as lead singer of The Guess Who for eight years in total. Due to family issues Carl took leave from The Guess Who and travelled to Australia in 2008, but the stress took its toll. Distracted by emotional worry while driving at night Carl forgot that in Australia they drive on the left. he was involved in a horrific head on car collision in rural Victoria. He sustained 52 injuries including traumatic brain injury, crushed legs and internal organs. (Thankfully the other driver survived.) Remarkably driving behind Carl were ordinary citizens with special skills. These strangers helped save Carl's life. One was a midwife,one had just graduated from paramedic school and her father was chief of the local volunteer fire brigade and rescue. They tried desperately to keep Carl alive. Carl was conscious trying to hold his shattered arm and he stated "My name's Carl. please you have to help me." He then lapsed into unconsciousness. Emergency crews were called in. Trapped in the crushed car for one hour and forty five minutes there seemed little hope for the critically injured Canadian who was eventually airlifted to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital. The prognosis was he would likely be quadriplegic, would likely lose two limbs and may be blind. While in a coma for 10 days Carl's CONEY HATCH band mate Andy Curran spoke to comatose Carl via phone and told him he had to survive as "the Hatch has more rocking to do." Though he pulled through Carl's life as he knew it fell apart. He lost his job, his physical ability (he is classed at having lost 75% of his ability), less than 50% vision, his family left him and the concern that saw him travel to Australia saw the marriage collapse.
Eleven years on, Carl Dixon is walking tall, his life and limbs saved by dedicated emergency surgeons and therapy. His rescue by volunteers and emergency surgeons and staff in Australia is the stuff of legends. He now sports a glass eye and has extensive scarring, a hole in his skull and suffers PTSD. His unlikely survival was followed by business difficulty. When the dust settled his business was in tatters and he was left with a mountain of debt by his former "advisor."
Doggedly Carl returned to doing what he loves: music (with help from hospital therapists, determined to see Carl play again.) His injuries caused him to rethink his approach to life going forward. He tried public speaking, sharing his story and was soon booked by a US company to speak at its safety conference. From there, word spread. Carl regularly tours sharing his lessons, music and observations to companies across North America. His raw account of his accident and rehabilitation is inspiring and uplifting. In 2015, Carl became a published author his book of memoirs titled "Strange Way to Live" is in his publisher's Best Seller list.
Carl wrote a song "Part of A Set" hoping for a real partnership with someone who shared his values. In 2013 an Australian television director, Helen Parker walked into his town, visiting mutual friends. "When she sang a song I fell off my chair" says Carl who convinced Helen to stay. They married in 2016, travel everywhere together and are a powerful force for good.
Despite his accident and injuries Carl sings better than ever, he's rebranded his business to six figure success, he had a triumphant return to THE GUESS WHO as special guest and returned to touring with CONEY HATCH to packed venues in 2018-2019.
Carl's story of rebuilding his life to happiness and coping with traumatic brain injury is inspiring, remarkable and entertaining with a capital E!
Join a legend of Canadian rock as he weaves his story in words and music:
BUILDING SUCCESS FROM CALAMITY
From Rock to a Hard Place - the journey back!