Friday, December 08, 2006


Today in Music History:

Elton John hits #2 with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," the title track from a double album that would itself reach #1 and remain on the album charts for two years.
Time to finish up my quadtastic lineup of classic Canadian bands. People have been searching the heck out of Christmas music, so starting next week I'll probably put up a few to satisfy the googlers. Honestly though I've just about had it up to here with the whole holiday thing. When I got to shop for necessities I have to wait in lines for at least a half hour and I swear everyone decides to put on their dipshit hats for the holidays. Folks just plain forget how to drive and the pedestrians just hop out in front of you without even a looksee. Homercat is going to hibernate all weekend so he can stay the hell away from all these Christmas tards. On to the music.

HelixHelix is a heavy metal band that formed in 1974 for a Battle of the Bands contest in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada and is best known for their 1984 single "Rock You". The original lineup consisted of singer Brian Vollmer, guitarists Brent Doerner and Paul Hackman, bassist Keith Zurbrigg and drummer Brian Doerner. Yep those Doerner guys are twins. Helix will never be known as progressive or thinking man's metal but who cares? Besides you gotta love a band that can mix a harmonica in with the metal.

After touring the southern Ontario clubs for a few years, the band decided to record and release their material on their own. Their first independent release, 'Breaking Loos'e, was released on their own H&S Records label in 1979. Two years and two member changes later, they released their second H&S album,'White Lace & Black Leather'. In 1982 they were signed to Capitol Records worldwide and 1983 saw the release of their first international album, 'No Rest For The Wicked'. Over the next ten years they released six more albums, five for Capitol, including a best-of compilation, and one on Aquarius/EMI. They did several international tours with the likes of Kiss, Aerosmith, Rush, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Heart, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., and Motorhead, and headlined a few of their own Canadian tours as well.

In 1991, co-founding member Brent Doerner decided to call it quits after 15 years on the road and his replacement was found in northern New York in Balicki. Balicki only played live with them, however, and when the band went back into the studio in 1992 to cut 'It's A Business Doing Pleasure', Doerner came out of retirement and rejoined his old cohorts. Also appearing on that album were guests such as Kim Mitchell, Lee Aaron, and Jaymz Bee, among many others. On July 5, 1992, a bus carrying some band members and crew went off the road suddenly near Kamloops, BC, and plunged down a 40 foot precipice. Two crew members were seriously injured and bassist Gray escaped with minor injuries, but guitarist and co-founding member Paul Hackman was killed in the crash. Services were held five days later near Kitchener, and long-time friend Ray Lyell sang during the service. After taking some time off, the remaining members decided that Hackman would have wanted them to continue, so they recruited Brighton Rock guitarist Greg Fraser to join their ranks. The first single off the album, "That Day Is Gonna Come", was written as a tribute to Hackman, and the video for the song featured unique Super 8 and video footage shot by Vollmer on the road over the years.

The lead singer and sole member to remain in the band throughout their career is Brian Vollmer. Currently Brian manages every aspect of the Helix organization from booking tours to distributing Helix merchandise. He also teaches the classical vocal technique Bel Canto in Kitchener, as well as singing classical music at weddings and funerals throughout southern Ontario.

Rock You by Helix 1984
Make Me Do anything You Want by Helix 1984
Buy It

Rockin' in My Outer Space by Helix 2004
Buy It

F.U.G.L.Y. by Brian Vollmer (solo) 1999
Buy It

So back on November 15 I started this Canadian retro thingy with my post on Prism and here I have ended up with Helix. Here's the reason. About a month ago the ladycat of the house won us two tickets and VIP passes to a New Year's Eve Bash at Bear Mountain Arena in which four bands will be performing. PRISM, HARLEQUIN, THE HEADPINS AND HELIX. I'm not sure but I believe this will be one New Year's Rockin' Eve. Dick Clark ain't got shit on this. The VIP passes entitle us to food, champagne and schmoozing with band members. If I'm lucky I may get an interview or two as I will surely be wearing my press hat. Photo's seem very likely to be taken. I doubt if I bootleg it though. Journeying back and relistening to these classic albums has got homercat pumped for this new years party. So rock out people and be safe this weekend.

Funny Toon