Brian Vollmer finds album’s worth of songs written that will released as new Helix album ‘Old School’
Great news for Helix fans as the group’s long-time frontman Brian Vollmer has found an album’s worth of songs with many tracks co-written back in the day by Vollmer and now deceased guitarist Paul Hackman. Vollmer plans on putting everything together with his current bandmates and releasing it as a Helix album titled Old School in the spring of 2019. The album will be dedicated to Hackman.
The following message was posted on Vollmer‘s Facebook page earlier today (with slight edit):
“Well, it’s like the songs says, “One thing leads to another…”
Been going through all the 2″, 1/2″, 1/4″ tape, and cassettes that I’ve had stored here for years. Found an album’s worth of songs (most of which were written by Paul and myself) plus a few other gems and voila! I have a new Helix album. I’ll be working with Daryl and the guys over the winter to put it together.
Three of the songs were recorded but never released: Your Turn to Cry/Games Mother Never Taught You/ and Tie Me Down. These were done at River Audio in Fort Erie during the recording of Back For Another Taste. I took the tapes to Goderich on Monday to Seigfried Meier‘s studio in the hopes that he could play them on one of his many 2″ machines. No such luck…They all have to be thermally baked, which take 48 hours for each reel (they can’t all be done at once). But!—-it’s cheaper than re-recording them and Paul is playing on the tracks. That’s the biggest reason I wanted to do this.
Paul had a definite style when he played and wrote. He sounded like no one else. His influences came mostly from melodic hard rock/heavy metal bands: Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Journey, AC/DC, and ZZ Top (tell me that group didn’t influence “Heavy Metal Cowboys”) among many others. He was able to soak up those influences and then spit them back out sounding like Helix. These unreleased songs are a prime example of that: Your Turn to Cry, Coming Back with Bigger Guns, and Pretty Poison.
Some of the other songs on the album I wrote with other writers: Cheers was written by myself and Bob Halligan. Halligan also wrote Rock You (I wrote the verse lyrics but was never credited), Deep Cuts the Knife w/Paul, and Some Heads are Gonna Roll and Take These Chains by Judas Priest. and the Number 1 Billboard Hit “Don’t Close Your Eyes” released by KIX from the album “Blow Your Fuse.”
When I wrote Cheers with Bob, he was living down in Brooklyn in a ramshackle apartment where he slept on a mattress on the floor. During the day he would busk to survive. We originally recorded the song on an old out-of-tune upright piano, which actually enhanced the song (in my opinion). I don’t have a version of that recording, although Daryl has told me he does. I’ll have to get it from him. Haven’t decided yet if we’ll use any of the versions we have or just re-record the song.
If Tears Could Talk was written by the band at our old practice hall on Breiphupt Street in Kitchener. Lastlly, “Tie Me Down” was written by Anthony Vandenburg at Exploding Door Studios in Toronto. Anthony had named it that when he tried to fix a door at the studios by filling it with foam. Well, he put too much in the door and-guess what?-it exploded…lol.
The album will be called “OLD SCHOOL“. Expect a release next spring. The album will be dedicated to Paul Hackman and is guaranteed to be special.”
Wikipedia states the following about Hackman (with slight edits):
“A native of the Southwestern Ontario city of St. Thomas, Paul Hackman played in two local bands, Whitehorse and Purple Wedge. He joined Helix in 1976 when original keyboardist Don Simmons handed in his resignation. Hackman saw an ad for a replacement keyboard player in the newspaper and contacted Helix manager William Seip. Hackman informed Seip that he too had been searching for a keyboard player for his own band, and hadn’t found one in six months. He convinced Seip to let him audition as a new guitar player, which took place at the Seip farm in Baden, a small Ontario community. Hackman was offered the gig, and according to lead vocalist Brian Vollmer, “our sound became heavier and more aggressive.”
Helix released two independent albums on their own H&S Records, entitled Breaking Loose and White Lace & Black Leather, in 1979 and 1981 respectively. Helix signed with Capitol Records in 1983 and released No Rest For The Wicked. This album featured Canadian hit video “Heavy Metal Love”, which Hackman and Vollmer co-wrote. Long Way To Heaven, featuring Hackman‘s “Deep Cuts The Knife”, was released in 1985. In 1986, another Hackman co-write, “It’s Too Late” from the movie soundtrack to Iron Eagle, was released. The 1987 album Wild In The Streets was considered a disappointment by Capitol Records, only managing an unexpectedly low #179 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, although the album did go gold in Canada. By the end of the 1980s, Hackman had toured not only all over Canada, United States and England, but even played in Sweden and Trinidad. In 1990, after a short break, Helix released what would turn out to be its final album with Hackman, Back For Another Taste, for which Hackman and Vollmer co-wrote “Runnin’ Wild in the 21st Century”….
Hackman and Brian Vollmer agreed to take a short break, during which Vollmer would compose songs for a solo album, while Hackman would write for the next Helix CD. A tour of Western Canada was booked for the 1992 summer touring season. On July 5, following a concert in Vancouver, the group’s van veered off and rolled down a 40-foot embankment and Paul Hackman, asleep in a seat behind the driver, was thrown from the vehicle and died upon being taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Kamloops. He was 38 years old and lived with his wife, Connie in Port Franks, a village in his native Southwestern Ontario.”