Brian Vollmer recalls resigning after poor initial response to Helix album ‘Back For Another Taste’
Helix have been going for 40 plus years so it’s incredible to think that the band might have come to an end in the early ’90s after the release of the group’s seventh studio album Back For Another Taste in 1990.
The following message was posted on Vollmer‘s Facebook page earlier today:
“Here’s a song we might be playing this weekend: GOOD TO THE LAST DROP. Pretty high song to end off practice with!
I wrote this song in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn with Mark Ribbler back in 1988. We had just written MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, which had taken us most of the day. Barry Bergman, Mark‘s manager, dropped by and we all went out for supper at a vegetarian restaurant. I said I felt like we were “on a roll” and that I wanted to write another song when we got back to Mark‘s apartment. Mark suggested the title, “Can’t Eat Just One”, to which I commented that I thought the title was too cumbersome to sing. I countered with, “What about Good to the Last Drop?”. We ended up going back to Mark‘s and not only writing the song, but also recording it in record time-about an hour.
The song was one of the last we wrote for the BACK FOR ANOTHER TASTE album, which we recorded at River Studios in Fort Erie (right beside the strip joint-which made for interesting evenings!) The original album version was without keyboards and backing vocals.
Back for Another Taste came out to poor reviews in Canada. The first single “THE STORM”, received a lot of video play on MUCH MUSIC but got ZERO support at Canadian radio. Sound familiar? The second single, RUNNING WILD IN THE 21ST Century also got heavy video play on MUCH (it eventually went on to win producer Phil Kates the “Heavy Metal video of the Year” Award) but failed once again to make a dent at radio. Metal magazine writers/reviewers were actually hostile to us on this disc-I nearly got into a fight with one at the bar when we played Rock and Roll Heavens, for which I was reamed out by the record company and my manager. It was like the line from “Even Jesus (Wasn’t Loved In His Home Town)”—“They love to build you up just to tear you down.”
I was totally demoralized and frustrated. I handed in my resignation to my manager Bill Seip and told him to cancel the European tour he had signed us up for as the support act for Ian Gillan.
Well, Bill (or Seipy as we called him) put up a hellva fight with me about cancelling the tour. Eventually I relented, but I told him that this would be my last. At the end of it I was saying “adios.” We headed off to England where we were to rent our gear and van for the tour. We had a few days off, so I ended up staying at the apartment of a girl I had met right at the end of recording Wild in the Streets. Her name was Lynda Cowgill. Everyone called her “Lynda Longlegs.” Her nic-name at the Hard Rock Cafe where she worked off of Hyde Park was Jill, which she spelled with a treble clef.
The Ian Gillan tour kicked off in Budapest, Hungary. Capitol paid to have Much Music come over and film us for a couple of days. The resulting special was named “Waltzing in Vienna“. The tour took us from Hungary to Austria/Germany/Luxembourg/Italy/Switzerland/Scandanavia and then finally back to England. Once again I found myself at Lynda Longleg‘s place.
I had intended to stay there for a week when suddenly I got a call from Bill. He informed me that “GOOD TO THE LAST DROP” was becoming a huge hit in Canada. The song had been re-mixed by Toni Bongovi and background vocals by Aldo Nova and Steve Marranachio had been added. Also keyboards. Seipy suggested that if I was going to quit I would be much better off to at least tour Canada and reap the monetary rewards the single was generating. After all, I had just spent 16 years of my life dragging my ass around the world to make zero money, so why quit now when I finally could make some?
It made sense to me, so we came home and toured Canada and I never did quit the band. Lynda Longlegs came to visit at the end of that tour. Without going on a date (ever!) I proposed and about 6 months later we were married. Her mother, who came over for the wedding, whispered under her breath to me, “THIS WON’T LAST ‘TILL CHRISTMAS!!!”
Lynda and I have been married now for over 27 years. In the end, her mother thought “the sun shone outta my ass”. Our marriage gets better every day and GOOD TO THE LAST DROP has been our theme song.”
Helix‘s “Good To The Last Drop” video:
Awesome song from awesome canadian band HELIX.
Helix‘s “The Storm” video:
available on the 30th anniversary concert dvd