Helix frontman Brian Vollmer looks back at guitarist Denny Blake’s time in the band
Helix frontman Brian Vollmer has had many guitarists in his band over the Canadian group’s 43 plus years. Wikipedia lists 20 guitarists that have played in Helix including current guitarists Kaleb Duck and Chris Julke as well as the band’s likely most well known guitarists Paul Hackman and Brent Doerner while Helix list ten different guitarists for the ’90s alone on their website.
Sleaze Roxx recently interviewed Vollmer who spoke about the difficulty in having to replace Doerner in the band at the time of the Back For Another Taste album: “Well, it was a very tough album for us because that was the album in which Brent [“Doctor” Doener] left the band. Brent had been a staple in Helix since I think 1976 and it hurt when he left. I remember when he ended up finally quitting and down at the Ox, we were all sitting and I cried. We were like brothers. And then the only money that we had saved after all those years of not making money — I think Paul [Hackman] and I who owned the band by that point had something like $35,000. That was it. Our manager sat us down and said, “You got a decision to make. You need to take this money, split it up and call it a day or you can take that money and record another album.” We decided to record another album and it was pretty difficult.”
Helix recently posted an article on their website about one of their guitarists — Denny Blake also known as Denny Balicky:
“After we recorded and released Back for Another Taste in 1989 we needed a guitar player to take the show on tour. Brent Doerner, a member since 1976, had quit the band at the end of the touring for Wild in the Streets. He had had enough…and none of us could blame him. We auditioned many guitarists and none of them could fill Brent’s shoes. Suddenly I remembered the “kid” that had played guitar for a band that had backed us up a couple of years before on a tour through the Eastern U.S. The name of the band was MANIACS and the guitar player’s name was Denny Blake. Denny came up and auditioned and we all agreed we’d love to have him in the band. He was the first American to be in Helix.
Denny was not only a top notch guitar player but also was a kind, funny, entertaining, “up” person to be around. These clips are from some of the gigs we played in Europe in 1990. Most of them were taken on the Ian Gillan tour, where we were the opening act. of note is the gig at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, where we are joined onstage by Tommy Ayers (keyboardist for Ian Gillan). It was Tommy who played organ on “A Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by WHAM. The film ends off with us in England, where we played at the famous Marquee. Helix played two gigs at both the old and new Marquee. The first one was right after we were there touring on Walking On The Razor’s Edge, which was recorded by Capitol/E.M.I. to be released only to Canadian radio as a promotional device. Ultimately they released some of these tracks for commercial sale. The second time we played at the “new” Marquee was a few years later where some Page 3 Girl from a London paper pranced around topless onstage with us. Aw…memories!”
You can read the rest of the article at Helix‘s website.
Back For Another Taste along with four other Helix albums and Vollmer‘s solo album When Pigs Fly were recently reissued by Perris Records.
Helix with guitarist Denny Blake‘s tour in Europe with Ian Gillan in 1990:
Denny Blake/Helix guitarist/1990 European Tour After we recorded and released Back for Another Taste in 1989 we needed a guitar player to take the show on tour. Brent Doerner, a member since 1976, had quit the band at the end of the touring for Wild in the Streets.