Singer Brian Vollmer gives recap of Helix’s highlights for 2019
It’s been a big year for Helix in 2019 with several milestones including a critically acclaimed album titled Old School and the return of drummer Greg “Fritz” Hinz in the line-up after a fall in November 2018 that left him with a fractured skull.
Interestingly, Vollmer refers to the one Helix gig that Sleaze Roxx attended and covered in July 2019 as “our shittiest gig of the year.”
The following message was posted on Vollmer‘s Facebook page earlier today (with slight edits):
“In a little over two weeks, Lynda and I will once again be leaving for Florida. The difference this time is that we now own a home in North Fort Myers and will be staying for 5-1/2 months. We have two dates to play before we go: The Brass Monkey in Ottawa on Oct. 11th and the next night at Maxwells in Waterloo. This was a momentous year for the band. Here are some of the highlights:
February: We throw “Fritzfest” at the Eastsides in London to help raise money to help Fritz while he recovers from devastating injuries suffered in a fall in Nov. 2018. Also on the bill that night were the Killer Dwarfs & Syre. The night sells out quickly and the place is packed to the rafters with goodwill . Former Helix drummer Archie Gamble is the MC and many fans and friends donate to the cause. Lotsa love in the room.
March: With Jamie Constant from Syre filling in on drums, we go west to play with Kick Axe at The Century Casino. The next night, we play in Grand Prairie with The Headpins & StreetHeart.
A couple of weeks later, we play with Kick Axe & the Killer Dwarfs at the Regent Center in Winnipeg and then the next night ,in Brandon, Manitoba at The North 40.
April/May: We release our 15th full length studio album called Old School to rave reviews. “Coming Back With Bigger Guns” becomes our night opener. We also re-release our first two indie albums Breaking Loose / H&S Records / 1979 and White Lace & Black Leather / H&S Records / 1981 on Europe’s Progaor Records. Both re-issues contain bonus tracks. The Trailer Park Boys release their cartoon show on Netflix. I’m immortalized in cartoon form in Season 1, Episode 10.
June: Fritz returns! We play the Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver and then the next night at The Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary. Lots of driving, flying, & getting up early. Fritz handles it like a champ. We fly to Spain and play Rock Barcelona with an all star roster of bands including Dee Snider and Def Leppard.
July: We kick off Canada Day in Athabasca, Alberta. Two days later we fly into Northern Ontario to play in Round Lake for the Cree Nation. Our festival date in Welland turns into a cluster f**k, but our gig at The Gables in Grand Bend is packed with London fans eager to see the band. Somewhere in there we also play our shittiest gig of the year at Club Absinthe in Hamilton with Anvil. Horror story. Never again. However, our old friend Jeff Hill booked us to play at the Fort Erie race track and the gig turned out to be one of the best of the year. There were several U.S. fans out to the gig, the band played well, and there was a good crowd.
July ends off with another native gig-this time for the Mishkeegogamang (Ojibway) in Oshaburgh. To get there, we flew to Thunder Bay, drove west to Ignace and then hung a hard right and drove another 5-1/2 hours to Pickle Lake where the paved road ended: Ontario’s last frontier. We met many wonderful people and partied it up at the Pickle Lake Hotel.
We finished off the summer with two memorable gigs. The first was just outside of Norkopping, Sweden. The festival was called Skogsrojet. On the bill were The Darkness (who’d we’d played with before), Glenn Hughes (f**kin’ unbelievable), Airbourne, and our old friends Uriah Heep. There were many more world famous bands there as well. The promoter gave me a beautiful flask as a gift when we left — a nice touch. The worst part of the trip was going home. On our flight from Stockholm to Heathrow, the SAS flight crew showed up 45 minutes late, causing us to miss our connecting flight to Toronto. The airline sent us to Dublin, Ireland. We got in late, so no food (everything was closed), two to a room (huh???) and after only 30 minutes in the hotel bar, nearly saw our first Irish knife fight. Welcome to Ireland! There’s more to this misadventure, but suffice to say that I’ll never fly SAS again. Worst airline in the world. Been trying to get compensated for over a month now and they won’t return my phone calls or emails.
The date to end the summer was in Prince George. I love B.C. and unlike the last time we were in town where the festival went belly up, this one was a huge success. I have to say that it was here that we got the best reaction of the whole year.
September: We played CFB Borden in early September for the Canadian armed forces with Prism and Destroyer. Moe, who plays Gene in the band, is in our “Gene Simmons Says Rock Is Dead” video. Nice guys. Lynda and I went up a day early so we could go out with the promoter. The whole weekend was a holiday — nice weather, good times, and fun people.”