Helix still rocking more than 30 years later

Gimme an R-O-C-K! Veteran Canadian heavy metal band Helix is heading to Fredericton and Moncton to show their New Brunswick fans that they are still able to rock with the best of them, even after more than 30 years.

The band is celebrating the release of their new record Vagabond Bones, recorded in leader Brian Vollmer’s hometown of London, Ontario between April and September of this year. Independently released but with national distribution, the band’s new record is their first release since their last studio record, 2007’s The Power of Rock N’ Roll.

Although Helix doesn’t maintain a heavy touring schedule, they continue to keep busy, playing 54 one-nighters in 2008 alone.

In addition to his work with Helix, Vollmer keeps busy providing vocal lessons to others, instructing more than 50 clients a week. In addition to being recognized as the legendary Helix vocalist, Vollmer also has the distinction of being one of the last teachers of the Bel Canto vocal style to be found anywhere in the world.

He has been instructing students on the vocal style, which originated in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries, for more than 23 years.

Vollmer admits the band’s touring schedule to support their new record will largely depend on the success the record finds with the general public.

“I’d do 30 days straight if the money was there!” Vollmer says. “The touring circuit is so different these days as compared to what it was in the past though.

“These days, agents have bands do ‘fly-ins’ where they will book on central date and then book a few of shows in relative close proximity to the anchor date.”

Although the bulk of the band’s touring takes place in Canada, they do continue to get down to the US for some shows. Earlier this year, Helix played the Rocklahoma Music Festival in Pryor, Oklahoma and has also found themselves travelling to places as far away as Sweden for one-off shows.

The live setting is where Helix is undoubtedly best enjoyed. To that effect, Vollmer is feeling confident in the current incarnation of the band which includes original members Brent Doerner, Darryl Gray and Greg “Fritz” Hinz along with “new guy” Caleb Duck.

“I’m feeling really good about this lineup. The musicianship is great plus we’re able to pull off great harmonies again. It’s great to have that support on vocals,” Vollmer says.

To help promote the band’s new record Vagabond Bones, Vollmer says that all those who purchase the album via their website (www.planethelix.com) or at their live show will be entered into a draw for an autographed BC Rich Warlock guitar, the draw for which is being done on Christmas Eve.

Not a bad deal for buyers while also supporting one of Canada’s most beloved classic heavy-metal bands!

Catch Helix when they play at Sweetwaters in Fredericton on Wednesday November 18 and on Friday November 20 at the Rockin’ Rodeo in Moncton.

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