HELIX – The Original Indie Rock Band

Brent Doerner - HELIX
 Great website. I recommend you check it out!
 I hope the webmaster for the site
 remembers to add to the “Useless Facts” page:
 “Angela R Campbell wrote about Helix on Ohjusteatit.ca”.
 Brian Vollmer - Lead Vocals
 Kaleb Duck - Guitar
 Fritz Hinz - Drums
 Daryl Gray - Bass
 Brent Doerner- Lead Guitar

I should have written about Ontario’s HELIX sooner. They are THE original indie rock band, paying to record and produce their own album back in the 70’s. They’ve returned to being Indie and they’ve also returned to almost their original lineup of musicians after years of changing band members over and over.

I never fully appreciated HELIX until I saw them at The Rockpile Friday night. I liked their music, but I had never seen them live before and they give a terrific show. Every one of them are showman. The music was professional. They played a really long set and got called back to stage for an encore and never lost their energy. I never knew they performed like that, but apparently, it’s what they’re known for. I couldn’t help but have fun and get right into it.

“Of their 10 studio albums, Helix has been awarded 4 Gold and 2 Platinum Albums.” ~ PlanetHelix.com

HELIX was a household name again in 2003 when during the third-season episode of the Trailer Park Boys, Bubbles and Ricky discussed the merits of HELIX compared to RUSH. The boys mentioned HELIX again throughout the season. Vollmer also filmed a cameo during that season which was included as a DVD deleted scene.

In 2004, HELIX celebrated their 30th anniversary. Two DVDs came out of that – “the 30th Anniversary Concert” and the documentary “30 Years Of Helix: No Rest For The Wicked”.

Brian Vollmer, the lead vocalist, is the man keeping this band together. The changes in the band since the 70’s are evident when you look at the bio page on their website. Vollmer has kept it going. He published an autobiography “Gimme an R” in 2005 which tells what he’s been through to keep the band alive over 30 years.

HELIX is back to the members we remember, Brian Vollmer, Fritz Hinz, Daryl Gray and Brent Doerner, with new member Kaleb Duck on guitar. The only one missing is guitarist Paul Hackman, who performed with the band from ’76 until his tragic death in a road accident in ’92. The band dedicated the hit “Deep cuts the knife” to Hackman Friday night. Hackman wrote that song in New York with Bob Halligan.

I was impressed with Vollmer’s singing. He has a strong voice and kept it up throughout the 2 hour set (set list below). He’s got a lot of energy. Apparently he gives vocal lessons in London. I would take vocal lessons from that guy.

He posted on Facebook that he’s going to be the “Parade Marshall” for the Listowel fair, Thursday, July 19th. He’ll be singing Oh Canada, riding in the parade, and doing a couple of songs acoustically with Daryl Gray to kick off the festivities. Listowel (about 2.5 hrs north west of Toronto) is where Vollmer went to high school.

There are 14 HELIX albums available for download on their website. HELIX has spent a lifetime building a legend, and the legend continues.

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Set List:
Hammer Falls
Vagabond Bones
Kids are all Shakin’
Monday Morning Meltdown
Go Hard or Go Home
Heavy Metal Love
The Calm
Danger Zone
Running Wild in the 21st Century
Make Me Do
Make ‘Em Dance
Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’
Skin in the Game
Champagne Communist
Kaleb’s Amazing Guitar Solo
Wild in the Streets
Good to the Last Drop
Deep Cuts the Knife
Billy Oxygen
Shot Full of Love
William Tell Overture
Dream On
Heavy Metal Cowboys

Status Update 4/12

I have 5 judges reviewing 3 songs + lyrics for my upcoming article on what makes a song good. I’ve been doing some research and i’ve discovered there are many different theories. I think it’s going to be a challenge to keep the article short and snappy. Maybe i should be reading about what makes a blog article good. -_-

Junos – Who’s From Ontario?

Of the Juno Awards major categories, 14 of the winners are either residing in Ontario or originally from Ontario. It makes me proud! The ones that make me the proudest are those who are not signed to a label. Special shout out to David Braid, Stretch Orchestra, Charlie Hope and Murray Porter for getting a Juno while staying Indie!



Label: Universal
Location: Hamilton, Ontario

CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Phil Dwyer Orchestra featuring Mark Fewer, Changing Seasons.

Label: Universal
Location: Originally from Toronto, Ontario, now in BC


Label: Indie
Location: Toronto

INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Stretch Orchestra, Stretch Orchestra.

Label: Indie
Location: Somewhere in Ontario

CHILDREN’S ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Charlie Hope, Songs Stories and Friends: Let’s Go Play!

Label: Indie
Location: originally from Toronto, Ontario, now in Seattle Washington


Label: Universal
Location: Toronto, Ontario

R&B/SOUL RECORDING OF THE YEAR: Melanie Fiona, Gone and Never Coming Back.

Label: Universal
Location: Toronto, Ontario

ABORIGINAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Murray Porter, Songs Lived & Life Played.

Label: Indie
Location: Originally from Six Nations, Ontario, now living in BC

ROOTS AND TRADITIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR, SOLO: Bruce Cockburn, Small Source of Comfort.

Label: eOne
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

note: order of canada

BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR: MonkeyJunk, To Behold.

Label: Warner
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

WORLD MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Kiran Ahluwalia, Aam Zameen: common ground.

Label: Outside
Location: Toronto, Ontario

RECORDING ENGINEER OF THE YEAR: George Seara for Michael Kaeshammer, “A Little Bit of Love” (from Kaeshammer) and Laila Biali, “Let Go” (from Tracing Light).

Location: Toronto, Ontario

VIDEO OF THE YEAR: The Sadies, “Rumbleseat,” directed by Mike Roberts.

Label: Outside 
Location: Toronto, Ontario


Location: Of Slaight Communications – Toronto, Ontario


And finally, the newest members of the CANADIAN MUSIC HALL OF FAME: Blue Rodeo

Labels: WEAWarner Music Group,Rounder
Origin: Toronto, Ontario


Wednesday night I headed out to The Ballroom for Indie Night In Canada to see the band MIC LORDZ & SAUCE FUNKY (MLSF). I was excited about seeing this band, i’ve wanted to for a while. I didn’t bother to find out what time they’d perform, so i got there pretty early.

Paul Husband and his partner Kristen Cholak have been organizing Indie Night In Canada since 2007. This is the first year they’ve had sponsors. Paul was also celebrating his 50th birthday that night. Upstairs at The Ballroom, 16 bands performed on 2 stages. There were some pretty good acts. In fact, i found myself at times having trouble deciding which of the two stages to watch.

Since i was early i decided to look around the venue for a good spot to photograph MLSF. I started taking pictures of a wall outside on Queen Street under an overhead light. A guy in an “I heart NY” t-shirt was walking by and i asked him if he would mind standing still for a minute so i could see the shadows. He said i should come upstairs and see the bands. I introduced myself and he said his name was Matt. He said he was with the band ONE DIVIDED. He said ONE DIVIDED had nothing to do with math. He asked if I could be sure to check out his band and I agreed.

MLSF finally arrived and I asked the guys to pose for some photos with me. MLSF are Dayun “Boots” Marjanovic (vocals), Mike “AlerG” O’Phee (vocals), Liam MacNaughton (drums), John “Rogé” Rogers (bass), Matt Lalonde (guitar). Paul Husband said there would be a media room available for us, but we weren’t able to access it and instead, the only well lit spot was a cold cellar downstairs where they store wine. A closet basically. I had to try to get a good shot of 5 guys in a closet. The first pose I wanted was reminiscent of a picture RHCP took for a Rolling Stone Magazine cover. They stood in a row looking modest. The next shot I asked for required each man in the band to pinch the nipple of the man beside him. I was surprised at their reactions – they feigned shock at my request. I believed them for a minute until they started exclaiming “she wants nipples, lets give her nipples” and started tearing off their shirts. They had a lot of fun with the posing and I was really happy with the shot I got in the end.

Back upstairs, I saw ONE DIVIDED come on stage. They’re a 3 piece band consisting of  Matt Silver (vocals/guitar), Tyler McIlveen (vocals/bass) and Matt Godin (drums). I was only mildly interested until I noticed the bass player, McIlveen. He started singing backup and he was good. A really nice voice. He also became very animated on stage. Flicking his hair, running across stage, bouncing around and playing like his life depended on it. As they moved through the songs in their set, McIlveen actually looked like he was loving it. He was having a great time. Silver stands at his mic and sings and Godin is at the drums doing his thing. McIlveen is the show. Totally entertaining. I would go out to see them again just to watch McIlveen . When I mentioned it later to their Manager, he told me a record exec told him McIlveen should calm down. What? Calm down? McIlveen’s amazing. Never listen to a record exec. Corporate Rock sucks. If anything, the rest of the band should learn to play along with McIlveen’s antics. When you’re only a 3 piece band, you’ve got to “bring it” to the stage. McIlveen is entertaining.

Corporate Rock sucks. ~ OhJustEatIt.ca

I watched a few other bands and I noticed it everywhere. There were some really good acts, nice music, professional playing, but very few entertainers. Very few stars. I’m sorry to tell you musicians, you can be a great musician, but if you’re boring to look at, no one will want to watch you perform live. Today live gigs are one of the only places left to sell CDs and merch. I suggest some of you need to polish up your act.

I can’t find the quote on the net, but I believe it was Sharon Osbourne who said “there are no more superstars”. She should know a thing or two about superstars, especially being the wife of the prince of darkness. At the “Retirement Sucks Tour”, Ozzy Osborne received a standing ovation when he came out on the stage. The entire crowd. Not just the floor. How many musicians can do that to a crowd? Not many.

MLSF finally came on stage. Now these guys are entertaining. Apparently, two members started out with a Hip Hop group. When they joined with three others they became a very funk/hip hop/rock band. Their songs are fun and full of energy and they’re a riot to watch on stage. They play with the crowd, jump around on stage, jump on the bar, make animated faces and gestures. They even ask the crowd to pose while their drummer takes a picture from the stage – now that’s interactive. They’re very fun to photograph (although difficult to capture because they don’t stand still!). This is a band I could watch over and over and never tire of. I’ll have fun following where they go from here.

I left The Ballroom and walked down Queen West to the Velvet Underground to see DREAMERS at their CMW gig. Now here’s another band who knows how to perform. DREAMERS, Paul Maconko (vocals), John Bernardo (guitar/backup vox), Steven “Suggy” Sugrim (bass/backup vox), Matthew Coelho (guitar/backup vox), and Jeffrey Moretta (drums), are my favourite Toronto growlers. I haven’t seen them perform live for a while and I was very impressed Wednesday night. They were working very well together, their music was tight and, most of all, they looked like they were having fun. They looked like they were having the time of their life! They play off each other, bounce around with their guitars, make faces at the crowd, and do the Captain Morgan pose on their amps. I found myself smiling as well as banging my head while I watched them. I wonder if recording their EP “Shenanigans” has helped with developing their music. They sounded great. I’ll have to ask them about that.

Now, let’s talk about showmanship. I see bands all the time. Most of them bore me. A lot of them perform to empty rooms. DREAMERS was performing at 1AM to a practically empty room. They didn’t hold back. They didn’t play with sour faces and wish they were somewhere else. They love their own music. They love their band. It shows when they perform.

Legend has it, Jon Bon Jovi gave CINDERELLA their big break after watching them perform to an almost empty room in Philadelphia. Do you think they would have impressed him if they stood still with their guitars and sang with a poker face?

A good performer draws the audience in and gives them an experience. People can stay home to listen to music. They go out to see bands for the experience. So, give them an experience. That’s why they call it a “show”.