HELIX Complete New Studio Album; Track-By-Track Rundown Available
September 27, 2009, 9 years ago
HELIX singer Brian Vollmer has issued the following update:"After returning this week from a week of fun with The Trailer Park Boys in Halifax, Nova Scotia the next task at hand was to finish up the new CD Vagabond Bones. We had recorded the last three tracks in Toronto at Pocket Studios the week before we left, and so there was just the mix to take care of and then off to the pressing plant. We usually get out of the studio and let Aaron 'do his thing' when it comes to the mixing. It usually takes a day to mix one song and then Aaron sends the mix to Sean and I by email.
We decided to go with nine tracks on this disc. Here’s a run-down of the tracks and what I remember about putting them together:
'The Animal Inside (Won’t Be Denied)'
Sean and I wrote the bulk of this song at his house in Toronto. It was the first tune we ever wrote together. After we got the skeleton of the song established, Moe Berg came in and helped us finish it up. This song turned into a monster, getting bigger as it developed. The middle eight sounds like keyboards, but it’s really Sean on guitar. His technical knowledge of music helped him to write this part. That’s what I really like about writing with Sean-he’s not only got great feel but the know-how from years of study to back it up. The last step to all of these songs was the shine put on by Aaron Murray. Aaron was also the engineer on The Power Of Rock & Roll and last year’s Heavy Mental Christmas. On this CD Aaron has become a co-producer. Aaron was a top graduate of the Fanshaw audio visual course, run by Jack Richardson (producer of most of the GUESS WHO albums) and for several years worked alongside Danny Broadbeck, who is –presently working with Delores O’Reirdon.
'Go Hard or Go Home'
This was one of the last songs we put together. I had the title for quite some time, having heard it first from my good friend Kevin Noonan, when I spent some time with him at his home in Penticton, B.C. a few years back. I liked the attitude of the phrase the first time I heard it. Daryl put down a killer bass line in this song, and Fritz and Brent were no slouches either. Could it be that the lyrical content of the song was the cause for their inspired performance? (BEEN THERE, DONE IT, GOT THE T-SHIRT)
The title cut. Sean was very hot to trot on the chorus & song before I ever became involved. This was another tune that really grew from when we first started working on it. The last stroke of the brush were vocals by Cheryl Lescom. Cheryl, by the way, has one of the greatest blues voices in Canada, and also sings for the “Detroit Women”. I also had one of my students, Kiley Joe Mason, come in and play some boogie-woogie piano. Brent did a very tasty lead on this track as well as a few others. Note to kids: It’s what you play-not how many!
'Monday Morning Meltdown'
This is a long track by Helix standards, clocking in at over four minutes. You can really hear Sean’s influences coming out on the song, it’s very BEATLES/CHEAP TRICK/T-REX sounding. It’s a little outside of the box for Helix, but I’ve played it to a few people and it’s their favorite track on the CD. Once again Aaron’s engineering skills came into play, especially in the breakdown at the end of the song. Brent came up with a very unexpected approach to the lead, definite ear candy.
'When The Bitter’s Got The Better Of You'
I loved this song from the first time that Sean played me the beginning lyrics to the first verse. We added a chorus and then a middle eight and the song was done. Sean played the lead on this track. This is my favorite song on the CD and the one I’m most proud of writing.
'Hung Over But Still Hanging In'
I got this title from my brother in law Tony Costa, from Thunder Bay. I had it for many years, even writing a country song with Marc Ribler several years ago that went nowhere, not even getting recorded or released. I sang how I wanted the song to go to Sean, and the rest evolved from there. I forget how the idea of using Russ Graham from Killer Dwarfs came about, but as always when Russ and I get together, it was a lot of fun. The truly ironic thing about this song is that neither Russ nor myself drink. LOL.
'Best Mistake I Never Made'
I had this title for awhile and kept bugging Sean to help me put it to music. It’s about a girl I nearly married from California, whom I shall leave un-named. A couple of years back she sent me a letter asking for a recent picture, so Lynda sent her our wedding photo. (another LOL) I tried several times to write the lyrics but they all sounded a bit hokey. Sean put some together and sent them to me by email. I said, “That’s it!” I asked him one request however-to use the word “quicksand” in the second verse. You’ll have to see if he did…This song has a Rod Stewart/country feel.
'Make 'Em Dance'
This was a song that was written with Gord Prior and Steve Georgakopoulos. It’s essentially my viewpoint that the only music to a promoter’s ears is the sound of a ringing till. Sean came in and added background vocals, a blistering guitar solo, and several “snaws” and “snays”. The song received some creative edits at the end and voila, it was done. Does it make you want to dance? Definitely.
'Jack It Up'
This was one of the last tracks written for the CD and another one that grew as the process went along. Fritz/Daryl/Brent all outdid themselves on this one. Hints of ZZ TOP and VAN HALEN."
As previously reported, Helix' '80s line-up have reunited: Brent 'The Doctor' Doerner on lead guitar, Greg 'Fritz' Hinz on drums, Daryl Gray on bass, and Vollmer on vocals.