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Belgian Hall books vintage rockers
Submitted on Wed, 05/27/2009 - 12:00am
Monte Sonnenberg SUN MEDIA
Brian Vollmer became a rock star when musicians had to prove their worth in the studio and on the road.
When Vollmer formed the band Helix in 1974, recording was done the old fashioned way on tape. There were no pitch correction devices to gloss over mistakes or computer applications to fix a train wreck in the rhythm section. There were none of the conveniences of digital recording, which today allows sound engineers to cobble together perfect songs from dozens of takes.
Vollmer came up the hard way, but he has no regrets. In fact, he wouldn’t want to be an aspiring rocker today given what has happened to the business.
“I feel sorry for young bands today,” Vollmer said last week. “Where the hell do you play anymore? It’s hard to get out beyond your little city. There were all kinds of places to play everywhere when we were starting out. And sales today aren’t what they used to be. Now people can just take your stuff off the Internet. There are pros and cons, but it’s difficult being a young band today. The money just isn’t what it used to be. Young bands don’t have the opportunity that we did.”
This year marks the 35th anniversary of Helix, which is known for pop metal classics such as Rock You!, Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’ and Deep Cuts the Knife. The band has released 21 albums, with another in production that will be released this fall. The band has toured continuously under different lineups from the beginning, with lead vocalist Vollmer being the single constant.
Helix played regularly in Simcoe and surrounding area in the 1970s and has booked a return engagement June 5 for the Belgian Hall in Delhi. The Delhi gig will be a trip down memory lane for the band, which played at the Belgian Hall in the 1970s on a bill that included Major Hoople’s Boarding House and hit-maker James Leroy.
Vollmer and company have done their fair share of rocking. They have had a No. 1 album in Sweden, and memorable gigs include backing up the Scorpions at the Canadian National Exhibition, Aerosmith at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Kiss at Wembley Stadium in England, former Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, France, and a prolonged tour of Germany with proto-metal band Motorhead.