February 23, 2014
CHRIS JULKE NEW HELIX GUITARIST
John Claus has now left the band to pursue other interests and has been replaced by Cambridge, Ontario native Chris Julke. We wish John all the best and thank him for his time in HELIX. Expect new band photos in the next couple of weeks and a bio on Chris. We've been so busy with other things over the past couple of weeks we just haven't gotten time to get around to putting it all together. Chris has been practicing the set with Kaleb and on Monday night we're all getting together to run through it as a band. Chris is a well seasoned musician and it shouldn't take much time to get tight. We hope to put together a few dates to solidify it even more before our dates in Spain in May. For these three dates (Barcelona/Pamplona/Madrid) we will be injecting a few songs that we don't play on a regular basis back into the show, most notably Animal House, The Dirty Dog, and No Rest for the Wicked. Chris has a great voice, so we'll be spending as much time working on harmonies as we will be on guitar parts.
MORE ON SPAIN...
One of my good friends is Brian Kenny, who used to be the tourism minister for New Brunswick in the government of Sean Graham. (a Helix fan, I might add!) Brian has a fishing show he does along with his cameraman friend/neighbor Len. They'll be coming to Spain to shoot the band during our three day stint there, as well as filming us deep sea fishing for the fishing show. A lot of Helix fans are flying/driving in from out-of-country to catch the shows, ie. my brother-in-law Dave Cowgill, and my nephew Daniel will be flying in from England for our first show in Barcelona. Everyone is excited. I can feel the butterflys already.
AND SPEAKING OF EUROPE...
With the dates in Spain happening in May, attention has been raised on further European dates, specifically in Scandinavia. About a month ago we secured a Scandinavian agent named Jon Enders, who heads up Live Wire Booking out of Norway. Already we have five Swedish dates and one in Norway, soon to be announced. We hope to have more to post on this next week.
BASTARD OF THE BLUES
This week we finished off writing on the last couple of tracks for the CD. Essentially what Sean and I were doing was fine-tuning them. They were already written, it was just a matter of making absolutely sure all the parts were together before we went in Charterhouse Studios for real. Up until now we've been getting together with Daryl and Fritz at The Music Box (a London practice hall) and working out the arrangements and all the bugs, with Aaron Murray our producer. Aaron records the songs there on his laptop, then takes it back and does his magic with pro tools. After that's done I come over to his apartment and re-sing the lead vocal. Once that's done we send the new demo out to Fritz, Daryl, Kaleb, and Sean by email to once again give it a listen. If everyone is happy with how it sounds, we consider that the template from which to learn our parts for the "real" recording. We expect that will happen in two weeks. Once the bed tracks are recorded (bass/drums/rhythm guitar) then it will be full steam ahead laying down the overdubs: Lead & background vocals, guitar leads, keyboards, horns, & rhythm instruments like hand clapping, tamborine, cowbell, etc. Then it's mix time, mastering, and off to the pressing plant and Perris Records. One "first" for this CD is that Daryl will be singing lead vocals on a song he wrote entitled "When All The Love Is Gone".
As well as the recording there is also the matter of the CD graphics, which are being handled by Matt Brooks of Babyjack Design. He's been busy for several weeks drawing the CD cover (a devious looking guitar baby!) and as soon as we settle on the final lyrics for all the songs, arranging the graphics for the inside CD folds. We have to film a new band shot for the CD back cover and also I hope to include other band photos (not necessarily of us onstage) in amongst the lyric graphics.
We now have our first U.S. date since playing Rocklahoma in 2008. It's RIBFEST on Thursday, May 29th in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with Loverboy, April Wine, and Honeymoon Suite. Recently there has been a renewed interest in the band not only from the U.S., but in Europe, and also all across Canada. I guess it just goes to snow you that perseverance pays off. Expect more Canadian dates this summer. As well, we have a tentative offer for New Year's already in, as well as a strong possibility we'll be on 2015's MONSTERS OF ROCK BOAT CRUISE.