September 13, 2015

On Friday, September 25th HELIX & THE KEITH HILL BAND will be performing at LOCAL LIVE in London to raise money for Helix bassist Daryl Gray, who recently went through heart by-pass surgery. Response so far has been overwhelming, with donations and ticket sales coming from near and far. An acoustic guitar has been donated by Dave Southen to be auctioned off, as well as a vintage Helix poster from Al Packham of Hamilton. Mike McDowell of the HIPPY CO. is having his own ticket raffle for a bong at his store and I believe he's raised over $100.

Our opening act, the KEITH HILL PROJECT, will be familiar to London fans as the band has members formally in TALL, which was an extremely popular band in the area once-upon-a-time. Doors open at 7P.M. and THE KEITH HILL PROJECT will take to the stage shortly after 8P.M. HELIX will take the stage at 10P.M. Tickets: $20.00 BYOB

WHERE TO GET TICKETS: You can either phone 519 452 0565 or email Brian Vollmer at Tickets are going fast and the room only seats a little over 150, so get 'em while they last.

It was a crazy summer, made more crazy by the fact that Kaleb was off for the month of August while his better half (Jesse) had their first child. Congrats to both Kaleb and Jesse on the birth of their son Liam! Kaleb's fill-in was no other than Gary Borden, who played guitar for us during the 90's and later on was the guitar player for Sass Jordan. Then Daryl found out he need heart surgery right after our gig in Shediac, N.B. at the Parlee Music Festival. It was upon returning home from that gig that he wasn't feeling well, went to the doctor and found out he had a major blockage in his heart which required immediate by-pass surgery. This happened only 7 days before we were to fly out to play Thunder Bay (at the Rockhouse) and Winnipeg for FALL JAM. Coming to our rescue was none other than former Helix guitarist Rainer Weichmann and former Helix bassist Jeff Fountain. Rainer ended up playing the first three dates (T.Bay/Winnipeg/St. Thomas) and Jeff ended up playing the WEIR ROCKIN' festival in Halifax. Jeff was supposed to also play WOOFSTOCK in Prince George, B.C. but we ended up flying there and not playing, as the whole festival turned into one big clusterf**k. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
We started out our summer by playing St. John's, Newfoundland with APRIL WINE. The George St. Festival is one of the best in Canada. They cordon off about two blocks where all the clubs are and people pay to get in . There's a street that runs parallel to George St. (don't know the name of it) that's on a higher level and in the middle of George St. (on the lower level) is a stage for the bands, so when people sit out front it's almost like a little amphitheatre. Afterwards all the bars are stuffed with partiers, so combined with the friendly Newfoundland atmosphere and scenery you only see in Newfoundland, it's a unique experience. There were 3,000 rockers out that night and we had a blast. Newfoundlanders are the best! The next morning I appeared on the CBC morning show with Heather Hiscox. Ironically, Heather is from London, Ontario. While on the show she pulled out a photo of herself backstage with the band in the 80's! I asked her if anyone in the band had hit on her....LOL. Later in the day we all went up to Signal Hill (where Marconi made his first broadcast I think) and watched while in the distance an iceberg and whale floated by. Incredible.

From Newfoundland our next stop two days later was in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, where we headlined the fair. The air had a foggy quality to it due to the fires on the prairies, and on arrival to Yorkton we experienced millions of army worms turned into moths. They were everywhere, mostly clustered around lights or dying beneath the lights on the ground. We later joked that in one week we saw whales, icebergs, army worms, forest fires, and chuck wagon races. Also the R.C.M.P. riding troupe which opened the show. One of the officers came to our dressing room after the show and said to Randy, "If you're gonna smoke dope, don't do it beside our dressing room..." But it wasn't coming from our dressing room...

In August we played almost every weekend. The best gig that month was WEIR ROCKIN' in Halifax, N.S. The festival was very well organized with 300 volunteers, about 15 cops who to patrol the grounds, top quality rooms for the bands, a constant shuttle to and from the hotel to the festival grounds, and a world class stage and sound & light system. I must also mention here that the sound company was one of the most professional we've ever worked with.
The day was also made special by seeing "Limo Jim" again, who showed up early and went to breakfast with me. I met Jim many years previous (he used to own a limo company) and we've been close friends ever since. After breakfast Rob Wells (Ricky of The Trailer Park Boys) came and gave me a lift to their new sound stage for Swearnet. Out back were the Shitmobile and all the other vehicles from past Trailer Park Boy's episodes and all their movies. I felt very privileged to have Rob give me the personal tour. It was something I will never forget. Later on that evening at the show Rob came out with his wife, as did Limo Jim. Rob came up onstage and sang Rock You with us. The 3,000 people out front ate it up. Does it get any better than this?

Another high point of the summer was when Geir Arne Dale and his girlfriend Anna came for a visit in June. Geir plays drums for HUMBUCKER, the Norwegian band that backed us up last October when we toured Europe. Geir lives just outside Oslo and he and Anna had never been to Canada before. Luckily they got terrific weather. The whole week was a blast and cemented our friendship for years to come. Look for the whole holiday on an upcoming episode of "The Vollmers".

Brian & Danko Jones at Call the Office
With Rob Wells - Trailer Park Boys 'Ricky'
Mike Tramp & Brian Vollmer
Geir & Anna in Niagara Falls
Geir Arne Dale & Anna
Around the beginning of July I launched the second episode of The Vollmers entitled "Lynda and Brian Go to Florida Part 1". ( Unlike the first episode where I was helped immensely by Dave Carbosa, this episode I put together mostly myself, with a lot of help from YouTube. Brent Doerner also was a great source of information. Presently I'm working on Episode 3 which I hope to launch by the end of next week unless I get bogged down again with other shit.

I have more footage than I know what to do with! It's made me realize how much does happen around here on a daily basis. Since spring we've had Danko Jones here at the house (to do a podcast), some of the members for Emerson Drive for supper and drinks, gone to Buffalo and met Mike Tramp of White Lion, played with the MUDMEN and DAMN PIGEON in St. Thomas, the TREWS and ONE BAD SON in Shediac, The NORTHERN PIKES and TORONTO in Halifax, and TWISTED SISTER in Prince George, B.C. (well, almost-we ended up not playing for reasons beyond our control) I would like to send a big thankyou out to Twisted Sister's road manager Dan for stepping in and helping us out while we were there. It was much appreciated.

With all the great things that happened to us this summer there were also some sad things that occurred as well...One of my best friends, Jay Wetlaufer, passed away just a couple of weeks before I turned 60 on June 30th. Jay was my "brother from a different mother" and I loved him dearly. I miss him every day.

Another friend who passed was Tony Ianni of Tony's Pizzas here in London. Lynda and I have been good friends with the family for years, having known them through church and through Lynda cleaning for them over the years. Tony was a great man and well loved by the community. One of the stories told at the funeral by someone who knew him:
"...when we were young, my mother was AWOL most of the time and my brothers & sisters were frequently hungry. We'd here a knock on the back door and when we went to look at who was there we would find a pizza left by Toni.."