August 10, 2014

Beginning next Friday in Spanish, Ontario Helix will be playing four weekends in a row. Next week's gig will be with our old friends TROOPER. Dave Southen, one of my former students and a good friend, has given me a couple of guitars for the Trooper guys to sign. They will be raffled off in the future for charity. We've done this before with not only the Helix guys but with Nelly Furtado, The Sheepdogs, and all the performers at METAL ON ICE. It's always appreciated whenever bands do this for me. The day of the show in Spanish I will be heading into Elliot Lake in the morning for an on-air interview with Bobby Alexander at the Moose at 8:30.

We're driving up a day early for this show as it's a seven hour drive. Whenever we can, we mix business with pleasure, and this is one of those occasions. The festival has us put up in beautiful log cabins which we stayed in before when we played this festival a couple of years ago with Nazareth and Kim Mitchell. By "cabins" I really mean a big one floor house with all the amenities, including a screened in front porch with a fire pit in front. Inside is an extremely long dining room table on one side with a garage door running down the middle of the cabin, just in case one side wants to party and the other side wants to go to bed. Each side has it's own bathroom, kitchen, and bed rooms. We're not talking a little one room "cabin" here. LOL.


The next weekend after Spanish we'll be out west, starting at the Century Casino in Edmonton. We're flying into Calgary, grabbing our rental vehicles and heading out as soon as we get there, as it's about a four hour drive. Seeing as we get in at 9A.M., we'll get to the casino about an hour before our scheduled sound check. We're playing with TORONTO that night, and will probably go on first. As usual, we'll be carrying a lot of merch, especially the new CD "Bastard of the Blues", as the only place you can really purchase it (in Canada) is through the website or at live gigs. Incidentally, the CD is getting rave reviews, especially in England of all places, although I've done interviews all over North America, Canada, and Europe. A special thanks goes out to Ron Keel who featured it a couple of weeks ago on his radio show out of Las Vegas.

Saturday morning after the Century Casino show we head out bright and early for our gig in Lethbridge for "Whoop-up Days". This is the Lethbridge fair which is partially the Calgary Stampede (it travels around the province) if I've got my facts straight. Anyway, Helix fan Brenda Klatt tells me she bought the last couple of tickets, and that was a couple of weeks ago. We're onstage at 9P.M. We have a long history with the city of Lethbridge, having first played there aound 1979 at the Alec Arms for the Philip Brothers. Aw. memories! And some of the best I have of playing western Canada happened right there in that bar...

Sunday morning we have to hussle our asses early to Calgary to drop off the rental vehicles and to fly out to Saskatoon for our Sunday show at ROCK THE RIVER with TORONTO, STREETHEART (with Kenny Shields) and the HEADPINS. The reason we didn't fly into Edmonton for our first show was that there wouldn't have been time to drive from Lethbridge to Edmonton (6 hours) and then fly to Saskatoon to make it there by noon. It's going to be a blast playing with Kenny again; I love his showmanship and the Streetheart catalouge. He's hasn't lost a thing over all these years. As for Heapins, Bernie Aubin (Headpin's drummer) is my agent, and Darby and I just recently performed together at METAL ON ICE. I also saw both of them two weeks ago when they were in town to play ROCK THE PARK. That's the thing about all these classic rock/metal festival dates-it's like a family reunion of sorts. Over the years we've all shared the same stages at one time or another. Supposedly this date is also sold out.

On August 30th we'll be playing a hometown date with a twist. It's for the "London Musical Society" and is an "invite-only" gig. This is ironic, because our bitch for the past year has been that we never get hired at our normal price for hometown shows, and newsprint support/radio support on any of our new stuff is nearly non-existent.(except for SCENE MAGAZINE which has been VERY supportive) Free FM does play us, but only the retro stuff. Although we appreciate this very much, it still bothers us that in our hometown none of the local radio stations will give our NEW music the time of day. It matters not that we're sold nearly 2,000,000 albums, toured the world with some of the greatest acts in rock, have gold & platinum albums, or that this is the 40th Anniversary of the band (a Canadian milestone) or that we've just released our 13th full length studio CD to world wide critical aclaim. Go figure....Would we get the same dismissive reaction if we sounded like Blue Rodeo or The Parachute Club? Me thinks not. It's because we're metal/hard rock. These same people treat KITTY (also from London) the same way.

On September 5th we'll be headlining the Cambridge fair. One good thing about not playing the London market (remember, the private party mentioned above doesn't count) is that it frees up other markets to hire us in the surrounding area-Woodstock, St. Thomas, Kitchener, Sarnia, etc. Sometimes when we play festival dates there is a contract stipulation that we cannot play within a certain radius of the gig for a certain period of time.