March 23, 2014

BASTARD OF THE BLUES RECORDING CONTINUES
We've been working on the new Helix CD BASTARD OF THE BLUES for a couple of weeks now. It's pretty much a daily thing; if I'm not in the studio, then Aaron is mixing something down or traveling to Toronto to record Sean's guitar parts. I've now recorded all my vocal tracks and today (Sunday) Kaleb, Daryl, Chris, and myself are all going in at noon to start background vocals. Cheryl Lescom is coming in Tuesday afternoon to sing some parts in Even Jesus (Wasn't Loved in His Home Town), Bastard of the Blues, and perhaps Screaming at the Moon. We also have Nick Walsh of Slick Toxic on stand-by for some parts in that song as well.

One of the "happy accidents" on this CD is the song Winning is the Best Revenge, which evolved tremendously from it's inception in Sean's living room to where it is now. The song made a real transformation when Sean added his rhythm guitar part, which led me to change the melody in the chorus. Normally I'm loath to do this as it's like writing a new song, but in this case it took the song to a new level-perhaps making it one of the strongest tracks, maybe even a single. We'll see...

Immediately after recording with Cheryl this upcoming Tuesday, Lynda and I will be heading off for Florida for a week. During the time we're away the artwork will continue to be worked on, as will the recording. We still have Kaleb and Sean's leads to do, piano & organ, as well as rhythm things like tambourine, hand clapping, etc. By the time I get back we should be able to give a listen to what we have, make any tweaks, and then it's off to be mastered. Recording a new CD to me is like getting into a tunnel at one end and then being spit out at the other end. It's a long process and you have to stay focused, but in the end the results are worth the journey. This CD has been special for me; I think the material and the team involved are some of the best I've ever had a hand in. Hope the fans feel the same....

As all of this has been going on we've been working in Chris Julke on guitar for his first show at The Moose Lodge in Woodstock on April 18th. So far we've had several full band practices. As well, Kaleb has been going over to Chris's during the week to work out the little "nitty gritty" parts. All in all, Chris fits the band like a glove and you can feel the synergy in the room when the band is together-a feeling of real power. I also had the pleasure of meeting Chris's girlfriend Linda, and we hit it off immediately. Unfortunately our first conversation was when she was taking me to the police reporting center! Ten minutes before practice, while grabbing a coffee from Timmies, someone backed into my new Jetta, causing about $2,500 in damages. Linda works for Toronto Dominion bank and helped me the next week to set up a U.S. bank account, which I will be needing as it looks like we might be playing more U.S. dates over the next year. Thanks Linda!

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HELIX
Speaking of the Woodstock gig, tickets are going fast and furious. It looks like a sell-out is a distinct possibility. A big thank you to Jay Wetlaufer for unloading a whack of tickets for us. We'll be playing two sets that night, a rarity for us, and playing quite a bit of material we don't normally do on a regular basis. If we get time, maybe we'll even do a few of the new tunes.

This gig is being used by us to get Chris up to snuff on all the material before we hit Spain in May. We're even thinking of playing a "surprise" gig somewhere after Woodstock but before Spain, just to get in an extra night on stage. Ironically Lynda and I will be meeting our Spanish promoter Robert Mills in Miami, while we're on holidays in Florida. Robert will be there to attend the Closer to the Edge Boat Cruise with YES I believe. Lynda and I are actually staying in Fort Myers, but we've decided to go to Key West for 2 or 3 days, so we'll be stopping in Miami to touch bases with Robert over a meal. Our friend Tate Thibodeaux, who used to be in Super Freak with Fritz while he lived in Florida, has been gracious enough to let us use his house in the Keys. Tate is the brother of Keith Thibodeaux, who played the part of Little Ricky Ricardo on the "I Love Lucy" show. He was also Opie's best friend in Andy of Mayberry. Tate's father was the publicist for the I Love Lucy show, and on our first trip to Florida back in the 90s Lynda and I went on a floating casino in the middle of the Atlantic, run by him. Super Freak was the entertainment that night on the boat. Memories I couldn't make up....

DON'T FORGET METAL ON ICE
When Lynda and I return home after holidays, it's going to be non-stop until at least July. Not only do I have to get the new CD ready to ship to Perris Records by April 15th, I also have to get it to the pressing plant here in Canada for our Canadian release. We plan on having a release party here at the house the first week of May followed the next weekend by my gig with Darby Mills of the Headpins, Lee Aaron, Nick Walsh of Slic Toxic, and Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch in Toronto at the Opera House for METAL ON ICE. The week after that are our Spanish dates, followed closely by our date in Sioux Falls, S. Dakota with Loverboy/April Wine/and Honeymoon Suite (RIBFEST). I had hoped to book the band into Port Dover for Friday the 13th, but there's been some screw-up with the beer company changing over reps, and they are not getting back to the agent responsible for booking the band(s) for the main tent. We'll see how that pans out. Then on June 21st my daughter Jasmine gets married in Ottawa to Joel Belliveau. Joel hails from New Brunswick and is a great guy. Couldn't ask for a better son-in-law.

SCANDINAVIAN DATES
Jon Enger of Live Wire Booking is still trying to get more dates in Scandinavia for our October tour there. We already have 5 dates in Sweden and one in Norway; now he's working on Finland and Denmark. It never ceases to amaze me how Helix can get gigs all over the world but can't get one in our home town of London, Ontario. One positive thing to come out of this however was the fact that this was the inspiration for one of the songs on the new disc. The song is called "Even Jesus (Wasn't Loved In His Home Town) and will probably be the first or second single. Here's the lyrics:

EVEN JESUS (WASN'T LOVED IN HIS HOMETOWN)
Kelly/Vollmer
I DON'T MAKE MUCH MONEY
BUT I'M LIVIN' THE LIFE
RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH THE BEST
FROM THE U.S.A. TO SPAIN
I'VE HAD MY SHARE OF FAME
BUT BACK HOME THEY ARE NOT IMPRESSED
I DON'T WORRY
I'M IN GOOD COMPANY
JUST ME AND THE MAN FROM GALILEE
COS EVEN JESUS WASN'T LOVED IN HIS HOME TOWN
EVEN JESUS WASN'T LOVED LOVED LOVED
EVEN JESUS WASN'T LOVED IN HIS HOME TOWN
SO I'LL BE MAKING TRACKS WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN
I DON'T THINK IT'S FUNNY
BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO?
EXCEPT TO GROW A THICKER SKIN
AND GRAB YOUR HOOCHIE MAMA
JET OFF TO THE BAHAMAS
AND GO OUT AND PLAY IN THE SAND AND SURF
I CAN SEE THEY'RE GREEN WITH JEALOUSY
I TRY NOT TO TAKE IT TOO PERSONALLY
COS' EVEN JESUS WASN'T LOVED IN HIS HOMETOWN
EVEN JESUS WASN'T LOVED LOVED LOVED
EVEN JESUS WASN'T LOVED IN HIS HOMETOWN
THEY LOVE TO BUILD YOU UP
JUST TO TEAR YOU DOWN
I KNOW WHERE I'M NOT WANTED
AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW
I DON'T MIND
THERE'S A WHOLE WORLD OUT THERE WAITING
PACK MY BAGS AND LET'S GO
I'LL BE ON THAT PLANE BEFORE THE SUN GOES DOWN
BYE BYE-BYE-BYE
SO LONG!
SAYONARA!

CHORUS