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20 Questions with Brian Vollmer, 2/18/03



Helix Singer Brian Vollmer


Helix has been together since 1974 and are one of Canada’s most successful heavy metal bands. They had a hit back in 1985 called "Rock You" that did pretty well in the States. Now after being together almost 30 years, they’ve reached the top of the mountain as singer Brian Vollmer does 20 Questions with us! Enjoy!

1. What are you currently up to? Plug your shit now and get it out of the way.

Working on a new CD due out in early spring. Running the planethelix.com web site. Playing gigs.

2. Helix had a few moderate hits in the early to mid 80s. Do you think your being from Canada held you back at all?


3. Helix’s roster has had quite a few different members over the years. Please tell us who’s playing in Helix this week, and out of all the lineups, which one was your favorite?

The present line-up in Helix is Glen Gamble (drums), Shaun Sanders and Dan Fawcett (guitars), Jeff Fountain (bass), and myself. Essentially these are the guys who used to be in the Attic band The Buffalo Brothers. I’ve been friends with most of the people I’ve worked with over the years. The present line up is great to work with.

4. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?

Spinal Tap.

5. Rank the following Canadian singers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a hosehead and 10 being someone who can bring home the back bacon.

Deryck from Sum 41 =1

Nicholas Walsh = ? Don’t know who it is. Sorry. 2

Rik Emmett = 3

Aldo Nova = 4

Geddy Lee = 5

Greg Godovitz = 6

Russ Dwarf = 7

Mike Reno = 8

Carl Dixon = 9

Sebastian Bach = 10



6. Planet Helix says you were the first Canadian band in history to play in Portugal, Spain, and Sweden (even inside the Arctic Circle). What the hell do the groupies dress like in the Arctic Circle?

Laplanders with blonde hair and lots of mascara.

7. Darrell Millar of Killer Dwarfs said this about you in our Word Association:

Helix = Bro’s… and scared veterans.

What are you scared of, ghosts? Or did he mean scarred?

No, he meant scared. Scared of losing our hair.

8. A hypothetical question: Leaving a high-rise building, you get onto an elevator with four random teenage girls. As it’s descending, the elevator suddenly stops moving and you’re stuck between floors with no way to get out until maintenance gets the elevator working again. It’s at this moment that you realize you badly need to piss. The first ten minutes are tolerable, but after a half hour, you are well on your way to having an accident. What do you do?

a. Politely ask the girls to turn around, take off your shoes, and relieve yourself in them.

b. Blatantly announce that you have to take a leak, then urinate in the corner.

c. Suddenly whip it out and piss on the girls, chasing them around the elevator car as they scream for mercy.

d. Say "fuck it" and wet your pants.

b. Blatantly announce that you have to take a leak, then urinate in the corner..

9. Of all the bands that Helix toured with, which band acted like complete dicks to you & who was the coolest?

The coolest was Ronnie James Dio. It actually wasn’t a band that were dicks to us-it was one individual-Brian Robertson of Motorhead. He was the King of all Prickheads. Lemmy and Phil were fucking great.

10. Which do you prefer and why:

April Wine or Honeymoon Suite =
April Wine. I had all their albums growing up.

London, England or London, Ontario = London, Ontario. It’s home.

Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr = Gretzky. He’s done more for the game.

Harem Scarem or Brighton Rock = Brighton Rock. I’m good friends with Jerry.

Stephen Pearcy or Vince Neil = Vince Neil. Played with him last summer in Montreal. Thought he treated us like gold.

Bob and Doug MacKenzie or Blair and Gary MacLean = Gary and Blair. Have been friends with these guys since the late 70’s.

Walkin’ The Razors Edge or Back For Another Taste = Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge. The songs.

Alanis Morrisette or that Avril Lavigne chick = Alanis Morrisette. Met her once at the Much Music Awards and found her to be a very charming person.

SCTV or Kids In The Hall = This is a tough one. Both shows are favorites of mine. Have to go with SCTV though. John Candy was my favorite commedian of all time.

McDonald’s or Mr. Sub = McDonald’s. When I just want to eat shit, I eat there. I know it’s bad for me but it tastes so good.

11. Sum 41 covered "Rock You," arguably the most famous Helix song, on the soundtrack for the movie FUBAR. What did you think of Sum 41’s version, and are you honored by this, or does it make you feel old?

Never heard their version, and quite frankly, I’m not that interested. Nothing makes me feel old.

12. Yes or no, has Brain Vollmer ever:

Had a royalty check come in this last year =

Ate dinner with Russ Dwarf = No.

Met Tom Green = No.

Wrestled a bull moose = No.

Passed out on stage = No.

Sang along with a Celine Dion tune = Not in a million years.

Touched another man’s penis = No.Watched an entire episode of Degrassi Junior High = No.

Lied about your age = No.

Stolen a lawn ornament= No.

13. On the album "Wild In The Streets," there’s a song penned by Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot entitled "She’s Too Tough." A few years after Helix recorded that track, the Leps released their own version on the "Retroactive" CD. In the liner notes, Joe Elliot exclaimed that the Def Leppard rendition is "far superior" to that of Helix’s. Why do you think Joe felt it was necessary to say that, and have you ever responded to his statements?

I’ve never ever seen the original statement by Joe so I won’t comment on that. I personally think they did a better job than us as well. The song was so fucking high that it took me days to get a decent vocal on it. I think the melody of the song was written for his voice and as a result suits it better.

14. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth & why?

Billy Corgan (is that how you spell his name?)

15. The last of Brian Vollmer:

Last concert you watched from the audience =
Guns and Roses last week at the John Labatt center.

Last video or DVD you rented = Spiderman

Last celebrity you shook hands with = David Suzuki

Last song you wrote = Rockin’ in my outter space

Last band member you fired = I’ve never fired anyone.

Last time you came down to the States = Last year outside of Detroit.

Last CD you purchased = Love and Theft. Bob Dylan.

Last time you went to the dentist = Last week to sign my passport application.

Last time you talked to Tom Mathers = Just before I locked him in the trunk of my car.

Last time somebody asked for your autograph = Last week.

16. If you could put any one 80s rock song in a vault labeled "Songs That Fucking Suck", which 80s rock song would it be and why?

Young Wild & Free by Triumph.

17. Michael J. Fox once auditioned for the bass player position in Helix. Just how bad did he suck to not get the gig?

I can’t remember if I was even at the audition or where he came out. We never knew who he was until we heard him tell the story himself on the David Letterman Show.

18. Planet Helix also states that, "Brian Vollmer’s great grandfather was the Great Willian La Main. William La Main was an acrobat in Barnum & Bailey Circus. His act consisted of balancing on a pyramid of trays of draught glasses" What 80s band or rock star could be a member of the Barnum & Bailey Circus & why?

Me-it’s an inherited quality.

19. How many real teeth do you have?

Do mean good ones, bad ones, or ones that I take out at night?

20. Time for Metal Sludge?s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.

Gene Simmons =
A nice guy but he never ever let us have a sound check.

Traci Lords = Gave a blow job to one of the guys in the band.

Brent Doerner = Buddy.

Chris Holmes = Told us he entertains friends at his parties by putting different coloured M&M’s in his cat’s one empty eye socket.

Mitch Lafon = Big supporter of the band.

Ted Nugent = Woke me up one morning on the telephone.

Daryl Gray = Celtic Rock.

Paul Hackman = Miss his great licks.

Tom Mathers = Still in the trunk of my car.

Boy George = Paul and I met him one night at The Area Club in N.Y. C. We didn’t actually meet him. He was standing near us and a chick we were talking to wanted to meet him, so she tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, but I’m a HUGE Culture Club fan and I’d like to say hello. Whereupon the "Boy" turned around and said to her, "Oh, I don’t have to fuck you too now do I?"

For everything you ever wanted to know about Helix, you can go to PlanetHelix.com!

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