Brian Vollmer

biography discography w/ lyrics
Q&A With A Canadian Metal Pioneer

  • by Dan Brisebois

    Brian Vollmer is arguably THE forefather of Canadian heavy metal. As the frontman for Helix, his career has spanned a quarter-century. Brian has left an indelible print on the face of Canadian rock, with Helix an influence to aspiring artists here and abroad. From the independant releases of the early Seventies, to the modern status of Canada’s Metal God, Brian Vollmer has seen it all … been nearly everywhere – seen others come and go and has stood the test of time. He along with the name of Helix have persevered while so many others have failed . Indulge yourself as I go one on one with a true pioneer of Canadian rock – BRIAN VOLLMER …

DB: When did you first sit back and realize Helix “had made it”?
BV: I don’t think it’s happened yet.

DB: You have one of Canadian rock’s most distinct voices. What singers in particular did you admire growing up?
BV: Steve Marriot, John Kay, Notty Holder, Burton Cummings

DB: What would you have ended up doing had you not gotten into music?
BV: Worked at a meat packing plant

DB: What was your first paid gig, you personally?
BV: Can’t remember.

DB: I like to bash the Toronto Maple Leafs in these q&a sessions, but I just bet you’re a Leaf Lover and I’m in a good mood. And since they are headed to the post season for a change, I’ll let you use this space to make your fearless predictions about how Toronto will trounce the opposition on their way to their first cup of the century ….. Your thoughts?
BV: I just bet $100 the Leafs would win the cup 6-1 odds.

DB: You’ve done the big outdoor arenas, the small bars and everything in between … what are some of the advantages of each?
BV: Big stages, more lights, better shows.

DB: After so much success here and abroad, how do you keep your shows fresh and not monotonous … almost like a job?
BV: We don’t play that often anymore but in the upcoming year we’ll be putting together a dynamite 25th Anniversary show if I have my way. I’m seriously contemplating only playing the summer festivals anymore..

DB: What has been your most satisfying accomplishment as a musician to date?
BV: Staying at it this long and still having more fun every day.

DB: What, if any, are the differences between playing to crowds in different parts of the country?
BV: Depends on where you are..

DB: What were the names of the original two puppet friends on Mr. Dress Up?

(Brian left this blank … he either doesn’t know and is afraid of his Canadiana status being revoked, or doesn’t care and is wondering how he got talked into this … but the correct answer is Casey and Finnegan)

DB: What are the advantages and disadvantages between artists today and when Helix was making a name for itself with independant releases?
BV: Advantages – there were places to play.

DB: What improvements in your opinion could be made at the governement levels to ensure better support of the homegrown arts community?
BV: Laws to protect artists publishing rights and ownership of their master tapes.

DB: This very rich Toronto computer mogul’s wife buys a million dollar dress, laid out with gold hooter-holders and diamond nipples …. is it just me or is that very “un-Canadian”?

(Again Brian chose not to answer. And it’s not that I have anything against gold-plated hooter holders per-say, but … come on woman – get a grip. At least use cubic zirconias for the nipples and make some sort of charitable contribution on the side … personal opinion …)

DB: How do you feel about Canadian radio’s treatment of homegrown talent, considering Helix has enjoyed more commercial success than most other heavy acts?
BV: IT SUCKS! There’s so many Canadian bands and artists that have the same complaint. They either don’t get played at all, or the same two or three songs get repeated over and over again. Shows lack of imagination on the radio station’s part. It’s my personal opinion, but others share it too.

DB: What part of the world would you like to tour that you haven’t played yet?
BV: South America & Japan.

DB: What was going through your mind when Canada played the Czechs in the Olympics, but didn’t use Gretzky in the shootout?
BV: Hindsight is 20-20 vision.

DB: Do you have a personal favourite Helix album, one that you’re fond of more than the others, and if so, why that one?
BV: NO REST FOR THE WICKED. It’s when we were most genuine.

DB: What should be done to the person that invented the glowing hockey puck?