Helix singer songwriter Brian Vollmer & Gene Simmons! DHM

You have tied in the Gene Simmons name recently
with a kick ass song that is now one of my favourite Helix songs. My favourite was House On Fire… always…
loved it… Umm… We just played that song the other night for
the first time in about 30 years. What??? I was gonna ask you when are you gonna play
it live! No kidding. The first time for 30 years since they played
it. Wow, that’s awesome! I think we’re gonna open the show this year
with House On Fire. Are you kidding? I gotta see that live Brian. I gotta see that live, OK, we’re comin’. Ya, ya, you and Paul knocked one out of the
park with that one my friend. Awesome song. Umm… so back to Gene Simmons… so Gene
Simmons says Rock is Dead… I love that song. That is a power rock chorus that I haven’t
heard in a long time and you brought it back, you and Sean. Thank you. Well, Ido a lot of writing with Sean Kelly
and Sean’s ahh very chorus orientated just as I am. When we write songs, we usually tried to get
the chorus and work our way backwards. Ahh you know we write the chorus first, then
the verses and you know it goes from there. Its a process but umm… we get our ideas
out of magazines or out of ahh… something we catch on TV and it caught my ear and eye
that when ahh… that interview came out with Gene Simmons because ahh… even though I
love Gene and we toured with KISS, ahh… I disagree fundamentally about musicians,
their reasoning for getting into a band in the first place. In the music, I know I didn’t get into it
for the money, if I did, I would have quit like you know… what is it? 45 years ago? Umm… cause there’s no money in it. Umm… people get into music because they
love music and ahh… that’s the point of the song right? We just disagree. We agree to disagree me and Gene. Yeah. Umm… you know we toured all Europe with
KISS in 1983 in the Lick It Up tour. Ahh… we played Joe Lewis arena I believe
with KISS in North American. I went to visit Gene one time when he was
producing Black and Blue down in umm… I forget where the hell it was but I remember
driving down the ahh.. Sacramento freeway there with ahh… the guy
from Night Court, Martin Moll, you know the big bald guy? He was in a cadillac beside us and Fritz was
hanging out the window taking pictures with his camera and this guy, anyway… he’s driving
like 50 miles an hour in a Cadillac with the top down and he’s yelling at Fritz – He’s
going “Don’t do that… you’re not suppose to take pictures of me! Don’t do that!” And Fritz of course is totally ignoring him
but I went down and shot a game of pool I remember with Gene Simmons ahh… at the studio
when he was there Tommy Thayer and the guys from Black and Blue. Wow! (laughter) So… Well you know when you’ve been in the band
for as long as Helix, 45 years there’s a lot of stories and even I am amazed at the amount
of people we’ve met. People like Robin Williams. I remember one lonely, rainy November night
I spent ahh… in a dressing room with the original Mick Ronson and ahh… umm… geez
Ian Hunter. That was a memorable moment in my life. Fantastic. Yeah, I know you gotta a lot of stories Brian. Yeah! Yeah, Umm… so… when you were writing with
Sean… ahh… for Rock is Dead… umm… are you guys in the studio or you’re swapping
files back and forth. I know you’re a big computer tech guy… so…
(laughter) what’s the process? Actually, it’s much more ahh… what’s the
word, earthy? Organic? We get in a living room, we play an acoustic
guitar, we don’t even use an electric guitar, we write most of the stuff on acoustic. Yeah we write in the living room and we record
on a little ahh… tape deck as we go on or our phones, that’s about it and once we get
something ahh… solid, as in a chorus and maybe a verse you know melody for the verse,
ahh… then we’ll send it back and forth over the internet and ahh… i’ll send some ahh…
lyric ideas but you know… it’s kinda different for each song. Some songs, Sean really writes the lyrics
and other songs I write the lyrics or sometimes, it’s 50/50. Umm… but it’s ahh… there’s never any argument
with Sean and I ahh… you know, when we feel something’s right, we both feel the same thing
so… There’s never really a disagreement when we
write and everything is very quick. I don’t know that’s because ahh… necessity
being the mother of invention ahh… or what but umm…, Sean and I really don’t get a
lot of time to write together so when we do, we make the most of the time, we’ll write
3 songs in 2 hours or get the basis for 3 songs in 2 hours and then we’ll develop those
songs over a matter of months over the internet. Other songs like when we wrote the Leaf’s
song which I think is one of the best songs we ever wrote together, umm… a Christmas
song, we wrote that essentially in the umm… while I was getting ready to leave to go down
town to a restaurant and I was standing in his front doorway, we come up with the idea
for the song, wrote it right there as I was standing with my suitcase. (laughter) unbelievable! Ho Ho Ho, go leafs go right? Yeah and ahh… you know I still love writing
nowadays that’s why we do it ahh… a lot of bands ahh… in our genre of music ahh…
umm… have quit for a long time putting out music and now they’re scrambling to put out
new stuff now that music’s come around but Helix never stopped putting out albums all
through the 90s and people told us to pack it in and that you know why are we doing this
and wasting all that money and it was a lost cause and nobody wanted to know about us and
ahh… i’ll tell ya something, I did a lot of those albums for a little over $5,000.00
and I kept going and you know you’re trying to keep up with quality with something when
we were with Capitol Records, they spend a half a million dollars right, versus $5,000.00
which of course was heavily criticized for that but ahh… I didn’t give up, I kept going and when we
finally got signed to Sanctuary Records in I think it was 1996 with the power of Rock
‘N Roll, they bought all that back catalog Sanctuary Records and they gave me enough
to buy a rental property which is basically be my retirement because as a musician, we
don’t get too much from the government. Ahh… so… umm… you know, you’re out there
and you’re fending for yourself so, that money that ahh… I got from those albums that everybody told
me I shouldn’t be recording, is gonna be my retirement so you know… Is that right. I guess the lesson here is to you know, follow
your own star and your own gut feel and never give up keep trying to put out quality product. Absolutely!

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