"It seemed like the Christmas holidays were going to last forever this year and I was getting antsy to get things rolling with everything that’s going on with us.
First and foremost is the reality show “Vagabond Bones” which we hope to have filmed by the end of January or shortly after. My friend Danko Jones (who’s latest CD has been burning up the charts this year) is at Call the Office here in London on February 4th, and he’s agreed to be interviewed for a small piece. A lot of my friends have helped out by agreeing to be filmed: Rudy Blair of 680 News, Gerry McGee of Brighton Rock, The Trailer Park Boys, Kittie, and when we go out west in February I’ll be sure to get some sound bytes from The Headpins and Harlequin as well. Mix in the antics and observations of all the band members and the frivolity that always follows the band around and voila! Instant reality show, Canadian style.
This past week we filmed Kaleb at his day job where he installs trim around windows and doors in new construction houses, and then we headed over to Brent’s to brainstorm ideas for our upcoming acoustic set. Essentially we’ll be doing most, if not all of the songs from “Smash Hits Unplugged” with informal talks about the songs in between. Audience members will be encouraged to ask questions about the band or the songs, and a microphone will be placed in the audience for just that purpose.
Sean Kelly will open the show with an acoustic set of songs from his “Number One Classical Guitar Album” on New Day/Universal. That CD went to Number 8 on Billboard last year and sold over 5,000 units-a lot by today’s standards. We also plan on having a 46” TV screen to accompany the in-between chatter on the songs, with pictures never seen before by most fans. We’re all excited about this and are chomping at the bit to get a few shows under our belts so as to work out all the bugs.
Eventually we want to take this show into theaters but for now we’re going to try everything out in small bars, cafes, and dinner clubs. Because the show will be very informal and intimate, some of these venues might even supply a supper to go along with the show, which means “start times” for the set will also be considerably lower, say 7 or 8P.M.
I’ve long argued with bar owners that “our crowd” doesn’t necessarily want to wait until 11:30 or midnight to see the band go onstage. Most of our fans get up early for work during the week and go to bed early as well, so suddenly shifting sleeping habits for one night of the weekend doesn’t sit well with them. Not only that, but in Toronto the subway and buses stopped running by the time we were offstage, so anyone who wanted to come to the show and drink was left to either paying for an expensive cab ride or finding a designated driver. Talk about making the night expensive! Needless to say, [Toronto club] 'Rock and Roll Heaven' is now out of business. Can’t say I didn’t say I told you so…
We also interviewed Sean Kelly last week, seeing as Sean has become such an important facet of what we are now. Not only did Sean help co-write all of "Vagabond Bones" with me, he’s been instrumental in playing on the tracks as well. Recently we just finished work on the newest track we’ve written: "Champagne Communist." Along with "Skin In The Game," "Angelina" and "The Bitch Is A Bullet (Straight To My Head)," we’ll probably be heading to the studio within the next month to record once again. Seeing as Sean played on many of the songs from "Smash Hits Unplugged," it was a no-brainer to have him open the acoustic show and then later join us for our set. Incidentally, Sean also plays guitar for Nelly Furtado, Gilby Clark (he just finished a tour of South America) and Carole Pope.
We’re hoping to play our first acoustic set at The Groove Kitchen in Cambridge. It’s a very small place and only seats about 65 people, but like I said, a small intimate venue is exactly what we want to initially try this idea out. Once we have the set perfected, then we plan on taking the show into theatres. In London I’ve been looking at The Palace Theatre, a beautiful old venue on Dundas Street with gilded ceilings, 350 soft seats, a large stage, and tons of atmosphere.
As well as working on all of the above, we have several important dates on the horizon, the first being Norma Jeans (ENORMOUS jeans) right here in my hometown of London, Ontario. It’ll be our first time in London since the release of Smash Hits Unplugged, so we’re hoping to move quite a few units of the new CD. As well, we’ll have some new “surprise” Helix t-shirts for sale that night. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say for now that they have to do with our lack of hometown radio airplay. ‘Nuff said.
In February we’re heading west with dates in Winnipeg, Brandon, and Calgary. The Calgary date is at the Deerfoot Casino with The Headpins and Harlequin, so we’ll be flying Pat and Mike out to get some interviews from those bands. As many of you know, Bernie Aubin, the drummer for Headpins, is my western Canadian agent, so interviewing him will present a different perspective as well.”
Helix – Make ‘Em Dance (2009)
Helix: “Smash Hits Unplugged” update
Helix: “Smash Hits Unplugged” on the way