SEAN KELLY – “It’s Such An Honour And Blessing To Be Working With LEE AARON; An Even Greater Honour To Call Her My Friend”

By Carl Begai


Sean Kelly’s career as a professional musician is “only” 13 years young in 2016. In that time he’s made a mark on the Canadian rock scene not only with his own band, Crash Kelly, but as a solo act and as a player/collaborator with artists including Helix, Nelly Furtado, Gilby Clarke and Carol Pope. An additional feather in his cap is his Metal On Ice book published in 2013, which takes a look back at the Canadian rock and metal scene of the ’80s. During the making of the book, which was followed-up by a CD and a live show featuring the musicians that recorded it, Kelly connected with Canada’s metal queen and rock icon, Lee Aaron. The interview for the book and Kelly’s request that she re-record her legendary ‘Metal Queen’ for the Metal On Ice album eventually led to the duo working on new song material for what has become Lee Aaron’s return to the spotlight, Fire And Gasoline. No big deal on the one hand for a guy that has worked with a wide variety of artists in the years up to this point, but also a “pinch me” wish come true for someone who is a fan first and foremost.

“It’s such an honour and blessing to be working with Lee, and an even greater honour to call her my friend,” says Kelly. “I was absolutely a Lee Aaron fan and remain so to this day. She’s one of the finest musicians I’ve ever worked with, and I thank my lucky stars for every opportunity we get to hang out and make music together.”

“I co-wrote five songs on the new album, and our collaboration was done long distance; I would send her demos via email. Sometimes there were fully formed musical arrangements, and sometimes just iPhone memos of riffs and ideas. We would go back and forth once she picked up on ideas she liked, and I have to tell you that I was blown away with the results. I live in Toronto, and she’s out in BC, so sitting in a room together is a luxury we don’t have – aside from when we’re on the road doing concerts – so we made the best out of the technological advancements of our current age. Most of the material I sent was brand new, but one song I actually wrote with Gilby Clarke in mind when we were writing together a few years ago. It was a Badfinger-esque track that he dug, but was not quite right at the time. What Lee did to it was breathtaking, and that became the song ‘Nothing Says Everything’.” Continue reading SEAN KELLY – “It’s Such An Honour And Blessing To Be Working With LEE AARON; An Even Greater Honour To Call Her My Friend”

HELIX – 40 Proof: Still Wicked After All These Years

By Carl Begai


October 12th, 2014 – Nuremberg, Germany

Born and bred in Toronto as I was, Helix is one of those bands that became a staple in my life as they did for many a budding Canadian metalhead. They were considered lightweights by some compared to the Van Halens, Mötley Crües and W.A.S.P.s being vomited out by the LA hair metal scene in the ’80s, but Helix was ours. Songs like ‘Rock You’ and ‘Heavy Metal Love’ were anthems everyone loved to hate to love thanks to perpetual radio and video play, heavier fare like ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ and ‘When The Hammer Falls’ were deemed worthy of a place in metal heaven, and we all knew ‘Deep Cuts The Knife’ smoked Dokken’s ‘Alone Again’ when it came to ballads.

I was too young back then to understand the marketing potential of a song like ‘Kids Are All Shakin’ (In The USA)’; the song ticked me off because Helix was a Canadian band, dammit (I didn’t see the problem with singing ‘Kids are all shakin’ in Canada, eh!’, but I digress…). All was forgiven when they unleashed Wild In The Streets in 1987, however, and I can proudly say I wore out two cassettes over the course of a year-and-a-half in mom’s car stereo. I remember seeing Helix tear it up a couple times in support of the album, the last time being at Toronto’s legendary Rock N’ Roll Heaven in 1989. I was never disappointed. Continue reading HELIX – 40 Proof: Still Wicked After All These Years

Only In Canada, Eh! – January 2011: DEVIN TOWNSEND, HEADSTONES, BLACKGUARD, HELIX, And BW&BK’s Year End Hot-And-Not Lists Of 2010…

Hails and all that happiness in the new year stuff. Too bad about your failed New Year resolutions, though. Anyway, drown your sorrows with beer and a few updates from the Great White-In-The-Winter North…

Devin Townsend, the original Strapping Young Lad, is gearing up for the release of two albums in April. InsideOut will issue the Deconstruction and Ghost records simultaneously, thus completing Townsend’s four part look inside his Hevy Devy persona (check out my previous interviews with him about the Ki and Addicted albums). Prior to the releases he will do a headlining tour through Europe; dates can be found here. The Devin Townsend Project, as this particular era has been dubbed, also features Terror Syndrome members Ryan Van Poederooyen, Mike Young, and Dave Young. More on them and Townsend’s escapades in the coming weeks and months, as they’re due to spend most of 2011 on the road.
Continue reading Only In Canada, Eh! – January 2011: DEVIN TOWNSEND, HEADSTONES, BLACKGUARD, HELIX, And BW&BK’s Year End Hot-And-Not Lists Of 2010…

HELIX – 21st Century High Voltage Kicks

By Carl Begai

helixgroupHelix frontman and founder Brian Vollmer is a prime example of someone who makes music for the right reasons. While some long-suffering veterans of the biz jump on the nostalgia / reunion train for (supposed) big bucks and other artists – old and new – bitch about how unkind the music industry is these days as they release uninspired slabs of forgettable tunes, Vollmer is busy leading the bull around by the horns. As far as he’s concerned the present day lack of big production budgets and flashy marketing that punctuated Helix’s ‘80s heyday doesn’t make his new music any less viable, and he’s out to prove it. So while he looks back fondly on the past, Vollmer is focused on the future, ready to remind people why Helix is called the hardest working rock band in Canada.

And for those who are only dimly aware of Helix, stick around. You may learn something.
Continue reading HELIX – 21st Century High Voltage Kicks