Tag Archives: 1985

Helix/Lakehead University Agora/TBay/April 1985


That my friend’s above  is a picture of the Official Helix Bandana that was sold at The Lakehead University Show (Courtesy Of BMellis Circa 1985)

Get ready for another Tbay Rock Show Blast From The Past…You All Ready For It?

Let’s Do This!

Word on the street was that Triumph/ Helix we’re touring Canada in April 1985! Triumph was plugging their Thunder 7 album and Helix were supporting there Walkin The Razors Edge release which was getting a ton of sales and video play with the single  Rock You in massive rotation on MuchMusic!

What a great double-header of a tour! Now I’m going on some speculation here but Triumph/Helix  were penciled in for a concert at our local barn (Fort William Gardens) but the date got scrubbed as the Gardens was booked for Hockey that night!(WHUT?)

So Triumph drove through Tbay while Helix stopped in and played a date at our local University!

Since I started this blog I’ve been pretty good at keeping tracks of dates of shows I’ve seen In Thunder Bay but for some reason I lost the ticket stub of this show and even  BMellis who was at this show has no idea either so I tried doing a few Google searches and well Triumph/Helix played Ottawa April 10 1985. So maybe Helix was here perhaps a week to ten days before? I dunno man! I recall it was cold though!

Helix like I said earlier were becoming a big deal! Here they are playing the Arenas in Canada with Triumph and hitting the Arenas in the United States with Quiet Riot/Whitesnake!

Also Canadian Music Magazines like Music Express and Metallion  Magazine would constantly feature Helix and I would snap anything related to  anything Hard Rock at the time!

Full props and respect for Helix at dropping in (they had a Big Assed Brown Tour Bus) and they literally blew TBones and my mind  that night!

Some of this show I still recall as there was no seating so it was basically down to the front to get real close to…Brian Vollmer(vocals),Fritz Hinz(drums) Paul Hackman(Guitar) Brent Doerner(guitar) and Daryl Gray(bass).

Lakeheads Agora wasn’t really set up for concerts it was kinda like a stage being set up in a lobby that could hold like 400 people(more or less) and the place was packed for Helix!

No opening act just Helix and when the boys launched into the opener Young And Wreckless we were hooked as our 18-year-old brains were being sizzled as the show went on!

Helix were professional man! They had the whole schtick down! The moves, the songs were played to a T! Hackman and Doerner were a great guitar duo who never got there due. Still recall the whole Doctor Doerner deal “Lemme Hear Ya!” he hollered into his mic as the Doctor was doing a Housecall that Night with his 6 string Red Kramer guitar!

Vollmer what can I  say! I still remember like it was yesterday when Brian climbed the speakers on the left side of the stage and basically somersaulted off of them! Mic in hand not missing a beat and not mugging out into Daryl,Paul And Brent! That kind of stuff  looking back a smart move as it hooked all of us as Helix were pro’s live! So when Helix sauntered back to Tbay for their own headline show a few months later (at the Gardens) supporting Long Way To Heaven we all went! Smart Sell!

Songs were played from there two Capitol Records release’s No Rest For The Wicked and Walkin the Razors Edge and maybe some of their independent stuff as well …..

Rock You I believe closed out the show and we all piled outside except we went around back and creeped around the Helix bus and waited for them to come out of the University! After a few minutes Greg Hinz came out and headed to the Tour Bus he acknowledged us and we froze! Hahaha….We said nothing! After our brush with a Rocker was over we split as it was friggin cold outside!

The next day at School we all went on about how cool of a show it was and I wore my Helix Razors Edge T Shirt Loud And Proud and waited for Helix to return ….

Crazy that 31 years later this show to this day still resonates with me! Maybe Impact is the word!


The autographed pic is also from BMellis as well and it’s from I believe the early summer of 1992 when Helix played Tbays Inntowner ( which has now been levelled and is a parking lot).

When Brian showed me this pic he couldn’t really recall the timeline but I did as it shows the four Helix dudes Vollmer/Hackman/Gray Hinz (Doctor Doerner had left a few years earlier) and new guitarist Denny Belacki (no picture just autographed)and BMellis met them and got all there autographs!

Sadly a little while later Paul Hackman(RIP) lost his life in a vehicle  accident in British Columbia!

This a pretty cool piece of cool Memorabilia and I would like to thank BMellis for letting me use this stuff for this story….

Must also mention that Helix ( Fritz/Gray along with Vollmer)are playing here in Thunder Bay (July 16 2016) with The Trews/54-40/Tom Keifer(the dude who basically was Cinderella) whom I now call CinderFella and headliners  The Cult! It’s gonna be a great Friggin show…..

Helix! Here’s a request! Please dust off and play …….Young & Wreckless!

C-Ya’s There!








SONIC WAVES….ZZ Top / Afterburner

2 years after the mega selling Eliminator comes Afterburner in Oct of 1985 and to me it’s sides 3 and 4 to Eliminator. ZZ boys decide if it ain’t broke we ain’t fixing! But along with the no fixin claus someone in the Top Organization decides to jack up the synth,throw down some drum machines and  embrace the musical sounds of the mid 80s hard rock style. Plus the cover was cool as they took the ZZ car and torqued up into a rocket ship looking car! Kudos to ZZ there going into frontiers unknown!

ZZ  stays the course and me for one I’m ok with it kinda as Eliminator was solid top to bottom Afterburner lags a little behind but it’s not  close to 3/4’s Filler material here at Arena Rock!

Billy/Frank and Dusty fire up the Afterburners(Ha) and take off and hey where did that dang drum machine go…….

SLEEPING BAG- cue Frank Beard and the drum machine and some robotic musical patterns and whoosh thank God here comes Billy with his guitar and uhhey this has too be the coolest song ever written about a Sleeping Bag. This is total 80s sound in production trickery. All the bells and whistles are here folks including ,Jesus ? Is Frank Beard even playing drums ? Beats me but man 80s ZZ Top is a different beast than 1970s ZZ Top as Tbone had bought Fandango and man it’s one side live one side studio and them dudes on Fandango don’t sound anything like the slick polished Afterburner dudes !

STAGES- ahh this sounds familiar. This song rocks straight ahead with Gibbon’s guitar driving the tune cool catchy song and was one of the singles that did well for them.

WOKE UP WITH WOOD- what a great title! This is top heavy with the synthy rhythms and beats and shit but man it’s once again like Quirkey Top. I love this tune and still do! The  solo, the outro solo is real good as well! Hey ladies be careful lying next to a piece of wood and no I’m not warning you!! Billy Gibbons/ Frank Beard and Dusty Hill are warning Ya!

ROUGH BOY- ah yes track 4 and it time to slow the brakes down. Just like Eliminator with that track number 4 ( I Need You Tonight) ZZ plays some power spacey blues that I guess it’s as close to a ZZ ballad as any. Well played and Billy, well played guitar as always! Love his sound!

CAN’T STOP ROCKING- Dusty takes over and this is 4/4 ZZ saying hey we can chillax with the Rough Boy but we ain’t staying quiet for too long….

PLANET OF WOMEN- oh yeah…one of my all time fav ZZ tunes! This song rips right out of the gate and Billy tells us he’s a nervous wreck that the girls are everywhere so check it out! Hahahaha….love it man. Super catchy chorus and wickedly good Gibbon’s solo!

I GOT THE MESSAGE- drums drums and more electronic drums Done ZZ Style….this song is pretty much saved by Billy Gibbon’s guitaring which punches in and punches out on this track! It’s pretty amazing listening back to this album after a lot of years that ZZ was firmly entrenched into 1985 musically. I mean man other bands at the time like Duran Duran were using the electronics and basically they made me wanna puke where as When ZZ dialed up 1-800-ZZ-Drums they made it at least sound cool!

VELCRO FLY-ha….big time lets makie bakie a single and shove it through some electronic gadgets and see what it pukes out! Velcro Fly is upon us! This is one that I did not play much…..I think they have a tuity fruity video of this as well…..c’mon Billy dump some cool ripping guitar will Ya….speaking of the vid …Jesus was that Dusty playing the keyboard in the vid? Single single singles……chasing the hits but can Ya blame em? They had tons o hits on Eliminator so how does that not play in your noggin when your,lazing around eating tacos,drinking tons of Corona and trying to cut 10 tracks for Afterburner?

DIPPING LOW (IN THE LAP OF LUXURY)- pretty catchy harmony vocals in this tune and its a better track than Velcro Fly! Haha…Billy slaps,down some cool guitar and ZZ sees the finish line!

DELIRIOUS- Dusty rocks up with his second lead vocal….this song is pretty good for a ending tracks but ZZ falls thru the trap door with the robotic sounding vocal of Delirious! the vocal of the chorus reminds me of Styxs Mr Roboto…Hahahaha….but at least ZZ goes to the ends with a rocker of a track !

IN CONCLUSION- ZZ doesn’t want the payday to end and neither do we,so millions buy Afterburner including of course myself and Tbone. Afterburner for me is a good record but over time after the 6th song (Planet Of Women )the album kinda lags a little and its one of those albums that I did not find one of those end of album Gems(as I call em) like I did on the previous Top album with If I Could Only Flag Her Down. So for me ZZ still pass I mean, here I am at the time In  1985,17 years old and these Ol Fuzzy Beards write a tune called Woke Up With Wood……hahaha…..classic ….the one big gripe over time is the drums on this album. Too many studioery gadgets and bells and whistles ringing off but man you still got Gibbon’s and his guitar. Plus the dude sings a cool chill vocal…..Dusty and Frank, my question is are you two hombres even on this record?