THE UK’S LEGENDARY GUITARIST DAVE SHARMAN: We Talk DEEP PURPLE, Career Highlights and MORE!

The Man Behind the Guitar: 

An in-depth interview with the UK’s guitar virtuoso, Dave Sharman

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Sick Lit Magazine: Your career began in 1990; what are some personal highlights that you’d like to share with our readers who may not be familiar with your work?

Dave Sharman: Being invited to perform at the BBC studios for the radio 1 ‘Friday Rockshow’ was a definite highlight, as that session landed me my first-ever record deal. We actually managed to secure the rights to that recording quite recently and it’s now available to download on iTunes.

Getting Neil Murray to play Bass on my second album ‘Exit Within’ stands out and I really enjoyed being part of the Night of the Guitars tour, alongside the likes of Ronnie Montrose, Yan Akkerman, Rick Derringer and Robin Trower, and the release of my debut album ‘1990’ has to be up there.

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SLM: Tell me about your latest record.

DS: It’s called Evolution Machine and it’s a 10-track album written and produced by me. I like to think of it as an eclectic mix of a diverse range of influences from rock to funk to classical. ‘Hunger’ which is one of the opening tracks, has an eastern feel coupled with high intensity rock guitar. There’s also a big power ballad called ‘Lady’ which is a throwback to my love of classic rock. We’ve also covered the Cars Just What I Neededwhich was a lot of fun and the title track Evolution Machine’ is sort of a space-age rocker built around a sequenced keyboard part, that one’s very indicative of my current direction.

SLM: What were some challenges you faced on this record? What were some great aspects?

DS: Handling all production and performance duties does have its challenges, but it’s something I’m used to. It can be hard work doing everything yourself, however, there’s a certain degree of satisfaction in finishing a song and knowing every intricate part of it is the way you want. It’s also a question of evolving; I mean, I started out as just a guitarist but now I also play a wide range of instruments as well as singing and producing, it’s all part ‘n’ parcel of what makes me tick.

Some great aspects are with the advent of Pro Tools and Logic. It’s become that much easier for artists to create & innovate their ideas, there are some great production tools out there to help expand your horizons. You can literally record a studio quality album in your bedroom these days.

SLM: What are YOU listening to right now? What music inspires you–and how has that changed over the years?

DS: Bach, Mozart and Beethoven are ever greens, Beethoven, especially, with his uncompromising attitude towards love, life and music is very inspirational, those guys are also really good to have on in the background if you have something else you need to concentrate on. Van Halen, Rush and most classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s and for some reason, I can’t get away from Rage Against The Machine, who were a great band, wish they’d get back together and put out some new material! You’ll also find everything from Cypress Hill, Linkin Park, Bryan Adams and Ravi Shankar on my iPod. I guess I’ve always been inspired by new and original music.

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SLM: Where are you from? What are some of your favorite venues you’ve played and why?

DS: I was born in a small town called ‘Walsall’ which is located in the west midlands of England. It’s a relatively uninteresting place to grow up with not a lot happening but for some reason it seems to spawn rock bands. Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford all originate from that part of the world; I guess it must be something in the water!

In terms of venues, I was lucky enough to play the legendary Marquee Club many years ago just before they shut it down. And stepping onto the stage at the Royal Albert Hall was cool.

SLM: It looks like you’ve worked with some pretty big names throughout your career. Who stood out? Which moments stand out in your mind and why?

DS: Jamming to ‘Smoke on the Water’ in the basement of Ian Gillan’s house with Cozy Powell and Neil Murray accompanying on drums & bass is hard to forget.

I remember Ian coming round to my home earlier in the week, I must have been around 18 at the time, he’s stood there in my living room, (the singer of Deep Purple!) clutching a demo tape in his hand and says, “see what you can do with this.”

Working with Don Airey, keyboard player from Ozzy and Rainbow, was also cool.

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SLM: So, What’s next for Dave Sharman? Will there be another LP for us in 2016?

DS: I’ve just finished some new material, with a new album in the works. We also plan to shoot one or two more promos for a couple of songs from Evolution Machine, including ‘Lady’ and ‘Liberate.’ There’s a lot of activity on our social media including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and my official website (davesharman.com), where I’ll soon be launching a new range of merchandising plus a series of instructional guitar vids called ‘Dave’s Guitar School’ so make sure you subscribe and look out for my mailing list.

SLM: How has your sound changed over the years?

DS: I think my guitar sound has remained fundamentally the same. I have never gone in for many pedals as I prefer a relatively clean and uncomplicated tone, adding any effects during post-production, which is normally just distortion, a little reverb, maybe some delay and the occasional phase or wah effect. I prefer to make the actual guitar part more interesting with what’s actually physically being played as opposed to using gadgets. Of course, there are changes to the actual technology in terms of production; something released in 2015, for example, won’t sound the same as a record that was released back in the mid-nineties.

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SLM: Where are you living now? What do you love about it?

DS: I’m based in London, which is probably one of the most exciting cities on the planet.

There’s always something to do here, and on top of that I live right next door to Abbey Road studios, which is a great place for a musician and if you’re a Beatles fan! I guess stepping outside the front door makes you appreciate being in a place where you are free to do whatever it is you want to do with your life.

SLM: Rock and guitar (acoustic or electric–both are amazing) ultimately make up the soundtrack to my life! Commercial, mass-marketed fluff (think:New Kids on the Block) has always enraged me. With that being said, what about the music scene today has you disillusioned or off-put? What about the music scene today do you find to be great?

DS: I think the industry is always changing; I would definitely like to see more control swinging back to the artist & away from the record company exec. There are too many miniature Simon Cowells out there.

It needs to be more about the music instead of trying to make a quick buck.

What I do think is great, though, is that anyone can make music nowadays and self-release directly to the fans, bypassing the labels.

Obviously it’s much tougher not having the kind of expertise and contacts a record company might provide, but at the same time it’s really difficult for the average Joe to get a contract these days. So my advice is: go ahead and find your audience, put your stuff out on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and stop prioritizing the labels.

SLM: You’ve often been described as a prodigy and a guitar virtuoso; what’s it like to be regarded so highly?

DS: To be honest, I don’t really think about it but, yes, it’s kind of cool I suppose; at the end of the day whether you’re a Mozart, Einstein or a Da Vinci, you still have to put your trousers on one leg at a time. I mean, it’s just a question of focusing and honing your particular talents and given enough time, you naturally get better at doing it.  Everyone has something they’re passionate about, mine happens to be music.

SLM: Tell me something not many people know about you.

DS: I have a keen interest in the world of quantum physics and cosmology. As a species, we’re still very much in our infancy when it comes to the fundamentals of nature and the universe around us. There are some amazing thinkers out there such as Thomas Campbell and Peter Russell. They’re amongst a select group of physicists helping to bridge the gap between science, consciousness and spirituality, guys like Richard Dawkins get a little too much ink in my opinion and not always for the right reasons!

SLM: What would be your ideal Saturday morning?

DS: Spending time with family, taking in a great movie and hearing the latest record from one of my favorite artists, how about a new Van Halen album to start?

SLM: Tell me one of your guilty pleasures.

DS: I can moonwalk and do the James Brown shuffle, but not in public!

SLM: I love that! I’ve been on a James Brown kick myself here lately. Now, with that being said, I have always been a huge fan of the Beatles; also Oasis, the Stones,Burt Bacharach, and of course Bush. So there has to be something to this “English” musician thing, right? Because it’s the most phenomenal music out there. I listen to a variety much like you, but the songs I listen to on repeat are always from my favorite artists who live across the pond. Why do you think that is?

DS: I think there are many factors involved … England had a huge empire across the world, incorporating many cultures and styles. We underwent an industrial revolution, took part in two world wars as well as numerous other conflicts throughout the 20th century. We’ve experienced enormous highs and lows throughout our history, which has had a knock on effect emotionally and subsequently, creatively.

Also, because English is such a dominant language, we rarely follow anyone else, preferring to do our own thing, which leads to originality. At the same time we’re very quick to cotton on to a great ‘idea’ such as all the blues, soul, rock and dance music which came out of the States, the Stones, Zeppelin and the Beatles essentially repackaged that stuff and sold it back to you!

*****

What a great interview with Dave Sharman! He’s extremely down-to-earth and quick-witted; he also just happens to have some pretty SICK guitar solos floating around out there. To learn more about Dave or to listen to THE MUSIC, please visit some of the links below so you can have a look inside Dave Sharman, the man, the Guitarist, Vocalist, and Composer.
www.davesharman.com
Follow him on Twitter: @SharmanDave
or Subscribe to his new YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/davesharmanguitarist

 We dig the vibe over here at Sick Lit Magazine, Dave. We hope to catch up with you again after your new album drops; as you know, we always love a good follow up. 

Cheers! 

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SCOTT COLLINS GETS REAL WITH SICK LIT MAGAZINE. AND, MAN, DID HE STRIKE ALL THE RIGHT CHORDS.

THIS ROCKER IS STRIKING CHORDS ALL OVER AUSTIN

(and some in Nashville, too.)

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Sick Lit Magazine: I remember listening to you when you were with Southbound Drive; the song that really struck a chord (haha, pun not intended) with me was “Mexico.” I was shocked at the rawness and realness that the vocals and lyrics left with me. With all that being said, what challenges are you facing as a solo artist? What do you enjoy about being a solo act?

Scott Collins: In relation to my experience writing the song “Mexico” nothing has changed.

I still write my lyrics generally without a predestined path in mind and just let the songs fall out of myself or as if I’m writing with another spirit.  One that I don’t have to share royalties with (that’s a joke). Some personal stuff gets caught in the purge which is shown greatly in the first verse of “Mexico.”

Being a solo artist again mainly gives me more control of the final song structures, but I’ve written “real and raw” lyrics for every project I’ve formed.  I’ve had some amazing experiences over the past year in a Nashville co-writing venture that has taught me invaluable lessons in song writing, but when I write for myself entirely I allow the “spirit” to take over more. Sometimes I won’t know what a line or a song means for years and will have this wonderful “a-ha!” moment. Even live on stage sometimes I’ll realize something very relevant I never thought of while writing.

The greatest struggle of playing as a solo act is all of the auditory story left out because lack of musical accompaniment, but I remedy that by playing with a lovely talented violinist and vocalist named Laura Poyzer and sometimes we have Jeff Hortillosa from Austin’s The Whiskey Shivers back us up. I have also put together a full band with some of Austin’ finest musicians and I’m also experimenting with loop pedals and percussion for solo shows. To me being solo isn’t more about draw backs it’s about possibilities that can make you stronger and more creative with dynamics of performance.

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SLM: You’ve got some pretty sweet body art going on. Tell me about that.

SC: Basically when I was about 5 or 6 years old I was watching a show on Nickelodeon called “Pete and Pete” and one of the characters had a girl tattooed on his arm he’d make dance named Petunia. I remember turning to my Mom and telling her I wanted that and I wanted it everywhere. I am now tattooed everywhere and Petunia is tattooed on my shin.

SLM: I loved Pete and Pete! How has your sound changed from Southbound Drive to Scott Collins?

SC: Southbound Drive’s sound and my follow up 2014 EP SLEEPER are greatly due to working with Grammy Nominated Producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith at The Bubble here in Austin. Chris has an amazing ear and vision for songs and especially rock and roll. He’s a genius at creating a “sound” for a band/record.

Since I write more Americana type songs and SBD’s guitar player Ryan Goebel got his roots in metal and rock and roll, Frenchie just helped bring those worlds together with a killer rhythm team. And the sound was born. The “SLEEPER” sound is due to myself, Frenchie, Hunt Sales, and guitarist Justin Jacobs basically forming a band for that EP and creating something very special. My next record will probably have more of an organic Americana feel to it, but really we all won’t know for sure until I record it…soon :).

SLM: When Noel Gallagher finally went solo a few years ago from Oasis, he said he was relieved. In Oasis, if he’d wanted a sax player or a horn section, it would have been debated to death and ultimately voted out. So as a solo act, he said he has creative license and it’s fucking great—if he wants a horn section, he will have a fucking horn section. Can you relate to that feeling at all?

SC: I can’t relate to his experience with Oasis at all but I can relate to his exhilaration for creative license. I’ve never had a band that disagreed too heavily on creative differences and always found a bad ass solution. But also we didn’t go on long enough for me to bring in a whole team of bagpipes to piss everyone off. But it is the best feeling in the world to know you can freely be creative while still having respect and compassion for the song.

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SLM: Who shaped your musical style and sound? How has that changed over the years?

SC: I dropped out of grad school for music so when I first started writing it was with an acoustic guitar and telling stories. I was very much influenced by life since I’d just moved into my car.

I definitely had musical influences but at the time they were more what I had in my car or what people showed me along the way.  Over the years it’s changed exponentially since every record has had inevitable and sometimes specific influences. My SLEEPER EP for example was influenced a lot by 10cc, Zeppelin, Pete Townshend, The Who, The Stones and even Rob Thomas. Right now with some of the things I’m experimenting with vocally and with loop pedals, D’Angelo is a huge influence. And James Blake.

SLM: Solid. So, what are YOU listening to right now?

SC: I listen to whatever CD’s are in my car and right now that’s Ryan Adams, Gary Clark Jr., D’Angelo, James Blake, Beck, and an old voice lesson CD from years ago. There’s a lot more but I’m really comfortable and don’t wanna walk to my car at the moment.  Also my girlfriend works at a local Austin establishment with a record collection that can give you an education for years. That’s pretty rad.

SLM: What’s next for Scott Collins–Is there any touring in your future?

SC: I would love to tour. Right now I am focusing on a demo I need to get out to Nashville, another solo release but with violin player Laura Poyzer, playing the hell out of Austin, and getting my recording studio up and running while creating as much as possible 24/7.  This year has been a big blessing and huge for me solo so far with SXSW Official, ASG songwriting awards, opening solo for Willie Watson from Old Crow Medicine Show at Stubb’s and more. The future looks like a lot more music and nothing but opportunity.

SLM: Where can we get your EP? Is it available on vinyl?

SC: Basically my music is available anywhere music is online and no I haven’t released vinyl yet unfortunately. Maybe my next release will be vinyl….

SLM: What is some advice you can give to an artist who may be struggling right now; one who may be on the verge of calling it quits and becoming, oh, I don’t know…an accountant?

SC: Don’t ever quit just keep working on bettering yourself and your craft. And always put yourself out there and be brave and say “Yes” to any opportunity. Your ego is never bigger than a gig. Just keep going beautiful things happen when you look at all the possible opened doors when one seems it has shut.

SLM: Anything else you’d like to add that I didn’t cover in these questions? (YES)

SC: One of my new ventures is the opening of “Chicken Run Studios” in the heart of South Austin with Grammy and Academy award winning engineer Chet Himes. We have had the pleasure of Matisyahu, Van Wilks, Malford Milligan, Gary P. Nunn and many more join our client list and it’s been invaluable in my musical education.  We can’t wait to get more bands in and I can’t wait to get more of my music out. 

SLM: Can I just say…wow? Neither can we. You are a busy man, my man.

Sick Lit Magazine recommends that you watch the “Marigold” video. It’s fucking great. Well, Scott Collins, we dig your sound here at Sick Lit Magazine.

You stay classy, Collins. And we will have to do this again sometime. See the links below for more information on Scott Collins, Chicken Run Studios and most importantly, places where you can HEAR THE MUSIC!

-SLM- 

**You can access Scott’s music here: https://soundcloud.com/scottcollinsproject (This includes two EPs from Scott Collins and one EP from Southbound Drive.)**

To like Scott Collins on any social media, see below:

  • YouTube, Southbound Drive “Marigold” Official Video:
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt0_eRF7CMQ

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU CHRIS TRAYNOR…YOU LISTEN TO HIS NEW EP FROM HIGH DESERT FIRES

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LIGHT IS THE REVELATION – A REVIEW FROM SICK LIT MAGAZINE

Released on August 21st, 2015, this latest offering from High Desert Fires’ founding member, guitarist Chris Traynor is, indeed, a revelation.

Traynor’s unique sound and innate ability to transport his listener to a different realm blew me away as soon as the opening track, Azrael, began to play. His vision has truly come to fruition–and it is badass. 

Roll down your windows, put your feet up and turn the sound up to max. It’s reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane and the Beatles, but with a modern (And Chris Traynor) twist. 

And it’s damn refreshing. 

The EP’s second track, Fernwood, is reminiscent of the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun.

“When my daughter was born, I put down the guitar for a month and I would listen to Beatles’ records first on the left and then on the right to kind of hear all the parts. I got way deep into the Beatles,” said Traynor of the Beatles’ influence on him. (onesecondbush.com/bush/biography/chris_traynor)

I’ve followed Traynor’s work since 2002, when the guitarist officially joined the BUSH lineup. He went on to Institute with Gavin Rossdale from 2004-2006, stayed on board with Rossdale when he went solo, and was back for the long-awaited and much-anticipated BUSH reunion in 2010.

But, I have to say, as far as so-called side projects go, this is no side project. This is the real deal. This album enlivens every cell in my body while illuminating the sun for me–even on a rainy, dark day. What would we give it out of five stars? I’d give it six if I could. 

Nice work, Traynor and Co.

We dig it over here at Sick Lit Magazine. 

Members: Jen Turner (guitar, vocals) Gabriella Da Silva (Vocals) Taylor McLam (drums, vocals) Drew Broadrick (Piano, Vocals) Chris Traynor (Guitar, Vocals) Sibyl Buck (Bass, Vocals) Naren Rauch (multi-instrumentalist/Orchestration)

** For more information on Chris Traynor or High Desert Fires, follow them on Twitter @HighDesertFires / @CT3GUITAR , check out their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/High-Desert-Fires-206903949451768/timeline/, and LISTEN TO THE MUSIC!! GO HERE: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/light-is-the-revelation-ep/id1023014696 **

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Kelly’s Fall Music Obsessions

  1. MEG MYERS

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sorry/id1020769172

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This album is cathartic, beautiful, harsh and breathtaking all at once. There’s also a song by Meg Myers called “Curbstomp,” that I just can’t get enough of. It’s refreshingly dark and addicting; a sparkling cocktail of musical perfection.

2. NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chasing-yesterday-deluxe-version/id929170222

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If you were a fan of Oasis in their heyday (and even afterward, like I was), then you will love the shit out of this album. I could listen to it on repeat over and over again and be perfectly blissful. It. Is. Outstanding. Gallagher’s much-buzzed-about so-called sub-par vocals are anything but--he nails it on every track, every time. Each song is unique and catchy in its own way, complete with a horn section and some sick guitar riffs. To every journalist who asked Gallagher about his “voice,” I will implore you to listen to some of Oasis’s live tracks when a different Gallagher, LIAM was singing. As smooth as his voice may have sounded on the album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, his awkward stage presence and tambourine playing was no match for Noel Gallagher’s solo act. I should know; I saw Noel Gallagher live when he came to Dallas, Texas and played at the Majestic Theatre. And he didn’t have a tambourine. Or sing off-key. Sorry, Liam.

3. HALSEY

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/badlands-deluxe/id999626332

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Halsey’s Badlands…is an experience. Her breathy vocals and hypnotic lyrics will take you to a different place. Every time I listen to this album, I am transfixed. No shit.

4. INSTITUTE

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/distort-yourself/id638231273

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Distort Yourself features vocals and lead guitar from Bush front man Gavin Rossdale. The songs are as hypnotic as they are hard rock. This album does not disappoint, from Bulletproof Skin all the way to the bonus tracks. If anyone ever wished for a continuation of the song “Greedy Fly,” like I did, then BUY. THIS. ALBUM. You won’t regret it.

5. OASIS

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/be-here-now/id850005231

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Sorry, my Wonderwall enthusiasts. While I, too, find that song both nostalgic and amazing, this was the first offering I purchased from Oasis after I caught the music video for “D’You Know What I Mean?” on MTV one fateful afternoon. It stopped me in my tracks. I wanted Liam Gallagher’s green jacket and his impossibly cool sunglasses; I wanted to be in that video. It was such a powerful moment in my adolescence that it then spurred me on to collect all of Oasis’s import singles (which were not cheap, by the way), and changed my complete outlook on music. SO HOW ABOUT THEM APPLES?!

6. BUSH

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/man-on-the-run-deluxe-version/id911604957

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I can’t say enough good things about this album; I can’t say enough good things about Bush in general, but that’s just because I’m what you might call a super-fan. After waiting patiently for this album’s release, I was hooked from the very first word that escaped Rossdale’s sweet, sweet lips. And I hope you will be too.

7. MELANIE MARTINEZ

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cry-baby-deluxe-version/id1021871522

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It is as ironic as it is inappropriate. Don’t let the sugary-sweet titles fool you; Martinez’s album is letting off steam in all the right ways. And she’s not afraid to say fuck.

8. KALEO

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/way-down-we-go-single/id1024714623

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Imagine my surprise when I Shazam-ed this song, “Way Down We Go,” expecting the Black Keys and instead got the Icelandic group, Kaleo. Otherwise a relatively unknown group, their soulful vocals and hard hitting beats have me begging for more.

-Kelly-

HELIX : THE CANADIAN ROCK GROUP’S LEGENDARY BRIAN VOLLMER OPENS UP TO SICK LIT MAGAZINE

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As told to Kelly Fitzharris Coody

Sick Lit Magazine: How did you and your band get started?

Brian Vollmer:  Originally I was in a little high school band in my hometown of Listowel, Ontario called Homegrown.   The band entered themselves in the Battle of the Bands at the Central Ontario Exhibition (C.O.E.)   We didn’t even come close to winning, but through being at the contest I met some Kitchener musicians:  Bruce Arnold, Ron Watson, & Rick Trembley.  Eventually we formed the first version of Helix that also included Don Simmons and Keith Zurbrigg.   After about 6 months we acquired a manager and lost a member. The lost member was Rick Trembly and the new manager was William Seip.   William or “Bill” Seip would be our manager until around 1996 and instrumental in the direction and success of the band.  Once Bill became our manager we went “on the road”-first on the northern Ontario circuit, then out to eastern Canada, and eventually to western Canada.  We also played across the border in New York State and in Michigan.   The band was formed in 1974 and eventually was signed to Capitol/E.M.I. U.S. in 1983.  From beginning to signing we went through several members and released two indie albums:  Breaking Loose (1979) and White Lace & Black Leather (1981).   The line-up when we signed with Capitol in 1983 was Mike Uzilac (soon to be replaced by Daryl Gray: bass), Brent Doerner (guitar), Paul Hackman (guitar), and Greg “Fritz” Hinz on drums. This line-up would be together from 1983 until Brent left in 1989.   

SLM: What influences you as a musician? What artists would you say shaped your musical style–how has that changed over the years?  

BV: My first influences were whiskey throated r&b, rock, and pop singers, i.e.  Burton Cummings of the Guess Who, Joe Cocker, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, Steve Marriot of Humble Pie, and John Kay of Steppenwolf.   

SLM: If you could give some advice to start-up musicians who are struggling, what would it be?

BV:  Follow your gut, it’s God talking to you…Stay focused, practice, and do it for the love of your “craft”.  If you do this you will be successful and money will follow.

SLM: What are YOU listening to right now?

BV: ROCK OR BUST

SLM: What are some misconceptions out there about the music industry that you’d like to clear up? Or, conversely, what is one thing you can’t stand seeing right now that’s popular within the music industry? I, myself, have always been disillusioned with “pop;” that’s not to say that there aren’t some talented pop musicians out there. I have an issue with artists who don’t play their own instruments or sing live; I don’t get it. I remember when MTV took a nosedive down the reality TV path and it broke my heart. Before that, MTV had been my link to the world of alternative and rock music, especially 120 minutes with Matt Pinfield.

BV: The music industry will only feed the public what they are gullible enough to swallow.

That’s a pretty damn good quote to end on, Brian Vollmer. Follow them on twitter https://twitter.com/helixtheband @helixtheband or visit their web site for more information, www.planethelix.com