1976 Brian Vollmer/Del Shannon/Bruce Arnold

Shortly after forming as a band in 1974 DRAM booking agency enlisted Helix to be the band for the famous Del Shannon.   Bill Jeffross, one of the agents there, was a bigtime oldies fan and used to bring in acts like Freddie Cannon, Del Shannon, Johnny Rivers, etc. to play the southern Ontario for a couple of weeks.  He’d take a “green” band like Helix (only out of the basement for about 6 months), get them to learn the material, the artist would fly in, play, and then fly out.   We had never heard of Del Shannon and actually had to go down to Sam the Record Man and pick up one of his “best of” albums.  We were more than a little amazed when we looked at the album jacket and saw pics of him with The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Jeff Lynn.  After months of learning the songs (remember-we were totally inexperienced) and Jeffross coming out to periodically check on us to see how things were going, the day finally arrived when Del was to arrive at Pearson Airport in Toronto for two weeks with us:  The first at The Coronet in Kitchener and the second in Hamilton at The Jockey Club.  I was sent to pick him up in my ’67 Ford Galaxie with bondo red fenders and snow tires on in the middle of summer…On the way back to Kitchener Del offered me a free steak dinner if I slowed down from 80M.P.H. and drove the speed limit, to which I hastily agreed.  After all, the way to any musician’s heart is through his stomach, isn’t it?   What followed were two VERY crazy weeks with Del as told in my autobiography “Gimme an R!”   When I took him back to Toronto to fly out at the end of the two weeks with my 16 year old girlfriend Carol Heague, he took me aside and gave me a little present.  It was a smelly condom in an oil filled package.  “This is so you don’t get your girlfriend pregnant”, he advised.

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