Helvis
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Helvis

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Helvis...Creepy tales from the crypt"

Studio 82 is a cut above most bikini bars. Used to be a movie theatre, so it’s got un upper level with a balcony. The upper level is where all crazy stuff goes on... the girls run the show up there. It’s a woman’s world on the balcony level, and I ain’t talking about no high-society socialite club serving chilled white wine in the afternoon. No, no, no, no... this is where the female species take the bull by the horns. They run the bar, they host the pool table, they plug the juke box, they dress the way they wanna dress, and they walk the way they wanna walk, and they talk the way they wanna talk. And if Joe Blow gets outta line...


There I sat stewing over a vodka soda, up in the VIP lounge. Nice view, I thought to myself. On a clear day, I could watch all the video screens I wanted. Good luck Mary Lou! There must be two dozen TV sets flickering themsleves silly in this skimpy underwear, cocktail hideout. All the proof you need that the world had gone ADD mad. It crossed my mind, why on earth Helvis made this his favourite watering hole. Guess he likes to watch, or be watched... these Studio gals got a keen eye for trouble, and that’s all there seems to be in this lonesone chill room despite the 200 plus channels blaring away.
I wondered what kind of questions I would ask this Helvis creature, the embodiment of Elvis’ soul sent back to earth, or so I was informed by the press release he emailed me. What’s he doin’ here, epecially in this particular place? Taking another sip of vodka, I watched a loud-mouthed binkini clad "lady" spank an overweight patron bent over the bar. Surely there must be more in hell than here on earth. Better girls, hotter clubs, and all that jazz. Or maybe the Bible was right and hell is an awful place of fire, brimstone and torture. If that’s the case I can see why he left, but not how.


After the bikini girl put down her paddle, she approached my table and asked if I wanted to dance. "Maybe later," I said, my eyes fixed on her big bouncy neon top, glowing raver green under the lounge lights. "Your loss," she scoffed. Right, I could tell by the way you caressed that guy in the pleated khakis with your two loving hands, you’re a real catch.
As I watched her hip-sway away, Helvis entered the joint. He looked a little rough, pretty damn awful in fact. Not unhealthy awful, but more ghoulish, pasty white hungover awful. He was fiddling with a bottle of Midol’s, looked up and flashed a grinned. "Just using the soft stuff to get through the morn." It was 8PM. "Don’t need those special pharms any more. It’s all just over the counter stuff these days," he said, putting his best reassurance foot forward.
We shook hands while our dayglo waitress brought a pitcher of beer over to the table. Her and Helvis exchanged friendly smiles, like they knew each other. She sneered at me. Helvis damn near drank the first glass she poured in one gulp. I could tell that was his poison. Nothing like a couple of Midol’s and a big, fat swig to get your motor running. He offered me a cigarette and we got down to business.
I open the conversation, "So Mr. Helvis, you got this CD to plug. Is that the reason why you’re back on earth?" He removed his sungalsses, straightened up on the bar stool and looked at me dead on, a firm glare.
"First off," he said in a rough Southern growl. "I’m King Sausage, not Helvis."
"Huh?" I replied, waiting for some stupid punchline to unravel.
"Helvis is the band I’m in. Along with Helvis Spice, Drunkin’ Helvis Style and King Skins Nitro. If you woulda checked out our website like I told you to, this wouldn’t be so confusing for ya, Mr. Journalist."
Mr. King Sausage was more than a little pissed, and it wasn’t because of the beer in his belly. Normally I’d tell this kinda jerk to take a hike. Given the surroundings and his lady friends at the Studio, however, I decided to say... "Sorry about that, King."
"Awwwwlll right. Just get it straight when you type in those words off that little biddy cassette deck of yours, OK?"
"No prob," I said, in full cooperation. "So what’s the scoop then? You and the boys are fresh outta hell, how come?"
"Well there, Reno, my man," said King, as he settled back. "Goes like this. It’s no secret that Satan was a big fan of Elvis. Fame, fortune, Graceland, Priscilla, and all those other sweet, candy apple Ann Margarets were Satan’s offering to Elvis for shaking his fanny on Eddie Sullivan’s family hour TV show."
"Yeah, but what about all them gospel records he did for the Big Man," I asked, soft pedaling.
"Awwww, come on man! You gonna wait around for Sundays to arrive just so you can sing to a bunch of old ladies in some cream puff chapel. Or... OR do wanna have a face full of wild poonanni each and every night from who ever you chose in the chorus line!? What a dumb ass question! Where’d you get yer degree. M-R-C-k-e-y College! Man, o, man!"
"Alright King, I get the drift. Elvis and the Devil..."
"Satan, if you please," interrupted King Sausage.
"My mistake," I offered. "Elvis and Satan bonded, let’s say." King Sausage nodded and smiled. "And now you and the rest of Helvis are back here on some sort of mission."
"That’s right," said King in a burst of energy and another gulp of beer. "You ain’t the dumb playboy that you look." King let out a barrel of laughes.
That’s right., laugh it up... Now I get why King Sausage Head here, and little Miss S&M dayglo get along so well. Nasty pieces of work. Both of them.
"It would be so easy for Satan," King continued, "To open up the earth and suck these impersonators into the bowels of hell."
"Impersonators. Is that the problem?"
"Hell, yeah!" roared King. They’re all over the damn place. Bad impersonators are ruining the good name of Elvis, and Satan is getting a wee bit pissed over the situation. Not only does he find their screeching and wailing utterly offensive, but he also sees all too clearly that they’re driving away his flock. When Elvis was around, Satan had the world by its tail. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry who can squeeze into a size 46 Wal Mart jumpsuit is singing their shit-ass Love Me Tender face off at your sister’s wedding. It’s bad for business, man. Real bad."
"So what’s your job... What’s Helvis’ job?’
"Smart question there Reno. Satan is all too aware, once again, that rock and roll bands have more sway than some easy come, easy go schmuck with a microphone. Without the band, yer nothing. Look at Diamond Dave. Stupid fool. Just a gigolo, my ass! Just a schmuck with a few royality cheques and NO fame or fresh poonanni. And you see it over and over again... A rock and roller strays from his flock and he’s a turd circling down the bowl. Am I right, or am I right?"
"You are right," I obliged.
"Thanks, playboy."
"So, you’re some kind of Elvis impersonator slayer then?" I asked lapping down the last of the booze.
"Slayer? Nah. We play fair and square, and blow ’em off the stage with sheer talent."
"Fair and square. That’s a little odd being one of Satan’s little helpers," I said, taking a wee shot.
"Careful there, playboy. You know, yer messin’ with fire dontcha? Tell ya what, smartie-pants, here’s a promo CD for you to singe your ears on. And come on down to the release show, poonanni galore, I guarantee it. In the meantime, be a good little scribe and checkout our website at members.shaw.ca/helvis. Don’t forget, our big release party is at Broken City on August 28th. Stay cool."


We finished the very last of our pints and I covered the tab. Helvis stumbled his way to the door complaining about a craving for a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. I left feeling inspired and headed out to the Night Gallery to do a little of the Devil’s work myself.

-Reverend Reno
- Beatroute, August 2004


"Helvis: the comeback special"

In 1997, four deranged lunatics took to the stage wearing plastic Elvis wigs and matching satin jumpsuits. They claimed to have been sent from Hell to channel the four aspects of Elvis’s poor, fat, dead, fried-banana-and-peanut-butter-sandwich-eating soul while playing his music like the Ramones strung out on speed. Before long, they sputtered out, blinded by their own glory and drunken excess. But like a good ol’ case of herpes they’ve returned from oblivion with "Eat and Destroy", their brand-new disc, in tow.


I tried to talk to them about the disc and what it feels like to be four bodies sharing a single pill-popping soul, but unfortunately the phone lines in Hell are on the fritz. Luckily, because we all know Bill Gates is the true ruler of Hades, the Internet works just fine, and so I was able to listen to a few tracks on their website (members.shaw.ca/helvis) and conduct an e-mail interview, which I share with you now.


Vue Weekly: What are the four aspects of Elvis, anyway?

King Sausage (lead singer): The cosmic, lazy, snake-handling aspect.
Helvis Spice (guitar): The rock ’n’ roll drunk, and all-around abuser aspect.
Drunkin’ Helvis Style (bass): The eerie, misunderstood bad boy who needs a good woman to tame his wild ways aspect.
King Skins Nitro (drums): The backwoods hillbilly aspect.


VW: When did you first realize your affinity with the King?

HS: It all started almost exactly 20 years after the death of Elvis Presley as you knew him. 1997 was the year we were sent back to earth from Hell to obliterate all Elvis impersonators.

VW: Is your set still made up of punked-up Elvis tunes now that you have a record of your own?

HS: Yep! Punk has always been and will always be in our blood—along with all the booze.

DHS: Yeah, we tried jammin’ with an interpretive dancer, but it just didn’t work out.

VW: Why did you break up and reform?

HS: Satan put our Elvis mission on hold for a few years while we tried something different, but we couldn’t make a living as ’N Sync.

VW: Do the girls still swoon at the sight of your wiggling hips?

KS: Yeah, there’s always a bunch of cougars up front at the shows. I try not to let girls distract me from my snake-handling passion. I usually pass them off to King Skins Nitro or Helvis Spice.

VW: What’s in the cards for Helvis now?

HS: Actually, we’re working on a Christmas album right now that will show our more sensitive side with numbers like “I’ll Be Homo for Xmas” and “Black and Blue Xmas.”

VW: In Hell, which of Elvis’s movies gets played the most?

KS: Satan’s favourite Elvis movie is King Creole, so that one gets played a lot. He also likes watching old footage of us, like, mid-’50s stuff.... He always said that’s when we had the strongest hold on the kids’ minds.

DHS: [There’s also a] movie we shot while stationed in Germany in the late ’50s that was never released, called Glove Me Tender.

HS: Yeah, Satan’s got a giant freak-on for German scheisser porn. He also likes the short film on our DVD. (PD)

By Phil Duperron
- Vue Weekly, September 2, 2004


"The ugly shtick"

Once upon a time, rock bands in Calgary dressed up. I don’t mean in tails and spats (although that would be keen). I mean dressed up. For years in the ’90s it was Halloween every day, and behind every pillar at the Republik lurked foam-rubber lobsters with Les Pauls, giant talking milkshakes lugging Marshall stacks, undead rockers and singing cows. Then, I don’t know if it was the tech bubble bursting or the outpouring of sadness following the death of Princess Di, but for some goddamn reason around the turn of the century, the tickle trunks closed, the costumes hid in closets and these days there isn’t even a First World War German army helmet to be seen. Sad, sad times.

But, fortunately for us all, Helvis has returned. Yes, Helvis. White-jumpsuited purveyors of greasy garage-rawk tunes bearing a striking resemblance to – I can’t put my finger on it – why do those songs sound familiar? Anyway, Helvis is back with a dynamic new singer (the arresting King Sausage, often found tucking a napkin under his chin at various Red Lobster locations around town) and a hot new album entitled Eat and Destroy. Fifteen taut pill-poppers that make you crave a fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich before you’re hardly through the first few bars of "Suspicious Mimes." Not only that, limited edition versions of the album contain a bonus DVD full of videos, live footage and tons of crazy extras.

I took the time to ask Helvis Spice (guitar, vocals) and Drunkin’ Helvis Style (bass, vocals) the tough questions. Here are their tough answers.

Fast Forward: The Helvis of the new millennium seems a lot more introspective than the Helvis of the ’90s. What sort of experiences made for sensitive pieces like "All Fucked Up" and "I Got Tongued?"

Helvis Spice: Those are two great love songs from the gospel album we scrapped at the last minute entitled Helvis "Does God." They were the only two songs from that session that were worthy of making it on to Eat and Destroy We're actually working on a Christmas album right now that will have some similar from-the-heart numbers on it, such as "Black and Blue Xmas" and "I'll Be Homo for Xmas."

Fast Forward: Do the various children of Helvis Spice living in various cities keep in touch with each other? Do they send postcards?

HS: I get the odd Christmas card from Zimbabwe. Whenever we're in a city where I have some childrens I usually look 'em up and they hang out backstage, eating our rider.

Fast Forward: New Helvis drummer, King Skins Nitro, bears more than a passing resemblance to several other drummers from several other Calgary rock bands. Do I just need to clean my glasses or is there a deeper, more sinister, science-fiction-like explanation?

HS: We're not sure what King Skins does in his spare time. We're kind of scared to ask. All I know is that he's one hell of a skinsman and that there's always a spicy smell coming from his corner of the practice space.

Fast Forward: What kind of pills are those that King Sausage is taking?

HS: It depends on what time of the day. Mostly diazepam. Are we gonna talk about the music?

Fast Forward: Is the line "When you got kicked by a donkey" in "Too Much" some kind of veiled illicit reference? If not, does Helvis have a lot of livestock related stories?

HS: Livestock!? We love livestock! Pork, beef, chicken, horse – if it fits on the barbecue, it's good enough for us! No, that song is about a girl I was in love with years ago that got kicked by a donkey in a horrible milking accident and unfortunately ended up in a wheelchair. It was quite a blow. I mean, we still fucked like monkeys, but the meds she was on ’cuz of the accident didn't groove with mine that I was on at the time, so she wheeled off into the sunset.

Drunkin' Helvis Style: Man, I love eating vegetables.

by Dwight Christmas
- FFWD Weekly, August 26, 2004


Discography

2004 - "The XXXmas ep" Catch and Release
2004 - "Eat and Destroy" Catch and Release

Photos

Bio

If you haven't heard of HELVIS then maybe you should crawl out from the rock you been under. Formed in mid '97, HELVIS was perhaps the most notorious band to come out of Hell. They were only together for a few years, but collected enough panties in that time to put Victoria's Secret outta biz!! There was even a script written for a HELVIS movie, but the sex, drugs, violence and gluttony content deemed it unreleasable. With reunion shows after farwell shows, and a handfull of drummers, HELVIS finally left the building in 2000. While HELVIS were in their prime, they recorded a 15 song long player entitled "Eat and Destroy" that was never released.

After a 4 year hiatus, HELVIS returns in 2004, faster and stronger than ever! With them is a new member.....King Sausage. He was discovered by Helvis Spice and Dunkin' Helvis Style working at their favorite local deli. After much training, Spice and Drunkin' Style shaped Sir Sausage into the lean, mean Rock and Roll eating machine he is today! Eat and Destroy is finally released on Aug. 16 and heard for the first time. The XXXmas EP followed on Dec. 2004. LONG LIVE THE KING!!!