Helios Creed Interview
By: Brent Marley
Psych Trail Mix Issue #1
Helios Creed was co-founder of Chrome, a band hailing from San Francisco in the late 70's and early 80's that produced some of the most mind warping, other worldly psychedelic music ever. Helios Creed and Damon Edge, being influenced by the punk scene at the time, melded punk with psychedelia, creating some truly unique sounding music way ahead of its time. Helios split from Chrome in the mid 80's and continued his solo career, touring and recording albums ever since.
First off, how long have you been making music?
Recording, or just playing?
Just recording, touring and everything.
Ok, recording umm I'd say since '76. Because I started recording in '76... with Damon.
Ok, with Chrome...
In '77 Alien Soundtracks came out, you see....
So then you've been touring I guess ever since Chrome broke up...
Yeah I've done a lot of touring. I figured I did about 800 shows hahaha...
Wow, that's impressive.
Yeah all around the world, I mean it's a rough estimate you know but I sat down and sort of got a rough estimate on how many shows I played in my lifetime. Give or take 50 or 100 shows, I don't know.
That's pretty good, so I guess how many years would that be total, you doing music, recording and touring. 30 some years?
Yeah 31 years, same age as my son.
Right, since you were like 19 or something right?
No, I started Chrome I was around 22.
Oh ok, about a year younger than me.
What were some of your biggest influences growing up as a young Helios Creed?
Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull, Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Suicide, The Stooges....
How do you feel about the latest album (Deep Blue Love Vacuum), are you satisfied with how it came out?
Well umm pretty much. I mean there's always something that you'd want to change if you could but, you know I'm pretty happy with it.
I hear you've got a new album coming out?
Anything about that, any kind of direction you're going in with that different or?
I can't say because it's not... there's not enough of it to really say what direction it is, but I can tell you there's gonna be a lot of good guitar on it. Guitar lovers will dig it I think.
Guitar lovers will dig it?
Oh ok, that's cool.
I would say because it's got a lot of good guitar work, and I'm going more for songs, vocals, you know...umm.... I want to make a... I wanna just want to make some really good music you know? Then again I wanna totally want to go left field again too. So I wanna do both. That usually entails, in the old days side a would be more accessible, side b would be off the wall.
Nowadays it's just all one side haha.... but as the cd moves on you will notice the music getting stranger.. and stranger...
I read before that you used to give your albums the acid test, do you still give this test and did Deep Blue pass the test?
Oh yeah yeah.... see I don't need to do acid anymore, you know I can tell. You know, but uh yeah when I start a record I make sure it's acidic hahaha, you know that's where I'm coming from. Nobody else is doing that. I'm making music for acid heads, still after all these years.
Right, people who are still doing it.
Yeah, since '76.... and they said there wasn't a demand for it in '76... There's always a demand for it, because it's counter-culture that will never go away, there will always be a bunch of heads that like tripping and they're gonna want their music, you know.
Right, good music to take it to.
Yeah, so I plan on making that music until I drop dead.
Right, you deliver the goods to all the acid heads.
Yeah, deliver the goods for the acid heads, it's the least I could do. You know and as long as there's somebody out there making some good acid music for the people instead of the mafia with all their strychnine and shit, you know what I mean?
That's what they deserve. Good music and good pure LSD.
I think there's been some pretty good stuff going around lately.
Yeah, like I said, the psychedelic movement never went away, it just went deeply underground, but it will never go away and I suspect someday it will resurface in a big way, because it deals with psychic awareness as well as you know... vision quests, Indians doing mushrooms and peyote, it deals with shaman priests, you know that whole... it's where our counterculture sort of connects with the indigenous cultures. You know what I mean?
So, we can have some kind of culture besides Macy's and Walmart and Mcdonald's.
Best Buy and Burger King and stuff....
Yeah, we can have something else besides that reality.
Right, something a little more real.
I feel.... I always feel like there's a need for a different reality, a different culture.
Yeah, I think in a big way now especially.
Yeah, and not... you know and I'm not knocking the hip hop culture, but not THAT kind of culture you know? Maybe not even a hippie culture, you know? A psychedelic culture that consumes, you know, all those things. Or combines all those things, and consumes it haha. That's where I'm coming from, and I'll be doing that till the day I drop dead.
Well I appreciate that.
I appreciate that.
Yeah, and I'm sure Nik Turner's... his view on making space rock.... Of course I would consider our stuff more acid punk.
Right, yeah that's what I like to call it. Anybody asks me how to describe it, I always say acid punk. That's the best way to describe it I think, to me. I feel the same way.
I've always liked that.
Right, aggressive psychedelia withut the you know... peace and love part of it.
Yeah, you can do without the peace and love, let's get real, let's explore some dangerous places as well as happy places.
Right, but always bring us back and not let us get completely lost in the dark side and bring us back with another song I guess after that.
Yeah, you can't learn anything spiritually unless you, unless you, you know go to the dark side and you know learn what there is to, learn that it's not good to lie or steal or fuck people over and do drugs adn waste your body away or whatever you know. Whatever you overdo, I mean... I think it's trying to get people to at least think about the law of karma. What they do will come back on them eventually. That's what I discovered out in... people don't seem to be aware of that in the rest of the country as much as they are in California.
You know the karma thing.
I know... everybody thinks it's a lot of fruits and flakes, but you know there's nothing wrong with people trying to be good haha...
Right, definitely I agree. What was it like touring and recording with Nik Turner of Hawkwind?
It was always a blast, you know what I mean? Because I got to play somebody else's music, and experience, play with somebody that played with my biggest idol, Jimi Hendrix you know... play with somebody that's actually hung out, recorded with him, talked to him, got stoned wtih him.
Oh, did Nik Turner do that? I didn't know that.
Yeah, Nik hung out with Jimi and they recorded, or they worked together on something and they got stoned together and they got along pretty well together.
Yeah that's cool. Nik is a great guy, I remember I played with him. He played with a show that we did, for free. Somebody asked him to do it and he said sure I'll play the festival for free.
Yeah, he's not a business man, he's an artist ya know. If he wanted to be a business man, he would've been a doctor or a lawyer, he wouldn't have been in the Nik Turner business haha.
I hear Nik Turner is a pretty wild guy to tour on the road with, do you have any crazy road stories?
Oh yeah, there's tons of crazy road stories.
You can just hit me with one or two if you want, it's no big deal.
Alright, we were going down the street, we see this naked guy, blonde naked guy running down the street, and uh.... with his arms up in the air and wow this is weird, look at that guy man he's running down the street naked. Then we go to our motel and the cops bring this blonde guy to our motel and it's Ziggy, it's Ziggy our light show guy!
Oh yeah I just met him recently.
Yeah, and uh... he was tripping on acid. Yeah, and then one time Del Dettmar got really pissed off, threw a gallon of orange juice up in the air and that's the first thing I noticed was this gallon of orange juice coming down hitting the ground, and him walking off into oblivion. I think it took Ina and Nik like 7 hours to find him or something like that.
Yeah it's just stuff like that, lots of stuff like that, LOTS of stuff like that.
Yeah Nik and Del did acid everday at every show.
Who did that?
You wouldn't believe it but they, somehow they do.
Who does it?
Nik and Del Dettmar.
They did it every show during that tour?
EVERY show they would do a hit of acid.
Wow, I didn't know that.
Did you do it?
No, I was too busy with the band you know? My job was to make sure the band was playing right, you know? It was my drummer and I was sort of helping Tommy get a good guitar sound, so I couldn't have been tripping on acid doing that you know?
Would have been kind of hard to play guitar anyway.
Hahaha... it was good, I enjoyed playing with Nik a lot because he was 54 years old at the time, it was very inspiring, you know? I wouldn't do it again, but I'm glad I have those memories hahahaha
Right, you wouldn't do it again you said?
I don't think I'd do it again. Once is enough. I think we made our mark, and we made a live record, and if people wanna check it out they can go to Cleopatra and ask about it, you know on the internet.
What do you think of current mainstream music?
I don't think about it at all, I don't even know what they're putting on the radio. So I don't know... I guess if I, I'm never in a situation where I have to listen to what's.... I don't have any kids, my kids are all grown up so I don't hear their music. I'm not around any of the young people that listen to the, I don't know. I'm totally useless in that department hahaha... I don't know what's happening, I say yeah there's this one band that I think is pretty cool but I don't know because I don't pay any attention to it. I'm not into the mainstream middle of the road crap. I don't care about you know Paris Hilton or Britney Spears or any of that shit you know, what Hollywood deems is big or whatever.
Yeah it's all a bunch of shit anyway.
I imagine it's hip hop, you know what I mean?
Yeah that's the big thing now pretty much.
I imagine it's still that you know.
Yeah I don't really get it.
Yeah, but I feel like it's fading. I mean I can also feel it's old, it is old. It's been around for what 30 years, 20 years?
Yeah then the comeback though and the old stuff, the old hip hop wasn't so bad.
Like Public Enemy and...
NWA and all that, that wasn't too bad.
What's that other one? Yeah it wasn't so bad, it wasn't so GANGSTA.
Right, you can actually understand what they're saying.
They developed their own music, culture, you know. Gangsta ho's and all that shit.
Nowadays it's just about how much money they have I guess.
Yeah I mean it's... see I don't know very much about it... see my son would know a lot about that scene, my son Alex. He listens to that, he knows what's cool and what's not cool i that scene. If I ever have any questions I'll just call on him.
Just consult Alex or write him on myspace or something.
What are your hobbies or interests outside of making music?
Model railroading, hiking, boogie boarding, screwing girls, hiking with girls is really fun, of course I already said hiking. Tripping with girls, if they're cool. I need a girl to smoke pot with so... I find I get along with the girl better if she's a pot smoker like me. That's what I think went wrong with Paul Mccartney, his bitch didn't smoke pot hahaha... Yeah I think that created a rift. Yeah if you're a pot smoker and you have a spouse, you should both be into the same thing, and it would be nice if you like the same music.
Right, yeah that helps. Or at least some of it.
Yeah, you know I mean Z and I, I mean we pretty much liked the same music. So that was ok, she had good taste in music and I could deal with her, you know? Haha.. And then after we broke up, I started sharing my place with a new girlfriend, I discovered I hate her music hahaha....You know, I hate what she listens to, it drives me nuts.
What kind was that?
What kind of music was it?
You know I really don't know, it's that goat stuff you know? Like, uhh goat music, I think Pearl Jam started it. OHHHH (Helios proceeds to give me his best impression of Eddie Vedder).
Oh no, that's awful!
Goat boy music.
Goat boy music hahaha...
Goat boy, progressive rock, drove me crazy anyway, so I was happy when she actually went... that ended hahahaha.... I realized, wow I can't be with anybody unless we like the same kind of music, because that's gonna drive me fuckin nuts.
All the material on this site has been compiled from other sources. Brent Marley has a site dedicated to chrome & helios creed (www.helioschrome
.com)he should be commended for painstakingly typing the interviews by hand and scanning alot of the pictures and photo's as well. The videos came from (www.youtube.com/user/HeliosChrome) a great you tube channel dedicated to the music of chrome and helios creed.In addition there is also a website (www.staticwhitesound.com) where you can purchase and/or learn more about the history of chrome and their music, another site alot of the information on here is culled from .Helios Creed also has a site on the internet I would advise everyone to look into ( www.helios-creed.com.). .