August 29, 2001

B.P. Helium: Out of the ether


Mop-haired bassist Brian Poole, better known to fans of Athens' Elf Power as the Late B.P. Helium, recently quit the popular underground combo. But, rather than disappear into the ether, Helium has formed a solo project and joined fellow Athenians, Great Lakes, for their recent European tour.

"My first show with Great Lakes was in Bergen, Norway," says Helium from a stop during the band's overseas trip. He's no stranger to joining bands at a moment's notice. "Jumping into different bands is a load of fun. There are new personalities, new methods, new atmosphere. I am always fascinated with how the different variables come together."

Helium's new band, which makes its stateside debut this week, eventually may be called Rock Formation, thought it's currently billed under his own peculiar moniker. The group includes Ben Crum from Great Lakes, Eric Harris from the Olivia Tremor Control and wildman drummer Ed Livengood from Jucifer. Scoring Livengood from the internationally touring Jucifer was quite easy, he says. "I live with Jucifer. We have eight cats, two dogs and a chicken."

Helium says he left the still-popular Elf Power because he simply "needed a new vista." He sings and plays guitar in the new project, and writes most of the material. Being in the spotlight is new, but, he says, "I just need my [own] band. I've had this theory for years that in a perfect world, one would be in three bands: one democratic, one where you're the dictator and one where you're the puppet. In this band, I'm the likeable dictator."

For now, Helium's new project is "like a new can of Play-Doh," he says. "It's a wild gumbo and I am still mining that 'kinky pop.'"

The Late B.P. Helium plays The Earl Sat., Sept. 1.