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80s Heavy Metal

Helix Drummer Greg “Fritz” Hinz Dies After 10 Month Battle With Cancer

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Helix vocalist Brian Vollmer has posted the following news regarding Hinz’s death on his Official Facebook Page:

Greg “Fritz” Hinz: January 23rd/1956-February 16th/2024. R.I.P.

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce the passing of Greg “Fritz” Hinz, drummer for HELIX since 1983, after a 10 months fighting Cancer.

At a future date there will be a Memorial Service. Traci (Fritz’s common law wife) hasn’t slept in six months, so I’m going to give her a couple of days. She’s been an ANGEL throughout this whole ordeal. I don’t know what Fritz would have done without her. Right now I’m respecting HER wishes. This is NOT up for debate. She’s cared for Fritz since he found out he had Cancer last April. She has the right to do whatever-and whenever-she wants.

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT TRACI-GIVE HER SPACE AND LET HER HEAL. When she wants to talk to everyone she will.

Fritz was like a brother to myself, Brent, Kenny, and many other people who worked for the band. Traci has asked me to write something to post. I could go on for hours about the guy, but right now I’m devastated, as are the other guys in the band. We’ve known about this since last April, but were unable to tell anyone, at Fritz’s request. He wanted his privacy through this. He was a proud guy and tough as f**k. When he fell off the ladder a couple of years ago and nearly died, I thought that was the end there. Fritz surprised everyone by coming back less than 8 months later for gigs in Vancouver & Calgary in one weekend. This meant lots of driving and flying-something that’s extremely bad for someone who has suffered a major concussion. He played great that weekend and didn’t complain. Many months later he told me that at the end of the Vancouver show at the Hard Rock, he nearly stood up and fell forward through his drums at the end of the show ‘cos he had vertigo so bad.

Like I said, “One tough guy.”

I met Fritz way back around the late 70’s when he played for the Cambridge based hard rock band STARCHILD. We both used to laugh over the fact that’s Fritz’s big part on the STARCHILD record “Children of the Stars” was in the song Johnny Groover.

The line in the song went “…here comes Johnny Groover in his Vet-he’s got to get it wet…” to which Fritz would then add a squirting sound: Pht-t-t–t–t-h!…”

Fritz was the funniest guy you’d ever want to meet. We could be in the seriousest of situations and he could say something and everyone would burst out laughing. He had that kind of personality everyone wanted to be around. Add to that his ability to attract scores of women at our gigs. Fritz was Helix’s “David Lee Roth.”

The most frequent question asked by girls outside the buses on the Quiet Riot/Whitesnake Tour in 1984 was, “Do you know where your drummer is???”

As a result, Fritz was frequently in “movies” as he called them. This meant that one of his relationships had gone sideways and was becoming a soap opera. The funny thing was that no matter how much he would piss off the girl, they would always forgive him, come back, and shower him with gifts.

Fritz was the consummate rock drummer: It was his craft. He prided himself in his playing, and well he should have. He had a style all his own. Check out the bridge to the chorus in Heavy Metal Love. Such a simple lick-playing on the off time, but Fritz learned that playing his first instrument-the accordion-in an “oom-pah-pah” band.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be putting up pics (as I’m sure hundreds of other people will) some video, and even Super 8. Here’s the first batch of stuff I’ve found. There’s so much. Fritz joined the band in 1983. This means that he’s been in the band for over 40 years, with the exception of when he moved to Florida for a couple of years. The world has lost one of it’s GREAT rock drummers.

As I was telling Jamie on the phone today: “The public has no idea the sacrifices that musicians make for their craft. You think of the music business as be a fairly low-impact kind of job. In reality, you give up your personal life, your financial life, any type of regularity in your life, and…not to mention the physical scars. I’ve yet to meet a drummer who hasn’t ripped his rotator cuff. Guys with guitars and basses-ditto. We’ve stayed in the coldest rooms, the hottest rooms, gone without sleep, and made shit money. All for this thing called “making music.”

Fritz definitely did that. He loved his drums and he loved drumming and performing. He took great pride in everything he did. I’m going to miss him so much.

My heart is breaking now. Gotta go.

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