Helios Creed
By: Monica Kendrick
Chicago Reader
August 21, 2003

I'm always surprised that protostoner sci-fi art-skronk band Chrome and its visionary guitarist, Helios Creed, don't get name-checked more often. If you've always admired punk's fuck-you-I'm-making-noise attitude but don't want to give up your Hawkwind records (or your chemical mind expander of choice), you still can't do much better. Over the decades their anything-that-works Lone Gunmen aesthetic has come to look downright prescient. The band was founded in 1976 by Damon Edge, Creed joined after the first album, and the relationship between the two set the tone not only during the band's tumultuous, off-and-on career but throughout its protracted breakup (involving a fight over the name, among other things). The struggle ended fairly decisively when the increasingly reclusive Edge died in 1995, and Creed took a re-formed version of the band on the road three years later, to much acclaim. Last year the German label Dossier released a Creed album and a Chrome album simultaneously, and they're as alike as two body snatchers in a pod. Creed himself is not just a fiendish, terribly underrated player but also a tinkerer extraordinaire whose genius comes through in his striking effects and oddball recording techniques. He combines psychedelic rock with experimental and industrial musics in a way that sounds completely natural and never forced, as the work of his heirs often does. I think the key is that his futuristic soundworld is darkly, dangerously open-ended in the Leary/Kubrick manner as opposed to the more cynical and fashionable Matrix style: rather than pretending to philosophical knowledge, it's all about asking questions and watching the patterns your brain makes as it contemplates the void. Come to think of it, maybe it's not so surprising he doesn't get mentioned more. Recently recovered from a bout with hepatitis, he's touring behind a brand-new album, On the Dark Side of the Sun (Staticwhitesound), available only at shows and through his Web site; as he told a Kansas paper, he's also trying to raise interest in another Chrome tour. (I'm interested already--their show at the Empty Bottle in '98 was a revelation.) Thursday, August 28, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160.