Sunday Old School: FireHouse
FireHouse was the REO Speedwagon of glam rock. They looked and were categorized as hard rock and heavy metal, but deep down they just wanted to play and sing ballads across the world. Two VERY interesting facts: First, FireHouse won the 1992 American Music Award for favorite new Heavy Metal/Hard Rock artist. They were chosen over Nirvana and Alice and Chains. Secondly, did you know they have sold over seven million albums? Now every band wishes they were the REO Speedwagon of glam rock.
The band FireHouse started back in 1984, when Bill Leverty’s band White Heat needed a drummer, and hired Michael Foster. The two would visit rock clubs and this is where they saw the band Maxx Warrior, which featured singer C.J. Snare and bassist Perry Richardson. The four would join forces shortly after; however, it wasn’t until 1989 after a show in New York when FireHouse was signed to a record deal. The original lineup was C.J. Snare (vocals), Bill Leverty (guitar), Perry Richardson (bass), and Michael Foster (drums). The band’s self titled debut was met with much critical praise. They were praised with awards and then sold over two million copies in the U.S. alone. The single, “Love of a Lifetime” reached number three and sold 500,000 copies. Other singles included “Don’t Treat Me Bad” and “Shake and Tumble”, both enjoying radio and MTV success as well.
The video for “Don’t Treat Me Bad” is a classic hair genre clip that featured the band on a stage and a girl that looked like a hotter version of Sloan from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The first attribute captured by the camera is Snare’s hair. It is BIG and FULL and EIGHTIES. Also, there is a depressed girl (Sloan) waking up and pissed off. She is only wearing a man’s blue button down dress shirt. The song really begins to pick up at 1:17 and that’s when the Sloan wannabe starts her rage. First, she pounds both fists into the bed sheets (BRUTAL VIOLENCE), rips a poster off the wall, and then throws all of her ex-boyfriends shit out the window. The “shit” in question includes records, large speakers, and oversized receivers. Of course, this is a time piece and could never work today. Just not the same impact seeing an iPod Nano tossed out a window. At 1:40 the rage reaches its peak with a boot smashing a mirror – that’s seven years of bad luck. Ferris would dump her ass for that. QUESTION: Isn’t that his shirt too? Probably should go, just saying. The video ends with a guitar being tossed out the window, but is caught just in time (by a member of FireHouse who apparently treated Sloan “bad”). I think the shirt falling to the ground would have been a better ending. (NOTE: Next life: Hair Band Video Director.)
Their follow-up album, ‘Hold Your Fire’ was not as successful, but still went gold on the strength of the ballad “When I Look Into Your Eyes.” For the band’s third album titled ‘3’ they saw their U.S. success continue to dwindle, but overseas were becoming more popular. Through the mid nineties the band spent a lot of time touring Asia and released a collection of acoustic arrangements titled ‘Good Acoustics.’ The late nineties saw the band sign with Pony Canyon from Japan and release ‘Category 5.’ They toured Asia heavily and also participated in the U.S. “Rock Never Stops Tour” with Slaughter and Quiet Riot.
The band switched bass players a couple times, eventually recruited Allen McKenzi, recorded their sixth album, and went out on the Metal Edge 2002 tour with Dokken, Ratt, Warrant, and L.A. Guns. In 2004, FireHouse became the first major rock band to play a concert in northeast India. Both Leverty and Snare have pursued solo careers. Leverty’s two solo albums include ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Southern Exposure.’ Snare released a Christmas single, “A Christmas Gift”, a single with Liberty ‘N Justice titled “Do What You Believe”, and is working on a side project titled “Rubicon Cross.” In 2011 the band released their ninth album titled ‘Full Circle.’ To date FireHouse continues to tour and surprise people by their success.
Don’t Treat Me Bad
Love of a Lifetime
When I Look Into Your Eyes
Reach For The Sky
I Live My Life For You
Sleeping With You
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