July 24, 2010
By David Huff
Firehouse - Rock 'N America 2010
Catapulted to Instant Stardom
FireHouse, named in honor of the Paul Stanley penned KISS classic, formed in the late ‘80s when singer C.J. Snare moved to North Carolina and met bassist Perry Richardson. After playing together as Maxx Warrior, they met drummer Michael Foster and guitarist Bill Leverty and changed their name.
The band was signed to Epic Records and released their eponymous 1990 debut. Two singles, the Top 20 hit “Don’t Treat Me Bad” and their signature masterpiece "Love Of A Lifetime," catapulted FireHouse to instant stardom. The album was certified double platinum in the U.S., while reaching gold status in three other countries. At the 1991 American Music Awards, Firehouse won the award for Best New Hard Rock/Metal Band, eclipsing both Nirvana and Alice in Chains for the honor. Though the L.A. crowd booed, it was a meaningful victory nonetheless.
FireHouse followed their debut with Hold Your Fire in 1992. Although not as successful as its predecessor, the record still went gold and produced three more hits for the band, including “Reach For the Sky,” “Hold the Dream” and the Top Ten hit, “When I Look Into Your Eyes.”
With the alternative music scene gaining momentum, the shift didn’t phase FireHouse. Their third album, aptly titled 3, featured a significantly softer sound, with the group falling back on its strength, the power ballad. It paid off in the form of the brilliantly written “I Live My Life For You.” Despite this unconventional band’s ability to write hit songs, Epic Records decided to drop FireHouse from the label without explanation.
Once they were free from their record company, the quartet shifted gears, and countries, recording their next studio project, Category 5, for a Japanese label. The move proved to be quite fortuitous. With the declining popularity of ‘80s rock acts in the States, FireHouse found fame in Asia. They released another studio recording, O-2, as well as an acoustic version of their greatest hits album. Touring extensively throughout the Asian continent, FireHouse would pack in crowds the rest of the decade. Not wanting America to complete forget them, the band recorded one of their live shows in Osaka, Bring 'Em Out Live, and released it stateside. Founding member Richardson left the band around this time. He was eventually replaced by Allen McKenzie. The band’s most recent release is the 2003 album, Prime Time.
C.J. Snare-vocals, keyboards
Allen McKenzie-bass guitar