Firehouse is an American glam metal band formed in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1989. The original line-up consisted of vocalist C.J. Snare, guitarist Bill Leverty, drummer Michael Foster, and bassist Perry Richardson.
- C.J. Snare – Vocals, Keyboards
- Bill Leverty – Guitars
- Michael Foster – Drums
- Allen McKenzie – Bass Guitar
- Firehouse (1990)
- Hold Your Fire (1992)
- 3 (1995)
- Good Acoustics (1996)
- Category 5 (1998)
- Bring ‘Em Out Live (1999)
- O2 (2000)
- Prime Time (2003)
Firehouse is an American glam metal band formed in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1989.
The original line-up consisted of vocalist C.J. Snare, guitarist Bill Leverty, drummer Michael Foster, and bassist Perry Richardson. The band has stayed together with all their original members with the exception of Richardson. He left in 2000 due to conflict. Richardson was replaced three times before current bassist, Allen McKenzie, was given the position in 2004.
The history of Firehouse can be traced back to 1984. Bill Leverty’s band at the time, White Heat, needed a drummer. After over 20 auditions, current Firehouse drummer, Michael Foster, showed up or the auditions. Leverty was impressed by his skill and he quickly hired him. When the band wasn’t on tour, Leverty and Foster would visit rock clubs, and at one of these clubs they saw a band called Maxx Warrior. The singer for the band was C.J. Snare, and the band’s bassist was Perry Richardson. Since the two were impressed with Snare’s vocal ability, they got the idea to unite the two bands.
As soon as Maxx Warrior split, Leverty sent Snare some of his songs and asked him to sing on his demo tape. Foster and Leverty were impressed again. They brought Snare in to be the band’s lead singer for a gig in Virginia several weeks later.
The band moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and began recording demos in Leverty’s bedroom. The band would record all day and play hotel gigs at night to earn money. Since the band name White Heat was trademarked, the band chose Firehouse instead. In December of 1989, Michael Caplan of Epic Records flew to New York to see a Firehouse show. He told the band following the gig that they were ready for a record deal. They went into the studio with David Prater as producer. Prater produced the band’s first two albums.
Firehouse’s debut in 1990, Firehouse, was met with much critical acclaim. The album sold over two million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the RIAA. The band’s third and most successful single, Love of a Lifetime, reached #5. The album went on to become certified Gold in Canada, Singapore, and Japan.
The band’s follow-up record was, Hold Your Fire, which was released in 1992. It wasn’t as successful as the debut but it still managed to produce three more hit singles and was certified Gold. Singles from Hold Your Fire included Sleeping with You, Reach for the Sky, and the ballad When I Look Into Your Eyes.
For the band’s third album called, 3, they changed producers. Ron Nevison produced this album. The band’s success rate had gone down in the United States by 3’s release. But it also brought them more success overseas than ever before. The album was certified Gold in several Asian countries. It gave the band an opportunity to tour in countries like India and Thailand. 3’s follow-up, Good Acoustics, was a collection of acoustic versions of their greatest hits. The album also included four new songs. Good Acoustics, produced by the band’s guitarist Bill Leverty, went gold in six countries. After the album’s release, the band launched their second tour of Asia which ended in late 1996. It was followed by another tour of Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan in February of 1997.
After the tours the band was frustrated with their label’s lack of promotion in the United States. They asked to be released from their contract. They were released and signed with Pony Canyon Records. They toured heavily throughout Asia during 1998 and 1999. They continued to tour heavily in the United States as well.
On April 22, 1999, Firehouse recorded a live show in Osaka, Japan. It was released with the title Bring ‘Em Out Live later that year.
In 2000, the band parted ways with bassist Perry Richardson due to personal conflict. They hired Bruce Waibel, who had played in The Gregg Allman Band for 10 years. Leverty met Waibel in Sarasota, Florida and was impressed with his bass guitar skills. With Waibel, they recorded their next album, O2, and toured in support of the album. After the twelve week tour, Waibel parted ways with the band to spend more time with his family. In 2003, Waibel died unexpectedly at age 39. Waibel was replaced by Brazilian Dario Seixas, who played bass on the band’s 2003 critically acclaimed album Prime Time. Seixas left the band shortly after, so the band announced that they were in need of a bass player.
Allen McKenzie, who was playing bass for Jani Lane’s solo project at the time, sent in his audition tape, and the band agreed that he was right for the job.
Regarding the future of the band, C.J. Snare stated that “this has been an incredible, incredible career. To do something that you love, to be an artist, to be an entertainer and to actually go out there and have fans all over the world and be able to make a living at it. As long as that’s perpetuated, I don’t see any reason to ever stop.”
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