Above: FireHouse. Left: Kip Winger
May 12, 2021
While often lumped in with the ’80s glam rock explosion, FireHouse didn’t release their debut album until 1990, at the tail end of that genre’s widespread popularity. That album sold over two million copies, largely due to the popularity of the ballad “Love of a Lifetime,” which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Singles chart.
The video for that song, along with accompanying videos for “Don’t Treat Me Bad” and “All She Wrote,” helped FireHouse become a fixture on MTV, giving them an edge in winning Favorite New Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Band at the American Music Awards in 1992.
A Concert Favorite
Thirty years later, FireHouse are still a live concert favorite, playing 50 to 60 dates a year in non-COVID-19 times. Guitarist Bill Leverty, who was just named one of the top guitarists of the genre by SiriusXM Hair Nation, says his band owes their longevity mostly to the fans. In a recent interview with Whatzup, he gave credit to the fans who have followed the band all these years by saying that he’s glad people have stuck to the music for so long, and liking it well enough to want to continue to see it played live.
“We are still celebrating the 30-year anniversary of our first record, which came out in September of 1990,” he said.
So FireHouse will mark the occasion by playing through the album. Besides, most of those songs are the ones fans really want to hear.
“We’re going to play as much as we can from that album during these upcoming shows, from front to back in running order,” he said.
The FireHouse setlist has mostly consisted of songs from that debut album over the years, as well as a few from the follow-up Hold Your Fire. But even though they have played them thousands of times at this point, Leverty says the band never gets tired of them.
“They’re our babies,” he said. “We love them.”
He added that when they were writing for that first album, the members all agreed with great foresight that they would put songs on it that they would enjoy playing all the time.
“I’m really glad that we get to play these songs,” he said. “Every one of them is a lot of fun and a lot of them are challenging, very challenging in many ways.”
They Really Like Each Other
To have the chance to be around each other long enough to celebrate three decades together, the members of a band must be in tune in just about every aspect of their lives.
Unlike many bands from the era who have replaced members on a regular basis, the FireHouse you will see on May 22 at the 13-24 Drive-In is 75 percent original, with just bassist Perry Richardson having moved on two decades ago.
Leverty said the band’s secret is not really a secret at all. They just genuinely like each other and have similar goals.
“Everybody is headed in the same musical direction and personal direction,” he said. “We respect one another and enjoy being around each other, but we also have time to get away from one another,” since everyone lives in a different part of the country.
“We also have similar personal lives,” he added. “We all had good parents when we were kids. I think that’s important.”
No Pandemic Album
The pandemic was viewed by a lot of musicians as a chance to create new music. But Leverty said FireHouse doesn’t have anything new to be unleashed on fans wanting more.
Though Leverty was able to release his fifth solo album, Divided We Fall, late last year, the FireHouse members couldn’t put anything new together.
“We didn’t think it was going to last this long,” Leverty said. “We thought it was going to last about month or two, so we looked at our scheduling and said we were just going to take care of all the things we need to take care of in our personal lives.
“If we knew we were going to get a year or 14 months off, we probably would have planned things differently.”
This show will be the band’s first drive-in concert and is being looked upon with much anticipation, Leverty said.
“On a scale of one to 10, our excitement would be at 11,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of other bands play this concept, so we’re looking forward to doing it, too. I think it’s a wonderful, innovative idea that promoters had to create so we can still have live music and keep everybody safe.”
Leverty also lauded the other artist on the bill, someone FireHouse fans should be familiar with.
“We’ve all been locked down for so long, it’s going to be great to just get out and rock and roll,” he said. “Kip Winger is such a great artist, coming out to just see him is worth the price of admission alone.
“We’ll come on after him, play the first record, sneak a couple of others in there, and just have a great time hanging out with everybody. It’s going to be a great night at the drive-in.”
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