Heart of Steel: Interviews


Interview With Firehouse
Interview By Keith McDonald

Firehouse blew onto the hard rock scene in the early 90’s with the release of their self-titled album. With the hit songs ‘Don’t Treat Me Bad’, ‘Love of a Lifetime’ and ‘All She Wrote’, the band quickly established themselves at radio and in regular rotation at MTV. As their genre’s popularity sank so did Firehouse’s record sales. They have continued on releasing albums on a somewhat regular basis including the newest release Prime Time via their own label here in the States. Bill Leverty also has released a solo album, Wanderlust through the same channels. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Bill about these two new releases. You can check out the websites at www.firehousemusic.com and www.leverty.com. for more information.


What made you decide to release a solo album?

I never said, "I'm going to record a solo album". I just kept writing songs that worked well with my voice and finally had enough to make an album. I sang a couple of songs on previous Firehouse albums and a lot of people said that they wanted to hear me sing more, so here it is!

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What type of music is it? Anything similar to Firehouse?

I think that it's more Southern and bluesy than Firehouse, but there are similarities as well. I mean, my playing style and song-writing style has always had those elements. I have sound clips on my website: www.wanderlustband.com



Who is in the band?

I'm doing all the vocals, guitars and keys; Bruce Waibel played bass, and Michael Foster played drums.



Tell me about the new Firehouse album? Is it the typical Firehouse sound or have you changed things up a little?

People are telling us that this is the best album we've ever done or the best since our first album. It's harder edged than our more recent albums, but still has the Firehouse vibe I think. We haven't jumped on any trend to try to go alternative or anything. We just wrote the best songs that we could and picked the best ones for the album. It's been received very well by our fans and by the critics.



What are your tour plans?

I don't think we'll ever stop touring. We keep getting good gigs and we love to play live. Right now, we're gearing up to go back to Europe for a tour, and this spring and summer are really starting to fill up with festival gigs and event type gigs.



Will you tour in support of your solo album?

If Firehouse ever takes some time off, I'd love to, but I don't see Firehouse taking a break from touring any time soon.



What labels are releasing the new Firehouse and solo albums?

The Firehouse album, PRIME TIME, is on Pony Canyon in Japan and in South East Asia. In America, it's on our own label. My solo album is on my own label



Why are you no longer on Spitfire Records?

We had a 2-album deal with them and we put out our live album and O2 with them. We fulfilled our contractual obligations.



How do you explain your longevity?

Credibility with our fans. Our fans know that they will get a certain quality when they get our music and/or come to see a show. We also get along with one another, which definitely helps!



How hard is it to tour these days compared to your earlier years?

We have to be more creative on how to make the money work. We've found that by flying out on a Friday and playing Friday and Saturday night, then flying home on Sunday, makes more sense than staying out on the road 7 days a week in a tour bus.



How strong is the hard rock market around the world?

Not strong enough for me, but it seems to be getting better. I would like to see it get better, faster, but at least it's getting better. We're finding more and more young people coming to our shows and telling us that they are sick of the music that's on the radio these days, so that's encouraging to us and the melodic rock genre' as a whole.



How much has the music industry changed since Firehouse debuted?

It's hard to quantify, but when we first came out, we were all over the radio and TV with our new music. Now, we are lucky to have our old music played. It's definitely a new world out there, but people still like good music. I think that every generation has to have it's own music, but our music has been able to stay in the CD players of today's generation as well. It's just hard to let those people know when you have a new album.



How much has radio changed and how hard is it to get decent airplay?

Radio has changed dramatically. It's all very corporate now and airplay on our new material is difficult. There are several radio shows that play our new music, and these shows are getting a lot of people listening, so the stations and corporations are now realizing that there are a lot of people who want to hear melodic rock.



What lies ahead for you and your band?

We are like the Energizer bunny.... we just keep going. Slow and steady wins the race, and we just want to have as much fun as we can while making music for a living.

Band Website: www.firehousemusic.com