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Don't Treat Me Bad: And Exclusive With BILL LEVERTY Of FIREHOUSE

By Wendy Jasper, Black Metal Aficionado
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 @ 12:58 AM

"We have shown people that the industry got it wrong! They didn’t really have to stop playing our kind of music in favor of other types"

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Live Photo By Larry Petro

FIREHOUSE may have produced what is the most played power ballad of the hair metal genre and they’re still the “Love Of A Lifetime” for many fans. This weekend they will be burning down Fort Worth, Texas at the Ridgelea Theater with local support that includes the ever-popular BLACKOUT.

The band has stayed active for a number of years following the success of their first three major label releases and guitarist Bill Leverty says they have no intention of slowing down. Joining Leverty are vocalist CJ Snare, drummer Michael Foster and bassist Allen McKenzie. Original bassist Perry Richardson departed in 2000 and the band rotated the spot before permanently offering the position to McKenzie, a long time staple amongst the music community himself.

The band has played consistently over the past 25 years and are still in high demand not only with longtime fans, but also with new audiences that are discovering a love for good, solid hard rock.

“While our first album has actually been out for 27 years, we wanted to commemorate the 25th year since the presentation of the American Music Award,” Leverty said, referencing their 1992 win for Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock New Artist. “We had such a good past year; we did 55 shows in the United States alone and we thought we would roll with the same momentum for another year.”

The resurgence of 80’s metal is something that has helped propel FIREHOUSE back into the spotlight, but Leverty also thinks that the fans of the genre have never waned; only that technology, lack of tours and opportunity to continue to listen to their favorite bands has been what has changed in the musical landscape.

“I don’t think that the people who have listened to us ever left; they never died out, they just didn’t know how to get to the music they loved. The industry stopped playing this music; MTV stopped playing bands like us, or for that matter music altogether, and radio stopped playing the genre, so it’s not that the people who like it fell off the face of the planet, they just didn’t have anywhere to go to listen to it. We kept playing but we were playing smaller places and doing all of our own planning of tours.”

Currently, fans have several options for specialty shows, cruises and tours that feature bands like FIREHOUSE.

“Now we have cruises like the Monsters Of Rock Cruise, and some of the festivals like Rocklahoma are now focusing on this genre. We have shown people that the industry got it wrong! They didn’t really have to stop playing our kind of music in favor of other types; they could have played it all and expanded the interest, but you know how it works, you can’t always tell label guys what to do,” Leverty laughed.

Also included in the changing face of the music world is the ability for musicians to produce music and distribute it without a record company involved at all and FIREHOUSE is one of the bands that has that option. Their discography has grown, but for the past several years, they have self-produced.

“The past few albums FIREHOUSE has done, there has been no record label in the middle,” Leverty said. “I have also released my four solo albums, and soon my fifth, without a record label and we do just fine. It is somewhat liberating to not have a record company in the middle. We did have a good relationship with Epic back in the day but you also didn’t want to rock the boat too much because you wanted them to promote you and at some point they stopped promoting us in America. Our last album with them went gold in seven countries but didn’t get much attention here at home at all, so we decided it was time to move on, do it our way, and we have been a lot happier since.”

Fans are certainly happy to see the band out and about and there are a number of shows scheduled through the end of the year and the band will be on MORC 2018; so if the band is in your area, make sure to get out and see them. For more information on the band you can check out their website at www.firehousemusic.com for merchandise, tour dates and news.

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