February 2000, interview by Vesa Nuorala
Photos courtesy of Firehouse homepage
L & C contributor Vesa Nuorala tracked down Bill Leverty Of Firehouse to hear what's up with this great band!
What is going on in the world of Firehouse/Bill Leverty right now?
Bill: "Right now we're writing songs for the next album. We just released a live album on our website (www.firehousemusic.com) and in Japan. I'm playing ice hockey once a week. :) (Still have all my teeth)"
You guys have been together for a pretty long time (10+ years) and survived the grunge era, What has been the glue that has kept you together?
Bill: "I would say that we all really respect each other, and we are a democracy. No one person calls the shots. We vote on everything. If there's a tie, our manager is the tie breaker."
Firehouse seems to be doing pretty well in Asia, any plans for coming to Europe for a tour? Not just England please!
Bill: "We are planning to come to Europe this summer/fall. It's been way too long!!"
Do you have a distribution deal here in Europe? It's really hard to find Firehouse CDs here.
Bill: "Our first albums are all on Epic/Sony in Europe, and our latest, "Category 5", is pending European distribution with a WEA label. We're still negotiating the deal."
Can you tell me how most of the songs develop and where do you get the ideas?
Bill: "I usually start with the music first, but sometimes a whole song will come at once. (That's the easiest way, but unfortunately, it doesn't happen as easily.) I'll work with the music thinking about where to put the vocal melody. After I have a basic arrangement of the music with a working melody, I'll think about what images come to mind from the sound of the music. I'll then try to start the lyric process from there. I often work backwards from the chorus to the verses."
Seems like these so called hair bands are selling a lot in the States sold out tours and so on, Do you have an idea why it is like this now? Personally I never even thought about following the trends.
Bill: "The fact is that the audience is still out there and they are starving to hear good melodic rock music. The hard part is getting to those people and letting them know that you have a new album or tour out. Most radio stations in the USA stopped playing rock and started playing nothing but alternative music. They've just figured out what a huge mistake they made because so many bands out there are having HUGE tours. These program directors realize now that there is still a huge audience out there for this music. Not only that, but those people are a little older now. From an advertiser's perspective, this audience used to buy pimple medicine. Now they are buying cars, computers, and diamonds."
Could you please comment a little bit on each album Firehouse has made and can you name the favorite? (Mine is "3")
Bill: "Each album is a snapshot in time representing where we were musically and what we were thinking about. All of our albums are diverse in terms of genre'. I think that FireHouse will always play heavy stuff, light stuff, and everything in between. We've grown over the years, but we still have the desire to rock, and sing about love, partying, and having a good time."
Can you give me the best memory that you have so far with your career with Firehouse.
Bill: "My best memory so far was winning the American Music Award for best new rock band in 1991. I'm still high on that one!"