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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview With CJ Snare of FireHouse By Nina McCarthy
Interview With CJ Snare of FireHouse By Nina McCarthy

Still on Fire After 30 Years!

Interview With CJ Snare of FireHouse

By Nina McCarthy

Boston Rock Radio

 

 

The Hard Rock band FireHouse made a name for themselves with their 1990 self-titled debut, quickly becoming one of the most popular bands in the entire world and achieving monumental commercial success. The band’s first ever single, “Shake & Tumble," had impressive radio success. The band then released their first bonafide hit, “Don’t Treat Me Bad,” followed by ballad “Love of a Lifetime,” and “All She Wrote.” This string of hits vaulted their first album to double-platinum status in the United States while also going gold in Canada, Japan and Singapore. Perhaps some of you still have the cassette tape.

I was thankful, frontman CJ Snare took some time to talk to me the other day. My senior year of high school and first love were spent listening to FireHouse’s music. "Don't Treat Me Bad" has always been a favorite and all the girls adored “Love of a Lifetime.”  It was during 1990 that I met the man who became my husband and son’s father. That marriage didn’t last, but Firehouse did! Who would have thought 31 years later I'd be interviewing CJ and still enjoying these songs? I’ve always been a fan of his range and powerful vocals. I’ve seen this band from M3 in Maryland to the Monsters of Rock Cruise in Mexico and Belize and back to New England.

Back in September, Snare had to have some surgery to address some stomach issues and had Andrew Freeman fill in for some shows while he awaited the surgery. When questioned on how he was feeling he relplied, “I'm feeling great!” and likened it to some maintenance that we all need on our cars from time to time. He said the doctor said it would be a 3-6 month recovery and he's ready just after 3 months. We discussed how the abdominal muscles were so important for vocals. I'm sure his quick recovery has a lot to do with being in shape from performing constantly over the years. CJ said he's been singing at home since his recovery and assures me he is ready!

A discussion pursued about Andrew Freeman, much like Robert Mason with diverse vocal responsibilities, being versatile and able to fill in for a few shows while Snare awaited surgery and recuperated. I was excited to see Snare's announcement on Facebook that he would be back on stage performing with FireHouse on November 17th at the Muckleshoot Casino in Washington, and the 20th at The Vault in New Bedford, MA brought to you by Limelight Magazine/JKB Entertainment Group.  The New Bedford show will be the only 2021 New England appearance of FireHouse.

The 30th Anniversary Tour was disrupted by Covid and many shows were canceled or rescheduled, with the Massachusetts show being one. The good news is, although we have passed the official "30 years" at this point, we will still have the privilege of hearing the first album, FireHouse, performed in its entirety. “So many weren't able to hear it so we are going to play it track by track and have rescheduled dates right through 2022," CJ says. Commenting that I would be up front reminiscing and singing along with him, I was asked which song I'd sing with him? "Don't Treat Me Bad" it is!!! CJ encourages you all to join the “pink striped hair girl” up front to sing along! Of course, there will be some other favorite hits and surprises too, but you’ll have to be there to witness it for yourself.

Going back to the first album, CJ tests my knowledge by asking me what the 4th song on that album is. I dig deep and realize it's "Don't Treat Me Bad!" "See, you already know when you'll have to be ready!" he teases.  With that being said, we all now know the first 12 songs on the setlist! "Rock on the Radio," "All She Wrote," "Shake & Tumble," and right on through to "Helpless," ...you get the point!  Along with frontman CJ Snare, the other original members Bill Leverty (guitar) and Michael Foster (drums) are joined by Allen McKenzie on bass (since 2003). Not too many bands that have been playing out for over 30 years have three quarters of the original inception. In fact, all the songs that would end up on FireHouse’s debut were in the demos that they recorded in Leverty’s home. Speaking of Leverty, check out his riffs in "Oughta Be A Law!” The Snare/Leverty combo of songwriting and performing is a force to be reckoned with.

Most bands used the time during the lockdown for writing and one question I know many wonder is whether FireHouse is going to come out with some new music?  There’s been nothing new since 2003 except your last release in 2011 with Full Circle (which was re-recorded versions of old songs.) When I raised the question of new music, Snare expressed that this has been a discussion amongst the band, especially over the last year, but they feel most people come to hear the old hits. I mentioned that they had such a huge discography that they could play some lesser known songs and most people would think they were new anyway. "You read my mind," exclaimed Snare! "Would people actually want to hear new music? What do you think?" he continued. I think why fix what's not broken! Snare hasn't gotten sick of singing the same songs for 31 years. He still feels excited on stage when he sees the crowd participating and enjoying themselves. Doing what he loves and getting paid! He plans on continuing to do that as long as possible!

When stating that I didn't want to take too much of his time, he laughs, "Why? I'm having fun, aren't you?" Of course I was but I always try to be respectful of time and keep my interviews at about 15-30 minutes. However, 40 minutes flew by as we both were thoroughly enjoying our conversation. 

I mentioned the opening band for the upcoming Massachusetts show, which is an all-female hard rock/heavy metal band, Stormstress, and CJ wanted to know about them.  Stormstress is twins Tanya Venom (guitar/lead vocals) and Tia Mayhem (bass/vocals), along with their best friend, Maddie May Scott (drums/vocals) which came together as a trio in 2019 after all parting ways with a former band and frontwoman. I haven't seen them live since the formation, but did see them in the past and know they can rock

To keep the conversation going, I asked CJ a little known fact about himself. I learned that he likes scuba diving and traveling. I’m glad he enjoys traveling because he does just that over 100 days a year normally.

I concluded by telling Snare that I was glad he was feeling better and was looking forward to seeing him at The Vault in New Bedford, MA on Saturday, November 20th. I'll be up front singing my heart out! I inquired if he had any concluding comments.  After thanking me for reaching out for this discussion, he said he looks forward to seeing his New England friends and fans on November 20th. He said there’s a lot of them. The capacity of The Vault is 350, so CJ expects to see it packed! With that in mind, he suggested getting your tickets now, before they sell out!


GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! 🎟

 

Official FireHouse Website

FireHouse - Facebook

 

Photo credits to the owners.

A huge thank you to Jay Kenny of Limelight Magazine/JKB Entertainment Group for making this interview possible.  


Nina McCarthy, joined the Boston Rock Radio staff in December of 2015. Nina has freelanced for over 25 years, interviewing bands for various webzines. Nina currently focuses full-time as the Senior Music Journalist and Digital Content Editor for BRR.  Nina is a very dedicated supporter of music. Contact Nina at nina@bostonrockradio.com for interviews, reviews, or comments.

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