Home > Music > Issue #539.5 Firehouse/Bill Leverty Interview

Issue #539.5 Firehouse/Bill Leverty Interview

Detritus
Mini-Issue #539.5
March 19, 2010
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*** CAST OF CHARACTERS ***
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Patrick Brower, Editor
patrickbrower@comcast.net

Sean P. Gahgan, Editor
spgahgan@comcast.net
http://www.lakeoffire.net/
http://www.myspace.com/visionlakeoffire

Tim Wadzinski, Owner
tsw512@yahoo.com

Steve Shumake, Co-owner
vongoober@neb.rr.com
http://www.myspace.com/kdsteve

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*** LET IT BE KNOWN ***
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-Here’s a double-shot of FireHouse. I caught their show last Saturday at the Penny Road Pub in South Barrington, Illinois, as part of a 20-year anniversary of the Rainbow Foundation. Prior to the show I had a nice chat with guitarist Bill Leverty. Here we go… – Tim

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*** SPECIAL REPORT #1 ***
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by Tim Wadzinski (tsw512@yahoo.com)

-Interview w/ Bill Leverty (FireHouse)
March 13, 2010

I’ve been a fan of FireHouse’s good-time rock since the first album came out two decades ago, and luckily over about half that time I’ve been corresponding via e-mail with guitarist Bill Leverty. Turns out he truly is one of the nicest rockers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in all my years here at Detritus. We were finally able to sit down for a face-to-face last Saturday, before the band’s show at the Penny Road Pub in South Barrington, Illinois. We went off on several tangents, and Bill was a good sport for indulging me. 🙂

DETRITUS: I was checking your Web site — you’ve got shows coming up in Scandinavia and Greece?

BILL LEVERTY: Yeah, we leave Tuesday, so I go home for one day. Sunday night I get home at 11:30 and then have Monday off, and I’ll leave on Tuesday for a couple weeks. We fly to Norway to do a cruise, a couple gigs with Winger, and then we go down to Greece to do a couple gigs with Bonfire and some other bands.

D: I had to wonder about the itinerary, since this weekend it’s Appleton, Wisconsin, and Barrington, Illinois, and then… Norway and Greece.

BL: We started flying around doing gigs because when we had the bus the bus companies were getting all the money. Now the airlines get all the money. So we just kind of switched it around a little bit. (laughs)

D: When were you last in Europe?

BL: Last year. We played Greece, Spain, Italy and the U.K. We’d fly in to do certain shows that the promoters “bought us” for, basically. They’d say “We want to do a concert with FireHouse,” we’d agree to the terms, fly in, and do it. It’s kind of difficult nowadays because what our agent has to work out is a “flight share” between all the promoters over there who want to bring us across the pond. It isn’t fair for one promoter, say our U.K. promoter Kieran Dargan — a great guy who we’ve done a bunch of gigs with — to pay all the money to bring everybody over to Europe, and then the other promoters just pay the little flights to get around Europe. Our agent has become pretty good at finessing the whole flight share cooperation amongst promoters. It’s a difficult thing when you figure everybody’s got to pitch in an equal amount for the whole thing, and you’ve got to get all these guys who might not know each other to trust each other, to kind of come together for the greater good. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but we’ve been pretty fortunate because our agent’s real good at it.

D: Do you have the whole spring and summer pretty well planned out, touring-wise?

BL: It’s a little slow in June right now but that’s not atypical. A lot of the June festivals get their talent at the last minute, so we’re hoping June will shape up a little bit better. But the rest of the spring and summer look pretty good. I always want to be a little busier because I love to play music live. I like to stay busy. The summer is our bread and butter, really, with a lot of gigs. Fairs and festivals and events and all that kind of stuff happen more regularly in the summer than they do in the winter. It’s pretty rare to have a winter event because it’s too cold to play outdoors in America. But we get to play some casinos now that we’re a little older. (laughs) So that’s cool, they’re great gigs. We’re getting more of those, which are really good, and doing some more travelling.

D: Speaking of staying busy, you’ve now done three solo records. Have the other guys been doing anything on the side?

BL: Not yet. [Vocalist] CJ [Snare]’s sung on a couple of projects. I don’t know what his situation is right now, whether or not he’s working on other stuff, and [drummer] Michael [Foster]’s played on two of my three. [Bassist] Allen [MacKenzie]’s involved with some other projects; he does some other live gigs at home when we’re off. I’m kind of lucky — I should say I’m very lucky — because I have a studio in the house. I’ve dumped all my money into it, every penny that I’ve made, I’ve put most of it into gear so I can record at 3:00 in the morning if I want to. If I get inspired to go do something I can do it. That helps a lot, to be able to record keeper tracks in your house instead of having to go someplace else to do it. It makes it easier and more affordable.

D: Any new FireHouse material coming? I didn’t realize it’s already been almost seven years since PRIME TIME was released.

BL: It’s been forever. A lot of that is the fact that we were *legendary* slackers. (laughs) We were. But, at the same time we had other events in our lives that, you know, made us change focus from our career to our personal lives. Everybody has kids, and everybody has other things in our lives that we were focusing on. We were changing our touring, and doing the “weekend warrior” thing is pretty exhausting. All the flights are at 6:00 in the morning which means you have to get up at 3:00 in the morning to get there early enough to check in, and then you wait around… You go out and do three in a row like that and you come home and you’re dead for two or three days. Then it’s time to turn around and do another one. So we’ve kind of gotten into a groove now and we’ve started working on re-recording a lot of our older songs, trying to add or embellish those songs, and record them the way that we perform them live, and the way that we interpret them now, twenty years later. It’s our 20-year anniversary this year, so that was the idea to do that. We thought, “That will be cool,” and it will be quick, and we can give our fans more contemporary versions of the songs that we did 20 years ago.

D: Other bands have done that sort of thing, you know, “lived with” a song for a while. To me, as a fan, it always seems like songs get faster when played live, unless you do something crazy like add a reggae breakdown section or something. Do you generally see that?

BL: Because we fly so much and we have to get up at 3:00 in the morning before every gig — so we’re getting like one hour of sleep or something — our songs have become incredibly slow because we’re so tired. (laughs) But fortunately, we can go back to the original recordings in the studio and say “Ohh, wow, that song was a lot faster when we recorded it.” So it’s made us re-learn some of the things that we were doing wrong. But at the same time I look back and I go “Wow, I forgot that I played it like that,” and then I can make that determination as to whether I like the way I’m playing it now better, or not. As far at tempo, we’re going to try to make the tempos more like they were, because we felt like back then we made the right decisions because we were fresh and we were energetic. We had all our minds together on getting the right tempo for *all* the elements involved, not just the guitar player and the bass player but the singer and the drummer. So now we’re going back and we’re getting the tempos pretty close. But a lot of the different chord voicings and little, you know, knick-knacks and doo-dads I can throw in there. I’ve had 20 years to live with these songs. I did a lot of stuff before with pretty much block chords in the background, and then overdubbed the solos. Now I can add some solos in with the rhythm tracks, in the holes when CJ’s not singing, like I do live. And I basically overplay. (laughs)

D: That’s fine! You’ve now sung three FireHouse songs on records, and Michael’s done one. Since you’re going back and re-doing older stuff are you looking at possibly mixing it up?

BL: No, nah. CJ’s our lead singer. I mean, we just kinda throw the curveball, the slider and the changeup every now and then, but he’s our main guy.

D: Are there any surprises, like a non-standard song you haven’t played in a while? Or is this all top secret?

BL: We won’t let the whole cat out of the bag. There are a couple of songs on this record that we haven’t played live a lot, but our fans like a lot, and we want to try to kind of bring it back. There’s one song for example, “Hold The Dream,” which was a song that we really like a lot, but it’s a slow tempo song. If we add that to our set live, with “Love Of A Lifetime” and “When I Look Into Your Eyes,” and sometimes “I Live My Life For You” — which were all hits; “Love Of A Lifetime” was Top 5, “When I Look Into Your Eyes” was Top 10, and “I Live My Life For You” was Top 30 — it would be *so* slow. So we can’t do too many slow songs [live], but that one’s going to be on the record because we feel it’s a special song to a lot of the fans. A lot of our fans had that song help them through difficult times in their lives. When we hear those stories back, it means that really is an important song to our fans, and it’s fun to play. Every now and then we pull it out, but we have to do a shorter version of “When I Look Into Your Eyes” or something like that, to compensate for the slowness. (laughs) But also, as our audience gets older they don’t have to have up-tempo stuff all night long. It’s cool.

D: Sometimes when a band reaches a milestone anniversary like this, and there’s a huge back catalog, they start busting out medleys live. Have you thought about going that route?

BL: No but we need to do that, though. That’s a cool idea, because so many of our songs are in the same key. (laughs) That is a good idea. We need to think about doing that so we can kind of get little tastes of the songs.

D: Since this will be a 20th anniversary record will there be a tour with a special set list or anything like that?

BL: I don’t know. I haven’t given it that much thought. We’re trying not to make it so contrived. We picked 11 songs, we’re gonna record them, and we’re halfway through that recording process now. Of course we’re going away for two weeks, so that’s gonna slow everything down for a while, but we’re at the point where they’re starting to come together. Once we get it done we’ll figure it out. We’ll do the marketing, I guess, afterwards instead of trying to figure out all that. We’re tossing ideas around but I don’t know. We just want to make the music first and make it as good as we can, and then figure it out from there.

D: Back to your solo stuff… FireHouse is still very active. Do you get a chance to play out on your own?

BL: Never. Never done it, with the exception of a couple of children’s hospitals, and I played for an elementary school, and I played for a benefit for a pediatric cancer foundation for the music director for ESPN. Other than that I can’t block time from FireHouse and say, “Hey guys, figure out how you’re going to feed your families while I go over here and do my solo career, my solo tour.” I didn’t really record the first record to try to start a solo career, or try to make a solo record. It’s just I had all these songs and I was like, “Man, I need to record these things so I can play them for somebody other than myself.” I got that one done [2004’s WANDERLUST], and I had this yearning to make some instrumental music but I never had the songs. Then I had this company, Randall Amplifiers, and this other company called Grem Guitars that wanted me to do some clinics. I thought rather than just doing some FireHouse riffs in a music store, if I had something I could play along to it would be more interesting. So I wrote four instrumental songs, and then I had so much fun doing it I thought, “Man, I should do six more and I’ll have an album there.” [Those became 2007’s SOUTHERN EXPOSURE.] Then this last one I did, it was December of [2008], and I was coming out of the winter and I thought “I’m going to come out of this slow period empty-handed if I don’t do something.” I was going to be off for another month with nothing to do so I thought, “I’ll do a cover tunes album.” I tried to do something different, and I did DEEP SOUTH.

D: Speaking of that first one, WANDERLUST, I remember when it came out I noticed it was billed as Bill Leverty’s Wanderlust. Was that intended to become a side project or a band called Wanderlust, or a Bill Leverty solo album called WANDERLUST?

BL: Yeah, I should’ve just called the name of the album WANDERLUST but there was a band already called Wanderlust — you can Google the name “Wanderlust” now and there’s 10 bands that pop up — and I thought to avoid the confusion or any lawsuit or anything like that, I’d just call it Bill Leverty’s Wanderlust. But it was a mistake — I should’ve just said Bill Leverty – WANDERLUST. There was confusion when I got it up into iTunes, because when you typed “Bill Leverty” to search for it, it wouldn’t come up. But if you typed “Bill Leverty’s Wanderlust” it would. There are too many letters, and the apostrophe — so much room for error — that it was a mistake to do that. Keep it simple. (laughs) So I had to re-register for iTunes. So now you can type in “Bill Leverty’s Wanderlust” and that version of the album will come up, which is exactly the same as “Bill Leverty – WANDERLUST.” It’s the exact same thing but I had to just register it twice. (laughs)

D: Wow, that’s the kind of stuff you don’t even think about. You just want to come up with a cool title and go with it.

BL: No, I just thought, “I’m going to avoid the lawsuits with the 10 Wanderlusts out there and call it that.” That’s the story — a mistake, but it still turned out all right.

D: I’ve got to ask a silly question about the first album. We “discovered” FireHouse when the first album came out when we were in college, and you were basically one of two bands that all of us and our girlfriends all liked.

BL: Ah, okay, cool.

D: My buddy’s a guitar player and he was the only one who had a job back then, so he bought all the CDs for us to listen to. He’d bring back a batch and say “Check these out.” I don’t remember if he’d seen your video or if he just bought the album because of the hot chick on the cover — that shows our mentality at the time — but we put it on and listened, and when “Lover’s Lane” started with the “oy oy” thing we just died laughing. What was that all about?

BL: Okay… The management we had at the time we got our record deal was a guy named Danny Francis, who worked for Bon Jovi, and his way of rounding everybody up was to go “oy oy” (waves his hand). And so we thought that’d be cool. His nickname was Reggie so we said, “Hey Reggie, you want to go in there and give us an ‘oy oy’ for the song?” He said, “Oh yeah.” He was an English guy who worked for Peter Grant — Led Zeppelin’s manager. He said okay and he did an “oy oy,” and we thought, “Man, that is so funny.” So we put it on there. He made it on our record.

D: We used to do stupid stuff where we’d play funny bits of songs at like 3:00 in the morning, really loud. That was a favorite — it was funny to hear an “oy oy” come blasting out when everybody else was sleeping.

BL: (laughs) That really was his thing, his way to get everybody together or to get everybody’s attention, like “Hey!” He taught us all kinds of cool stuff about North London, the special culture there, particularly of the Cockney rhyming slang, which I wasn’t exposed to or educated on at all. It was very cool how they’d come up with rhymes so they could speak in a code language. For example, the word for “stairs” is “apples.” How it’s derived is “apples and pears — stairs.” So if you say “I’m gonna go down the apples” you’re going down the stairs. “I’m gonna go to the rub-a-dub” or “I’m gonna go to the rub-a-dub-dub,” that’s the pub. A beer is a “pig’s ear,” so “I’m gonna have a pig’s ear with my china plate” — that’s my mate — “down at the rub-a-dub-dub.” (laughs) I really got into that language so that we could talk without anybody knowing what we were saying. It was a lot of fun. They got a word for everything.

D: You should write a song like that.

BL: Well, I’m not sure anybody would get it, except for the people who live in North London who know it. There are people outside of that region who do know it. I’ve talked to other English people who are aware of it, but it’s kind of a really specialized dialect or whatever. It’s really cool, very interesting. So he taught us that and he also brought us “oy oy.” (laughs)

D: I’m reading Ozzy’s autobiography right now. Man… Luckily I worked with a guy from England who exposed me to a lot of that slang, which makes this book easier to read. You think, “We all speak English,” but there’s so much that’s different.

BL: They have such command over the language that I don’t believe we as Americans have. However, I think it’s kind of changing, I think we’re kind of growing. They’ve had a lot longer to work with that language, I guess, although I don’t know. They really do have an exceptional vocabulary and an exceptional way of twisting words around and everything. It’s really remarkable. I guess we have our subcultures that go off, you know, on creatively twisting our language around, too.

D: Sure, and you have the South in your background…

BL: Yeah, we have a lot of funny things. “Lawd child!” (laughs) There’s some good ones.

D: Okay, so you’ve toured the world. Was there any particular country or city that just blew you away, or had a special moment that stands out?

BL: Well, to me there is no place like home. God bless America. I love this country, I love playing in this country — it’s great. Having said that, one of the exciting places for me has been Japan — it’s always an incredible experience. The people are *so* wonderful, the food is great, and they love their music. (thinks) I love Europe, too. It’s just a rockin’ part of the world where they just love their rock music. I think it’s largely because the people there seem to gravitate towards music with more of a passion than they do here in America. In America, the culture is so…flighty. You’re there listening to this for five seconds and then you’re, like, done with it and you’re moving on to the next thing, whereas over there they spend more time with their recordings, and they spend more time with the music. I think that here in America we’ve kind of lost that. But you know, FireHouse does 90% of our American touring right here in the Midwest — Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, all the way down to Texas — and this region is our strongest market. I don’t know why that is, you know, because we got airplay in New York, L.A., and Miami, but for some reason the people here have kept us able to make a career in music for this long. We don’t get on the Left and Right Coasts of America very often — we’re in the middle of America. I don’t know why we got that traction here, and our music has resonated here, but we’re real thankful that it has.

D: How long do you see yourselves carrying on?

BL: Until it’s not fun anymore, I think is the way I see it. It’s still a lot of fun and I can’t imagine it not being fun. The honest truth is, there’s nothing more fun than that hour and a half that we are up there playing our songs that we love to play. People ask, “Are you sick of any of them?” I can say I’ve never gotten sick of *any* of them. That hour and a half is “it.” The other 22 1/2 hours, though, can wear you down. That’s the hard part — all the travelling. Everybody thinks it’s easy because you only work an hour and a half a night, but they forget — or maybe they don’t know — that after we get offstage tonight, it’s gonna be 3:00 when I get to my hotel. Luckily I’ve got a later flight tomorrow, but 90% of the time it’s a 6:00 a.m. flight or a 7:00 a.m. flight, and you’ve got to drive to get there. If it was a 6:00 a.m. flight we’d just have to get offstage, dry off and hop in the van, and drive off to get to the next gig, or to get home. That’s the hard part of it. We don’t get to hang out and party afterwards like we used to when we had the bus. Back then you’d hang out and party for a while and then you’d just crawl into the bus, get into your bunk, and go to sleep. Now it’s hop in a van and drive for several hours. It’s challenging.

D: I was just wondering because as I get older — I’m pushing 40 now — and time’s flying by…

BL: You *are* old. (laughs)

D: (laughs) …you start to look back. I was re-reading your bio and it says you and Michael first hooked up in ’84 — that’s 26 years ago! — and back then I never would’ve thought I’d be here in 2010, sitting here interviewing rock stars who are still going strong. You see guys like Ozzy, Dio, Lemmy, and Kiss — God bless those guys — they’re in their 60s. It’s like nobody ever retires anymore. I just wonder how bands can keep going.

BL: The difference is we can’t afford to quit — they can. (laughs) Ozzy can certainly afford to quit if he wanted to. We’re not making the million dollars a year that makes it so that you can say “We can pretty much play wherever we want to, whenever we want to,” and get in a real nice bus and travel with the comforts of home. It’s the exact opposite of that for us. We are hard-working musicians who — thankfully — have had enough success back when we were selling records that we have some places where we can still go and play gigs and make a viable business out of this. The music is always first and the business second, but if you don’t keep an eye on the business the music suffers. So we have to make sure that we’re playing venues that are appropriate for us and that put us in a light that is going to be positive for us. And we can’t make it so grueling between shows that we’re gonna to sound terrible on the second night — “But we sounded great on that first night!” (laughs) [It can’t be that] the people paid the same amount for the ticket on the second night, but they showed up and everybody in the band had laryngitis because we were up all night. We have to be real hip to that.

At this point a couple of the band’s crew guys walked in and we all started talking about Downtread, a band one of the guys plays in. (George Lynch played on their record; check them out at http://www.myspace.com/downtread .) The conversation then shifted to UFO, since their former guitarist Paul Chapman was also on the bill this night, and Michael Schenker. Eventually Bill snuck out of the Penny Road with me, and we grabbed dinner while discussing all manner of topics including health care reform, fishing, Taylor Swift, fatherhood, and, of course, Gamma Ray. 🙂 He also talked about the music biz, from record deals down to promotion, and I learned he actually gives lectures on these topics. But that’s another whole article right there… Quite an experience, let me tell ya. Thanks, Bill.

FireHouse
http://www.firehousemusic.com/

Grem Guitars
http://www.gremusa.com/
http://www.myspace.com/gremusa

Bill Leverty
http://www.leverty.com/

Randall Amplifiers
http://www.randallamplifiers.com/

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*** SPECIAL REPORT #2 ***
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by Tim Wadzinski (tsw512@yahoo.com)

-FireHouse/Paul Chapman Project
March 13, 2010
Penny Road Pub, South Barrington, IL

The Chicago Rainbow Foundation is a local charity that’s been around for 20 years now, and this celebratory event included fundraising activities, auctions, raffles, etc. The Pub was completely packed on a rainy, windy night, and I think a lot of money and goodwill were raised. I took some pictures that will soon hopefully appear on the Yahoo! Groups site.

For a bit more info on the Chicago Rainbow Foundation, check out http://nwitimes.com/entertainment/music/article_bc740293-08a8-5074-b0b6-6a5055c7c943.html .

Friction and Don’t Tell Mama were the other two bands on the bill but I arrived after they played.

Paul Chapman Project (60 mins.)

We Belong To The Night / Shoot Shoot / <unknown> / Chains Chains / Only You Can Rock Me / Lettin’ Go / guitar solo / Long Gone / Lights Out / Rock Bottom / Too Hot To Handle

Former UFO guitarist Paul Chapman apparently has two versions of this solo project, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. According to MySpace he’s joined in this U.S. lineup by Steve Calzaretta on vocals, Rob Giess on guitar and vocals, Brian Bridenthal on bass, Frank Lucas on keyboards, and Frank Harchut on drums. Let me tell ya, cramming a six-piece band on the Penny Road’s stage is quite a feat! Amazingly, nobody stepped on anyone else. The set was a bang-bang mix of UFO material, featuring songs from Chapman’s era as well as earlier classics immortalized on the STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT live opus. I didn’t recognize one of the songs — “Dog?” — but otherwise the band put on a fun show of classy, classic melodic hard rock. Chapman addressed the crowd a few times but otherwise he was content to let his fingers to the talking. Some new material might’ve freshened things up but really, the crowd didn’t mind. UFO has always been big in Chicago and this audience was into the show from the first note. (I saw one older guy walking around, talking to nobody in particular, saying “This guy was in UFO. He’s AWESOME!” Rock on, dude.)

FireHouse (90 mins.)

Rock On The Radio (tape intro) / Rock You Tonight / Lover’s Lane / All She Wrote / Oughta Be A Law / Holding On / When I Look Into Your Eyes / Shake & Tumble / Door To Door / Helpless / Love Of A Lifetime / Highway To Hell / Reach For The Sky / Don’t Treat Me Bad

I’m at the point now where I’m perfectly willing to hang back and leave the pushing and shoving up front to other folks, but I decided to worm my way up towards the stage for FireHouse. I was having flashbacks to my old Thirsty Whale days in the process. 🙂 The Pub blasted Judas Priest’s “Rock Hard Ride Free” over the PA and I was ready to go. After AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock We Salute You,” the tribal drumming intro from “Rock On The Radio” welcomed FireHouse to the stage.

The opening tune, “Rock You Tonight,” was a mild bummer as I feel this is kind of a tepid anthem, but the next three kicked things into high gear: the excellent, shuffling “Lover’s Lane,” the melodic gem “All She Wrote,” and the rockin’ “Oughta Be A Law” — all classics from the band’s self-titled debut — sounded perfect. Singer CJ Snare hasn’t lost a step at all, and the guys were tight. Guitarist Bill Leverty took over the mic for the moody, bluesy “Holding On,” which had some George Lynch snakey guitar and a cool solo. Snare then mentioned the first album’s upcoming 20-year anniversary, on September 11, and announced a new collection of re-recorded tracks is due soon.

Then it was time for the first ballad: “When I Look Into Your Eyes.” As expected, every guy/girl pair in the joint immediately latched onto each other and swayed back and forth as one. Ah, ballads. I even saw one cigarette lighter.

“Shake & Tumble” got everyone straightened out again, and then drummer Michael Foster sang on the hard-driving (pun intended) “Door To Door.” I have a soft spot for singing drummers, because that has to be so hard to pull off. Mad props. However, the song was drawn out too long with a drum solo and a crowd sing-along on the “whoa-oh-oh-oh-ohh” part. As usual, I’d much rather have heard another song instead of these time-honored arena rock practices. (Though I must add that Mr. Foster is one entertaining drummer — he’s the master of goofy rock faces and expressions.) “Helpless” followed, and I overheard Snare tell a girl in the front row that it was added to the set list in place of the prior night’s “Overnight Sensation.” Bummer they had to choose between the two, as I think most people would’ve opted to hear “Overnight Sensation” instead of that drum solo!

The evening’s other hit ballad, “Love Of A Lifetime,” brought all the couples back together again. Except for the pair that was in front of me earlier in the night — they disappeared during “When I Look Into Your Eyes.” Hmm…

Next up, Snare *finally* acknowledged the obnoxious dude who’d been standing behind me, shouting “Take It Off” for 20 minutes. (At least the guy wasn’t asking for “Free Bird” all night.) Snare wisecracked “Is this a gay bar? Why’s a guy asking me to take it off?” before obliging the dude by singing a few lines of the song. Bassist Allen McKenzie then got his turn in the spotlight, singing a spot-on cover of AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell.” That’s my other soft spot — bands where everyone sings. It’s one of the things that attracted me to Kiss, and it’s still friggin’ cool.

The hard-edged “Reach For The Sky” sounded pristine, and then the insanely catchy “Don’t Treat Me Bad” was the last tune. Snare mixed things up a bit by starting off with a nifty a cappella section before the main part of the song kicked in. Towards the end Foster wound up kicking his cymbals while playing — I’m serious, the guy is fun to watch! Then it was over, without the usual encore tedium. Very cool.

All in all it was a fun show, and the guys sounded and played great — they’re obviously a well-oiled touring machine. I was a little surprised at the continued heavy reliance on songs from the first album, but the lead vocal trade-offs were certainly welcome. I’m looking forward to the 20th anniversary album, and hopefully, brand new material after that. Keep rockin’, fellas.

Relevant links:

Paul Chapman
http://www.myspace.com/paultonkachapman

Paul Chapman Project
http://www.myspace.com/paulchapmanproject

Chicago Rainbow Foundation
jrainbowfd@hotmail.com

FireHouse
http://www.firehousemusic.com/

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*** OUT ***
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