In April of 1995 I was home between my two U.S. Army tours of Panama, and when I knew it was time to head back to paradise I decided to stop at Tower Records (R.I.P.) in Massapequa, NY and pick up some tapes for the trip and my stay. The famous Walkman was gonna get a serious workout so I had to make sure there were plenty of tunes to feed the beast. The cool thing about Tower was that you could listen to certain albums on their designated headphones before you bought them. And as it happens, the latest FIREHOUSE album titled 3 was there to check out. Now admittedly, I didn’t have high expectations, since I was disappointed in their 1992 release Hold Your Fire, but something told me to reach for those headphones and see what’s what.
And boy am I glad I did, because what greeted me was one of THE best records released that year! As soon as “Love Is a Dangerous Thing” started I knew I was in for something special. From C.J. Snare’s snarling delivery to Bill Leverty’s sexy-ass guitar lines, you could tell this was gonna be an album like no other. I immediately grabbed a tape and headed to the register so I could get in my ‘88 Sundance and hear the rest. “What’s Wrong” was a perfect social commentary on the state of the world we live in, both then and now, and Leverty’s hard, angry riff drove the song for sure.
“Somethin’ Bout Your Body” has some of the best tongue-in-cheek lyrics I’ve ever heard and the way Snare sings them only makes them better. Drummer Michael Foster and bassist Perry Richardson are locked in a groove that is undeniable, and it’s a shame Richardson left after this record. This tune is one I cranked over and over while at Fort Clayton in Panama, especially before me and my boys Salcedo and Flores would head out to the clubs to get all kinds of fucked up. Hell, you paid a $20 cover charge and that took care of your dranks ALL NIGHT!! But truth be told, those rum and Cokes were 95% rum, with a lil bit of Coke to give it color! “Trying to Make a Living” is a true anthem for the working people of this country and it’s never been more timely.
Side one ends with one of my favorite love/friendship songs, “Here For You.” I can remember playing this song over and over after my girlfriend left me upon my coming back Stateside (it was my fault), and all my friends being there for me, especially one special person named Kathleen. I don’t know where she is now, but she was instrumental in helping me through a lot, just by being there and listening. A beautiful person inside and out, I hope she’s doing OK. “Get a Life” opens Side two in true rock fashion and the line, “I’ve got better things to do than to mess around with you” still resonates with me today. FUCK YOU if you don’t get it, I say!!
“Two Sides” has lyrics that everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE should take a look at in this day and age. Ballad “ No One At All” is a song I used to practice singing in the shower area when no one else was around in the Panama days, and “Temptation” had just the right amount of dirty boogie to keep us coming back for more. “I Live My Life For You” still stands as one of the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard, and the first time I heard it I cried. I was on a plane back to Panama and all I could think about was the aforementioned girlfriend. She’s married now with two gorgeous kids, and that makes me happy.
When all is said and done in the hard rock/metal landscape from the late 80’s/mid-90’s, FIREHOUSE wrote some awesome songs, and they put out some great rock records. But in 1995 they wrote an amazing record, the best of their career, and one that still resonates with me to this day. 22 years later, guess what I still rules hard! I listened to 3 over and over again while in Panama, and even more once I got home. The memories I have of me and my Army brethren are priceless. And that’s why this is a Classic Album. ~dc