Our touring now is a little different than the way it used to be. Our tour basically started a year and a half ago and it really has just been going on and we get gigs and we go out and play them. We don't set up a tour for eight weeks and then go out and get a bus and stay out for eight weeks. We'll go out for four days. Fly out for four days, play a region. Let's say we fly into Minneapolis. We play Wisconsin, Minnesota, a couple of gigs in Minnesota, and then fly home for a couple of days and then fly out. We're just flying out, flying home, flying out, flying home. Getting a lot of frequent flyer points and basically doing a lot of one offs. Like this is a one off. We fly home tomorrow. We flew in this morning, fly out tomorrow. It's not an easy answer to that question in that we're on tour constantly and we're also in the studio constantly so it's kind of never-ending.
Have you changed the setlist since the last time I saw you guys back in March (2001)?
When you saw us back in March where were we playing?
There was one date in Minnesota and two dates in South Dakota.
Gosh you're all over the place aren't you?
CJ: We do "We're An American Band". We added that after September 11th actually.
We do "American Band". I think we're doing "Call Of The Night". I'm not sure if we did that back then or not either.
I can't remember.
It's a song off of O2. It's one of the new songs off of O2. We're trying to add some of the songs off the new album and still keep a lot of the old songs on the setlist too because those are the songs that people know us by. More familiar.
Any chance of you guys getting on a summer package tour?
There's a chance but it's really difficult for us since we've had six Top 40 hits. We sold 6,000,000 albums. It's every difficult for us to be the band that goes on first at 6:30 in front of three other bands because all we'd be able to play is six songs and then "thank you, goodnight." There'd be nobody there. We don't want to go on first. We'd rather go out and play like tonight where we could play a full hour and a half show and we wouldn't be out for six or eight weeks in a row but we'd still be able to go out and play all the major cities, flying out and flying home. It works better for us in a way than going out and being the first band to go on and playing to empty seats and everybody coming in and saying "oh I heard your last note." We've gotten that before and we're tired of doing that so until we get the right slot with the right tour, we're going to just go out and do stuff ourselves.
Have you been working on any new material?
We're working on a lot of new material. CJ's working on a solo album. I'm working on a solo album. We're also writing songs for the next Firehouse record.
When can we expect the next Firehous album and all these solo albums?
I would say the next Firehouse by the end of the year or the beginning of next year depending on how long that takes. Solo records I'd say maybe I might have mine done in about six months or so.
CJ, about the same? Maybe six months or maybe a year? It's just one of those things where when it's done, it's done. We don't have to rush it.
I don't know. I'll tell you about mine. I'm working on it intermittently but right now we have a new Firehouse album that's due in November in Japan and so that's on the backburner. Firehouse is always top priority.
Are you still with Spitfire?
We had a two record deal with Spitfire and that contract is up. We never signed for any more in the very beginning. It's a licensing agreement is what we had for our live record and for O2. I don't know if we'll try to get back with Spitfire or if we'll try to get with a different labels. We don't know.
I understand you play ice hockey when you're not on tour.
I play ice hockey three nights a week.
Really? How did you get into that?
I played a little bit of ice hockey when I was a kid in Virginia for about a year or two. I've always loved the sport and then on my birthday two years ago my wife rented the rink in Florida for an hour and they had a goalie there. You could rent the rink with a goalie. We just shot pucks at the guy for an hour and I got so into it that I said that I really want to join a team. So I joined a team and then I joined another team and then I joined another team so I have three rinks and I play three nights a week. It's the only thing that takes me away from my music. It sometimes takes me away from my family. I may be getting into a little too much ice hockey here lately.
Sounds like it. I also understand you donated money to the fire fighters fund in New York.
Yeah, sure did. Our gig we played right after Richmond, VA, we donated all of our merchandise proceeds to the 911 fund. It was weird because I flew home on September 10th. Woke up at 8:00 in the morning and I turn on the news and it was a normal day. Then all of a sudden that stuff started to happen and it just devastated me and everybody else around me. Our next gig we played at Richmond, VA which is Michael's and my hometown and we said we wanted to give. We want to do something. It's not as big as what they did on the big telethon thing but it was something for us.
Any other comments?
I want to thank everybody for supporting us this long. Sticking with us for this many years. Bruce Waibel's awesome.
Bruce: Oh stop. I am too.
We're real glad to have Bruce in the band. Not only as a musician. He elevates the level of our music and elevates the level of our mood.
His head's not going to be able to fit out the door.
He has no ego problem. He's a very confident man but he's got no ego problem. Which is so cool because he's a monster player and a monster singer.
Bruce: No problem. No ego.
But he doesn't have an ego problem. He's a confident guy which is perfect for music because when you're confident onstage, the audience can sense it when you're not. If you've got a big ego problem, everybody in your band can sense it. Bruce is the perfect guy.
Bruce: You're right about that. Animals can sense fear and if you're not confident onstage, the audience can tell.
They're animals. They're like animals.
Bruce: I have the smell.