I had the chance to speak with C.J. Snare vocalist of Firehouse. He has a side project called Rubicon Cross along with guitarist Chris Green(Furyon). Taking a heavier more modern approach to the songs in this project, I chatted with C.J. about the project, Firehouse, and a life on and off the road.
Tell me how this project came together?
I met Chris when we were doing shows together and we became fast friends. we became really important players in each others lives. Brothers from a different mother you know. We were best men at each others weddings. His son is my godson so we just became family. When he finally moved to the states we put this together. It had to be written. We have a really good creative chemistry. These are songs that people should hear. True and raw emotions.
What are the touring plans?
Anyone who reads this should know that Firehouse is still alive and well. It is not meant to conflict with that band. Rubicon Cross does plan to tour. Fill in the gaps after Firehouse is done touring. We will hit the road in the fall with Rubicon.
How is the writing process different for you in Rubicon versus Firehouse?
Writing is writing. There are different emotions. When Bill Leverty and I started writing for firehouse, there was the potential to be at the top of the pop charts. Not just the ballads. we had rock songs too. With Chris in Rubicon we don’t have any thoughts to become huge rockstars. It just felt like we had to write this. More of therapy for us. It’s a niche market.
How important is social media to you?
It has really impacted the world. Myspace was an attempt and then face book really took it to another level. It’s so important for a lot of people in the industry. We have a really good publicity department on our team. I am very active with it. Very hands on.
Where do you see music in general heading?
Purchasing the song has been devalued. Social media has done that. The live aspect is what keeps it going. It is difficult to become huge unless you're in the Beyonce or Katy Perry status. I don’t see bands getting like that anymore. Firehouse has a select audience and so will Rubicon. Only in pop music will things get big fast. Established bands can survive. This is a good way to challenge myself and see what the industry to offer. It will be up to the people to vote when the album comes out May 19th.
How do you keep your voice in shape?
Practice and genetics. I don’t drink before shows. It dries my voice. It’s like a muscle. Firehouse music is certainly challenging. People say I still hit those high notes so whatever I do is working. It’s a great compliment when they say wow you still sound like the CD.
Craziest thing that has ever happened on the road?
Been on the road a long time. we got pulled over by the FBI on the bus. They were looking for an underage girl who might have been with us. She was the governor’s daughter and we may or may not have “dated” her. They searched the bus , but she was not with us. There we were standing outside the bus at 4 am while the FBI searched it with dogs.
The difference for you then and now as far as touring?
Back then it was tour bus, press, show, back to the bus, city and town after town worldwide. It was repetitive but also rewarding. Now we do a lot of flying. The equipment is provided for us a the gig and we fly man. Kind of like what the country artists do. They do a few shows then go home to live a semi normal family life. If I stretch my arms out that is the amount of time I fly and if I hold my hands an inch apart, that is the amount of time I spend actually performing. Certainly we are not at the top of the charts anymore. Social media affects supply and demand. There are pockets where we go. It keeps us busy from may to September. we are slammed. I am filled with gratitude for that. But during the downtime that is where Rubicon Cross comes in.
Who were your favorite bands growing up?
I started with classical. My mom said if you can play this then you can play anything. Then I started with Alice Cooper, The scorpions, kiss, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. My roots are based in metal. Rubicon is metal based. Not super heavy. But heavier than firehouse as a whole.
If you could sing for any band, who would it be?
(Laughs). I gotta say and there is no way that I could sing for this band, but I love Judas Priest. Been a fan of Halford. He has one of the best voices. That would be the band. even just to jam one time.