|Origin||San Pedro, California, USA|
|Genres||Alternative rock, post punk, progressive rock, punk rock|
|Years active||1986–1994, 2012|
|Associated acts||Dos, Minutemen, The Reactionaries, Unknown Instructors|
Firehose (stylized as fIREHOSE) was an alternative rock band consisting of Mike Watt (bass, vocals), Ed Crawford (guitar, vocals), and George Hurley (drums). They were initially active from 1986 to 1994, and reunited in 2012.
Firehose was formed in the spring of 1986 shortly after the accidental death of D. Boon brought an end to Watt and Hurley's previous band, Minutemen. Crawford, a then 21-year-old Ohio State student and Minutemen fan was invited up on the roof of the Camper Van Beethoven van in Columbus, Ohio. The members of Camper Van Beethoven told Crawford a false rumor that Watt and Hurley were auditioning guitarists for the band. Crawford, having found Watt's phone number in the phone book, called him up and expressed his desire to come out to California and play with them. Still mourning the loss of his friend Boon, Watt initially was not interested and in fact had lost much of his desire to play music, however Crawford's persistence eventually paid off when he showed up unannounced in San Pedro and asked Watt for the chance to come over and play for him. Watt eventually agreed and the two met with Crawford "auditioning" for Watt by playing him The Who's, "I'm One" as well as a few Minutemen songs. Impressed with Crawford's passion and enthusiasm, Watt and Hurley agreed to give the inexperienced "kid" from Ohio a shot and the band was formed. Crawford quickly relocated to San Pedro where he became known as ed fROMOHIO and spent nine months sleeping under a desk in Watt's one bedroom apartment. The name of the band was taken from a short film of Bob Dylan doing "Subterranean Homesick Blues" as Watt thought it was funny when Dylan held up a cue card for the lyric that said "firehose".
The band played their first gig in June 1986 and by the end of the year released their debut album, 'Ragin', Full On' via the independent label, SST. That same year, they also supported Sonic Youth on their "Flaming Telepaths Tour". The band quickly gained a loyal fanbase especially among the underground skateboarding crowd thanks in part to the inclusion of some of the their early material in several key skateboarding videos from the late 1980s. "Brave Captain" from Ragin', Full On, as well as "Sometimes", "Hear Me", and "Windmilling" from their sophomore release, If'n were all featured in the Santa Cruz Skateboards video series, "Streets on Fire".
Over the course of seven and a half years, the band developed their own musical identity apart from Minutemen while still maintaining the same dynamic synthesis of punk, funk, and free jazz. They toured non-stop and consistently played to packed audiences. All in all, Firehose played 980 gigs, released five full-length albums and two EPs before disbanding in 1994. They played their final gig on February 12, 1994 at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California. It was announced in early 2012 that the band would be reuniting for their first live shows in over eighteen years. A compilation album chronicling their major label albums entitled "lowFLOWS: The Columbia Anthology ('91–'93)" was released to coincide with the reunion. The new album features "Flyin' the Flannel," "Live Totem Pole EP," "Mr. Machinery Operator," as well as bonus material, including live cuts and instrumentals.
After Firehose (1994–2012)
Since disbanding, Mike Watt has released four solo albums and been involved in numerous musical projects including the longstanding bass duo, Dos (with ex-Black Flag bassist and wife, Kira Roessler), Banyan (with Jane's Addiction drummer, Stephen Perkins), J Mascis + The Fog, The Stooges and Unknown Instructors (along with George Hurley). He also hosts a regular internet radio show aptly entitled, The Watt From Pedro Show. Mike Watt, a San Pedro, Los Angeles, California resident since 1967, still resides there.
George Hurley has been involved in several musical projects and bands as well including Vida (with ex-Black Flag member, Dez Cadena), Red Krayola and Tripod (both with Tom Watson) and the Unknown Instructors. Like Watt, George Hurley also resides in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California.
Ed Crawford has also been involved in a handful of musical projects including fronting the North Carolina trio, Grand National (not to be confused with the UK band) and playing guitar and touring with the now defunct alt-country band, Whiskeytown. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and fronts the alt/rock trio, FOOD.
On January 4, 2012, Verbicide magazine posted an article detailing that according to a reader's tip, an announcement was made at Harlow's in Sacramento, CA on December 29, 2011 that Firehose would be performing at the venue on April 5, 2012. Shortly after, Firehose were also confirmed as part of the line-up for the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. in Indio, CA. A small west coast tour christened, "smokin' on the ol' pink pole" kicked off on April 5, 2012 at Harlow's and included 14 dates including two at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Asked whether Firehose was planning to make a new album, Mike Watt replied, "When Edward was asking me about doing new gigs, he also said he wanted to write... he has a band called Food, and said he's been writing songs. For these two weeks of gigs, we're just going to try and play some of the old ones. But he was talking about writing songs. So, I don't know – maybe down the road."
- Ragin', Full On (1986, SST)
- If'n (1987, SST)
- Fromohio (1989, SST)
- Flyin' the Flannel (1991, Columbia)
- Mr. Machinery Operator (1993, Columbia)
EPs and singles
- Sometimes (EP, 1988, SST)
- "Time With You" (promo single, 1989, SST) No. 26 Billboard Modern Rock Tracks
- Live Totem Pole (EP, 1992, Columbia)
- "Big Bottom Pow Wow" (promo single, 1993, Columbia)
- "Red & Black" (live, single, 1995, Sony)
- "lowFLOWs: The Columbia Anthology ('91–'93)" (2012)
- 1986 – flaming telepaths tour (with sonic youth)
- 1987 – hahdkor '87
- 1987 – james worthy tour (with slovenly)
- 1988 – searchin' the shed for pliers
- 1989 – viva la condor
- 1990 – engagin' the milker
- 1990 – ball bust
- 1991 – coilin' 'n' toilin'
- 1991 – live totem pole
- 1992 – low man on the totem pole
- 1993 – forty eight state cuda bake
- 2012 – smokin' on the ol' pink pole
- Lowery, David (September 8, 2010). "The Van Part 1: When I Win The Lottery I'm Gonna Buy a New Van". 300 Songs. WordPress.com. Retrieved September 8, 2010.
- "fIREHOSE". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- Allmusic biography
- Firehose collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Firehose discography by John Relph
- Mike Watt's Hoot Page