: How did you first get started in music?
PR: I must have been about 8 or 9 years old. I started singing in a gospel quartet in South Carolina, and I did that until I was 14. My dad was in a country and bluegrass band. He played bass and acoustic and he shared with me what he knew, and I took it from there. That’s where it all started.
STRYPER.COM: What was the very first record that you purchased?
PR: The first record I bought with my own money was Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
STRYPER.COM: Nice! Was that vinyl or cassette?
PR: It was an LP. That was before cassettes! I don’t remember what year that was, man ... that was a long time ago. That would have been in 8-track land! (laughs)
STRYPER.COM: What about the first concert that you attended?
PR: That would have been Wet Willy! You ever hear of them?
STRYPER.COM: No, but it sounds like some water ride at an amusement park! (laughs)
PR: (laughs) They were a southern bluesy band. They were pretty big in the south. They had a couple of hits. "Keep On Smilin" was one of them.
STRYPER.COM: I’ll have to look them up! What do you consider your first big break?
PR: I would have to say when Firehouse got signed. I had a lot of little things happen that was great before that, but that was the first big thing. Before that CJ (Snare) and I started a band right after I graduated college and hit the road. We toured for 6 or 7 years and put out a little EP and we thought we were doing something. Finally, we just got so burned out. We were playing 7 nights a week, 51 weeks a year. It was killing us. We weren’t making any money, and we eventually broke up. Then I got a call from a band called Nantucket out of Raleigh, North Carolina. I was with them for a couple of years before we decided to form Firehouse.
STRYPER.COM: This might be an internet rumor, but did you not have a name for the band when Firehouse was signed to Epic?
PR: (long pause) That’s correct. Everybody in the band was coming up with names, but nobody could agree on one. We were in New York for upcoming meeting with Epic, and they called and said ‘If you don’t have a band name when we meet we’re going to name the band for you.’ So when we got to the meeting we still had not decided on a name yet, so we asked what they wanted to name us. They came up with the name Daddy’s Girl! (laughs)
STRYPER.COM: They had to have been kidding!
PR: Man, they never said if they were kidding or not. But they said they could make candy pacifiers with the band name on it. We got kind of scared and wondered if we really wanted to sign with this label. Firehouse just kind of popped out of Michael’s mouth and we went with that! (more laughs) But they ended up being a great label for us.
STRYPER.COM: Then you left Firehouse after the release of Category 5, which I personally feel was the best and most consistent Firehouse release to date.
PR: Well, thank you. I ended up writing seven of the songs on that record. Sonically it might not have been as good, because we did it ourselves. We recorded that in Bill’s house. But I really like that record too.