Chances are, you won’t find Fire in the Hole performing at area clubs with a hefty cover charge. The local band doesn’t play massive venues for $300 a ticket or anywhere, really, where the focus is on making money.

Steve Grenier, lead guitarist for Fire in the Hole. (Photo by Al McKeen, North Atlantic Studios)

At least not making money for the band.

For years, Fire in the Hole has largely played fundraisers — gigs for veterans, for a local recreation department, for cancer care. What gets them excited? The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

For lead guitarist Steve Grenier, it’s all about giving back to the community.

Name: Steve Grenier

Age: I’ll never tell! OK, OK, 48 if you must know!

Town: I live in Minot and co-own a business in Auburn (Main Street Music Lessons)

Family: Married with children

How did Fire in the Hole start? Since all the band members are such close friends, we decided that instead of just hanging out at each others’ houses on the weekend we should start playing music together. It seemed only natural as we have all been in and out of numerous bands together over the last 35 years.

Where did that name come from? Well . . . one night at band camp . . .

Who else is in the band? Official band members are: Renald “REMO” Lefebvre, vocals; Steve Grenier, guitar and vocals; Tony Croteau, bass guitar and vocals; Brian Grenier, piano and synth; Jody Demers, drums; Jeff Strout, sound engineer; Zach “Fro-teau” Croteau, lights and stage hand. And on our larger shows we have KMC Trucking in our corner to haul our gear and stage safely.

Fire in the Hole. . . . you guys must perform, what, polka music? Oh yeah, exactly. Our Lawrence Welk-style bubble machine has not arrived yet, but we expect it any time now!

So no to the polka? HAHA, correct! We change our set list to accommodate the event. One weekend we’ll deliver a high-powered energetic rock show and the next weekend play a wedding of classic tunes and even a little country. Fire in the Hole is an extremely versatile group of players with many years of experience. You never know show to show what we are gonna do. That’s not just for the crowd, it stays interesting for us that way, too.

Why do you guys play so many charity events? We all grew up as part of this community. We have deep ties both personally and musically. As a business owner, I am bombarded with requests to donate, and that is OK. There is a real need in the community. However, the money just isn’t always there in a small business to give. So one way I (we) can give is to turn sponsorship into real donations and significant contributions.

Ever think of chucking all the charity work and focusing on clubs instead? No way! We decided early on that we were NOT going to be a club band. Chances are, if you see us playing a club it’s because we are tying the performance to a fundraiser of some kind, such as the Dempsey Challenge, The Travis Mills Foundation, The Woman’s Health Organization or our local friends at Mechanic Falls Rec.

Any event you’d love to play for but haven’t gotten the chance to yet? Well, I feel pretty spoiled with gigs, thankfully! However, there is one charity event happening annually that I’ve not been able participate in yet. Next year (Aug. 10 at Mac’s Grill in Auburn) Fire in the Hole is booked to headline The Uncle Andy’s 5th Annual Block Party to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation. I’m personal friends with the guys at Mac’s Grill where it’s held, and for the past few years we just couldn’t get on the bill due to prior commitments. Not next year! We are booked for it and saving the date well in advance! Those wishes do not fall from the clouds. It takes a huge community effort and we love to be part of that. FIRE IN THE HOLE!

Your most memorable gig? That’s an easy question. Red Neck “Blank” this year was aimed at raising money for our veterans. The crowd was electric and we were on fire! That’s our kind of show!

What’s coming up this fall? More of the same! Every fall we do one show in particular that we look forward to. Fire in the Hole does a Halloween bash at Post 150 in Mechanic Falls to raise money for the rec department in McFalls. It means a lot for us to help on this one because we have so many local friends that depend on the fundraiser to keep the fields going and the games alive.

Ever dream of making this full time? It is full time. I mean music is all I do. The band is just one part of the equation. For the last 33 years it’s all I’ve done. I started teaching professionally when I was a junior in high school and never looked back.

Advice for kids out there who want to start a band? Take it seriously — but not so seriously that it’s not fun. Being in a band is not easy. It takes a lot of dedication to practice. If you practice hard as a player, and as a band, you’ll reach your goals. If you’re having fun playing music, the crowd will feel it and want to be part of the excitement . . . so work hard and enjoy!

 

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