don't you tell me how i feel.

Fire it up by Steele

Fall is upon us, and some of my favorite music for this time of year – some of my favorite music, period – comes from my old faithful, much-beloved Firewater. I’ve been a fan of Firewater since 1998, and it’s the only band I love that still remains basically mine, in the sense that the group will never hit it big, never play big venues and yet, will most likely always retain extremely passionate fans who feel like we’re in on a secret. I’ve seen them 4 times, once at the now-shuttered CBGB’s, which really doesn’t make me feel youthful, but does make me feel cool.

Firewater is the project of the gravel-voiced Tod A, the former frontman of NYC’s Cop Shoot Cop, a noise-industrial metal band that few people still know about. Firewater started as a punk band with creepy, Eastern European-influenced, gypsy Klezmer music, then grew to include genres like ska and cabaret. Then Tod A abruptly (from my perspective, at least) decided to travel the world, and years later, when he finally resumed making music, it was full of Indian bhangra sounds, drums and exhubarant yelling. I think the genre they now inhabit is called “world punk,” and to me they still don’t sound like anyone else out there.

And given how we feel about Trent Reznor on this site, it should be no surprise that I am such a fan of Tod A., who writes dark, moody songs about demons and failure. Common motifs and themes may include, but are not limited to: skinny dogs crossing parking lots, filthy alleyways, fathers who drink, broken clocks, crippling depression, sleeping on trains, religion, gambling, circuses, carnivals, boxcars, and murder. Just in time for Halloween!

A few weeks ago I had the chance to see Tod A. perform again, this time at my local bar. As always, he and his band put on a hell of a show – two hours of old music, new music, loud as hell and totally fun music. Afterwards I lurked around so I could meet him, got into a conversation and ended up chatting with him for about an hour and a half. STARSTRUCK, guys. Starstruck by this lanky, sad-eyed, probably genuinely tortured rock star who is famous by only the loosest definition. Thanks for the awesomeness, Tod A. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.

Now, without further ado, a Firewater primer. If I can snag them one fan, I’ve done my job.



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