Firewater was birthed in a Brooklyn basement in the long, hot summer of 1997. Depressed, broke, and desperate, ex-Cop Shoot Cop leader Tod A tossed away a major label deal and a free meal ticket to launch what--at the time--was a crazy proposition: a punk band fueled by gypsy and klezmer tunes. Tod had stumbled upon a dusty box of records and cassettes in a Russian junk shop on West 14th Street, and had fallen in love with the happy/sad conflict embodied in Eastern European melodies. He wanted to combine the mystery and melodrama of these tragic-comic sounds with the energy of his first love: punk rock. So he went to Istanbul, Turkey. “The city is fascinating. It’s a melting pot—a lot like NYC,” Tod says of his new hometown. “And with the revolutions going on all around, I knew we should record here.
The new album International Orange!, out next Tuesday, 9/11, produced by Tod A and mixed by Tamir Muskat of Balkan Beat Box, carries on where their previous collaboration, The Golden Hour, took off, slipping across new borders into uncharted territory. Created in Istanbul and Tel Aviv during the 2011 Arab Spring, their latest release captures the frenetic pulse of a world in the state of flux. with Turkish maqsoum, Punjabi bhangra, Jamaican ska, Greek rebetiko, classic punk and old-school mambo. Muskat’s mixing aesthetic draws on everything from Bollywood excess to the early dub experiments of King Tubby.
Never one to rest on a gimmick, Tod is constantly challenging himself and his fans by musically re-inventing the band. Neither strictly "solo project" nor "rock group", Firewater could best be described as a loose musical collective. A steady stream of diverse talent has flowed through Firewater's open doors. Members over the years have included Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard), Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields), Oren Kaplan (Gogol Bordello), and Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box).
New album International Orange! is out next Tuesday, 9/11/2012
Tickets are on sale now at Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, 413 586 8686 and online at IHEG.com.