Last updated: 04/30/2008
This is a promotional overview of the first three Firewater records. More to come (hopefully)...
Tod A wanted to be a famous rock star so he could write songs about drinking, sex, and criminals. Or drinking and having sex with criminals. Or being a criminal and having sex with drinks. The possibilities were endless. For Tod, however, the years after Cop Shoot Cop were spent on the wedding band circuit, in the pokey, and in church praying for what was left of his soul.
"I learned a lot in jail," he says, "Especially about the law. I did some divorce work for the boys while I was in stir." After rounding up some cellmates, Tod decided to give rock'n'roll another shot and started the New York collective FIREWATER.
Their 1996 debut album Get off the Cross (We need the Wood for the Fire) got the A&R types hot under the pants and the band spent the next year and a half repeating "there is no guest list" and "why should we sign with you? Your bands suck..." The industry lapped it up! Some disinterested rock-gods with reasonable hair.
On Get off the Cross, FIREWATER ripped open the seams of European music and reveled in the klezmer, cha cha, and tango debris to create an unexpected and intoxicating album that became a critics favorite. They toured with Soul Coughing, The Jesus Lizard, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Skeleton Key.
FIREWATER's second album was as steamy and narcotically alluring as their debut. "That album wasn't just about sex, it was sex," Hahn Rowe explained to the BBC when the lads finally emerged from Abbey Road. "Pure sex. But we've moved on. We're into pyramind scams now." With The Ponzi Scheme, FIREWATER is still shopping at the world's bazaars, but they wind up spending more time at revival meetings and the corner bars. "It's the long-awaited musical return to Cold War paranoia," they reported to Tiger Beat.
PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY - their third release, the first one available in Europe on Nois-O-Lution - finds the band still poking fun at life in modern America:
you know, funny stuff like automobile insurance scams, suburban spree shootings, the ins and outs of modern surveillance systems, and aspiring saints (currently homeless). Addiction... Despair... Heartbreak... Loneliness...
The subject matter from which all great comedy is born. And like all great comedians, Firewater deliver their material deadpan, with only a hint of a smile.
And let's not forget about Death.
The Big D.
The Ultimate Joke. It seems to be a big undercurrent on this record. "Yeah, I guess so," says mouthpiece Tod A. "There's been a lot of death in my life this year. It's the one joke you never get because you're never around to hear the punchline." But despite the new record's darker territory, the musical backdrop on PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY is sparser, leaner and almost, well....pop. Songs like 'Fell Off The Face Of The Earth' and 'Black Box Recording' underplay their grim subjects (a suicide and an airline disaster, respectively) in a way that makes them practically uplifting.
And what about 'Psychopharmacology'? Well, it won't take a note from your shrink to convince you that this is one addictive record. From the first maraca-shake of 'Woke Up Down' to the last tremolo-beat of 'She's The Mistake', this is a disc that may begin auto-repeating in your head. After a few weeks you may just find yourself relying on PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY a little too much. Against your better judgement, you could start depending on it to give you the strength you need to face the day. Soon, you may be unable to imagine life without it.
Alienation, fear of failure/success, sudden outbursts, nagging questions, unexplained behavior, thoughts of suicide, flashbacks, uncontrollable erotic fixations, heartbreak, persistent doubt.
Ingest product aurally, twice daily for as long as symptoms persist. Do not exceed recommended dosage.
Possible Side Effects:
Dizziness, euphoria, loss of appetite, strange cravings, thirst, persistent erections, sleeplessness,
uncontrolled movements of the limbs, inability to concentrate, blackouts.