FIREWATER was birthed in a Brooklyn basement in the long, hot summer of 1996. 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 melodies. The band stormed on to the scene as an unparalleled underground supergroup, boasting guitarist Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard), drummer Yuval Gabay (Soul Coughing), saxophonist Kurt Hoffman (They Might Be Giants, Ordinaires), drummer Jim Kimball (Jesus Lizard, Laughing Hyenas, Mule) and violinist Hahn Rowe (Hugo Largo).
Originally released on NYC’s ultra-hip Jetset Records, the band’s seminal debut Get Off the Cross—We Need the Wood for the Fire introduced and celebrated a new genre where Latin jazz, punk, world and rock music coexist and blazed a trail that many acclaimed acts would later follow.
“Bands with a Balkan bent might seem commonplace now, as Gogol Bordello, DeVotchka and Beirut all have made names for themselves with a gypsy-punk blend. But New York’s Firewater pioneered the sound in the mid-90s.”
—The Washington Post
“Tod A took Tom Waits’ swagger and mixed it with gypsy grooves at a rock and roll volume and created his own multi-cultural sound.”
—The Bad Things