After Tod left his previous group, Cop Shoot Cop, he quickly regrouped and formed Firewater to explore the styles of music Cop Shoot Cop had only hinted at, including klezmer, cabaret, ska, jazz, and gypsy forms. More than one source described the original Firewater lineup as an "indie rock supergroup", based on members such as Duane Denison of the Jesus Lizard, Yuval Gabay of Soul Coughing, Jennifer Charles of Elysian Fields, and Hahn Rowe of Foetus. This original lineup proved unable to tour, and Tod recruited new musicians for the band's first tour. While the lineup has changed over the years, with many different musicians appearing on different albums and tours, Tod remains the singer, songwriter, and bassist of Firewater.
Their album, Songs We Should Have Written (2004), is a collection of cover songs. It includes songs written by Robyn Hitchcock, The Rolling Stones ("Paint It Black" reinterpreted as a crawlingly slow raga which "shove(s) a few downers down the song's throat to counter the original version's adrenaline-fueled fire" ), and a "dark and sweet" take of Sonny and Cher's "The Beat Goes On", described as "10 times more ominous and 20 times more pleasurable" than the original. The album also includes a modern rendition of the Johnny Cash anthem "Folsom Prison Blues".
For the last three years, singer Tod A has been on extended sabbatical, travelling through Thailand, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia and chronicling his experiences on his blog "Postcards from the Other Side of the World." During this time, he wrote and recorded a new record The Golden Hour with the help of various local musicians and friends, including Firewater producer Tamir Muskat. The record was released May 6 through Bloodshot records in USA and Noise-o-lution in Europe. The band is currently touring in support of the album.