In 2005, Firewater’s Tod A embarked on what would become a 3-year sabbatical through the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia. As the leader of a loose collective that has included a few dozen of the best players in rock today, he has always loved the act of collaboration, incorporating klezmer, ska, cabaret and gypsy elements into his songs in ways that were far ahead of his time. Early Firewater members are now part of Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box, and drummer Tamir Muskat of Balkan Beat Box produced and played on the album. As former singer and bassist for New York no wave descendents Cop Shoot Cop, Tod’s background is firmly planted in the punk rock movement, but Firewater explores ideas and genres only hinted at in his former band. “I always thought World Punk summed it up pretty nicely,” he told Gear Wire, “We are inspired by music from all over the globe, but it’s always filtered through a punk rock sensibility.”
The journey he undertook to make The Golden Hour would challenge him creatively in ways he couldn’t have imagined in the planning stages. “I traveled overland starting in Delhi, India, through the Thar desert, then through Rajasthan, onward through the Punjab, then into Pakistan,” Tod recounted. “I had originally planned to continue overland through Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, ending in Istanbul. Unfortunately I was forced to end my trip at the Khyber Pass on the Afghan border, due to general ill health and the unnerving likelihood of kidnapping.” Recording with a single microphone and a laptop in his pack, he captured performances with a vast array of musicians across India and Pakistan – and eventually Turkey and Israel. Writing songs about the world he left behind in the US (“This Is My Life”) and politics (“Borneo”, “Hey Clown”), his acerbic wit Shines on The Golden Hour, elucidating both the beauty and the absurdity of his world.