People Who Died

Firewater's Todd A. lost two friends to suicide in two years. It saved his life.

Todd doesn't like to do anything by rote, neither with his band nor with his life. Firewater's shifting lineup keeps things from going stale. "Keith Richards is a great guitar player, but I think if I had to go on the road with him for 25 years I would go insane," he says. "It's nice to keep shakin' it up."

And Todd loves to tour. Like many excellent songwriters, he's been doing it more or less all his life. "I was born in South Carolina, then I moved to Massachusetts, then I lived in Vancouver, then I lived in Wales, then New Jersey for a spell, then Providence, then New York.

"I don't know what all that moving brought to me as a musician, but as a person it's definitely convinced me that there's more than one way of looking at the world. I'm interested in learning what people think. I like meeting strangers and getting peoples' stories. If you stay in one place too long, you fall in the trap of seeing the world in one way, and that's where I think a lot of the world's problems come from."

Todd A. (seated) and the NYPD don't see eye to eye on his public consumption of firewater.
Todd A. (seated) and the NYPD don't see eye to eye on his public consumption of firewater.

The catastrophe of September 11 is, in Todd's opinion, a case in point. He was standing out on the street when the planes slammed into the towers, and his apartment was unlivable for a month. He doesn't like talking about it anymore, except -- in keeping with the themes of Psycho -- to try to find a shred of consolation in the wreckage. "If there's anything positive that came out of it, it's that some Americans can't sit with their heads in the sand anymore, and they are more cognizant of how other people view America and what our foreign policy does to real people," he says. "They can't just sit around and obsess about Courtney Love's breast-enhancement surgery or whatever other stupid shit is on the news. Our government is killing people, and some other people aren't happy about it."

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