Ed Hale Interview in Friday Morning Quarterback
Radio Industry Journal Friday Morning Quarterback interviewed Ed Hale last week in their Get to Know feature. Read the interview below or click here to go to the source.
Get To Know… Ed Hale
Town and state you grew up in: Well, that’s a tough one. We moved and lived in sixteen different cities before I was 11 years old. A single mother in her early twenties raising two boys isn’t the easiest thing to do, but we eventually settled down in a small town in southern Florida called Naples. Everyone knows Naples Florida. But talk about surreal, growing up in a retirement beach resort type town… Small-town America. The ocean to the west, swamp and forest to the East and South, and one tiny resort town after another to the North for hundreds of miles. “Landlocked” is what it felt like if you were a young wild and rebellious teenager who thought he was the second coming of David Bowie. (laughs) So I was outta there by the time I hit sixteen. Though looking back now… it wasn’t such a bad way to grow up. We were safe and secure, with a real sense of community, and shielded from a lot of the more harsher realities that other kids are confronted with who grow up in large cities. Frankly, I’ve got a treasure chest full of fond memories now of growing up in Naples, FL. But of course like many kids who grow up in small towns, all I wanted to do was get out of there and make something of my life bigger than that.
Town and state you live in now: Umm hum… Another tricky one. But I’ll give it a go. The simple answer is we live in Seattle and New York. We’ve got a beautiful old house in a small woodsy town just outside of Seattle where you can see the stars at night and hear everything from hummingbirds fly to crickets chirping to the relaxing sound of water flowing through a babbling brook that runs through our backyard. It’s a very peaceful escape from the madness of New York City, which is where I actually spend most of my time. Upper West Side to be exact. New York has been home to me for a very long time and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There’s just nothing like flying in and seeing that first glimpse of city lights down there once through the clouds. If we were Gladiators, New York would be our Rome. It’s where it’s at for sure.
First instrument: Before I could walk I used to sit and try to strum my mom’s old nylon string classical guitar. So that turned me on to the possibilities of guitar at a very early age. But honestly piano was the first real instrument that I took seriously and started playing and practicing on regularly. My family retells the same story year after year of how one morning everyone woke up to find me in my jammies sitting at the piano playing songs from the “Sound of Music” film. I was six years old at the time, or so they say. Guitar followed at age 10. Acoustic first and then electric. Man I will NEVER forget the first time I plugged that electric guitar into that little amp and heard that incredible ROCK sound! It was magic!
Instruments you currently play: I’d have to say first and foremost, VOCALS. By far that’s my primary instrument. As a singer and songwriter… it’s just so much easier being a vocalist than a mere songwriter who pitches their songs to others to sing. I also play guitar, piano, bass guitar, drums, all sorts of keyboards, ukulele, setaar, dulcimer, bells, mandolin, balalaika….. you know, whatever’s around me I’ll pick up and at least try to play.
First performance: Crazy. My first album came out when I was 17 years old. The Eddie Album, as it’s now called. My first real gig was at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta Georgia opening up for REM. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. But also very exhilarating. Never looked back since.
Last book you read: That’s kind of a funny question now. I majored in World Lit in college and have a massive library that I hope one day to be able to enjoy. But for the last ten years or so all I really read is either trade magazines about the music industry or pop-culture and fashion magazines to stay on top of what’s happening. I also love science and political journals. The last actual book I read, am still reading, is this crazy book called “57 Secrets to a Hit Record” by this British cat named Dec Cluskey who used to be in that famous sixties band The Bachelors. It’s actually a really insightful look into the world of hit record making. I’ve learned a lot from it.
Favorite movie: Well I don’t think that’s the kind of question that one can even address with just one answer. How do we compare, say, “Schindler’s List” to “Apocalypse Now” to “La Vita è Bella”? Not to mention “Citizen Kane” or “Meet Joe Black” or any number of old classics with Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart… Man I just love movies. Period. Lucky for us, there’re thousands of great ones out there. Fellini?!? Forget about it.
Song you wish you had written: GREAT question! Obviously there are thousands of those too… “Alone Again Naturally” by Gilbert O’Sullivan or “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen? How do we choose? “Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin or “Happiness is a Warm Gun” by the Beatles? “Street Hassle” by Lou Reed or “Born to Run” by Springsteen? And then Dylan… Joni Mitchell… David freaking Bowie’s whole Diamond Dogs album!!!
Favorite song: Pass! (laughs) I mean c’mon man…. See list above. I could give you a “treasure island list” of 500 or so favorite songs and feel comfortable with that… but just one? No way.
Three people (alive or dead) you would want to have dinner with: Well I’d rather not have dinner with a dead person. I think that would be very boring. Not much conversation there…. But living? Off the top of my head, Richard Branson, Barack Obama and Paul McCartney. Easy.
Three CD’s you can’t live without: O.k. O.k. so we’re gonna keep going there aren’t we…. Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, and Paul McCartney’s Ram. All three are utterly perfect to my ears. Of course we’d also have to throw in Zeppelin III, Transformer by Lou Reed, Born to Run, United by Phoenix… what a great band! And the Strokes’ first album… Is This It? Great album! Make it three-HUNDRED and we’d have a damn good starter package for anyone who wanted to get turned on to the best music ever made so far.
Guilty pleasure: Well first off I don’t really like guilt with my pleasure. I prefer unadulterated joy. But right now I’m loving Ciao Bella Blood Orange sorbet more than is probably healthy or even legal. Colognes. At last count I was told I own about one-hundred and forty different bottles. I love good cologne. Strong premium cigars… There’s a little guilt there. I’ll concede to that. Women just don’t like the smell of good cigars for some crazy reason. Origins make this relaxation balm called “Peace of Mind” which is awesome. Tiger Balm. You know that burn? Love it! Sunday morning Network News shows like Face the Nation. I’m a sucker for those. But more than anything else? Playing hooky with my beautiful wife and spending the whole day in bed. Now that’s pleasure. No guilt please, thank you.
Your most recent project: My latest solo album Ballad On Third Avenue is doing great and we’re loving every minute of it! We’re also in the process of recording three others in the studio right now. One of them is a 25 song two-CD set called L’Intrigue de Femme. Each song is named after a different girl. It’ll be a very satisfying piece of work when we finish with it. And of course the band (Ed Hale & the Transcendence) has a new album coming out on November 15th called All Your Heroes Become Villains that we are all super psyched about. Right now people have seemed to forget that I sing in a rock band. But not for long. That baby is darker, heavier, and moodier than anything we’ve ever produced. Full on concept album. Very appropriate for the times we live in. Can’t wait for the fans to hear it.
Message to the world: “There are people who watch things happen and those who make things happen. Don’t be a spectator of life, believe in your dreams, believe in yourself, take the risk and do it.” I heard someone say that once, and I think it’s a damn good piece of advice. But more importantly if I only had five seconds and one message? It would have to be the Platinum Rule: “Treat others as they would like you to treat them.” If we had a little bit more of that going on in the world, it could be paradise right here on earth right now. And that would be a very beautiful thing.
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