In Memorium of 9/11 Eleven Years Ago Today – The Music Video “Rebuild America”
At 8:46am eleven years ago today the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City. REBUILD AMERICA was written and recorded a few days later and released as a music video and single to raise money for victims’ families. The song is still sold on the iTunes Music Store and collects money for the RobinHood Foundation for that same purpose.
BACKGROUND: On the morning of September 11th, 2001 TRANSCENDENCE singer/guitarist Ed Hale was at a language school in Costa Rica when he heard the news. [For more backstory, see the “news section” from 2001 on the Transcendence website] The rest of the band was in the recording studio laying down basic tracks for their new CD — what was to eventually become the Sleep With You album.
When flight restrictions were lifted, Ed flew back to the States and into the studio to resume work on the album with the rest of the band. But first Hale played them a new song he had written in the days following the tragedy on September 11th. The song was called Rebuild America. The band quickly rehearsed and recorded the song, each laying down their own tracks one by one, finishing the entire song that first night. Keyboardist Jon Rose added layers of piano and strings and also used live samples of sounds of that day that singer Ed Hale had recorded from the TV; eleven years later they still give the song a very visceral and real-time feeling of the event. Because the song did not fit the content or style of the Sleep With You album it was not placed on that CD and was never formally released. Instead it floated around the Internet. Eventually it found a place on the band’s “unreleased songs” page of their website where it sat for a few years.
Interestingly, the band’s webmaster, G2, while browsing “analytic stats” of the band’s website noticed that the song was receiving a lot of clicks and plays from that page, even though it had never been released or publicized. Another event that propelled the band to do something about the never before released track was that they would occasionally receive emails from Fire and Rescue Workers from around the country who wrote them to say that they “really liked the song and send their buddies the link to listen to it.”
Every one of the emails was unique and heartfelt, and each had a similar sentiment. One such was from first response emergency rescue worker Matthew Tartaglia from Perkasie, PA who worked at the World Trade Center site for two months straight after the attacks. (Thank you for your work and your email Matthew!) So after six years the band decided it was time to get the song out there in some way. The fastest way they figured was through YouTube. SO they commissioned a simple photographic slideshow that could act as a showcase for both the victims and the heroes of that day’s events. That is the origin of the “Rebuild America” music video. It went up on September 10th, 2007. The following the year the band released the rarities and B-sides collectors album entitled The City of Lost Children. Now the song “Rebuild America” could finally have a home on an album be formally released. The band decided to donate the proceeds of the sale of the song to the Robinhood Foundation who had a special fund especially for 9/11 victims’ families. So the song was officially released as a single in September 2011 on iTunes where it is still being sold and collecting money for this New York based non-profit.
Bassist Roger Houdaille commented, “Rebuild America was the first song I ever recorded with TRANSCENDENCE. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the rest of the songs we were recording at the time like Superhero Girl or Minnie Driver, but I knew Ed was really into us recording it because of what happened and all. I think it’s still one of our strongest tracks so I’m glad that we’re finally putting it out there.”
“The way this song came together was amazing,” stated Transcendence longtime co-founder and drummer Ricardo Mazzi, “the cause was much greater than the need of creating music, it was larger than that. And we all knew it. The fact we’re talking about 9/11, remembering fallen heroes, calling for unity in our song is an honor to me and I have this band to thank for it. Everyone put their heart and soul in this song and completed their parts rapidly but thoroughly, from the tracking, recording, mixing all the way to the mastering. I love this song.”
In 2008 when the song was released as a single, Ed Hale commented, “Rebuild America” is a hard song for me now, just because of everything that we have seen come out in the last four or five years since September 11th. It’s hard to know what really happened that day… what we do know is that a lot of innocent Americans died. And it broke our hearts. And you know that’s why we recorded the song. That’s why I wrote it. When you listen to it now you can really hear the optimism of what it felt like those first few days after September 11th. I mean, you can feel the patriotism of the song, which is so different than what we feel in the air now in America. So the song is hard for me now. I was really amazed how the whole country came together those first few months to rebuild. It was inspiring. And now with the invasion of Iraq… it’s just hard to know what to feel. But I still like the original idea of this song itself. And I like the idea of turning it into a video and a single, just to celebrate how people came together those first few months… and to mourn the loss of the lives of those people who died… those were different times… The song captures that.”
CREDITS: Ed Hale: vocals, rhythm guitar, Fernando Perdomo: lead guitars, bg voccals, Roger Houdaille: bass guitar, bg vocals, Ricardo Mazzi: drums, Jon Rose: piano, keyboards. Recorded at Dungeon Recording Studios, Miami, FL. Produced and Engineered by Fred Freeman.