South Florida Sun – Sentinel
Broward Metro Edition
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Author: JASON KNAPFEL LOCAL SCENE
Date: Jun 28, 2002
Remember when rock ‘n’ roll could save the world. … At least some of us thought so. Today, protest songs virtually are gone from the pop music medium.But, there’s a voice that carries the torch for idealism in South Florida. Not that Ed Hale and Transcendence want to be the patron saints of lost rock ‘n’ roll souls. Hale, however, does bear more than a musical similarity to U2′s benevolent globetrotter Bono. He finds that there is an inevitable responsibility tied to his creative expression.
“I think for a lot of artists, no matter what their medium, social and political activism are inextricably tied to the creative process,” Hale says. “The mission is to entertain and to inspire.”
So what is his cause of choice? The liner notes of the band’s latest release Rise and Shine reveals a variety. Take your pick of Web sites from The Covenant House to alternative “radical” book publisher AK Press.
Hale’s social fervor started as early as his first attempt at songwriting. At age 16 he was writing Dylan-fashioned protest songs. That began a musical journey that took him from influences as diverse as the Kinks, REM and Broken Spectacles (with local luminary Matthew Sabatella) to ’70s glam and electronic pioneers like William Orbit. The culmination is his current work with Transcendence.
But eight years since Broken Spectacles broke up, the childhood friends retain a kinship.
“It was like a marriage,” Hale says. “We were four guys who lived together, played together and spent every waking hour together for six years.”
He and Sabatella have been friends since childhood.
“We played our first show together when we were 18 years old. We had absolutely no money and when a club would give us money after a show we would just look at each other and laugh and say, `I can’t believe we are getting paid for this! This is so cool.’”
What separates the best from the rest is a diverse taste in music. And Hale has an insatiable appetite for all things musical. To reference that aforementioned group of Irishmen that inspire him, he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. In his CD’s liner notes he says, “I churn and burn through 10-20 albums a week.”
And it wasn’t until he left the confines of Western music that he became the musician he is today. Everything from Brazilian to African sounds renewed his vigor, after becoming indifferent to his culture’s music.
If Hale were in The X-Files, he’d most assuredly be on Fox Mulder’s side. Why? Well, let’s say that he doesn’t find government cover-ups a stretch.
He dedicates an entire verse to it in the dance grooves of The Journey (A Call to Arms). First they killed Kennedy and covered it up/Then they killed the King and they covered it up …”
He’s also quite clear about his view of the current administration.
“The last few years, there has been a lot of talk about the shift that we are all making in consciousness towards a more peaceful, open-minded and spiritual state of humanity, regardless of what the evil powers in Washington and the media would have you believe,” Hale says.
“Speaking of which, isn’t it ironic that we just experienced one of the most peaceful and prosperous eight years in our history and then less than a year into the new Republicans’ administration, the entire world seems at war?”
He then takes a step back: “I’m not a Democrat by the way, just a watchful ally to the human race.”
Not everything is politically motivated. Better Luck Next Time and Love Is You are both nods to David Bowie. The latter could be an outtake from Young Americans; the former is an ode to passing through life with unfulfilled dreams.
Rock musicians aren’t known for longevity. Could it be that the best tune on Rise and Shine is a telling insight into Hale’s missing out on pop stardom?
“It has nothing to do with the stardom, although that’s a great perk,” Hale says. “The joy is in the music, because writing/ discovering a new song is the most orgasmic thing I have ever known.
“But on a deeper level, I think that for an artist it is that constant craving, nagging suspicion that you are on the edge, and that any minute you have the potential to discover some new sacred ground or solving some holy mystery.”
Jason Knapfel’s local scene appears the last Friday of the month in Showtime. Please send news to Local Scene, 5768 Northpoint Lane, Boynton Beach, FL 33437 or e-mail knapfel@ directvinternet.com.
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