Interview: Ed Hale

Today we are sharing an interview with Ed Hale: singer-songwriter-recording artist best known for his last solo album Ballad On Third Avenue and whose music landed in the Billboard Top 40 Charts in the Adult Contemporary radio format.

1. First of all, congratulations on your latest string of successful singles! What can you tell us about your new song “Gimme Some Rock and Roll”?

Ed Hale: Thanks. Yeah, it’s been a good run so far. It looks like we got lucky with this album. But we also worked really hard on it. So… you know… It’s just great to have the songs coming out now.

2. You were sick for a while, right? Hence the delays in the album release? Are you better now?

Ed Hale: Yes. And yes. All good. It’s really not something that’s important enough to talk about. The important thing is that the music that me and the guys worked so hard on for these past few years is getting out there now. And lucky for us it’s being received well.

3. But there are also rumors that you’re still sick. Is there any truth to it? You have no upcoming tours or concerts pending.

Ed Hale: Right. Yeah, I know. That’s true. But it has nothing to do with me being sick or not. That’s not the point of me doing these interviews. The point is to help get the word out about the music… And to connect with people about the art. Like it always has been. Not my personal problems. It would be cool if we could just do that.

4. Okay. Our readers would like to know more about you and your music. Let’s get back to your new song “Gimme Some Rock ‘N’ Roll”. Any interesting facts you can share about it?

Ed Hale: Thanks. Yeah, sure. It’s a special little tune, right? Can’t put my finger on it…. But that song came to me a while ago actually. I was messing around with the open G tuning I use, not the regular open G that everyone refers to. My own Open G. The same one I used on songs like “Caetano” and “Scene in San Francisco”. And I was playing my ’68 Hofner acoustic. Which has such a big full sound to it. It hits you in your heart center. You can hear it at the beginning of the song. I just found that chord progression so appealing. Just those four chords. I couldn’t stop playing them over and over and over. It had this magical transcendent sound to it… I knew I needed to wait until the song wrote itself. I knew the song had to be iconic, in terms of its content. Something broad and relatable to a lot of people. So when those words started flowing out of my mouth, I knew I had found it. Can’t explain it. It just felt like that was it. It was going to be a love song to the music that we all love and need and want so much… the power that it has. Like it was calling to me from afar and I was calling back to it.

5. You speak about rock and roll as if it is a healing elixir or a miracle cure.

Ed Hale: Yeah, because it is! Right? I mean what else do we know of that has that kind of power to so many people? Obviously rock and roll is more than just “rock music”… It’s a movement. It’s a vibe. It’s an ideal. It’s an attitude. It’s a sexuality. A state of mind. An ideology. And in that, it does seem to possess a powerful healing effect on our hearts and souls. That’s what I was trying to say.

6. The song has obvious roots in 70s Glam-rock. Are those still your main music inspirations?

Ed Hale: Nah, that was just a coincidence. If I told you what we were actually going for in the recording studio with this album, it wouldn’t even make sense, I swear. Because we were actually trying to create something very modern sounding. (Laughs). This song was more of an aberration. But maybe that whole Bowie, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, Marc Bolan thing is just super deep inside me… subconsciously… And we love that kind of music for sure. But we also listen to just about everything else too. So I honestly can’t say that we have those as our main inspirations these days… I’m finding it hard right now to connect with much contemporary music. Music seems really confined now. Almost claustrophobic. Because we’ve come back into an era where it’s all about the single and not the album… But not us. We’re still focused on the albums… as cohesive works of art. All we did was just listen to hundreds of new songs that I had written and try to pick the best ones to record. Some of them I felt really strongly about. “Gimme Some Rock and Roll” was one of them.

7. So do you like songwriting more than live performing? Is that it?

Ed Hale: I know it may seem like that. And maybe it’s true. I mean, it’s not going to kill anyone if I say it. But honestly, I enjoy both. They’re both magical experiences. I think what it comes down to with me is that I see making albums as a more permanent thing, something that has the potential of legacy. Whereas live performances are like one night stands. They can be really fun and rewarding, like parties, even opportunities for connection and ideation through the gathering of large numbers of people together, perhaps creating something cool in mass consciousness…. Right? But the experience is still limited to the moment… We might all get off. We might even create something new and amazing, like when Queen performed at Live Aid or when Beethoven debuted his 9th Symphony (Laughs)… But it’s still a limited experience. Whereas an album is forever… Like a movie or a great novel. No one now can recall what Tolstoy may have said in some lecture he gave to his commune on any one day. But everyone knows War and Peace. And that’s an amazing phenomenon. That’s what excites me as an artist.

8. So how do you deal with haters?

Ed Hale: I try not to. (Laughs). I don’t think we’re big enough to have any. (Laughs) I mean, if someone is not a fan and they don’t “like” our music, what can we do about it? It’s not like we think about it. What we’re thinking of is creating incredible art with music that moves a lot of people and has a chance of surviving for a long time. We want to get goosebumps when WE listen to it, and we hope that others have the same reaction. And maybe it makes life better, you know, maybe it really does have a healing power for others the way it does for us. That’s the goal. And that’s rock and roll isn’t it?