1. What are you currently up to?

a.       Currently up to our necks is what we’re up to! Total madness. But a very cool kind. Semi-controlled madness. Just a lot of incredible things happening right now all at the same time. It’s a thrill and a rush for sure. But it also requires extreme focus and attention, which isn't usually the stuff of artists if you know what I mean... More than anything else I'd say we’re all very excited about the upcoming release of the new Transcendence album All Your Heroes Become Villains. It’s hitting retail and digital stores all over the world as we speak and people are loving it. The concept of the album is resonating with people at this time. One critic called it “The perfect soundtrack to a beautiful apocalypse.” That pretty much sums it up I'd say. So that’s a good thing. Right now t’s making a big splash on College Radio here in the States.

b.       Oddly enough, at the same time we’ve got this other thing happening with my last solo album Ballad On Third Avenue which was totally unexpected. The second single “New Orleans Dreams” has been climbing up the Adult Contemporary charts here in the US and spinning in 21 other countries. Including the UK of course. Right now the song is currently #10 in the US. Because of this, there’s a whole new interest in this solo album. We didn't see this coming. So we’re literally working PR and promo on two totally different albums at once by the same artist. AND trying to book two separate tours to support these two very different albums. It’s insane.

c.        We’re doing a ton of press, which is always fun, and at the same time we’re working on the music videos for the “Villains” album. Of course we are also planning the US tour, deciding which cities to hit and which other countries to books some shows in. That’s a daunting task. But obviously well worth it once we’re on that stage. We love performing live. It’s THE rush of all rushes. If that doesn’t sound like enough, we’re also in the studio and just about halfway through recording two new “Ed Hale solo albums”. We’re still attempting to get our minds around what these new albums ARE... what their all about... We recorded about 20 songs so far and we’ve found that about a third of them sound like Adult Contemporary, a third of them sound like a more mellow singer/songwriter vibe, and another third sound more like they belong on a Transcendence album. They’re more alt-rock. It’s weird how we work like that. It confuses some people... but not us. We’re used to it.

d.       And of course there’s the mysterious The Great Mistake album that we still haven't officially released, but it’s been sneaking around the internet for a few years. We just found the master tapes and gave them a listen and they sound incredible. Just over the top raw garage rock but catchy as hell. So now we are all involved in this heated debate as to “when should we release this new-new album?” It obviously doesn’t make sense for us to release it now. And yet it sounds so damn good we want to! Take French band Phoenix and mix it with some Strokes and Vampire Weekend... add some early seventies Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground or Wolf Mother and you get a pretty good idea of what the sound of this new new album sounds like. It’s done. Just needs to be mastered. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I just love it.

2. Could you take us through the songs on the new album All Heroes Become Villains'? (e.g. story behind the songs, songwriting process)

a.       All Your Heroes Become Villains ended up turning into a concept album. That’s obvious. But it didn’t start out that way. It started out as a collection of songs that all sounded very cinematic... so for a while we were calling the album Cinematique. But eventually a story started to appear. Songs were coming to me in my dreams when I was asleep. The album had a life of its own and very much dictated to us what it wanted to be and sound like. So we let the album use us to create itself. 

b.       Out of the 11 songs on this album, there are only 3 that speak of any kind of hope, or optimism or hopefulness: track 3 entitled “Solaris,” track 6 “Here it Comes,” and the album closer “Last Stand at the Walls of Zion.” The rest of the album is a pretty dark heavy brooding downward spiral into the lead character’s disillusionment with everything in the world, including his own personal life.

c.       We have everything from trance-hop to Indian Baliwood to orchestral operatic arrangements to heavy drums bass and guitar alt-rock on the album. At its core it’s still just the five of us who recorded the album... as always. But we also invited other musicians to help create this giant monster that this album wanted to be. There’s trombone and trumpet solos mixed in with guitar and piano solos. Indian sitars and cellos and tablas and gospel singers and a remix DJ. It’s the biggest album we’ve ever recorded in terms of how long it took and how many different musicians came on board to add “just another something...” Hence the hugeness of the sound. We wanted to make something that no one has ever heard before, and we were willing to do anything to accomplish that. 

d.       Conceptually it’s not a very complex story. Long story short it’s a tale about a man’s descent into major darkness and eventual suicide as he slowly unravels his life on earth and realizes that everywhere he turns he’s getting fucked by someone or something. Because of that, the album created a lot of arguing within the band because some of the guys didn't want to create such a dark and depressing album. So that was also a challenge. Just trying to keep sane while we went after each other’s throats trying to either attack the album or defend it.

e.       Song by song the lead character vents his anger and disappointment with the society he lives in and his own personal life, aiming his rage at everything from the political system (“Blind Eye” and “We Are Columbine”) to God and religion (“Waiting for Godot”) to friendship and romance (“Indian Princess” and “Messed it Up Again”). The climax is track #10, the seven-minute ‘suicide letter in a song’ called “After Tomorrow”. This song has already started to become a favorite among adventurous college radio DJs. In this song it becomes clear that the lead character has had enough of blaming the world around him and has turned inward; only to discover that he doesn’t feel like he has what it takes to continue any further in a world full of hate, war, disease, crime and betrayal. So he decides to off himself. Something he first starts arguing with his subconscious about all the way at the beginning of the album in the song “Waiting for Godot.”

f.       Yet amongst all this drama darkness and pathos there is the beauty and hopefulness of the song “Solaris”... and also “Here it Comes”. These two songs at least shine a bit of light on the stage of the general “apocalyptic rock-opera theme” of the rest of the album. Sweet and tender songs. And yet mysterious because we aren't sure who he’s talking to in the songs... especially “Solaris”. At first that song appears to be a simple love song. But if you listen closely, you realize that the female character being sung about doesn’t appear to even be alive, at least not alive in the traditional sense. Rather, the lead character sounds as if he is singing to someone far removed from all his earthly troubles, someone who is far far away, living in another galaxy or star system called “Solaris.”

g.       “Solaris” holds a very personal meaning for me. Maybe all the songs do. The song “Solaris” is like a prayer. The lead character is singing a prayer to this girl who’s passed away but who’s obviously still alive in some fashion, in another world or another dimension. He’s asking her how she’s doing… like “how’s life in your new world Julia?” Although it isn’t enough to keep the lead character alive by the end of the album, I think it gives him some hope along the way to his final decision.”

h.       We ended the album with “Last Stand at the Walls of Zion” because we didn’t want the album to end on such a downer note. With just this guy offing himself... and maybe he doesn’t... you know? Maybe he just “leaves earth”... I don't really know. Like I said, this album created itself. We just hooked up with it in the here-now and tried to hang on for the ride. It was a real bitch to ride out and we almost broke up over it. We also almost died because of certain things that tend to happen when you're locked in a recording studio for six months straight with the same five guys and never see sunlight or the outside world. That’s what it was like but in the end we did survive.


3. The album includes many musical styles from around the world. So how do you and the band manage to encompass so many yet still keep a unique sound?

a.       Well thank you. For saying that. Very cool of you. Some critics in the US despise us for always including so many different musical styles in our music... It’s like they want us to pigeon hole ourselves and create ONE singular style. Which I actually feel like we do. It’s just a very broad palette that we tend to choose from when we’re writing and recording. As big music fans ourselves, we’ve soaked in almost one-hundred years of popular music so you can’t help but be influenced by all of that. That’s how I see it. And yet our sound is OUR sound. Between Fernando’s and my guitar style combined with my lead vocals, Ricky’s “rock meets world music” drumming style and Roger’s eclectic late-60’s bass style, there is a definite sound to the band Transcendence. Especially on this album.

b.       If you listen to any of our solo albums or side projects like Dreaming In Stereo, or Ex Norwegian, or mine, you can easily hear that without all five of us on a record it just doesn’t have that “Transcendence sound”. So I think the answer to your question is “we keep a unique sound by making sure that all five of us show up to the recording studio every day on time when we’re making a new album and no one is allowed to ever leave or quit no matter how ugly things get.” 

4. This album was originally down for release back in 2009. What caused the delay?

a.       Simple answer. The music business imploded! Never again will we see a music business like we had in the 20th Century. That's both a great thing. And a not so great thing. It’s great in terms of how it forever changes the ability of major record labels to abuse, mistreat and take advantage of musicians and artists the way they have over the last 100 years. Let’s not even get into it. I'm sure your readers are already familiar with how fucked musicians get by the majors. And yes, that’s still going on with the big names now; the super commercial Top 40 artists.

b.       It  also stops the monopoly that the major record labels have had in terms of what the public gets to hear or not. The playing field has definitely opened up to the point where anyone who makes music can find a fanbase and ever get on the radio and in music magazines like yours etc. The indie music revolution is in full swing now and consumers are actually digging it. That’s great.

c.       What most people don't know though is how challenging it is for indie artists to compete against the major label artists. It takes a lot more work on the administrative and business end. And that takes away from our ability as artists to just do what we are supposed to be doing as artists, like recording albums, writing songs and touring.

d.       In our case, we were signed to a major distributor and right around the time that Tower records went bust, so too did the distributors and nearly all the record labels – both major and indie. When our distributor went bust, they took over $30,000 in back royalties owed to us with them, as well as all our inventory of back catalog albums. And worst of all, they took away our ability to release albums. Because you can’t really do a real album release without a distributor. There’s no sense in it. No matter how popular your album becomes, no one is able to find or buy your album if you don't have distribution. So it took us a while to rebound from that; which we eventually did. It was a rough ride but we survived and actually thrived in the end, because we WERE eventually able to find another record label and another distributor and release the All Your Heroes Become Villains album.

e.       Besides that, we’re still sitting on three more albums that we've recorded that haven't been released yet. Because we had so much time on our hands. So next year is going to be an incredible year for us and our fans because we’re going to release at least three more albums of new material that have just been sitting around waiting till we got signed to another distributor. If I stop and think about it, it’s actually more like five. Being forced to take that break from releasing albums really enabled us to hone in on our creativity as artists and record a ton of new material. That’s a good thing. All Your Heroes Become Villains is number one out of at least three to five new albums we are sitting on.

5. How do you manage to juggle the band with your solo work?

a.       Easy. We work our arses off. Actually, in terms of creating albums, there isn't much of a difference between the musicians who play on our solo albums versus the Transcendence albums. We all play on each other’s albums. It’s a very incestuous group experience. Like a little army of like minded individuals who all contribute to all these different bands and side projects. It’s a common thing now. With Transcendence it’s the same six to seven musicians who have been playing in the band since the beginning. With Ed Hale solo albums we’ll change it up a bit. We may add other players who aren't in the band. But the lineup is pretty much the same.

b.       The real trick is how we are going to handle radio and live touring now that we’ve got both a growing hit song by Ed Hale AND a brand new album by Transcendence out at the same time. We are brainstorming this with our whole team every day! It’s a logistics nightmare, but I'm confident we’ll find a way to pull it off. As Ed Hale & the Transcendence, we’re a rock band still. We want to go out there and tour at least six major cities in the US in order to bring them this album LIVE IN CONCERT, right? We’re going to bring people a BIG SHOW. Like theatre or like a musical almost.

c.       But then there’s this buzz happening around the Ballad On Third Avenue album due to the hit singles. And this is a much more singer/songwriter based album. A lot more acoustic. The demographics of the fans might end being very different. That’s what's so weird about this strange position we’ve found ourselves in. But I'm sure we’ll figure it out. It’s like one of our radio promoters said a few weeks ago: “Hey, it’s not a bad ‘problem’ to have. You should be so lucky!” So I'm confident we’ll nail it and figure out a way to please fans of both albums.

6. You are involved in building bridges with Iranian people and trying to improve relations between Iran and the US, and you are planning something similar with Israel/Palestine. How did you first become involved in this project and do you think that people power can improve situations where politicians often fail?

a.       To answer your first question, yeah, I do feel that “people power” has that ability. The world is changing so rapidly now that anything is possible. Here in the States we have so many different people movements happening. From the Tea Party to the Occupy Movement, which is global. In the UK you’ve got way more people involved in your people movements already. Which is ironic since the US has so many more “people”. So we should be seeing the streets of our cities clogged with people just like we saw in the UK when you all had over 2,000,000 people protesting the austerity measures.

b.        I hope this happens soon here in the US. Because we are getting screwed every which way past Sunday. And I do believe that we’re watching it happen right now. But we’re still at that stage where the people movement s are just beginning to coalesce here. In time the government and the politicians and the big corporations are going to wake up one day and see every street in America filled with people -- because nearly everyone here now is totally and utterly dissatisfied with what a Police State America has become. The 99% movement is just getting started. And yeah, once it really gets going, I have no doubt that we the people will win this thing.

c.       With me personally it all started in ’99 with the WTO protests in Seattle, what they call the Battle in Seattle, where we were able to shit the whole conference down for the first time in American history. I thought that was one of the most important activist moments in recent American history. OR better put, in world history, because the WTO is a global organization. From there I jumped into the 2000 Presidential Elections protest movement where Al Gore had won the popular vote but bigger powers that be installed “GW” in the White House instead. It was complete fraud. No different than what we see in developing countries when these various different dictator types take over a country right before the entire world’s eyes.

d.       That’s what happened to us here in America. We got a fake president installed in the White House against our will. We fought like hell to stop that from happening in Palm Beach Florida where all the action was. But unfortunately we were not able to win that one. I ended up writing a song about it called “The Journey” all about these battles we the people are fighting against this New World Order Police State. That song is on our first album Rise and Shine. I was very inspired by how many people from all walks of life were willing to take to the streets and protest. That’s what that song is all about.

e.      Once GW was illegally sworn in as our President, all hell broke loose as I'm sure you all remember and the world has never been the same since. In less than a year “someone” was able to bring down three skyscrapers in New York City AND hijack three massive jet airplanes in the most heavily armed country in the world. If that wasn't a set up I don't know what is. When people look at it objectively they see the bigger picture and realize that the whole thing was a major set up in order to bring both our countries into a series of wars all over the globe, which are still raging on to this day ten years later, AND in addition to that it enabled the US government to enact and pass a whole new series of laws like the Patriot Act and Homeland Security that pretty much wiped out all of the freedoms that we as Americans once held so dear and were so proud of. Our country has never been the same.

f.      Those events opened my eyes to a much bigger picture regarding what’s really going on in the world and how things really work, compared to how “they” want us to believe things really work. There was nothing more brilliant and beautiful than that one day in early 2003 when millions of people all over the world marched in solidarity to protest George Bush’s and Tony Blaire’s plan to invade the country of Iraq. You all had over one million in your streets. So did we. So did Italy. And Spain. And France. I marched all over this country, from city to city. It was a real thing of beauty. The only problem was that our country had already been kidnapped and taken hostage by the Bush-Cheney White House, so no matter how many people all over the world protested, that administration did exactly what they intended to do years before Bush or Cheney even got in the White House.

g.       So even though our protests didn't work in that moment, and that is very sad – due to all the innocent lives that have been lost due to these illegal wars, what it did for us turned out to be very positive. It reignited our People’s spirit of activism. And for that I am very proud to be a part of the 99% who are willing to lay down their lives to bring back our democratic freedoms and rights and hopefully one day bring justice to bear down on these criminals who started these wars and took away our rights and freedoms. On YouTube there is a music video to the song “White House Jihad” that I wrote about this insanity and the atrocities committed by these war mongers. It continues to be a popular song and video and still be very controversial; precisely because we’re ten years into this craziness and nothing’s changed. We still can’t get these wars to end.

h.       Over the last few years I've become very involved in what they call Civilian Diplomacy. One of the oldest Peace and Anti-war organizations in the world is FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation) and I was very lucky to be chosen by them to be a Civilian Diplomat. I was able to go to Iran to attend meetings with the President and former president and all the religious leaders and Ayatollahs and even meet them again at the UN in New York to attempt to build a peaceful bridge between Iran and the US before it’s too late and these crazies start World War III.

i.       I feel just as passionately about what’s happening in Israel/Palestine. And Egypt, and Syria, and Libya, and Bahrain, etc etc. I would much rather we as a people and our respective governments find peaceful solutions to solve these hot button issues as opposed to go to war. I am sure your readers and the majority of people all over the world feel the same. We really are the 99% fighting a very very small group of 1% who just don't give a damn about peace on earth. It’s crazy but it’s true. Democratic non-violent movements and diplomacy are the key to that outcome. It takes a lot of appreciation and respect on both sides.

7. You do a lot of voluntary work in your local neighborhood. What motivates you to do these good deeds and how do you think more people could be encouraged to get involved?

a.       What motivates me man is how simple it is to volunteer to help others and how good it feels. People tend to glamorize volunteering now, but in all honesty it’s such a feel good thing to do that I almost consider it a selfish act. I do it because you get the best of both worlds out of it. You get to help other people, which is definitely a noble act, AND you get to feel good about doing. It’s the ultimate win-win.

b.       To answer your second question, in terms of how to encourage others to get more involved in volunteering, I'll just cut to the chase. Check it out: Number one, it’s not half as difficult as most people think it is. No matter where you live, chances are there are numerous opportunities you have available to you in order to help others. That’s some of the good news about where we are today in our global society. There are just tons of cool fun opportunities to help others all over the world, even in your own backyard. So don't worry about “how hard it is”. It’s not. Secondly, I can promise every single person who is reading this right now that if you just go give it a chance, even if it’s just for an hour, you aren't going to believe the feel good buzz you're going to walk away feeling from doing it. It’s quite addictive. Spend a few hours helping feed people or building homes for people or whatever and walk away feeling like a hero. You deserve it. It’s your time and you have the right to do anything you want with it. So as soon as you realize that and you go volunteer, you're going to go home that day feeling like you're the king of the world because you did this totally selfless act to help others. It’s really that simple. You just have to take the first step. From there you’ll get the bug. You’ll wanna turn volunteering into “what you do with your spare time” all the time. It’s a very cool thing to do.

8. How healthy is the music business at the moment? Has the internet in some ways helped hinder newer bands with illegal downloads? And has social networking become the musician's best friend?

a.       To your last question? In a word, yes. Absolutely. But you’ve just posed three very different questions. Sure the internet and social networking aspect of the Personal Expression Age has helped level the playing field for all musicians. It’s made it easier for indie artists of all shapes and sizes to get their music out there in order to find their own unique fanbase.

b.       The only problem is that everyone ‘s so obsessed with social networking they tend to spend way too much time doing it and not enough time doing what they should be doing, like making music. That’s a big issue right now. There’s this fear based mentality going around right now that’s making everyone paranoid that they're missing out on something if they’re not always online or on Twitter or Facebook. But the truth is that you really aren't missing out on much. Especially compared to the bigger things you're supposed to be doing as a person or as an artist.

c.       Another negative aspect to it is that social media is like a box of cereal or a crack pipe. You may think what you're doing is really important in that moment. But it’s very temporary and transitory. What you do today is going to be completely forgotten by tomorrow when you're Facebook Wall gets covered up by all the “new things” that everyone including you is about to throw up there. In that respect I think it’s a bit of a waste of time if as an artist you leave it be the only thing you do as a means to connect with your fans. It’s much better for artists to control their own website and organize their fans and their news and music and videos on their own platform. Let social networks just be your “side project”. People are actually starting to migrate back to traditional websites because they find that there ‘s a lot more substantive content on websites as compared to social networks.

d.       The other thing is that you need to do a lot more than just online activities to get any real action in terms of fans or CD sales. Some people get so caught up in social media and the internet that they forget about more important traditional techniques to making it in the music business. Live touring, radio promotion, PR, public appearances... these are all things that can easily catapult you to success more readily than staying on a social network all day and night and promoting your songs to the same group of people who are already way over the top burned out on hearing about your new songs. Dig?

e.       And yes, free downloads and file sharing have destroyed the music business as we used to know it. Album and CD sales have plummeted. Both physical sales and digital sales. The plain simple truth is that the new consumer in the world today have been brainwashed and trained into thinking that “music isn't valuable anymore.” That sucks. It’s just as valuable now as it was ten years ago. It’s just as simple as that. If you give someone something for free, then they're just not going to value it compared to if they spend money on it. We all need to stop giving away so many free songs and albums in this attempt to “keep up with Jones’s”. Fuck what the Jones’s are doing. If you believe in your music and believe it has a value, then don't give it away for free. Your fans will value your music a lot more if you take that approach. Maybe one song as a free download from your album just to fit in and let people have a change to hear your goods. But that’s it. If they really like it, they’ll have no problem buying it. After all, in this new world of the music business, albums only cost ten dollars. That’s nothing. It’s the perception of the people and the artists that’s off because everyone’s been riding this “let’s give away our whole album” mentality. Do that and you’ve just told the entire world that you don't really think your music is valuable enough to spend money on.

9.  What have been the live highlights so far and why?

a.       Last year and this year, because we were promoting an acoustic singer/songwriter album, we were able to tour all over the US in different major cities performing in a whole new way – compared with the normal rock band running all over the stage approach. We did a whole tour sitting down and playing acoustic instruments, guitars, piano, cellos. And we were seated. Yes of course our instruments were mic’d, so it wasn't really “purely acoustic” but our instruments were acoustic. This was the first time we had ever done this, thought maybe it would backfire. But instead the fans really liked it. They were quiet and they listened and they applauded and they interacted with us. It was a much more intimate kind of show compared to touring as a loud electric rock band. That was very cool.

b.       Don't get me wrong, we haven't stopped being a rock band or abandoned performing as a kick ass plugged in rock band. Not even a little. That was just how we toured to promote the Ballad On Third Avenue album. Now that the All Your Heroes Become Villains album has been released, we’re in the process of planning a major city tour across the US and a few shows in the UK. As a band. An electric rock band. But instead of just getting up there and playing like an indie or modern rock band as we usually do, we’re going to create the whole show based around the new album and it’s concept. More like Pink Floyd touring to promote The Wall or Dark Side of the Moon or something. We’re going to give the fans more of a “big show” like theatre as I said before. Something that simulates the look vibe and feel of the album and its concept. And then towards the end we’ll go into all the hits from the older albums just to make everybody happy. It’s not fully formed yet, and it’s just starting to get booked. But we’ll keep everyone posted. The whole band is really looking forward to being back on the road again and back on stage. It’s going to be the ultimate apocalypse concert tour. Just like the new album.

10. Any good rock ‘n’ roll tales to tell…

a.       Well you know with these kinds of questions one has to be careful, just out of respect for everyone’s privacy... you know what I mean. So let’s agree not to use anyone’s names. But you deserve this. You’ve worked hard reading all this serious stuff. So let me see... In 2008/2009 when we were in the recording studio recording this new album and another new one at the same time, the one I told you about already, there was a lot of stress boredom and tension, as described above. And for better or worse, there are certain things that go on in studios to help the musicians not go crazy from the stress and tension, and also happen to help lift the mood or keep you awake when you're flat dead exhausted.

b.       That stuff got a bit out of hand towards the end there. In fact it got WAY out of hand. I was crashing at the producers house because he was cool enough to offer that to us since he lived very close to the recording studio and it was way cooler than staying in a hotel. By now everyone’s heard how crazy things got in there, and how bossy I was being due to this commitment I felt we had to create something spectacular. I was being very picky and choosy, constantly trying to get the best out of all of us. Making people redo their parts ten times in a row till they played something “new” or “unique”. I was also being very picky and choosy regarding the mixing process. We had never laid down that many tracks on one song before, let alone 11 songs that packed with flavor. So it was a grueling process. I mean, we were in there for over six months alone just mixing this record.

c.       Between the various substances that were being passed around and the stress caused by the enormity of the project, the producer eventually went insane. He just had a total nervous breakdown over how long it was taking and how particular we were being as a band trying to create the biggest baddest thing we’d ever created. He flipped out one day and left the studio. I stayed for another ten hours with the assistant engineers to keep working. I got home to his house at about 3 am. I woke up at about 9 or 10 am to get to the studio early. I threw my clothes on and went downstairs to the kitchen to pour some coffee. I was like 90% still asleep, barely awake. Wiped out. So I was just standing there sipping my coffee and staring out the window.

d.       All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see our producer in a pair of baggy shorts and a t-shirt wheeling one of those big executive office chairs down the freaking street with a big ass computer, an entire stereo system,  and a giant flat screen TV of his all piled up on top of this chair. He was moving out of his own house and into some rental house he owned down the block! For real. It was like early morning, the sun was beating down and totally hot and daylight outside and this guy is on a major street with cars passing by him wheeling this giant “homeless person” type makeshift cart he put together using this office chair with wheels. It was one of the most surreal things I've ever seen. I knew he was mad, but I didn't think he had “gone mad”... but there he was. baggy Bermuda shorts, a sloppy white t-shirt and a pair of sandals wheeling everything he thought he needed to survive down the street in broad daylight. He looked like a freaking homeless person. And here he was wheeling it right by his own house that he has just moved out of supposedly.

e.       His wife was furious. His kids were freaked out. Our whole band was freaked out. he stayed in that house for two solid months by himself with all the blinds closed and in total darkness. He never came back to the studio. We had to work by ourselves with the assistant engineers everyday and then all night and then drive over to his “secret bachelor’s crash pad” in the middle of the night and play him the new mixes we were doing so he could approve or disapprove of them. It was insane. He never returned to the studio. We finished mixing the album on our own in the studio with engineers and no producer. I guess we just broke him down from the strain of it all and so too did certain other things. But I'd never seen anything like that before. It was like a freaking movie. I'll never forget it. [In his defense, the good news is that he eventually straightened out and moved back in to his own house with his wife and kids. So all’s well that ends well.]

f.       The guys and I were just talking about this question over the weekend trying to determine what could be shared or not shared with the public and we remembered so many other stories like this. The time a producer of a previous album of ours stole all the master tapes to our album and held them for ransom until we gave him all this money. We all had to sell half our guitars and gear in order to raise the money to pay him so we could get our album back to get it mixed and mastered. That was insane.

g.       And then there’s the tour we did through the Southern states when on one particular night after an incredible show – I think it was in a town called Gainesville – we all woke up in the early afternoon of the next day in all these weird places all over the town. None of us were together. It was surreal. One by one we started calling each other’s cell phones trying to either figure out where WE were or where the other person was. It was crazy surreal. We all finally found each other and got together except for one of us, who we won't name. We couldn’t find him ANYWHERE. He was like really lost. We called him twenty times.

h.       Finally He called US. And we’re like “Dude where are you?” and he replied “Dude I have no idea. I just woke up in the woods!!! Where the fuck am I?” And we’re like “Dude we don't KNOW where you are. That’s why we’re asking you! Look around, what do you see?” and he's like “All I see is trees. I'm in a forest. I must have gone outside to get sick and passed out in the forest. Fuck man where am I?” “Dude we don't know where you are! We’re in the van driving around looking for you!” And it just went on and on like that. We just could not find him and he had no idea where he was because he had drank so much he couldn’t remember the night before, or at least how it ended. The worst part was that we had another show that night in a different city so we were all rushing around trying to find him so we could make it to the next town on time.     

i.       Crazy stories like that galore. That’s what it’s all about. Really really good fun rock and roll experiences that you wouldn’t trade for a billion dollars. We’ve got loads of them like all bands do, u know...

11. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?

a.       Besides sleeping? Well right now music is like ten full-time jobs. So I don't get any spare time. I mean it’s past 2 o’clock in the morning now and we’re doing this interview right? So this is what it is right now. It’s just non-stop music or music business work 24/7. And in between we may get to sleep a little or shower occasionally.

b.       But when things aren't so crazy, I enjoy just about everything and anything. I'll try anything at least once. I'm a thrill seeker, obviously. I think you have to be in order to choose this for your living. So I like doing crazy things like sky diving or taking off in a car and driving nowhere until you decide to stop for the night. I also like traveling to foreign countries and living there for a while, just to absorb the culture and vibe and learn their language.

c.       I just got married for the first time, and hopefully last time! [laughs] So I love hanging out with my wife. When we’re together I don't care what we do. I just like being in her presence. She’s like a beautiful badass princess-goddess. Totally awesome. Open to anything. And just as adventurous as I am. Lately we’ve been going around the country to all the different Occupy Movements to participate in marches and demonstrations. That’s been very cool. We dress up in different costumes to make a bigger impact on the media so they give the Movement more coverage.

d.       I'm also a history junkie. Any kind of knowledge really. I'll take it. Fashion, literature, pop-culture, opera, movies and films, theology, futurism and technology. Spas, health and spiritual retreats, desert island beaches in the middle of nowhere. I'm also a big writer. When I'm too old and crusty to run around on a stage swinging a guitar around and singing, I figure I'm going to kick back on a ranch somewhere with my wife and family and dogs and finish writing all the books I've started. But in general if you name it, I'm game. I'll try it. I'm really glad I'm alive, I’m grateful for it. So I try to make the most of it.

Anything else to add and a message for your fans...

a.       If I had to deliver only one message to our fans, which I don't, because the cool thing about today’s new age is that we get to interact with our fans as much as we want to, I would say “thank you”. Thank you for digging what we do. Thank you for liking and buying our tunage. Thank you for reaching out to us, all the emails and comments and Tweets etc. Thanks for showing up to our concerts when we play. We make music because we love to make music. We don't do it just to make money or to get commercial success or “incredible stats”. We do it because it’s what we love the most. But having fans who like what you do really makes it all worth it that much more. We love making music and we love it even more because of the fans. I feel extremely lucky to do this for a living and it’s the fans that make that possible. So I just want to say THANK YOU. You rock. We love you