I got the call almost a week ago, early in the morning, the sunlight just starting to poke around the towering skyscrapers. When I saw the call was from Fernando, being that early, when he lives out in Los Angeles, I answered with just three words:
“F*^k. Dude. Who?”
“John Tovar man.”
“No way man… Seriously?”
“Yeah man…. Heart attack.”
“Jeez. Dude. F*^k.”
“Only 65 man.”
“Hold on. What?”
“Yeah man. He was 65 years old.”
“Jesus. Dude how is that possible?”
“We gotta get you healthy brother.”
“Nice segue. Dick. But I’m only 63.”
“So we have time for at least 4 or 5 more albums. Hahaha…!”
“Dude, seriously, i really thought John was older than that…”
“Yeah man,” he sighed.
“God this is so sad. John is a huge part of everything we accomplished man. Even hooking the two of us up together! You know…..”
“Oh yeah! That’s right! I know how much he meant to you bro. I called you first.”
“I appreciate that man. Yeah… he was the man. And now… jeez… It’s the end of an era.”
Our conversation continued a little longer. After we hung up, I quickly sank into this deep depression. And mourning. The reality was settling in… the memories starting to leak in from the walls and ceiling… the finality of it. Truly the end of an era…. For so many of us, and in so many ways.
The saddest news of this past week, the most heartbreaking, Tina Turner notwithstanding, won’t mean a thing to most people around the world. In fact for most people who even live in Miami or South Florida, the home and stomping grounds of longtime music manager John Tovar, it won’t mean much to them either.
For anyone in the music industry on the other hand, no matter where they live, it’s devastatingly sad news. Especially for those of us in the music industry AND from Miami.
A sad quiet stillness dominated my days after i got that call. It continued into each successive day since. All week. I’m guessing it’s been that way for pretty much everyone that knew him. I still haven’t called anyone. I havent wanted to talk about it. Didn’t want to write about it. Not yet. Didn’t want to see the rush of folks trying to be the first to post it to social media or say something pithy or profound.
John would’ve hated that himself. Frankly I wish we all would have made the time to say it to his face or hell, even over the phone, when he was alive. This is a regret I’ll have for the rest of my life.
At some point though, sooner than later, i knew I’d have to let it out, release the grief and the sorrow and, more importantly, celebrate the man who was a local legend for 40+ years, and nationally…, the best thing you could say about someone in the business: they always took his calls.
John Tovar was a huge part of my life, personally and professionally, as he was to so many artists and music business folk from the South Florida music scene. During different eras, it seemed like the whole scene was balancing on his shoulders.
For longtime readers of these Transcendence Diaries, you know him as The Big Man In Black. Or oftentimes just The Big Man. Someone I’ve written about extensively. Now you know. It was and always will be John Tovar.
The man entered our lives when we were still teenagers. And he continued to be there for over 30 years. God those years have flown by, haven’t they… Those initial years, in the beginning, when we were just kids playing in bars long before we were old enough to get into those bars. Still feels like yesterday in certain ways.
To many music lovers, they may not know the name, but they know the music he was responsible for bringing to the world — most notably just in terms of cash box or coverage, The Mavericks and Marilyn Manson. Just like those artists do, we all owe John a huge debt of gratitude. Especially considering that that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of artists that we all know and love who HE introduced us to.
That’s one of the many things that made John such a standout person. He was responsible for escorting hundreds of notable artists to the finish line. Many you’d know of. Others you wouldn’t. From there it was up to them what they did with it, what we all did with it.
I’ve heard people say that Tovar, which is what everybody called him back in the day, was at the right place at the right time. But I’ve always thought that was bullshit. Plenty of others were in those exact “right places at the right times” and they never had the impact John Tovar had on the scene. Nor the success for so many artists.
With John it was more than that. He happened to have great ears, an impeccable eye for talent, and this relentless thirst for justice, in an industry that never cared for such a thing as justice. For John Tovar it was a mission.
John recognized talent immediately. And he would do anything he could to fight and claw his way to the top to make sure that talent got heard and got the justice they deserved. By getting them as far up the ladder as he could. This is another aspect of the man that made him one of the greats. In an industry where there are very few of those.
If you signed with Tovar, you knew he would do everything he could for you. We, and when I say “we” here I’m referring to our first band, Broken Spectacles, signed with John in our late teens. We had worked hard for it, because by the time we came on the scene, John Tovar was already a legend.
At least to us he was, back then. He was physically large, in every measure. Long black hair that was always seemingly more greasy than it needed to be, black mustache and goatee, black jeans, black button down shirt or T-shirt, big black boots and a black sports coat. And compared to our short little lanky frames, usually wearing nothing but boxer shorts and T-shirts, he was a physically huge presence.
He was just as imposing in his manner. He was generally a quiet dude if you didn’t know him. And if he didn’t know you, he didn’t care nor pretend to. He didn’t see you in a club and flash you a smile. As so many tend to do. Most of the time he wore a kind of grimace, as if he were bothered by something. It’s funny looking back at it now. But back then, it was just intimidating as hell.
You couldn’t help but notice him everywhere you went that was musically bent. Because he was everywhere. Always looking for talent. Or because he needed his nightly fix of good music.
In the beginning we would see Tovar out and about. He was one of the few somebodies in that little scene. We continued to play out every chance we got.
Then suddenly he started showing up at every show. “Look… guys, we love what you’re doing… Eddie and Matt, this two headed monster thing you guys have…. We want to work with you. What can we do?” he said over a 3 to 4 plate meal at Dennys that filled half his side of the table. He spoke these words alongside his partner back then, Rich Ulloa. A legend in his own right.
This was a big moment. Signing with Tovar or Rich was a rare occurrence back then… they were just getting their engine warmed up for what was to come. Signing with these guys was a right of passage of the Miami music scene that every artist aspired to…. It put you on the map. Said something about you.
It wasn’t just that John could possibly get you somewhere, get you that big break you’d been dreaming about since you were in diapers. It was way more than that. At least to us. Something way more important.
John knew music. Good music. Great music. At a time when the only way to even access good music was on Sunday nights on Matt Pinfield’s 120 Minutes on MTV. Hair Metal or boy bands were what dominated popular music. For a while there it seemed like good music was dead and would never return.
Of course as we all know now, a small group of guys and gals from out in the Pacific Northwest changed all that. Someone called it “Grunge” and it quickly became co-opted, over played and over-powered by big money and commerce. But it did the trick. It got us all out of the hair metal rut we were stuck in.
None of this mattered to John. Not in the big picture. Because he still believed in great music. You could talk about the last 80 years of great music with him all night and into the next day. He knew it all. And if you just sat and listened, you learned a lot from the man.
But it was more than that if you were a still-unknown up and comer. Because John knew all the great music, and dug all the great music, and didn’t mind stating loudly and unequivocally how shitty the modern music of the day was, working with him had this effect of making you start to believe that maybe you had a chance of one day being great too. Not rich or popular or famous. He never talked about those things. But you could be great. At making music. And to a lot of us that’s all we cared about.
More than that. Deeper than that. Bands like us were constantly being courted back then, but with a bunch of casually-said and tricky little caveats. They wanted to turn us into a kind of quasi “rock-n-roll boy band” in those first few years.
Or they wanted us to keep writing the songs, keep singing the songs and keep fronting the band, but “just have older, better, more experienced musicians play the instruments on the tracks.” Or they’d want only one of us to stand in the middle and sing all the songs.
These caveats were countless and endless. If we would only make these small changes, platinum records were guaranteed. But John never once wanted to change a thing. And when he heard these stories, he would become palpably angry on our behalf. “Eddie Eddie Eddie. These guys are so full of shit… they wouldn’t know good music if it….”
It was precisely because of this, his integrity, his commitment to authenticity, that artists of all ages and musical genres wanted to impress him, wanted to please him, wanted to blow his mind. And frankly John wasn’t known for being the friendliest guy around. Kind of the polar opposite of it really. He was downright grouchy if things weren’t going his way.
So if you did a good show and had John smiling ear to ear ten to fifteen minutes afterwards, it meant a lot.
We started working with John and Rich pretty quickly after hitting the scene. The two of them set up a few showcases for us, major label execs flying down all the time. I’ll never forget that first one. Nor the many that came after. Because being so young and dumb, we believed we were “too damn good to “showcase” for anyone”.
So we continuously proceeded to sabotage every showcase these two generous men set up for us for a good year or two. To put it bluntly, we were unappreciative little monsters. John and Rich, eventually just John, flew down every big-time record label exec who had a name in the industry. And we just kept deliberately screwing around, to prove to the world that we were “too good to have to showcase for anyone”. Not kidding.
We’d drop acid a few hours before the shows, or play 20 minute versions of “Heard it through the grapevine” or “Stella Blue”, or get so drunk we could barely play or fall off the stage, or sometimes just yell at the record label execs till they got up and left the table.
We obviously didn’t get any of those deals. But that didn’t stop us. We continued to pound away, growing up a little bit, growing in size and scope and staff members. Becoming as much an organization as we were a band.
The reason i recount these stories and this phase of the band is because it illustrates something really profound, important and beautiful about John Tovar.
Even after all of that, after everything we put him through by being such ungrateful little assholes, we hooked back up with Tovar again and again and again. He wasn’t just a manager. He was a mentor, an advisor, an advocate, a cheerleader… a resource, in reality more of a secret weapon. He was also a friend. And he never gave up on us.
Seeing that very first debut show of the Mavericks was a revelation for all who witnessed it. A masterpiece of a moment. It’s all anyone could talk about that week. Just like seeing The Goods or Nil Lara or Diane Ward and Voidville or Natural Causes or Amanda Green for the first time.
What a lot of people outside the music business wouldn’t know is that John and Rich took a huge gamble on this Mavericks venture.
See, the guys in The Mavericks had already been in the Miami music scene for years, working out of various other popular bands. Which meant that they were “older”. In reality they probably weren’t more than 25-26. But trying to promote a band that “old” was a death wish. Yet John and Rich did it anyway. And it was a grand slam for both of them.
John Tovar was extremely generous in that way. He didn’t let on to it very often, especially not in public, but he had a huge heart. After Broken Spectacles broke up we all went out on our own. I quickly ended up in New York, sleeping on whoever’s couch i could find and living on one McDonald’s cheeseburger a day for months.
Why? Because John was headed there for some meetings and told me to get my ass up there, he’d pay for it if that was needed (it was), and he’d shop me to some execs when he could on his downtime. That’s how Acoustic In New York came to be. He finally got me the deal that had been so elusive for so many years. We got to the point of recording a full length album on the record label’s dime, but in the end, the release date kept getting pushed back. Eventually indefinitely.
This happens to artists all the time. In fact it happened to several of us from the scene that very year. The stories were sad. And hilarious.
You’d think that would’ve stopped John at that point. Working with me at least. But Tovar was loyal. To a fault sometimes. He was coming from a different era. Back when relationships in the business mattered, when they were cherished. But the business had changed. And he hated that.
Just to prove a point or because he really was the coolest guy from the business side in the music industry, about two years later, John called me and said something to the effect of “So Mr. Ed…. what’s this I hear about you recording a new album in a bunch of different languages? And calling yourself “the ambassador”?” He laughed. Heartily.
“Well you know… just trying to keep things interesting man”, I replied.
“And you’ve got… what’s her name… Uhhh… you know… Mrs Trophy Wife….”
“Yes. Now she has a beautiful voice Eddie.”
“Yeah she does. She’s awesome. And I’m telling you John… it gives things a really different sound with her…It’s special.”
“Well Mr Ambassador, you know I’ve got to hear it.”
We were doing the new album, Rise and Shine, at Cliff Rawnsley’s place, Sunflower Studios. John was working with Richard Clarvit by then, both of who had a tremendous effect, and influence, on us over the next few years.
Richard had no problem informing me that I was far too old to be still making music. I was 28. For the record, Richard was being helpful. It was the first of years worth of valuable advice. He suggested I go into management or something else behind the scenes to “reflect my new maturity”. But I wasn’t ready for it.
And Tovar wasn’t hearing it. Didn’t give it a second thought. Or even a first. He never cared about age. Or how old an artist was. Or better put, he may have cared, but he never mentioned it to me. He felt like it was something the music business would grow out of. And he was right. Just ahead of his time, as with so many things.
[As an aside, just because every time I remember it, I laugh. I called Zach Ziskin to vent about all this new talk I was hearing about me being “too old” to make music. I’ll never forget it. Zach says, “dude just remember the two rules. One, you’re always 28 years old. No matter many years pass. And two, if someone asks, you’re always either in the studio working on a new album or on tour.”]
Tovar and I signed yet another agreement with each other, A very different kind of deal. With different goals.
We all realized that John had collected a ton of knowledge about the business and how it operated. What was success? Was it getting a record deal? Well obviously not, as many of us proved four years earlier where we all got deals, recorded albums and never got to see them get released.
Success was in reality a collection of successful achievements, hit records, large fan bases, great album reviews, great press, massive radio airplay, etc. With a label or without one.
This time John was signing on to be a Consultant. In all facets of our career and the business. To help us achieve those goals. And in time, we did. One by one we checked off most of those boxes. And we couldn’t have done any of it without John Tovar. He was the difference maker.
And we were just one out of many many others he did the same things for. How he found the time or the energy, no one knows… But the man was unstoppable once he put his mind to something, once he went after seeking justice for an artist he believed deserved success. The man was a legend because his actions were legendary.
Looking back over the last 5-6 days, the thing I oddly keep remembering the most about John Tovar, out of all these years, decades, that have passed, is those Saturdays or Sundays where we’d have to speak real quick about something related to business and we’d end up talking for hours about the history of great music and the great artists who made it.
Because in the end it was more just coincidence that I was an artist and he was an artist manager. What both of us really were, more than anything else, were obsessed music fans. And there was nothing more enjoyable than just sitting around for hours talking to John about music
Re our earlier convo about things moving faster… (if not “time”, as time is merely a symbolic measurement of movement. Movement of mass(es) and energy/ies), it is only appearing to be moving faster now than before, the primary reasons have become so common that they’re transparent to us, the reasons… “Having to continue to refine what I want to put my attention on” is another one of those symptoms….. just ten to twenty and definitely thirty years ago we didn’t have to do that. No access to “a lot” going on, due to no technology. So we lived very local lives.
It’s not that there is more going on now than back then. There’s not. Back then was also intense snd crazy. WE want to believe “now is more intense”…. But 1963-1972 was INTENSE in ways we couldn’t even imagine…. So was WW II, the Roaring Twenties, The Spanish Flu, WW I, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, etc. Etc.
It’s just that with the advent of technology that everyone has access to — even a little kid in Central America or africa or Siberia etc has easy access to EVERYTHING going on all over the world all the time.
In the 7,000 years of recorded human history, this is just a brand new 20 year change in how we’re living. For better or worse.
So yeah suddenly you’re actually having to focus on, think about, contemplate “what i put my attention on”…. Totally new phnom for humans…..
AND then having inner debates dialogues and arguments about it and to be primary about “being okay that my attention ended up elsewhere…”. (Of course it did!)
NOW we really do live in a world where two older not-yet-true adages have become true: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Now our attention is LED by whatever is the loudest in the moment. Not by the most important. (In fact usually the least important. Just the LOUDest.)
And 2, “in the future everyone will get to be famous. At least for 15 minutes or so”. Except he was off about the 15 minutes….. now it’s about the amount of time of a TikTok or a Story or a Reel. So about 30 seconds to 2 minutes, someone or something can have its moment of fame or notoriety.
Now five to ten once-very famous snd beloved people can pass away or die in 4 days and we can totally miss it. Let alone have any time to grieve or mourn their loss. Not only was their no “time” to mourn, but our attention never even noticed that they passed! It’s a SURREAL phenomenon…. how that’s the latest symptom of this new trend.
And this debating or sometimes even being mad at one’s self because our attention went somewhere we didn’t want it to — i.e. to the loudest thing in society that hour. Is another such symptom. Everything moving at such a rapid pace. Makes it feel like “time is moving faster”.
BUT I really like what Ted said snd everyone added to…. This idea of stopping it, taking time to meditate, relax, organize snd Declutter. So we CAN ignore the loudest stuff snd focus in on what we actually want to.
Become a better curator for our OWN attention. And fuck what everyone else is saying is “important”.
Im not usually taken by any of that. I’m an avid poster on multiple platforms who doesn’t ever read visit or scroll through the platforms themselves…. Very focused on what I snd PLT and the girls snd fam are doing and attempting to achieve, and not much else, except taking care of friends snd family (this now has become very very important to me. Not sure why. Giving supporting caring reaching out helping others I care about or even who I dont even know….).
But Now that you said it, I’m going to be on the lookout for it. If we get better control over that, more magic can be made, more preferred manifestations, more deliberate delightful surprises. (Mikey’s magic phrase).
Love you guys. SO SO much. Alignment, listening, sharing, tolerance, open mindedness, mutual support… all the things that seem to define what this group is turning into…. Are blessed gifts. We are way freaking blessed.
Earlier this year Ed Hale gave an in-depth interview with the website FlyFreeAvatar.com, where he opens up more about his music, business, spiritual and personal life than ever before. The interview also makes mention of the potential release of a new book entitled Bouncing Back When Flat. The interview is being reprinted here for Transcendence Diaries readers in its entirety with permission from the owners. Original interview published on February 1st, 2014 here: Bouncing Back When Flat — An Interview with Recording Artist Ed Hale
FlyFreeAvatar.com recently had the opportunity to get recording artist Ed Hale to sit down for an in-depth interview. This is a project we have spoken about doing for several years, and the New Year seemed like the perfect time to finally complete it. Hale has been in the public eye for most of his life, having released his first album at the age of 17. He is best known as a singer-songwriter and recording artist — as the lead singer of the musical group Ed Hale and the Transcendence, scoring numerous Top 40 hits over the last fifteen years — including classics like “Superhero Girl”, “Scene in San Francisco” and “New Orleans Dreams”. He is also well-known as a successful entrepreneur and businessman, a prolific writer, and an outspoken social and political activist and human rights advocate. He has a reputation for being open and outspoken about his personal life, especially in his popular long-running blog The Transcendence Diaries, which is celebrating its twelfth year online this year. He is refreshingly candid about sharing his spiritual views as well – a rare quality in the entertainment world. Being actively involved in community building and Civilian Diplomacy work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), Hale has traveled the world extensively for diplomatic, peace and work trips and speaks six languages. Most applicable to this site, Hale has taken all of the Avatar Courses numerous times over the last 15 years and continues to do so on a regular basis.
FlyFreeAvatar (FFA): When I first thought about talking to you for this interview, there were two questions that came to mind immediately. The first was about how your music has been affected by taking the Avatar courses. And the second was about all the success you’ve had over the years and how much of a role you think Avatar has played in it.
Ed Hale (EH): Yep. I can see that. Those are the two questions I get asked the most when it comes to Avatar. But that’s TWO questions you know. [laughs]
FFA: Okay so let’s start with your career success. With the band’s last album’s success and the hit singles you had from your solo album, “Scene in San Francisco” and “New Orleans Dreams” climbing the Billboard Top40 Charts, why don’t we start there? With your career success. How much of a role do you think Avatar has played in that?
EH: Well I had achieved success in music at an early age. Long before I took the Avatar Course for the first time. So I don’t want to mislead anyone on that count. But it was short lived. I mean, I was signed, released an album, had a few hits and was touring before I finished high school. And then it was all over before I graduated college! [laughs] But this latest success? I think we could safely say that I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for everything I learned in Avatar; let alone be in Billboard magazine.
FFA: Your early career, that was when you were known as Eddie Darling…
EH: Yes. That’s the embarrassing truth. But you know, when we’re young… we don’t know. We think we know… but we don’t. At the time I guess I thought that was a cool sounding name. But that was such a crazy experience to go through at such a young age. None of it was on my terms. It was all up to other people. Just a very large greedy money-making machine. If they like what you’re doing, you’re in. If they don’t like what you’re doing, you’re out. No compassion, no sense of artistic integrity or guidance. It was really disheartening for me as a young artist. I thought that was going to be the start of this amazing career, but it didn’t last very long. A few years in the big leagues and it was over and I was back in the local club scene.
FFA: But you obviously didn’t give up on music, which has been a hallmark of your career, this persistence. What led you to keep going?
EH: Well I did give up for a while there. I went back to college and got really into that. But it didn’t last long. I just couldn’t stay away from making music. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable NOT making music. It’s just the one thing in life I enjoy doing more than anything else. Except being married of course! [laughs] The difference was, when I went back into music then, that it was going to be on MY terms. I didn’t feel like I had any control in it my first run-through. So that was one of the many reasons why I took the Avatar Course. I wanted to harness more deliberateness in my life. Not sure if that’s a word… But I really liked the idea of “living deliberately”. [Living Deliberately is the name of the first book by Harry Palmer. Palmer is the author and creator of the Avatar Course and has published many books on the subject.]
FFA: You were young when you took Avatar for the first time.
EH: Yes, I was 21 or 22 years old. Back then that was considered “young”. Now there are kids eight and nine years old taking the courses. It’s incredible. I used to feel like “the kid” around those courses. Now I feel old compared to these kids. [laughs]
FFA: Yes. It’s amazing. But still, 22 is still pretty young to take Avatar. Especially back then when the course was fairly new and unknown. What prompted you to take it?
EH: Well it’s like what I was saying, about the last album, and really all of them over the last ten years… I took Avatar initially because I wanted to feel more in control of my life. I wanted to feel like I was creating my experiences. I could FEEL that what it was about totally vibrated with what I believed personally. I mean, the whole “we create our experiences based on our beliefs” premise… I believed that already. Or at least wanted to. But how do we control our beliefs? That’s what puzzled me and interested me the most. And I learned how to do that on that first Avatar Course; and in the future ones that I took like Masters and Wizards. It gave me the ability to create my beliefs deliberately. So instead of feeling caught up in a large out of control system like the music business, I created feeling in control and confident. And every album since has done better than the last. It’s really been a very positive force in my career. For sure. There’s no arguing about that.
FFA: So do you use the tools regularly?
EH: Yes. Absolutely. I try to live through them… By using them all the time… Like in every moment. After a while, it transcends “using the tools” and just becomes… a way of life, a habit, how you live.
FFA: Have you used the tools specifically about your career? In other words is there a direct correlation between the success you’ve had and using the Avatar tools?
EH: Yes. Absolutely. In terms of using them specifically around my career, I learned from some of the more experienced Avatars out there – and I’m not sure if this is “a thing” or not… But I learned that they might go to a course and dedicate that whole course to just one aspect of their lives, like say their career, or money. Other things come up of course, because it’s all connected, all the different aspects of our lives… but I went to a Pro Course [The Avatar Professional Masters Course] and decided to dedicate the whole course to my career. And it was a truly amazing experience. Doing it that way.
FFA: In what way?
EH: Just the discipline you have to have in order to do that, to stay focused on one thing; controlling your will to be able to do it. And then the variety of tools available to you to explore that one aspect of your life. They offer you so many different perspectives you’ve never thought of before. And the course keeps you on track to really get to the bottom of things. In whatever you’re focusing on. In that case, tackling your beliefs about one specific subject, like your career, from the variety of different angles that are provided to you by using all those different tools. We released the Rise and Shine album a few months later and that album took off bigger and faster than we ever expected. It opened the door for us. Before that, we were a new and relatively unknown band. After that album, we became a national act. The songs were charting in cities all over the country. That was when I first started learning about where all these cities were that we hear about all the time around the country. From the radio station play charts. [laughs] I can’t help believe that part of what helped all that to happen was because I had dedicated that course a few months earlier to focusing just on my career. It was so effortless.
FFA: Have you done that with other areas of your life? Is it something you always do?
EH: No it is not something I always do. But I have done it with other things. But not usually. I did it regarding relationships one year and that was also very successful. I found my soul-mate because of doing that I believe. I cleaned up all the beliefs I had about love and romance and relationships… But usually I just take the courses and allow whatever comes up to come up. And you know, what I notice is that if your attention is on your career, then that’s what’s going to come up for you anyway. So it’s not really necessary. It all tends to work out perfectly if you don’t fight it and you just let it flow. Ultimately it’s your consciousness, no one else’s. You just have to decide if you want to be a victim of it or the master and leader of it.
FFA: That’s well put. So how do the courses affect your music? As an artist?
EH: Well I get that question a lot. And the answer is I honestly don’t know. I know that the answer is supposed to be really incredible and mystical or magical in some way… There’s this expectation there it seems… But honestly, in terms of music, I’ve been writing and playing music since I was a kid, since before I could walk. So if I were to be totally honest, I don’t know what affect it’s had. Freedom maybe?
FFA: That’s fair. Freedom in what way?
EH: Well… I can tell you this. When I first took the Avatar Course and then the Masters Courses, I felt OUT OF THIS WORLD. I had never felt so good in my life. Just like… I don’t know, flying is how I would put it. High as a kite, but without drugs. High on life. [Hale is very animated as he speaks. His eyes are wide and he uses a lot of hand gestures.] I felt SO confident and SO fresh and new and GOOD inside. I KNOW that came through in the music I was writing back then. It gave me a feeling of invincibility and that definitely translated to me having a new-found confidence as a musician and as a writer… to write whatever I wanted to and forget about any of the so-called “rules of the business”. You know? So in that sense, the courses did affect my music tremendously.
FFA: Some of your songs are very spiritual. You tend to write more specifically about spiritual matters than other mainstream rock or pop singers…
EH: So now I’m mainstream? That’s a first!
FFA: You know what I mean, singers in the public eye… most of them don’t write about spirituality as much as you do. Even the ideas of Avatar and Abraham Hicks are referenced. I also couldn’t help notice that you credit Harry Palmer on some of the songs.
EH: Well yeah, [laughs] you get so excited after you first learn all that knowledge. It’s a big WOW moment. Like discovering chocolate or sex for the first time or something. [laughs] But bigger. Just the knowledge is mind-blowing, right? So it’s a given that you’re going to want to share that with people. Just not go overboard with it… hopefully. But if you use the tools on a regular basis, if you practice BEING an Avatar… then you feel like you’re walking on clouds most of the time. Those ideals and principles are embedded in you. Simple things. But profound. So they tend to come out in the lyrics. If I write a lyric that sounds really close to something I’ve read then yeah I’ll give credit to wherever I think credit is due. When I was younger I was writing a lot of songs about spirituality and transcendence and stuff like that and it really did feel like I was channeling the ideas of Avatar through music at times. So I would credit whoever was the inspiration. That doesn’t make our publisher very happy [laughs] because it creates a lot more paper work. But it’s the right thing to do. Harry Palmer’s ideas have been a huge influence on me and how I think… ever since I was a kid.
FFA: Does he know that he’s written songs with you?
EH: I don’t know. [laughs] That’s a weird way to put it. But I’ve never kept it a secret. We’ve never talked about it. I always wonder if he gets these checks in the mail and then wonders where they’re coming from. [laughs]
FFA: You’ve also had tremendous success in business, as an entrepreneur.
EH: I’ve tried. [laughs]
FFA: Well you have. That’s an aspect of your career that isn’t talked about as much. You were a successful entrepreneur before you were 30, irrespective of your career in music. And that seems to be a running thread throughout your life, starting businesses and being in business, since you were very young. [Hale started his first company at the age of 20 when he opened up a rehearsal and recording studio. Since then he’s owned health food stores, juice bars, a vitamin manufacturing company, a business consulting company, a record label and a real estate investment company.]
EH: Yeah, for sure. That’s another one of those things that I just absolutely LOVE. Business. Being in business. LOVE it.
FFA: You say that about a lot of things!
EH: Maybe I do… [laughs] I don’t know. I guess I just love a lot of stuff. Hey that’s the Ambassador!
FFA: So what is it about business that you love?
EH: Well I was raised in that kind of an environment, number one. I grew up with my parents owning businesses. So I think that was instrumental in it. And I have just always enjoyed being in business for myself more than working for other people. Though I don’t necessarily believe that it’s easier. I actually think working for other people – especially for a large company – is the easier path to take, for sure. But for someone like me… I just could never imagine doing that full time and long term. Plus, there’s also a real rush you get out of the risky and adventurous aspect of being in business for yourself. Unlimited reward but unlimited risk as well. I get off on that.
FFA: But how do you keep up with it? And how does Avatar affect it?
EH: You know that’s two questions, right? [laughs] I’ve always been fascinated by being in business for yourself. Since I was a kid I always admired those kind of people. Tony Robbins has been as big an influence on me as say, someone like John Lennon. Almost equal. And I also found that I was good at it, or at least lucky in it. So I keep up with it as best as I can. Probably not as well as I could honestly. The Avatar thing, that’s a different story. It helps obviously. I know that. That’s the thing… Avatar helps you with everything. It’s not just one aspect of your life. It’s your whole life that is affected.
FFA: You’ve talked about Harry Palmer and Tony Robbins a lot throughout your career in interviews. They seem to come up quite a bit.
EH: [laughs] Yeah I guess I do. But hey if you’re going to have mentors, they might as well be great ones. And for my money those are two of the brightest minds in the world today when it comes to personal achievement. Even though they’re very different. Stephen Bauman too. He’s more of a spiritual intellectual who keeps your integrity on its toes. But really all of them do that. [Stephen Bauman is an author, speaker and Methodist Pastor in New York City]
FFA: I know your love for Tony Robbins and Stephen Bauman. But in relation to this website and its readers, how does Avatar help with your success in business?
EH: Well to me I think the answer to that question is obvious, but for someone who’s never taken any of the Avatar Courses before…. okay, we can go there… Say you’re experiencing the same challenge over and over again in your business. Everything seems to be going well except this one thing… Or perhaps LOTS of things… You can keep banging your head against the wall over it… Hire new people, recruit consultants, read more books, take more classes, etc. etc. OR you can take a look at the beliefs underneath this problem and once you discover them, you can then DIScreate them. That’s a term that Harry Palmer came up with in the Avatar Course. It’s brilliant. And voila! They’re gone. That challenge will no longer be there. THAT’S how it can help. It’s miraculous. If people have ever seen that movie The Secret… it’s like that. But it’s real.
FFA: You make it sound so easy.
EH: Well in a way, it is. Not all the time. But it isn’t rocket science. It’s a very natural thing. It’s an organic process, just like breathing oxygen. We just have to re-remember it… Discreating limiting beliefs helps us remove obstacles in our life that up to that point seem insurmountable to us. I can honestly say I would not have experienced the level of business success I have had in my life, especially as young as I was, without having that knowledge and those tools. To me it’s a no-brainer. The same with religious faith. Both help.
FFA: Speaking of obstacles, you’ve had your share and always seem to bounce back, which has been an inspiration to many people. What’s the secret? Or does that give away the plot to your new book? [Hale has a new business/inspirational book coming out this year entitled Bouncing Back When Flat]
EH: Besides what I just said? [laughs] I mean that kind of sums it up, right?
FAA: I was hoping we could go a little deeper.
EH: Okay well which ones? There’ve been a lot of them. [laughs] It hasn’t been as easy as people seem to think it has. It never is. Not for any of us.
FFA: A few years ago you experienced a major business setback that left you broke and even homeless for a while, which is what your new book is about. I’ve read some of the interviews about that experience and it’s shocking. But you turned it around. What I’m trying to come to is how you did it? [In 2006 Hale discovered that his business partner, Naomi Whittel (nee Balcombe) (now at Reserveage Organics), had sold one of the companies he had founded, Ageless Foundation Laboratories, without his knowledge to a publicly traded company. Hale found out through the SEC filing. Naturade Inc., the company who purchased Hale’s company, didn’t even know Hale was an owner of the company when they made the purchase, finding out months later. The story has been written about extensively, but Hale has been relatively quiet about it.]
EH: Yeah, that… [This is the first time in the interview Hale becomes quiet, anything but animated.] That’s still a tough thing for me to talk about. But I understand that it’s important and why you think it’s relevant. I’m still coming to terms with it all.
FFA: Well that’s why you wrote this book, right?
EH: Yes. Absolutely. It’s an important story. I know that.
FFA: Not many people can imagine living through that kind of a setback, let alone bouncing back from it. But you did. Rather quickly some would say. And you have had tremendous success since then.
EH: Yes, I know. And I’m very grateful for that. Hence the book. If I can do that, then anyone can do anything. That’s how I look at it.
FFA: I read an interview you gave last year where you did talk about it and it was inspiring. I only ask because the story does have a happy ending. You didn’t let it take you down, but instead you found a way to work your way back to the top. That’s an incredible achievement.
EH: Yes, it did take me down. I mean, how could it not have? One day I was going about my business and living my life, not a worry in the world, and then in one fell swoop everything I had in the world was gone. Bank accounts, credit cards, my company, retirement savings. Everything. Gone. It was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever lived through. For sure. But you’re right, I didn’t let it keep me down forever. I started from scratch and rebuilt. And slowly I was able to rise back up.
FFA: Without giving too much of the book away, how were you able to do that?
EH: Well for one thing, my faith is very strong. We’ve talked about that. I’ve never hidden that. I try not to be preachy, but I also think it’s bullshit, pardon my French, when entertainers keep their faith in the closet because they’re worried about how it’s going to affect their career.
FFA: You’ve certainly never done that.
EH: No, I haven’t. I talk about it when it’s appropriate. It’s important to me and I believe it’s important to a lot of my friends and fans.
FFA: You write a lot about religion and faith in your blog and sometimes sound almost anti-religious, almost like an atheist, which I know you’re not. And yet at the same time you write a lot about being a Christian and how challenging it is. Can you explain that a little?
EH: Well I’m definitely not one of those “100% sold” kind of people. I think anyone who’s really honest about their religious faith is going to be confused about it… and struggle occasionally. Because there are just so many contradictions in religion and spirituality… The difference with me I guess is that I haven’t necessarily chosen a side yet… I’m still open to all of them…. dissecting it all. And I explore all that a lot publicly in the Diaries. [Hale is referring to his long-running blog The Transcendence Diaries].
FFA: I know a lot of people find that inspiring. But you also anger certain groups of people with this “openness”.
EH: I know. And I don’t mean to. What I’m really doing is what I believe we should all be doing if we’re serious about spirituality and faith… questioning, studying, exploring. I’m not trying to make anybody mad or even question what they believe. To me it’s fun. It’s academic. But it also meaning beyond that.
FFA: I think most people recognize that. So your faith is one of the things that brought you through that business challenge?
EH: Without a doubt. A lot of reflection and prayer. And a lot of counseling with mentors. Seeking advice from older people that I looked up to. Also I had a really strong community around me. Family and friends who were there for me. That’s a tremendous asset. Something that you can’t buy. If it weren’t for that, I don’t know if I’d be here today. Because when that kind of thing happens to you, you really start questioning your life. All your effort and hard work and even your beliefs, things that you’ve taken for granted your whole life all of a sudden… you start questioning.
FFA: Like what?
EH: Well like… just everything. For example, you assume that if you work hard and you’re a good person that you’re going to succeed. That’s what I’d ALWAYS believed. My whole life. And I experienced that. Over and over again throughout my life that’s what I experienced. And then when this happened, it was so shocking, that it was hard to put those pieces back together, of that belief. It didn’t ring true to me anymore. Being a good person did NOT equal being successful. I started wondering if maybe that was just bs and perhaps we were supposed to be bad people and that was how to succeed. That was my first gut reaction of course. It took me some time to overcome that idea…. because bad people seem to succeed just as much as good people.
FFA: It’s easy to see how you could come to that.
EH: Right? But here’s the thing. I was wrong. We’re not “good” people because we want to succeed. We’re good people because we believe that’s the best way to live life. You know? My friends and family would call me every day, I mean every day, just to see how I was doing and check in on me. That was a big help. And we would talk about it and little by little they got through to me. I remember this one time I was driving around Manhattan with a friend, Big Mac, I LOVE this guy. He’s super funny, a southern guy. And he had just finished seminary at Princeton… So he is a spiritual guy too…
FFA: You write about him in your Diaries. I know the name.
EH: Yep. I write about EVERYBODY in the Diaries. Much to their displeasure! [laughs]
FFA: I definitely want to talk about that later, because I have a lot of questions about your blog and the reaction you’ve gotten through the years, but I don’t want to interrupt your train of thought. So go on with the story.
EH: Okay… So I was telling Big Mac how I was trying to make sense of God’s plan for my life with making this horrible thing happen to me. With Naomi and the business. That perhaps God was trying to show me a different path to take, rather than all this success and being a business tycoon that maybe God wanted me to be more focused on making the world a better place. And Big Mac, he just looked over at me and said “Bro I could never believe in a God like that.” I’ll never forget it. That was just one of those moments in life you never forget. I was like “What do you mean?” And he said “Ed, God doesn’t make bad things happen to people. God is grace. And love. Who did this to you? This Naomi chick did this to you.” The way he enunciated her name in his southern drawl… I can still remember it… He said “People did this to you man. God didn’t. God is the one helping you. Not hurting you.” I turned around in my seat and I began to cry. Right there in his truck. Because that was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. I had been so puzzled by it. I couldn’t figure out WHY it happened… I was still trying to make sense of it. But he made me realize in that moment that it didn’t have anything to do with God or God’s plan… it was people. If anything, God is there to help us, not hurt us. At least in his view.
FFA: And is that your viewpoint now?
EH: Yes. Absolutely. That really resonated with me. When he said it. And looking back, still, it totally changed my whole point of view. That’s what I mean by my beliefs were being challenged. I was actually so fooled for a while there that I thought maybe that “God” wanted me to suffer in that way… It’s crazy. But luckily, if anything it made me stronger. And more importantly it offered me a reference point for how to view life when bad things happen to us. That it’s not about blaming God, every time something good or bad happens to us. People were the cause of it. And more importantly so was I.
FFA: How so? How were you the cause of it?
EH: Well that’s the part where I think I got the most out of the experience. Where if there is anything positive to take away from it, I got it. The first thing I did, because I had taken Avatar, was I started looking at my own past actions to see what was there, what had I done, in my life… I started reflecting on my own responsibility in the whole thing, instead of blaming anyone – and trust me it was easy to blame people… it was a horrible thing they did, they broke the law in a hundred different ways, and worse… broke my heart by taking advantage of our friendship… I HATE stuff like that… people like that. But I knew I needed to look for where and how I was responsible… So on the one hand, I saw how we have to be real when it comes to people doing harmful things to us; it happens. We can’t live in a bubble and pretend that there aren’t bad people out there. Because there are. But I also saw that I had some responsibility in it too.
FFA: That’s admirable, but in what ways were you responsible?
EH: Well I can’t act like I did anything overtly wrong to cause it… Sometimes people can make the mistake of over-owning things I think. It’s not like I was acting unethically or broke the law or something… I was a good guy. Same as I am now. But I had been warned that that kind of thing might happen before it did… at least a hundred times before to be honest. It wasn’t like it came out of the blue. I had been in business with Naomi for years. And that was the main thing we argued about, was her always wanting to break the law and me always saying that we most certainly should NOT. And our employees would always be stuck in the middle, between our two viewpoints. She constantly accused me of being “self-righteous” and I just wanted us to play it straight. So I had definitely been warned already. But what had I done about it? Nothing. Sure we had stacks of legal agreements between us that prohibited us from doing those kinds of things… But based on what I’d already experienced with her in the past, I should have known better. I should have taken more action BEFORE all that happened. And I didn’t. Why? Because I was being lazy, yes… or because I was resisting conflict. For sure. I didn’t like conflict of any kind. I love people and I love harmony and I’m all about love and peace, you know? So I just pretended like everything was fine when I knew it really wasn’t. I could feel it…
FFA: You were in denial… of your intuition?
EH: Yes, absolutely. Living in denial. Pretending. I helped to create the whole thing through knowing about the potential for something like that to happen and NOT doing anything about it. NOT acting when you know you should can be just as bad as TAKING an action that’s harmful.
FFA: So you took responsibility for the experience? Did that make it easier to deal with?
EH: Yes, absolutely. It gave me a sense of relief. It enabled me to feel the remorse for my non-actions that might have contributed to it, and other things, and then to move on. What it does is help you feel responsible for it rather than like a victim of it.
FFA: That’s a great example of using what you learn in Avatar in the real world.
EH: Yes. Totally. I think so. That one experience compelled me to fill three whole notebooks with actions from my past that I felt weren’t necessarily aligned with being a good person and to make amends for them. In order to get a fresh start. It led to a lot of self-reflection and taking responsibility for my past. I became a better person through doing all that.
FFA: When you’ve written about the experience that’s what you mean by it also being a positive experience…
EH: Yes. Let’s face it. No one wants to go through something like that. To have everything you own taken from you by other people. That’s a bad thing. The betrayal aspect of it alone is enough to make you feel so discouraged and ungrounded… so unsure of yourself and the world. When someone lies to you so overtly and is doing it from a place of friendship, it can really screw with your mind. But you have to find a way to turn it around and see the positive side of it. And for me the best way to do that was to start looking at me instead of at the others. And to start planning how I could improve who I was as a person… Once again I saw firsthand how our actions in the world can affect others, either in a positive or in a negative way. That’s the least we can do. Take stock of our actions and make sure we are having a positive impact. So that’s what I did.
FFA: That is inspiring. And within a few years you had overcome it and were back on top again with three hit albums, songs on the Billboard charts, and your now infamous trip to Iran… Do you think there’s any correlation between what you went through and the success you’ve had?
EH: No. I don’t. Maybe, I don’t know. I know it inspired me. But only through necessity. Before that happened I was really enjoying life. Taking advantage of how hard I had worked and how successful I had become. After that, I was forced to go back to square one and start over again and rebuild my entire life and career from scratch. It really inspired me to become successful again. I was determined to. So in that respect yes there was a correlation. But I’ll tell you this: no one should ever believe for a minute that they need to endure some kind of tragedy or suffering in order to succeed. That would be a very impeding and unnecessary belief to cultivate.
FFA: That’s a good point to make.
EH: Well if you go and read a lot of the articles that were written when our first album after that experience came out and became successful there is a lot of attention paid to the whole rags to riches aspect of it, “from homeless to Billboard!” became a headline. As if there was a romantic aspect to it. And I can promise you that there is nothing romantic about going through something like that. If you can avoid it, do so.
FFA: Well the story is an appealing and inspiring one, from an entertainment or person of interest point of view. You can see that…
EH: Yeah, I can. Totally. Which is one of the reasons why I wrote a book about it. I mean, I get it. How often does something like that happen to a person? Not very often. It’s more like a movie than real life.
FFA: There is another aspect about that experience that I wanted to have you talk about if you don’t mind, because I think it’s important. Ultimately you decided to settle the whole thing with your partner out of court. Yet the case still remains unresolved years later. Why did you decide to do that? And do you regret it now? [Naomi Whittel signed a settlement agreement to pay Hale for the sale of the company in order to render it a legal transaction months after the sale and prevent the case from going to court, but the agreement has never been fulfilled.]
EH: Well that’s more than just one question….
FFA: Okay. Why did you agree to settle out of court? Why didn’t you just go about it in a more traditional business manner?
EH: You mean by taking legal action?
FFA: Yes. Laws were clearly broken. Contracts were breached. It seems like an open and shut case.
EH: Right, I know. And it was. I get this question a lot, especially from other business people. There was a ton of criminal activity revealed. Fraud, forgery, tax fraud, embezzlement, a lot of lying and stealing… You know. Crazy stuff. It was something right out of a movie. Totally unreal and way outside anything I’d ever dealt with before. It’s insane when you think about it. This was a situation where yes, I probably could have played tougher… But for one thing, there’s a good chance that Naomi would have gone to jail if I would have gone public with it by taking it to court. And I was still operating under the misconception that Naomi and I were friends. We had been engaged to be married after all for years. So I still cared about her as a person. Secondly, she literally called me every day for years from the moment I found out what she had done…. Begging me to settle. Even though it may seem in retrospect like such an open and shut case now, at the time, I was still receiving these calls from her every day begging me to settle and not go to court. I felt very pulled. Between my loyalty to her as a person, and to her family… And to doing the right thing perhaps…
FFA: So now you think that taking it to court would have been the right thing?
EH: Well it would have been the more normal action to take under those circumstances…. But also I felt that there had already been enough legal action in our lives. I mean, she had created such a huge mess of legal actions for us already. It was all lawyers and law firms galore… for years. No one was winning except the law firms as they say. But because I had made peace within myself about it, and she was pushing hard for an out of court settlement, I looked at both outcomes… Part of me really wanted to “get justice”. Because in business that’s what you do. If someone commits a criminal act, they deserve to get what they get, right? Justice, to the full extent of the law. I got that. But at what cost to me and my own sanity? And at what cost to my family and friends? They’d already been through the ringer because of what happened. I reflected on it and prayed about it a lot… And it just seemed like settling it was the right thing to do. To put it behind us as quickly and smoothly as possible.
FFA: Plus you assumed that once you settled that it would really be over and behind you as you say.
EH: Yes, I did. Totally. I thought that would be the end of it. The end of “the Naomi saga” once and for all. It happened. It was bad. But the ball was in my court. I could sue and drag it out in court for years, or I could forgive and settle and move on with my life.
FFA: But it didn’t end there. After all that, the settlement agreement remains unfulfilled. Which is what led to the major setback you experienced. So do you regret that decision now?
EH: Yes and no. Yes, because I wish it were over. I regret what I had to go through. And I am sublimely shocked that we’re still talking about it years later. I don’t honestly know how she can deal with it still being out there open and unresolved. But no, because in that moment I feel like I made the most responsible and mature decision that could have been made at that time. Trust me, forgiveness in those kinds of situations is difficult… but it’s the HIGH road. Being vindictive or seeking vengeance, that may be the more common road, but it’s not the high road.
FFA: Yes, as an Avatar I completely understand you choosing forgiveness over revenge. Even though in the end it was a costly decision…
EH: Yes, it was. So far at least. But I’m still giving her the benefit of the doubt. That’s the part that a lot of people don’t understand. At first she swore up and down that she had nothing to do with it, that she was “forced into it by her husband and this pack of evil attorneys” they had hired. I didn’t necessarily believe her… But you know, when you’re close to someone like that… It’s hard to cut the line completely that connects you. There is still love there. And compassion. You want to give them the benefit of the doubt.
FFA: But it sounds like a very one-sided kind of compassion.
EH: Maybe it is… That’s something I wonder about sometimes. Long story short, she swore up and down that she had every intention of fulfilling the agreement, and more than anything she was just afraid. At the time I felt like I was doing the right thing, by being compassionate and forgiving, because that’s what WE do, right? And protecting her…
FFA: Yes, I agree. That’s what we do. But this brings up the question of when is it better to look out for yourself by taking a more Guardian Heart approach? [Guardian Heart is a concept explored in the book Resurfacing by Harry Palmer.]
EH: I know… There’s a fine line between being a nice person or a good person and letting someone take advantage of you… They are two different things. And sometimes we confuse them. Maybe I’ve crossed that line now… I hope not. But I can tell you now, after going through all of that, I understand the importance of the Guardian Heart a lot more now, of not confusing being a nice person with being someone who allows others to take advantage of them. That IS something that we tend to get confused sometimes as humans. I also see the importance of standing up for what we believe in or just being committed to protecting ourselves and our loved ones. I know what you’re getting at. And I am in no way attempting to promote forgiveness as being equal to letting people take advantage of us.
FFA: There is a certain responsibility we have to ourselves and to others in defending integrity and justice for the good of everyone…
EH: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s one of the reasons why I decided to write the book about what happened. It’s not just about the inspiration factor. But more about the responsibility to others. Not just to inspire other people who might be going through a similar challenge, but also to warn people that this kind of thing can happen to the best of us. No matter how nice we are or how good of people we are. No one is immune to it. You have to look out for yourself, no matter how nice of a person you are. But it is how we deal with it that is the true measure of a person.
I remember Tony Robbins telling a story once about how he went through a similar experience in his business life. His CFO was also his best friend and he discovered that this guy had been embezzling a ton of money from their company and it just shattered him; challenged his optimistic outlook for a while. When he told that story, I couldn’t relate to it at all. I was too young. I had never gone through anything like that. But when almost the same exact thing happened to ME… THEN I could relate to it. And knowing ahead of time that he lived through it really helped me. His story and his struggle with that inspired me. And I’m sure there are a lot of people who would be surprised that something like this even happened to me, because I’ve never really talked about it openly before. But I get it now. That responsibility to share it so other people can learn from it. That’s important.
FFA: I believe it is too. Not to spoil the finale of your book, but can you share at least a little about how you were able to rebuild from something like that? Tangible things, actions that you took.
EH: Yes, absolutely. If you can imagine waking up one day and being absolutely flat broke after years of working and having made a ton of money… Going from wealthy to broke overnight. That money still exists, but you just can’t get to it. Someone else now has control of it. You can’t even afford your next meal because your bank accounts have been taken over. Horrible right?
FFA: I find it hard to imagine. I think most people would.
EH: Well me too… Until it happened. After it happened, I wasn’t just broke; I was also extremely disheartened. It was hard to believe in humanity at all. But I didn’t want to become a jaded person. Or cynical. Or believe the worst in people. So I used the Avatar tools to let all those potentially negative beliefs go. I discreated them. And I deliberately created being who I really believed I was: a generally positive and optimistic person who believed in myself and others. I took every guitar I had and walked each one to a different friend’s house and left it there and said “I’ve been hit in a bad way. You know this. I need money for an attorney and money to eat. Here’s a guitar. This is what it’s worth. If you’re willing to help, I’ll leave it here till I can pay you back.” And you know, every friend I had was more than willing to help me out. It makes me emotional still. Because it really showed me how powerful friendships are. I had guitars all over the city in different people’s homes as collateral. And honestly half of my friends didn’t even care about collateral. That was just for me. To make me feel more comfortable in receiving help…
FFA: That’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping you would share. These tangible actions that you took. I think people will find them very inspiring and informative.
EH: Well yeah, obviously in that kind of situation you have to find a way to get on your feet. Just to be able to eat. The part that hurt the worst is that Naomi and I were connected at the hip for ten years before that. We were engaged to be married for God’s sake. AND business partners for years after that. So she knew that once she did that that I would literally not have a cent to my name, nor even a way to eat. It was astounding to me that someone could do that. But once it happens you have to move on and find a way out of it. So that’s the first thing I did. Then I hired an attorney to help me sort out just what the hell happened. And then I started doing consulting work to bring in money. Business and health consulting. And of course liquidating assets. Physical things… And then I started hardcore trading again.
FFA: You mean trading in the stock market?
EH: Yes. Something I already had a lot of experience with. But besides real estate there’s no faster way to make money fast when your funds are limited. Of course it works in the reverse as well. So you really have to have a strong stomach and nerves of steel. But it was all about taking very real and tangible actions to move forward and start to rebuild. All of this AND still trying to finish recording the new albums with the band at that time and play shows in different cities.
FFA: I remember that. I bet a lot of people wondered why you changed so many things in your life at the time.
EH: Yes I’m sure they did. Because I also leased out my apartment in Manhattan for a while to make money. Whatever it took. Living with family and friends. It was a freaking nightmare honestly. But it was also a tremendous challenge and so kind of fun… When people asked me what was up, I didn’t hide the truth. But I also didn’t advertise it. I just kept moving forward. It was an insane position to be in. But you start from where you are. You start with the basics. You create being happy to be you, and simple things like “I can do this”. “I can make it happen”. “I believe in me”. Things like that. Using the Avatar tools to create those realities. Or whatever “tools” you have available to you. In spite of how challenging things may appear. You do it anyway. And at the same time you announce it to the world. Tell everyone what you’re doing. For me that meant telling everyone “The Ambassador is down but he’s not out! I’m rebuilding the empire!” Perceive it as a challenge, a doable challenge. And set about every day to being real with where you are… but also striving toward bigger things. I truly believed that I had learned a valuable lesson, but that I was not meant to stay down for long. That was not my destiny. I didn’t take all these courses and read all these books to let one major setback ruin my life forever. I was totally committed to rebuilding in spite of that setback.
FFA: When the first song from your new solo album made it onto the Billboard Charts, after going through all that, did it feel like your hard work had finally paid off?
EH: Are you kidding? Yeah. It was amazing! We laughed, we cried. And then laughed some more. A lot of jumping up and down screaming. One of the greatest days of my life. Friends calling from all over the country because they just heard the song on the radio or in their car… Things like that. I think because of the immense disadvantage I had been placed in – and everyone knowing about it…. That’s what made it so much more enjoyable for everyone. To be down like that and to rebuild it all from scratch and then top it off by hitting the Top 40 a few times. That was an amazing moment for sure.
FFA: You really did “bounce back when flat” as you say.
EH: Yeah, it’s hard to believe. But we did it!
FFA: And it didn’t end there. Around the same time, you were invited to be one of only a handful of Americans to visit Iran post-revolution on a peace mission. How did that come about? [Hale visited Iran in 2009 on a well-publicized Civilian Diplomacy mission along with eleven other Americans in leadership positions from a wide cross section of different industries. He represented the arts. He just returned from a similar trip to Israel-Palestine recently. In between he’s also visited countries in Africa, Europe and Central and South America to build homes and community centers.]
EH: I’m glad you asked. Because it’s actually a really magical story in a way. I was at this silent retreat at a convent of nuns…
FFA: You always say these things that sound so outrageous… Like you’re narrating a movie.
EH: Hah! Well I’m telling you, this is what happened. It sounds crazy. But that’s how it went down. I was at a silent retreat at a convent of all these sisters in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. Episcopalian I think. And you couldn’t talk for like a week. So I used that time to just unwind and decompress. But they had this policy where during meals you could do some light talking… something like that. I met this one sister who was really cool, very hip. And we shared this passion for global human rights activism. We couldn’t really talk that much. But we got to know each other. And at the very end of the retreat she told me about this historic upcoming delegation of Americans who were headed to the country of Iran for a two week peace mission. She said that the application process had expired, but that if I got mine in really quickly that she’d put in a good word for me with the international organization that was putting the thing together. I had been trying to get into Iran for five years. I must have applied ten times and was denied every time. I had already been studying the language, Farsi, so I could speak the language a little bit… That helped. And you know, there’s more, but basically it all came down to me being at this silent retreat in the middle of nowhere that got me into Iran. Sort of. I suppose it was more than that. But that was the original impetus.
FFA: Being in the right place at the right time. It’s fascinating how these little miracles happen in our lives when we’ve put our attention and intention on them.
EH: Exactly! First our attention, then our intention, get rid of beliefs or ideas that are in the way and BAM! Things manifest!
FFA: Can you talk a little bit about your activism?
EH: Well it is something that I am passionate about. I think it’s an easy way to feel good. Because you’re giving back. It’s not all about you. It’s nice to step outside of it being all about us sometimes. A lot of times actually. [laughs. Hale has become reanimated. His eyes have that light back in them.] Every one of those trips will stay with me forever. I hope this is only the beginning.
FFA: And again you started a business around it. But this one was a non-profit. What is the goal of your PeaceWithIran.com organization?
EH: Just that. Peace with Iran. Exactly what it says. I honestly see it as a reality. I see it happening. Maybe not this year. But soon. The alternatives are far worse than the simple act of a peaceful reconciliation between the two countries.
FFA: From your mouth to God’s ears. What was the most important thing you learned from your trip to Iran?
EH: Great question. I’ve written a lot about this already, but I’d say that the first thing that struck me was how genuinely nice they are there and how much they love Americans. That was very much a surprise for me, for all of us on that trip. We never hear about what nice people the Iranians are here in the States. And we also don’t hear about how much they love and admire us here. That’s an important thing to share I think.
FFA: What other areas of activism are you interested in moving forward?
EH: Well now a lot of my focus lately has been on Israel and Palestine… That’s the real hotbed I believe… Even in regards to Iran, it seems to all come down to Israel and Palestine at the foundation.
FFA: Before we go too far off into world politics, can you talk a little bit about your new albums? What keeps you motivated to keep making music at such a rapid pace?
EH: Well I tend to write a lot of songs. AND at the same time I tend to have a lot of ambition when it comes to always wanting to out-do what we did last time, artistically. Every time we get an opportunity to make a new album it feels like such a privilege. So at first we just head into the studio to record our quote-unquote next album. It always starts out as a simple process and then it just starts to slowly get more and more complicated. So it’s just me wanting to challenge myself, see how far I can take it I guess. And the fans, their reaction to it…
FFA: So are the album titles official now? The ones that were just released to the public?
EH: Almost positively yes. Welcome to the Rest of the World for one, and Another Day in the Apocalypse for the other. They’re starting to sound really different from each other now. And the songs have been chosen for each. So we can see the finish line… finally.
FFA: So when can people expect to hear the first single or finished product?
EH: We’re not 100% sure, but my guess would be sometime this spring or summer…
FFA: Well I know a lot of people are excited to hear the albums. The last thing I want to ask you is if there was one thing that you could share with people about any of the Avatar Courses, what would it be? As someone who has taken all the courses and continues to do so.
EH: Well that’s easy. And hard, because there’s so much you could say about it. I mean, it’s a HUGE thing, right? I write about it a lot actually. On the one hand, it’s a way of life. It’s a way of being… You learn a whole new way of being, through becoming more adept at feeling and using your intuition… You become more honest and real. More in line with the truth. But on the other hand, it’s also just a series of courses. You know, it is what it is, whatever each person makes it out to be. I guess that’s what I would say about it. That in essence, the Avatar Course is essentially just a series of courses that contain all this confidential knowledge that you sort of already know, way down deep inside, like it resonates strongly when you read it, as if you’ve known it all your life, right? [Hale is once again excited and animated] And yet now it’s been broken down into very easy to understand and doable steps. That’s amazing! No one had ever done that before. I could go on and on… but put it like this: Take all the cool stuff that we’ve read about in metaphysical and new age books, AND all those documentaries about quantum physics and the so-called paranormal, and then turn all that into a nine day course filled with exercises and processes that teach you how to actually do THOSE things. Tools to help you gain more control over your life and the world around you… more personal power. Now do that with hundreds of thousands of other people from all over the world speaking seventy-something different languages! THAT’S what Avatar has turned into now after almost 30 years. A giant collection of the most enlightened or maybe better put the most enlightenment-seeking people on planet earth. It’s the coolest thing happening in the world right now hands down. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world working on being the best they can be AND trying to make the world a better place! Incredible stuff. People always ask me, “Is it worth the money?” And I’m like “Oh my God, no… it’s worth ten times as much.” Talk about a paradigm shift. If someone is looking for a real paradigm shift –something really transformative in their lives – I can’t think of anything else as powerful or noteworthy. At least not yet anyway. Out of everything out there. And I’ve tried it all and then some.
Someone recently brought up in conversation a request for some suggestions on what “classics” she should read this summer, referring to her high school and college years and alluding to not necessarily having read every book that was required of her as perhaps some other students might have. That’s one area of college that I actually excelled in and enjoyed, literature, especially the classics, but really just about anything that had to do with the written word regardless of the subject matter or the time period.
Reading learning studying writing, these are all endeavors that appealed to me since I can remember; nearly equal to my love of art or music or all things creative. There’s a reason why these Diaries exist, and why, much to the horror of my ever faithful programming and design team, the number of entries and posts is so damn copious. Truth be told, though most people outside of the day to day project don’t realize it — managing the Transcendence Diaries is a full time project in and of itself with several people in its employ for almost thirteen years now, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of translating them into digital form, editing them and getting them up online. It’s one of the biggest and longest running projects I’ve ever been involved in.
When I heard Anne’s question about catching up on the classics, it reminded me that I recently found the booklet that accompanied “the 100 greatest books of all time” series I bought years ago. Hardcover leather-bound with gold leaf, each of them, at exorbitant prices that conveniently ignore the fact that one could easily buy them on eBay for one-tenth the price, they are beautiful and make a valuable contribution to the library. With the advent of digital everything now, especially images and the written word, I occasionally question the practical nature of owning such a mammoth book collection at this time. But after a few minutes in their presence, perusing the books themselves, their covers, jackets, sleeves bindings, copyright pages and numerous other aspects of books only available to us in non-digital form, I am always left feeling more than content and relieved that I never abandoned collecting. They may not be as portable as a kindle or iPad — not that I’m not a huge fan of those as well, I am — there is just something inexplicably and palpably enjoyable about a real live book in the flesh; especially an old one.
After perusing this list of “the 100 greatest books of all time” though — some great books in there for sure — I was left with a feeling that we will be soon rethinking and updating it, collectively, as a society. We must remember that these kinds of lists are purely from a Western Viewpoint. Those whose lives are born and bred in other parts of the world, who’s education is not from a traditionally Western background, would not necessarily agree with what we consider “the classics”. But from a purely Western Civ perspective something really bothered me about looking at this list. I was familiar with every book on there, having had to or wanting to read all of them in either high school or college, but it just seemed stale to me. Seeing Canterbury Tales yet again but nothing by Kurt Vonnegut for example. A decade or two ago one would never dare utter such a sentence, at least not in the vicinity of certain company. But today the idea seems almost downright quaint.
I know it may seem hard to fathom, but I feel we’re in for a big shift w/ certain long thought of “classics” being taken off the list and some newer ones being added. Either that or we need to create another list entirely. That may be a more feasible approach. Regardless of which list one references, The Harvard Classics is a fine example, the top 100 always looks very much the same. Perhaps it is time we create a new list, call it something like “The NEW 100 Greatest Books of All Time”. That way we don’t begin dismissing heretofore classics and deny the pleasure of their acquaintance to younger up and coming intellectuals.
I have always maintained, to the chagrin of my peers, that there is a difference between literature and great fiction. Where that proverbial line in the sand is I would assert is impossible to determine. Many books now long considered classics were once nothing but best selling works of fiction; for those that are fictional that is. Some classics are not fiction at all lest we forget. Take the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche or Marcus Aurilieus(sp?) for example. But for those that are, not all of them started out as “literature”.
For all its flowery pomp, brilliant wit and poetic wordplay, Shakespeare — (whatever we eventually decide about his true name and personhood) — wrote plays for both the royal court AND the throngs of unwashed masses of his day. Not exactly the most learned of the world of academia. Soap operas really some have said. Moby Dick most will remember is a book that was thoroughly panned upon its release. Now its taken for granted as literature in some circles. Baccacio’s Decameron was and still is soft porn, poetic or not. It may be a classic but is it literature?
Much of what has been released over the last fifty years has not entered the realm of “the 100 greatest books of all time”. But many are great works of art, some have sold in the millions, and some have huge cult followings. No one is going to argue with Catcher in the Rye being called a classic now. But what about Stranger in a Strange Land or 2001 A Space Odyssey? I honestly am not half as familiar with the best selling works of fiction from the past fifty years than I am with the traditional classic. That’s just where my heart happened to land when I began my love affair with reading. But that’s just one of the reasons why it may be a good idea to start a new list of classics. For people like myself who aren’t as aware of the newer classics as most contemporary readers are.
I still feel like a rethinking, a retooling, of the top 100 is bound to transpire imminently. It’s a hunch and my intuition almost never fails. But in the end I’d prefer a newer secondary list, whereby we could keep the old standards in place as they are, stale or not, just to make sure that nothing of great import falls out of place and out of reach to newcomers to the glorious joy of getting caught up and enthralled with a truly life-changing great read.
Again I dreamed last night that I killed someone, or attempted to. a guy. I shot him but then he got back up. these are entities. They are lifeless in the dreams. coming from my own subconscious. Don’t speak or do much of anything at all. just a way for my brain to process this need to kill…. almost every night lately I have these dreams where I am killing someone, never really wanting to, but always feeling forced to. and I am torn between feeling that I need to kill them for some serious life threatening situation and then not wanting to because it is another human life. but I always end up trying to kill them but then most times it doesn’t work. They live, struggling there half dead. I stand there looking at it all as if I’m in a dream, confused, guilty, feeling trapped. What the fuck is going on in my brain?
Everytime I see a pregnant girl walking with a guy I feel jealous. Happy for them, but wishing i had a wife of my own who was pregnant. Talk about the biological clock ticking…. But at the same time, the other day, I received this whisper that said something to the effect of ‘Fishy, you aren’t married now. do you get that? that you are single? That you are free? That you can do whatever the hell you want to right now? make love to or go out with whomever and however you want to? you’re spending all of your single time fantasizing about some ideal woman and romance and then you’re going to get married and three years into realize its forever and you never really took advantage of being single. So do it now. go for it NOW.
O.k. so that’s good. I’m glad I remembered that. Now just have to put it into practice. [as if I haven’t enough already… can someone say whackjob? crackpot? Looneytunes? Does the wanderlust ever leave the man? does the teenager ever leave the man? does the boy ever leave he heart of the man?]
Had a great feeling of completion tonight. for the most part finished the grueling process of viewing all the footage for the TV show. And talked with a really cool editor. I felt so good. like wow, we’re really doing it.
Still watching frank Lloyd Wright bio. What a strange man. good at what he did. but weird. his own worst enemy. He could have had it a lot easier if he wouldn’t have been such a loon. But I’m learning a lot about architecture and inspired by his work ethic. The artist always knows he is great. Never doubt that. if you know you are great you’re half way there. that’s the key. Believing in yourself. Great men always know they are great, no matter what the world at the time thinks. History proves it. if someone claims they are great, often times they could be nothing more than a loon with grand delusions, but somewhere down the line they oftentimes just may prove it just by the sheer force of their will and their belief in themselves.
Astrologer told me that Princess Little Tree was my partner in my last life, but not in this one, but we make a powerful force. I believe her. she saw Princess Little Tree without me saying a word. Knew her age, her hair color, what she looked like, and how she acted and was in my life. and many other people in my life as well. just from looking at these charts of weird figures etc… I’m telling you these astrologers are amazing when they are good. the way they can look at your chart and just start spitting out information that is so accurate. You don’t say shit. they don’t even know your name or what you do, and yet they can tell you so much about you and your life just by the positions of the planets and stars in your chart. This woman’s name is Karen Pavlus out of upstate NY. She is one of the best I have ever spoken to. I was impressed. Felt very good about most of what she said. Tony Robbins has a saying that everything in life is either a warning or an inspiration. If it’s a warning, you shift directions, you change and you shift to create what you want. If its an inspiration, you keep going in that direction, keep running with the ball. She saw Cleopatra too. I cannot tell you how many have seen Cleopatra and said the exact same things to me. stand strong and be courageous and fight till you win. this person is poison for you and for herself in this lifetime. it is a life test for you. only you can learn the lessons regarding why this person is in your chart/life and resolve this karma once and for all. you must not back down or it will repeat. Now bear in mind, this is someone seeing a person in my “chart” and not hearing or knowing shit from me. not knowing any of the details and not knowing even if she is speaking about anything remotely relevant. Just spitting out words about a person that she sees on the chart. She even mentioned specifics such as this person is involved with you in business. this person is also involved with you regarding real estate. this real estate is very important. This person was once involved with you romantically. She is bitter, she is resentful, she is hurt and angry and means you no good. no good can come from her here, and yet you refuse to believe it. why? you must break this spell and stand up to this or it will repeat. You think that by being kind and forgiving that you are doing the right thing but you are not. sometimes the dove needs to stand up to the hawks. Do you have any understanding of what I am speaking about here?
It was uncanny. I was more than impressed. I was floored.
Now of course there is another answer to it as well. one can easily assume that psychics and astrologers have a way of tapping into reality, of seeing the future, or the past. Or one can conclude that they just have an ability to see inside the subjects head, they pick up on what the client is thinking and feeling. And that can explain why they all always seem to be so accurately tuned in and say the same things about the same subjects. They’re just reading the mind of the client. Either that, or they really are tapping into data that is really out there available that most of us just can’t access. Either way, its fascinating stuff.
Current spin: four tet, everything ecstatic. Great CD. very Fishy. I could have made it. I would be proud to. but it sounds like nothing like me mind you, in case you go buy it thinking it might. Its sound music electronica. Bleep music. my favorite now. so creative as if he didn’t know what making an album was all about and just reinvented the process. Like those three Radiohead cds they did back to back… o.k. computer to amnesiac. magical.
There is this antibiotic that the doctor has me on called leviquin. This is the fourth night in the row I have experienced this. it is now 3:21 am and I am wide awake. If you take it before bed you will at some point become aware during your sleep that you are sleeping and dreaming. It is a restless sleep to say the least, but filled with very vivid dreams, more like hallucinations. Filled with wild imagery and color. I have gotten two beautiful songs out of this drug so far, both while sleeping/dreaming. In the last dream I was just having I was dancing through a field with this young boy and Trophy wife, the singer. and we were in this imaginary world like hr puff and stuff or pee wee herman or neverland. All these rivers and tress and butterflies and we were just singing this gorgeous song together that we were making up as we went along. Finally I just thought this is enough, I’m going to wake up and record this song into a tape recorder. This is to good not to get down. So I snapped myself out of the dream and recorded some and now I’m just sitting here writing because my brain is moving so fast. it feels like speed. I cannot believe they release this stuff onto the market and just dish it out to regular unsuspecting people who trust whatever their doctor says. [and here’s the thing, I only take one half at a time because I’m just that way. more people die in America every year from legally prescribed prescription drugs than any other preventable cause. It’s the number one cause of death in America. I forget the number but its ridiculous. Like you hear it and you can’t believe it. so I always take really small doses of everything. I couldn’t imagine if I were taking whole tablets. I’d be jumping off the walls. But it has cured my ear ache pretty fast.]
Another side effect is this itching. My whole body itches. And this sucks. But it is worth this hallucinatory effect to be sure. My mind feels on fire almost. I would almost call it anxiety but I kind of like it, so I don’t mind waking up like this in the middle of the night to type or think or sing for an hour or two. If I did, I’d be hating life. but just what it does to the mind is so freaky and refreshing and exciting, I’m kind of welcoming the million miles an hour rapid thoughts. One caveat: this drug cost $368 for the bottle so this isn’t a cheap high, but worth it if you can get just a few. Also, its an anti-biotic, so its not the healthiest thing to be taking recreationally. If you’re up for it though and into mind exploration, this would be one to try. and I’m talking about purely scientific purposes here of course. if you’re into psychotropic drug research. I would almost classify this as a nootropic because the ideas fly out so fast.
Something I had come to understand tonight. about the whole girls saga that I write about endlessly. Quick before I lose my nerve to set it to paper. the thing is this. if you meet someone and they aren’t the someone, meaning you may have this great chemistry with them and be moderately attracted to them, but you aren’t head over heels with them, then of course yes the natural tendency is to want to hang with them. of course. so in me, that desire, its natural. Its not wrong. and all this time I had been making myself wrong for wanting to date all these girls who weren’t ‘the one.’ so for a long time now I haven’t been allowing myself to do it at all. but here’s the catch. If you already know they’re not the one. if you already feel that. that you’re not going to or not capable of or not going to be desirous of having a mid to long term affair with them, but just kind of in it because its moderately amusing or they are intellectually stimulating or you have fun with them, then you have to tell them from the beginning. You can’t just be dating them and playing along for your own selfish reasons because they’re fun in the moment. because to them you might be someone they really like. And its easy to use that to your advantage. But you can’t. you see its like if you meet the woman of your dreams and she introduces you to all these guys she went out with who you kind of say to yourself ‘well how the hell did you go out with him?’ its like that. we as men have to have the same kind of discrepancy that we expect girls to have. which normally we don’t. we just go out with whatever girl we can so we can shag them. because after all that’s our natural instinct, to do as many girls as possible. But we all know what happens after we bag a babe. Normally we lose interest pretty quickly. And that sucks for that girl and then it sucks for us because we feel guilty. And then we lose them as a friend. so the thing is about being real. Its about being real with ourselves and with the girl. Wow. that’s some heavy shit. I just never saw it through to its conclusion like that. I think this may have something to do with being a man. with being a gentleman. I think it may even be something like you can in the end actually date the girls because you may really enjoy certain things about them, but you just need to be totally upfront with them and let them know from the start that you’re friends. Kind of like girls do with us. you know how they do that? I know, it sucks. But they have that capacity. And we usually don’t. we’ll just lead any girl on just so we can sleep with them. but again, I think we have to start taking that attribute of women and applying it ourselves. There will be a lot less conflict and battle of the sexes going on if we’re upfront like that.
Last screening: frank Lloyd Wright biography by ken burns. Wow, what a crazy one. inspiring though disconcerting. Let us hope that it is possible to achieve the same level of genius without the same degree of dishonesty and creepiness.
Today I had an opportunity to feel what it felt like to get a “worry” and then in that moment to say to myself, “well wouldn’t it be cool if instead of fretting over this, I could just enjoy the ride, maybe learn something from it, maybe not, but either way, just enjoy the experience. What if I didn’t look at it like a situation that I need to be fretful over or worry over? What if I just took as part of the ride?
[what is it with new Yorkers calling Florida ‘flarida?’ don’t they see that there’s an ‘o’ in the word Florida? what is that? and what is it with that word anyway? Florida? if you look at it for a while and say it a few times, it takes on this whole other quality… Florida. what kind of a word is that anyway? Florida? have to look it up. be right back…
the other thing I was thinking about while listening to some bible reading in church today was this: what the hell are we doing reading or paying any attention to for that matter the history of the Jews? I mean, the old testament is after all nothing more than a series of thousands of years of Jewish history. And respectfully one can understand the importance these historical documents might hold for Jewish people. that’s their history. Their tradition. So if they want to sit around every Sunday and read it, that’s cool. we would expect it. good for them. But as I looked around the church this morning I’m noticing that there aren’t any Jewish people in the hall. We’re not from Israel. None of us. And I’m thinking, so what the hell are we all doing studying this story about this cat named Abraham who was about to kill his son Issaac as a sacrifice to his God? I mean, say what you will, but I think that’s pretty fucking psychotic, and this whole old testament is psychotic. Its just one crazy story after another. But that’s beside the point. But truly, what the hell does that have to do with us. I mean, as Americans I understand that we don’t have any tradition or real history that dates back too far because we’re too new of a country, so if we want to look for some kind of meaning or spiritual significance in old traditions and history texts like people do with the old testament then we’re going to have to go back to the ancient writings of whatever country we’re from. for me that would be England and Italy. For other people that might be Greece or Ireland or some African country or Scotland or Russia or where ever. But sitting around reading the old testament as a bunch of Americans/Europeans just makes no sense when you look at it in the bigger picture. Its quite silly and makes no sense.
Regardless of all of this, because of course I could go on forever, and millions have — go to Amazon.com or any library in the world and check out the religious & inspirational, philosophy, theology, or comparative religion sections; hundreds of millions of words have been penned by humankind espousing countless ideas over thousands of years about God and religion and the like and none of it is any more significant now than it ever has been; at least it won’t be until an actual God shows up or an afterlife magically appears (and trust me, I’m not one to doubt the ability of humankind to create anything we want to eventually just by sheer thought-energy and our pure desire for either to exist, but for now its all up in the air). So even these words… as important as they may seem to me, as they have to millions who have come before me, are absolutely meaningless when it comes to the greater questions that befuddle our limited understanding of life in this grand universe.
But again, with all that said, I must make note here today as I have many Sundays prior, that this whole church thing I have been experiencing has been quite the miracle in my life as of late. call it what you will. I’m certainly not a religious man. I think I’m the only American alive who hasn’t seen Mel Gibson’s Jesus box office smash and if I’m lucky I never will. I don’t condone that kind of revisionist history. I don’t care what your religious beliefs are. you want to make a movie about an important religious figure then study your history first. and then make your movie. Tell the truth. or try to. with Jesus it would be hard because there are so many contradictory versions of his life. but at least try. show that you care. Show that there are at least two, three, four, different stories there that are all plausible. And until we address those we are never going to get beyond the myths that we continue to propagate century after century. No different than what the Romans or Greeks were doing with their God-myths. Nuf said.
So I’m certainly not religious, but something is happening to me and to my heart with this force that I call God. its speaking to me, its guiding me. and it feels great. I mean, I walk out of there every week kicking my heels and feeling truly blessed. God has really entered my life and he/she/it seems o.k. that I have these questions and concerns. And that my friends is what God is or should be all about. its all about the love. Its just love. And all these war mongering crazies out there killing people in the name of God are just the pretenders on the throne. One day the light will come to bear these truths to be self evident. Until then, we keep quiet and do our best to love each other as much as we can. ————————————————- Great brunch today with tomcat and his new babe from Nigeria. Got started on the whole 9/11 saga. He is to forward me a bunch of research reports and studies of sept 11 that are being conducted now by research teams in Canada that are pointing to more cover-ups and more evidence that the American government was indeed behind the whole thing and that’s why Bush didn’t flinch when he heard the news. and why the entire bin laden family was secretly escorted out of the country on private jets as soon as the towers were hit. And more and more connections between bush family and bin laden family which everyone’s at this point and evidence that points to that guy who got beheaded in Pakistan Daniel pearl actually being a reporter who was about to blow the lid on the whole thing and show the American gov was behind it, so they got him and used that whole ‘we’re a bunch of scary crazy Muslims wearing masks’ thing as a scare tactic to win favor and support for the continued killing going on in Iraq and they killed him. hey who knows. I mean, really, at this point who knows. all we can do as tomcat says is keep building our own little nest egg and keep quiet. because if it is true all that means is that they’re going to come after us if we open our mouths too wide. And boy don’t we know that’s the truth. just ask David koresh. Oh yeah, we can’t, because they burned him alive with a hundred and seventy nine other people on live TV. At one point tomcat looks up at me and says, ‘but you know bro, for all of that it still bothers me. I still have to go work everyday and know that my money is going to pay for killing all these Iraqis. I’m paying 36% of my hard earned money in taxes and its going to pay for people dying over there.’ he sips his coffee. ‘We’re killing people. we have blood on our hands. All of us. every single one of us who is paying taxes. And we can’t do anything about it.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself. so I just looked at the tomcat as if I were looking in the mirror.
I didn’t say anything back to tomcat. I just let him sit there and stare at me looking for an answer. the problem is is that he is right. we can’t do anything about it. America has always invaded other countries. All big countries have. America started out by invading America. Remember we aren’t Americans. We are the invaders still. the occupiers. We only call it our land and our country because we have the biggest guns still. and then America invaded Mexico and now they call it Texas. America invaded Korea and grenada and Vietnam. The people of big countries don’t mind when they’re government invades other countries as long as they still have their Coke and their sex and the city and their p diddy and their fritos and queer eye TV. Big governments know this. so they keep on invading and they’ll use every trick in the book to keep on doing it. and our taxes will keep on paying for it because we can’t do a damn thing about it. we can bitch and moan and complain and protest but its not going to do any good. Vietnam taught us that.
Take a look at the countries that didn’t choose to invade Iraq: France and Germany. Well study their history. Shit they know what invading other countries gets you. eventual revolutions and if you’re not careful eventually retaliatory attacks on your own land. So they butt out. 9/11 taught us that. should have at least. but our government hasn’t learned that one yet. and maybe they never will until it really hits home. and for us, the people of this great twisted wreck of bitter irony that we are, that will be a sad fucking day. because the truth is that we the people aren’t invading any countries. We’re not even in Iraq. Our government is. in our names. And with out tax dollars. So if the blow of justice and revenge ever lands upon these tired soils it will not come as surprise to a few of us. that’s just the hand of nature dealing the cards out.
Last screening: batman begins. well they finally did it. Hollywood finally made a good batman movie. In fact batman begins is the first good superhero movie that’s ever been released. I know what you’re thinking if you’re a regular reader, because that would imply that you’re smart as hell and you don’t believe the hype. So you’re probably like me and saw that first batman piece of doo doo and felt so insulted and bored and over-hyped and over-sold that you wanted to run screaming out of the theatre and if you were lucky you never saw any of the sequels or any of the spiderman movies either. But I’m telling you, they finally got it right this time. Christian bale, the man everyone should remember from his excellent performance in the twisted masterpiece American psycho, made a great batman. Just fucking great. Remember when michale keaton was trying to play Bruce Wayne and batman and you felt uncool just being in the theatre watching it because it was so uncool. Well not with Christian bale. I’m not saying this was the godfather or anything. But trust me, it’s a good flick and good time. inspiring. This is what g lucas should have done with his sadly disappointing star wars follow-ups. Paper disguised as bread those were at best. But this little baby was pretty cool. and not so Hollywood. even though there are plenty of cool actors in it. of course liam neeson dies in it because I think he must have that written in his contracts – that he dies in every movie he’s in. Gary Oldman was good enough. Michale caine was surprisingly good, because for the past twenty years he’s just been so ‘fine just write me the check and give me the script and I’ll show up, I promise.’ But in this he’s pretty good. leaves a nice opening for a sequel. Lets hope they get it as good the second time as they did here.
Spent an hour on the phone with the infamous producer/singer/songwriter Zeke Zaskin, talking about the new album we are recording. I’m telling him about all the music I’m digging and what I want the new CD to sound like.
After an hour or so, Zeke tells me ‘well after everything you’ve said, we’re still at the same place we always are, that same comfortable yet uncomfortable Fishy place, which is where you’re standing there between wanting to create three different musical styles on one album, modern rock which is what you always make, pop and hip-hop, and experimental, which is what you listen to and like the most. Six months ago you said you wanted to make an album that sounds like metallica and now you say you want to make an album like gwen stefani.’ ‘o.k. I hear ya. I know I know. so what do we do?’ ‘I really feel like we need to hone in on what you want to make first before we go any further. You need to find that one unifying theme for this album and then just run with it once you find it and not try to fit everything in all at once.’
‘you know man, I say, ‘How can I sit here and say that I listen to all this popular rock music like the doves, and Foo fighters, and Audioslave, and bloc party and modest mouse and killers and all that but that I can’t even listen to more than thirty seconds a song because its so predictable and boring and the music that I love like beck and jay z and the game and gwen and Rufus is driving me crazy because I like it so much, and then I turn around and create another modern rock album of my own. it makes no sense. I have to find a way to start making my own music sound like the music I actually enjoy listening to. I’m so sick of rock.’ ‘well then stop making rock music.’
‘well then you need to build your songs in a different way. why not send over the roughs to me and if we have to we’ll strip away all the drum parts and bass parts and guitars and we’ll build them from scratch with electronic hip hop drums and bass and just scratch the guitars.’
‘Well I don’t know if the guys are going to be into that. look guys we erased all of your parts and we’re now a hip hop band.’ ‘well yes that’s a concern. You know Fishy its two different kinds of animals. With rock it’s a monstrous sound. its this huge wall of heavy guitars and drums and cymbals and bass guitar. And with hip hop it’s the opposite. Its all sparseness and just a killer beat.’ ‘yeah I know. well we’ve already got a huge wall of drums and bass and guitars built up on these songs. Look, if we can’t make it a hip hop album at this point because we’ve already laid down a foundation of a modern rock album, at least we can take the elements of the arrangement and production that we like from hip hop and pop, that it brings to music. we can arrange the shit from a hip hop perspective.’
‘well like I said, you can send me the shit and let me check it out and I’ll co-produce it, and where these songs are at now if it appears that the album wants to be a dog, we can just finish it, call it a dog, and listen to it say bow wow. or it might be that we want to scrap it all and place some wings on it and call it a duck and get it to quack. Its going to be up to you brother.’
‘dude can I quote you on that?’
‘zeke zaskin makes another appearance in the diaries? certainly. Feel free.’
Man isn’t it so true how we always just steal the shit from the black musicians. Since music first went pop and rock in the early twentieth century, we’ve been taking from the black folk. Al Jolson painting himself in black face. little Richard and chuck berry and fats domino invented rock and roll. and American jazz, the first great original American art form, that was all black cats forging that new territory. And then Elvis made his career from singing all the black songs and the Beatles and Stones just trying to cop the black music they loved, singing all the black songs, and zeppelin ripping off all the black blues songs they worshipped, and then Eric Clapton and all those guitar cats taking whatever they could from Jimi, and in the seventies they hit their stride basically defining an entire decade and sound called dance music/disco with sly and the family stone and g Clinton and P Funk, and of course the jacksons and Motown invented modern pop music, and al green and Marvin gaye and stevie and the temps and Curtis showed us what it could be like if we actually put some soul into our pop… and then rap hit and blew everyone away and saved aerosmiths career, shit I don’t think they even had a career anymore until that duet with run dmc, and now its all everyone just trying to sound like the hip hop cats. Its just always been about what the American black cats are doing.
But you know, there’s a reason for it. the black music has just always sounded better, been hotter, cooler, hipper, more cutting edge. And we white folk always trying to grab onto it and put our spin on it… trying to get a little taste. Me I can’t get enough black music.
Current spin: Gorilaz, demon days. interesting but predictable. Destiny’s child, destiny fulfilled. Great production but predicatble. I’m sure it will sell well. Ficserspooner, odyssey. We were compared to them in a recent review. I see no similarity. A girl called Eddy. I like this CD a lot. So much music out there. no way to keep up. still completely obsessed with HOLLABACK GIRL by Gwen Stephani. Which is my favorite song of all time currently. Right up there with crazy in love as one of the all time great pop songs. Can a song get any better than that?
Killer ear ache the last few days. this is my second one in six months. I know what its from. its because I don’t have a housekeeper now and I take baths. I have always taken baths. My new image consultant or image coach more like it, what did we call him again? JB? Yeah, JB I think. he’s always trying to get me to discover more of my quirks because he says it makes great press. Of course you need great press if you are a somebody, but I’ve made a career of being a not-somebody so I have no idea why we are worrying about great press. But in any case, JB tells me, there’s another quirk for you. I have always taken baths. There was a brief time in high school when I thought it was cool and grownup to take showers so I did it for a while because it was all about discovering the inner-man within and bagging the babes, but by college I was back in the tub every morning.
So did that freak any of my girlfriends out through the years? yeah I think it did. a grown man jumping out of bed to go sit in the bathtub for an hour every morning. but now everyone is used to it because well I’m an adult now and I think everyone has just pretty much assumed ‘yeah, well Fishy takes baths. He just does. He’s always done that.’ when at home for the holidays mom always wakes me up early so I don’t make everyone late because of the bath factor. Classic.
[I just heard a girl on the street say what the fuck. I hate when girls curse. I know. totally sexist. But I can’t help it. I’m old fashioned. if I hear a girl curse I just totally lose my interest in them. if a girl says fuck because she’s really mad that’s one thing, as long as its cute.. you know. like “honey you just said fuck.” And then she apologizes. But if you’re at dinner with a girl and she says fuck matter of factly… Forget about it. I’m looking at her wondering how I ever managed to be at a dinner table with her. I’m not saying I wouldn’t sleep with them. but I just wouldn’t go out with them. you know, girls should offer you that girl thing. and saying fuck is not just not that girl thing. speaking of girls, today some girl comes into my office and slaps all these naked photos of her in all these erotic poses on my desk and walks away. I’ll tell you, ever since I decided to stop being player and hold out for number one the girls are just coming out of the woodwork. Its nuts. I think girls can feel when you’re not playing anymore. They try to get through that maybe because they see as a challenge. Or maybe just because you aren’t putting out that I’m a player vibe anymore. Who knows. but this is crazy. now when I finally decide to get serious and look for Mrs. Number one… now they’re just everywhere. and the naked pix didn’t even turn me on. which could mean that I’m gay I guess. Holy shit that reminds me last night I walked to this local newsstand on second avenue to get a smoke and there was this GAY XXX magazine on the counter so I opened it up and looked inside. And holy shit. it was filled with naked men with huge erect rods doing each other. I mean they were like really doing each other in the poop shoots. I had never seen that before. I mean, we hear about it, but to see it like that in full color. Wow. that was some crazy stuff. so that’s what they do for real then huh. Crazy. hey, whatever floats your boat.]
so where were we. O.k. so no housekeeper and the apartment is really gross. I mean we are back to the college days at this point. Seriously disgusting at this point. But that’s because I’m working around the clock and frankly even if I weren’t who wants to clean their own house? so I just let it go because well its fun and I’m lazy and probably too much of a snob at this point for my own good. but the bath tub is so gross! I’m talking gross and I still take these baths everyday in it like that character from the old MTV show the young ones. And I don’t really mind because I’m really enjoying the old dirty college days vibe. I don’t know why exactly but I’m actually enjoying it. I think I secretly look at it like my last blast. I mean, lets face it, once you settle down with a girl you can’t just let the house go and live like a pig so I’m just really getting a lot out of it and making the most of it. there is garbage everywhere and when I walk I just kick it around the room. Now bear in mind that I’m pretty high right now from all this pain medication from this effing ear ache so don’t count on me to admit this tomorrow.
Yes well that was a good email I sent. Hard for men to write emails like that because it goes against our innate biological instincts in fact. Damn near impossible. But you just have to split yourself in two and force yourself sometimes to do the right thing.
You see, there are three kinds of girls. First group: Some girls can separate themselves from sex. they do it, they dig it, they explore it, they have fun with it, but its not always emotional to them. Cleopatra was like that. I hated it as much as I loved it. it’s a sport or a hobby to them, much like it is to most men. To men, we can totally separate ourselves emotionally from sex. in many instances it can have nothing to do with love or family or romance or emotion, just a fun experience. [this is why you can open the village voice and see close to one thousand adverts for sensual massage parlors or escort services for men just in Manhattan alone, but almost none for women. Ever wonder why that is?] For most men, this is the way it is. for us a sexual experience is much like going to a sporting event or a pub with our friends. Just a good time. but very few women fit into this group. very few. More and more these days, but still very few.
The other group of girls is where the majority of them are: sex is very much tied into emotion and love and romance and family, all that are all sort of combined. When they make love with a guy they really feel something. they can’t help it. its just the way they are built. Sex in some way, even a small way, means giving a part of themselves and they can get really attached and emotional pretty easily. Most guys are not this way. but most girls are.
And then there is a third group: those girls that don’t know which group they are in yet. so they cause a shitload of problems for themselves and the guys they are with because they just don’t know where they are yet.
Now at 22 years old, you could end up in either group. at your age you should be in group 1 so you can enjoy the single years and rack up some good experience. But the truth is that you may not know yet. and if you end up in group 2 but try to tell yourself that you’re in group 1, you could end up really hurt a lot of the time… so before you go flirting with sexy older guys who happen to play in rock bands and happen to collect romantic/sexual experiences with girls like most people collect books or cds, you should know exactly what you are doing and why and what you want out of your life. the last thing in the world I would want for you is to ever be hurt. I always want to see that shiny smile on your face. U dig?
[In answer to your other question about the groups for guys, I think it’s the same for guys actually. I just think the tables are completely turned the other way. most guys are in group one but want desperately to be in group two so they can have a wife and kids etc so they have to fight their group number one urges their whole life and it causes them a lot of inner turmoil and frustration and guilt. Little do they know they could just wait longer to settle down and get married and get it out of their system a bit and then they’d be fine but instead they spend most of their married life in utter confusion and guilt and anxiety thinking there is something wrong with them rather than realizing that they’re just a biological system that was created to have sex all the time with lots of women. Once you get that, you’re home-free. When you do finally accept that and then deliberately decide to settle with one woman because of the enormous benefits of that, you can settle into it and be proud and deliberate in it. I’m trying to get there.]
Fishy, In your experience, is that really true? or are you wanting that to be true?
Wow. you are fucking smart. Sharp. Wise. You’re going to have to be careful because how are you ever going to find a guy as smart as you are?
In answer to your question, In my experience I found that the benefits did outweigh the desire for tasting of other fruits… easy all the time? no. but worth it. I did fall in love a few times when I was with Cleo. I still found myself with these mild obsessions that would haunt me… but that one on one ‘we’re building an empire together’ thing is so strong in your mind and heart that it is easy. especially if you choose the right partner — someone you are just entirely obsessed with. Someone who thrills you, who has their own life and you are in awe of.
well, I’ve thought about that question a lot like I said…most guys do not know what to do with me but there are ways in which I am not smart and I think that is what I’m looking for someone who challenges and supports those areas. I think that is why I’m naturally really attracted to older men because they seem to have the things that I can’t stand dealt with and have a lot of wisdom in areas where I don’t they fascinate me way more then men my age (I don’t think that I have ever dated someone my age) honestly, I’m confused as to why I like older men I’m trying to work that out
Now, I’m working on creating me and doing the things that I love I believe as I create a strong life he will be created to fit into that and we’ll meet each other or we won’t, but I’ll have a fucking great life anyway
so coming from a place of partying where I am at I’ve got men in my life that serve different purposes and that is fantastic too! I think it is best to not rely on one person for everything it is too much pressure so I’m trying to cultivate a strong support around me so that I can create an amazing relationship with my future guy
not to say I don’t get frustrated and my panties in a twist because I haven’t found someone I’ve been really connected to in the last 2 years I definitely have my moments of pure pissed off and woe is me (I know, that is really sexy isn’t it?)
nice to express thanks for listening it’s been really nice to share these things with you I’m learning a lot about myself (and you) in the process
I’ll tell you Lil Sis, it sounds like you really know what you’re doing and have it together. I have learned from what you are doing. I take what I can get out of reading you. I am doing a similar thing. lately asking myself, what do I need to be to attract/and then keep her? its easy to have all these demands and specifications for the person we want to be with, but what about what they want? Are we anywhere near what the person we want would want?
I mean, is my tiny apartment enough? Will she understand what the hell I am doing living like this and why? things like that. but honestly I really believe that it is all up to beliefs. when you believe it you will see it. so in the meantime I do the same, enjoy the life and make the most of it as who I am now the way that my life is now. that is the best we can do. everyday we see glimpses of what we are looking for in the faces of others on the streets and the subways and in the bars and restaurants. These are the little signs guiding us and helping us to understand our heart and its deepest desires. That way when the right person does come along, we recognize it immediately. ‘ah hah! There you are!’
But hey, you’re too young for all this serious talk. Go party more. tease men. Flirt more. Drive men crazy. drive yourself crazy. you should sleep with at least 30 more men before you marry. That way you never look back and wonder… now what about a Nigerian folk singer? I never had a Nigerian folk singer…