Ed Hale appeared on the Persian news network Iran International this week to discuss the ongoing protests against the Islamic Republic of Iran, what the people there are fighting for, the challenges they face and how we in America can help their cause. Video can be viewed on Twitter or Youtube.
The last two weeks have been incredible, both inspiring and heartbreaking, for the country and people of Iran and the implications of what a true Democratic Iranian Revolution would mean for the world.
We spent the last week creating a video (that we’ve now split into two parts) to help explain what’s happening in Iran right now in the bigger context of their history and who they are as a people, hoping to increase understanding of the Iranian people, their long, rich history and why these current protests are so vital, not just to the brave women and men on the frontlines in the streets, but also for world peace.
We believe what we are witnessing in Iran right now is historic. We know we are personally taking a big risk by posting the videos due to their openness & honesty, and it is something we are still actively discussing. But we also sincerely believe that our brave friends in Iran deserve all the attention & support they can get, including a real world understanding of who they are & what they’re fighting for. Freedom Justice Equality & basic human rights.
If you have any questions or desire to get more involved to support the cause please feel free to reach out. Together we can. – Ed Hale
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.
I don’t know about you. But lately I’ve been starting to break, physically beginning to feel the mental and emotional strain caused by an unshakable intuitive feeling of fear that we’re deliberately being f*^ked with by some higher power or unstoppable force from beyond. Can’t say for sure what specific event it was in the last few days….
One would think by the time we spiraled from unfathomable numbers of deaths from a global virus into 3 months of being forcibly locked in our homes into a Great Depression-level economic collapse simultaneously contrasted with a frighteningly imbalanced wicked-seeming illogically bifurcated financial market into black lives finally mattering a little but not enough revealing a disturbing innate national racism yielding masses of protests for weeks on end down into a very sudden and discomforting disappearance of national leadership into a gutter of inanely childish and crazy behavior coming out of the White House on an hourly basis with far too many stories about a deranged self-obsessed psychopath occupying the position of POTUS (once considered “the most important job on earth” but now unanimously viewed as a laughing stock by the rest of the world) much of it coming from his own fellow Republicans — with fear not logic or nobility being the only apparent impediment to the whole lot of them banding together to publicly concede they made a terrible and dangerous mistake, meanwhile the other side of the sinister corporate duopoly that controls the entire country of 360 million people are attempting to run a man who it appears may not make it to the election let alone through a presidency and they won’t budge on their pick despite the overwhelming disinterest in him — the pressing question being WHY?!? — reported simultaneously with stories of a rapidly deteriorating and corrupt justice system and “serious concerns that the current president may be the biggest threat to national security by top military brass” simulcast with eerily under-covered impending wars between China and India, China and Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, China and Japan, Europe considering banning Americans (?!?), “white power” competing with “black power” for slogan of the year in a democratic republic allegedly the most proudly culturally diverse “melting pot” on earth, statues coming down faster than can be counted, Americans with guns lots of guns, Iran (jeez, seriously guys, now?!?) and Israel (seriously guys, now?!?) global food shortages, global food supply poisonings, random fireworks and gun shots every night for hours accompanying a triple digit increase in gun deaths and a constant onslaught of pandemic deniers and conspiracy theories flooding social discourse every day by normally intelligent folks but which boggle the mind… The hope of reopening quickly fading as the deniers are fast-morphing into the walking dead claiming “there’s nothing wrong with us. Stop staring at us. We’re fine,” pulling out their shotguns and rifles as if to signal “yes we’re as stupid and crazy as you’ve always Imagined, now go on and git”
But frankly I was doing okay. In spite of it all. Just doing my thing. Trying to survive, keep my family alive healthy and happy, maybe make a difference here and there when i could. And then suddenly I start getting these random messages from various friends around the world, normal intelligent well balanced folks usually, sheepishly talking about their recent bouts with anxiousness and depression… my initial response being “yeah of course man… the world is on fire… it’s normal… just try to hang on…it’ll get better.”
And then suddenly it starts hailing at around 6 pm. Out of nowhere on a hot wet sweltering steaming summer day, frozen ice starts falling from the sky. The sound is piercing and deafening. I keep wiping my eyes, opening and closing them, assuming I’m seeing things. Maybe i took a nap and I’m dreaming. It’s 90 degrees outside. How is there ice falling from the sky?
But we’re still not talking about the insane fact that the US military quietly admitted that it’s been seeing UFOs in the skies for a few decades now a few months back.
The problem isn’t all the bad news. It’s the overwhelming quantity of it, combined with the new surreal strangeness of it all and the fact that it’s so damn alarming out of our hands and weird that most people are going numb to it. I get it. Eat sleep work eat sleep work. Invent a God because there’s no visible way out of this insanity at our level. Note to self: add prayer to eat sleep work. Maybe it’ll help.
And our kids. God our poor f*^king kids. That whole generation… All three of them really… I keep trying to underplay how bad everything is when they break down and cry and mention it… I try to play it cool, like we all had our problems. This is no different.
It occurs to me that none of this is new. What generation hasn’t felt this way since humankind first awoke to self awareness on planet earth? Frightened confused boggled overwhelmed terrified. Sumerian Babylonian Persian Greek Roman Jewish Christian Muslim Gods were all constructed from such base human feelings.
Compared to the Ice Age or the so called Dark Ages or the Plague surely we have it better… It’s become a daily meditation. But honestly… the thought though completely rational doesn’t make me feel any better. How is it for you?
When it first happened I was at a spanish language school for a semester down in Costa Rica. With a bunch of mainly Europeans. We watched it happening live on the news like everyone. The Euros immediately jumped at the chance to make comments like “serves them right” or “it was only a matter of time”. And though I understood the sentiment, it was too horrific for me to go down that path in that moment. I was more in shock, and worried about all my friends in NYC.
The only other American at the school, a college kid named Heath, and I got called to the American Embassy in San Jose, where we stayed with a bunch of other Americans, tourists and fishermen mostly, for a number off hours. Eventually released and told it would be a few days before we could fly back to the US. Told not to go out and cause any trouble. Keep a low profile.
So off we went to a brothel where we spent the next two days passing the time trying to drink and fuck the pain away. What the Euros at our school didn’t understand was that although we were every bit as aware of and cynical about the last two-hundred years of violent American imperialism, America was still our home. Americans were still our friends family and neighbors.
When i got back to the States we hit the studio to finish working on the Sleep With You album. But we interrupted those sessions to record a song to help donate to various 9/11 charities. That songs being “Rebuild America”. What I was taken with the most back then was how resilient the country was in the face of such a horrific event. How much it unified us. We didn’t get down or depressed. We got all flagged up, amped up and proud. At the time it felt better than going dark.
So the song ended up being more patriotic and uplifting than our normal fare. I still find it hard to believe that a song called “Rebuild America” is associated with us/me in any way. If you would have told me five to ten years before that that I’d have a single out in the future called Rebuild America i would have asked “is it ironic? Did I lose my mind? Or go mad? Did i lose my cool?” If you would have then replied “no not at all. America got attacked. Like Pearl Harbor scale attack. You did the song in earnest.” Yeah. Perhaps I would understand.
Critics used the song as easy pickings to chastise me for a few years after. Implying that it betrayed “coolness”. Perhaps it does. But I don’t regret it. Because it was real. You had to be there. I always thought that was a cheap shot. Because that event was such a viscerally upsetting moment for many of us. And we needed the release. Regardless of where we lined up on the political fence, it hurt.
There was, looking back now, such a strong subconscious react to that kind of intense shock and violence that manifested in extreme positivity and patriotism. Even for those of us who knew the dark seedy underbelly of United States foreign policy. I had never seen anything like it, that kind of avid patriotism. Maybe Rocky IV Cold War era stuff.
Of course it all went down hill quickly from there and we turned all that patriotism into more violence and empire building. Used it as an excuse to finally take over the rest of the Middle East region of the globe sans Iran, and Saudi Arabia, where the attacks actually originated from, but as they say thou dost not shit in your own backyard and the United States has had Arabia in its backyard for fifty years. Hence allowing one little family to prop up a dictatorship and add their name “Saudi” to the name of an entire country. Disgraceful. But whatever.
further on down the road we learned about the dubious nature of the events themselves… and many now believe it to be an inside job. See the documentaries called Loose Change on youtube. But for a brief moment at least we saw potential in America. It just didn’t last. Very sad.
I saw the planes crash into us
I saw the people cry
I saw the buildings come crumbling
I saw the rescuers sigh
I saw the president weep
On national TV
I saw the volunteers sweeping
To clean the New York City streets
As we try
Yes we try
To rebuild America
The land of our fathers
The land of our mothers
We are not alone
“Rebuild America” by Ed Hale & the Transcendence
Three days ago I heard the song “Superbacana” by Caetano Veloso for the first time… or at least it was the first time that I “heard” it, really listened to it. It blow me away. It’s off his Tropicalia album, the one that really shook the earth beneath all of Brasil and started the whole Tropicalismo or Tropicalia social and political movement there. (Along with equal contributions from Gilberto Gil and Os Mutantes and Tom Ze and Gal Costa and others.
Anyway, I do what I always do. I listen to the song ten to twenty times in a row, analyzing the lyrics and the poetry of the beautifully perfect Portuguese language, still in my opinion the most poetic of them all (and yes, being Italian and speaking Italian and French and Spanish etc. I know what a betrayal that may sound like… but there’s just something transcendent about this language, both in how it sounds to the ear and in how the words and phrases are strung together…. Obviously a subjective thing. I’ll give you that.) I then do a quick translation to English to see if I missed anything. Wow, what a fucking song that is. Simple. Fun. Light-hearted. On the surface. And yet still a Dylanesque social protest song. And the way he spits the lyrics out so fast. Truly genius.
Then I spend three days transcribing the chords, listening to it over and over again. Searching the internet for anyone who has ever transcribed the chords to just get some help with it. But no one has. And this song is 50 years old! I WhatsApp a friend of mine in Brasil to ask him about the song. He tells me “yeah bro, not many people know that song. Not even here in Brasil. It’s only hip with super hip people. It’s not like a popular song, like so many of his….Good luck with that. But I really hope you figure it out, because I can’t wait to hear you sing it with your strong funny Portuguese accent!”
I’m going to include some links below so you can listen to the song on YouTube. Because it’s just that good. Bear in mind, it’s 1967, so it still has elements of that orchestrated pop of the sixties, plus elements of the popular bossa nova style happening in Brasil at the time (think Tom Jobim) and yet it also has this frantic rock ‘n’ roll vibe to it and a sort of folky protest theme to it as well. A very hip tune. The whole Tropicalia album by Caetano is brilliant. A definite must-have.
When you analyze the lyrics, basically Caetano is saying “You all act like you don’t even know I exist, but I believe you’re pretending. Not only do you know I was born, but you also know that I am super fucking cool. (Superbacana literally translates to “super-cool”). And he uses the song to rally against the bourgeois class currently occupying Copacabana and the government with all their big spending on technology and other things that he doesn’t believe help him or the people of the country. But in the end he and his people are still super-cool regardless.
When I first discovered it, it reminded me of the song “ManChildWoman”, the way he’s just overtly bragging, very rock ‘n’ roll swagger… Which I admit I do a lot of from time to time in certain songs… It’s all in fun…. Just to catch a groove and ride it. But after studying the song more, I believe there’s more to Caetano’s “Superbacana” than just empty bragging like “ManChildWoman”. Truly. It’s more Dylan. The bragging is more asserting his existence against an authoritarian regime that refused to acknowledge their existence for so long. It’s a life or death kind of “I believe in me” type of thing. Whereas I was there when I wrote “ManChildWoman” (at least I think I was…as much as I could be considering…) and there was no life or death vibe in my mind. I remember. It was more just “I believe in me mother fucker yeah!” They both have their place. It’s rock ‘n’ roll. It’s all important. As important as rock ‘n’ roll can be.
I’m still trying to figure it out. Learning the chords. Trying to learn the phrasing of how he spits out those lyrics so fast. It’s a brilliant piece of work.
Anyway, check it out. It’s a hip tune. Truly special.