Ed Hale, lead singer and provocateur for Transcendence, is a busy man these days. The outspoken frontman is well known for his ambition, and his eccentricities – it is said he sleeps on a couch and has all his life, conducts hours of business in the bath each morning (much to the annoyance of his bandmates), and religiously attends church each week while professing not to know if he believes in God.
Recently married and living in both New York City and Seattle, the singer finds time between filming the new reality show Transcendent Television for Polar Productions, releasing solo albums like Ballad On Third Avenue, with it’s top 30 Billboard hit “Scene In San Francisco” and jetting back and forth to meet up with the rest of the band to record and produce new albums such as All Your Heroes Become Villains and The Great Mistake. As a writer, he has for four years posted daily entries to his online blog, the Transcendence Diaries, now logging in at more than two-thousand pages and boasting a readership of more than 150,000, and is the author of the award-winning screenplay for the road-movie The Tribe Moves to London.
As a businessman, he sits on the board of an international vitamin company he founded in the late nineties, “as a hobby” he says, owns a clothing line called what else? TranscendentWear — that features 36 different t-shirt designs, and he owns and oversees the band’s independent record label, Dying Van Gogh, home to artists of various musical styles from rock to Americana to hip hop. If that weren’t enough, the singer, who began referring to himself as ‘The Ambassador’ with the release of the band’s 2002 debut CD Rise and Shine, speaks four languages and is now taking classes in French to add to his arsenal. “Ed is a genius and a workaholic in every sense of the word,” says guitarist Fernando Perdomo, “in both the good and the bad ways.”
Fernando Perdomo is a musical eccentric, known as much for his quirks as his brilliant ability to pull exquisitely crafted guitar lines out of thin air. One of the primary elements behind the eclectic, far-reaching, and ever-experimental sound of the group Transcendence, Perdomo will add everything from guitar to cello to sitar to drums to their albums when recording, all in a matter of hours. “Fern adds the fire, the spark, the magic,” says singer Ed Hale. Friends know him as Chewbacca, or Chewy, the lovable freak who is addicted to eBay and who guzzles sugar or Equal straight out of the packets one by one during conversation. He seems to never tire of talking, much to the annoyance of his bandmates, or telling jokes, and has more guitars than should be legal for someone his age. “Between Ed and me, Transcendence may have more guitars collectively than any other band in the world…” he casually exaggerates. “His genius is transparent,” says drummer Sommer. “He just plays the most brilliant lines, like Jon Rose and Gabay and Roger, without even thinking about it. But he’s also a big goofball at the same time. It’s weird. You think that someone that good would be very serious, but in Fernando’s case he just takes his talent for granted.” His influences range from the obscure to surprisingly commercial. (He claims Gino Vanelli as one of his most cherished influences.) He has toured the world with Latin pop stars like Christian Castro and Paulina Rubio, but his true love is rock and roll and powerpop, which he demonstrates his abilities with his two albums under the Dreaming In Stereo name. Most recently, Fernando can be found performing as a solo artist, and producing many artists and albums for his label, Forward Motion Records, including Andy Pratt, Jorge Moreno and Omine.
Roger Houdaille is the youngest member of the band. The bassist is not known for his outspokenness. “It would be best to ask people who know Roger about Roger because he doesn’t like to talk much,” says the cute quiet bass player. The heart of the eclectic nature of the Transcendence sound and tendencies, Roger is the one who consistently encourages the group to go as far out as possible musically.
Not unlike the rest of the members of the Transcendence, Roger is known for an eccentric nature that belies his extensive talents. Although the youngest member of Transcendence, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist doesn’t drive, or even have a license. Although it is true he collects stamps from every country in the world, he also collects bootleg audio and video recordings of every band he likes, primarily obscure sixties and seventies groups, and keeps them all in piles with a well researched spreadsheet database catalog it all. Roger responds to all his fan mail personally which makes him a very popular member indeed. He is an extreme talent all on his own, fronting his own group Ex Norwegian, releasing four albums to critical acclaim. (Transcendence singer Ed Hale often cover’s his songs on Transcendence releases, sometimes re-writing some lyrics to make them his own. The Nothing is Cohesive track, “Cleopatra Ecstasy” is a good example of this). On the business end, Houdaille worked many years on his own independent label Dippy Records, before teaming up with Ed on launching the Dying Van Gogh label in New York City. And on free time, he spends his time writing, directing, editing and starring in the reality sitcom All My BJ.
Bill Sommer, the second drummer in Transcendence, loves big words. As the resident intellectual of the band who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, he was a National Merit Scholar and tried out for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He is also the only official jock in the band, at one point dreaming of scoring the winning goal in the World Cup. But the music bug caught up with the young drummer early on. He began studying the drums at the age of 13 and has never looked back. Like all the members of the band Transcendence seem to be, he is as well known for his eccentricities as he is his considerable talent. During one year in college he decided to live without a light in his room for a semester and spent hours writing poetry. Since graduating from the University of Miami School of music, he has worked as a tutor, a personal trainer, a film maker, in production on MTV’s Room Raiders, at Media Play, taught drum lessons, written several screenplays for movies, and played soccer with three current members of Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution. As a poet he has penned the lyrics to several Transcendence songs including “All This is Beginning to Feel Like an Ending” from the Nothing is Cohesive album.
Politically conscious, he is a liberal but professes to believe that all the popular liberal pundits are complete weenies. A college-music and indie-rock fanatic, Sommer adds that solid rock backbeat with a twist that made the group’s Nothing is Cohesive album such a feast to ear-candy enthusiasts. He also sits in with the Atlanta-based groups the Shutups and Slip Tripman. Most recently, he wrote the screenplay to Tony Tango, winner of Best Feature Film at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. Known by his bandmates as a true renaissance man, the 25 year old drummer states that “I want to live life as an exploration; inspire others by my example.” Singer Ed Hale adds, “Bill Sommer is a golden God. He’s not only a great drummer with unique chops, but he’s just a good guy to be friends with.”
Ricardo Mazzi, the lyrical bottom end of the Transcendence, is known to his friends as “El Infinito.” He is the longest standing original member of the Transcendence, having formed the group with singer Ed Hale in 1998 when the two started playing together because of their shared interest in world-music. The drummer was born in Baltimore, but raised La Paz, Bolivia, where he gained exposure to and soon a fervent love of non-western styles of music. His unique playing style found him by the age of 19 touring South America with the rock band Lou-Kass, opening for acts such as Mana. Very sociable and outgoing, Ricky collects friends around the world the same way guitarist Perdomo collects guitars. The son of a doctor, Mazzi has traveled extensively, speaks three languages, and has studied drumming with famed Peruvian masters such as Alex Acuna and Hector Neciosup. Before joining the Transcendence, he studied Audio Technology at The American University in Washington, D.C. and then worked for Telemundo and Discovery Latin America. An Internet junkie with a passion for business, he had already founded the web design firm Mouse Media Inc before he was 28 years old. As an original and inventive drummer, who adds a non-traditional flair to rock and pop music, he freelances with original bands such as Prole and Tremends when not recording or performing with the Transcendence. Ricky, as he is known to his bandmates, is the comedian of the group; they say some of his impersonations are dead on, which led to an audition as a VJ for MTV. He is a self-professed news junkie, and loves history and travel, all which lead to an uncanny ability to remember trivial things. He is an avid soccer fan, as can be evidenced by the ubiquitous soccer jerseys, out of the hundreds that he proudly owns, that he’s seen wearing whether on camera or behind the kit.