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Ed Haynes wrote his first song at age thirteen,
shortly after his mother bought him his first guitar. The song he wrote was
terrible. I mean real awful. Unfazed, however, by the melodic deficiencies and
the blatant self-aggrandizing nature of his lyrics, he kept at it. He began
writing better and better songs.
After moving to San Francisco as an emotionally
immature young man, he broke into an unoccupied recording studio in the wee
hours one morning and recorded, very quietly, a handful of his own compositions.
That simple tape of him - alone hunched over a guitar and practically
whispering into the microphone for fear of alerting the police - landed him a
recording contract. His debut album Ed Haynes sings Ed Haynes was released. The
album featured the college-radio anthem I Want to Kill Everybody, which reached
out and touched a generation of un-snapped loners. The video of the song became
an all-too-brief staple on MTV. People Magazine declared Ed "extremely
interesting", a comment that Ed described as "somewhat
In support of his album, Ed toured nationally,
and made sojourns into Canada and England as well. Some of the clubs that have
been proud (author's interpretation) to present Ed Haynes include: Tipatina's
in New Orleans, The Bottom Line in New York, The Hammersmith Odeon in London,
and The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
Following this initial success Ed Haynes rested
on his laurels. His friends, family, and colleagues all told him "Ed,
don't rest on your laurels! Don't rest on your laurels!" Ed, however, much
to his credit, lumped this and all other kernels of free advice he received
into the "actively ignore file" and remained a determined follower of
his own, sometimes bizarre predilections.
He hobnobbed with celebrities, famous
politicians, rouge lawyers, and jaded journalists. He beat the crap out of
Norman Mailer and Mickey Rourke at the same time in Malibu, CA. in what would
later be dubbed the "Nitrous-oxide Incident." He re-enrolled at San
Francisco State University to finish up his degree in Sandblasting that he had
begun years before. He tried to launch a golfball-swallowing craze.
But what of his early formative years? Ed was
born and raised just outside Washington D.C. in Northern Virginia. He vividly
remembers sitting at the picnic tables at the public swimming pool eating
Sweet-tarts and Red-Hots when Richard Nixon announced his resignation in 1974.
Did growing up just outside the Beltway during the turbulent and tumultuous
early 70's have a profound influence on young Ed, and help shape him into the
kind of songwriter and social critic that he is today? "No" says Ed,
staring vacantly into space.
Even through the rocky unstable periods of his
personal life, however, Ed Haynes has continued to write songs. Mining the vast
resources of his personal experiences, and borrowing the personal experiences
of others (with or without their permission), Ed is never at a loss for subject
matter to write about. His mantra for many years has been "There have always
been the songs, and there will always be the songs." He can be heard
repeating this mantra over and over, sometimes in a low barely audible mutter,
and other times in loud shrieking banshee-like wails.
Now, with the release of his new album Snacking
with a Vengeance, Ed's truly is a rags-to-riches story, only set to music.
Except that he never really was in rags, being brought up quite comfortably in
a middle-class suburb. And technically speaking, he isn't actually rich.
There's no Family Money. Frankly, he'll be lucky if there's any inheritance at
all considering the way his retired parents have been painting the town red.
They're on a fixed income for gosh sakes! But it's a rags-to-riches story all
the same. At the beginning he sucked. But he worked hard and it has paid off
for him. I think we all can learn something from the Ed Haynes saga and apply
it to our own lives. I know I will. But first I think we should all listen to
his new CD.
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