We ran a few questions by Ed Roman to get to know him a little better…
Tell us a bit about Ed Roman – how did you get into music and what drives you to continue?
First off, let me say thanks for having me today and it’s a pleasure to be able to speak with you. I was tied to an old electric chair and was forced to eat rabbit stew until guitar strings with bees on them grew from my ears. But seriously folks, I fell in love with music at an early age because to me it illustrated so much emotion and told stories that could conjure such power and energy inside you. I had a lot of trouble with reading and writing at school as I am a dyslexic, so I gravitated to music because it allowed me the freedom to not feel confined in the troubles I was dealing with on an academic level. If there are any young dyslexics or people with ADD or any learning difficulty, I would say to you never consider it a difficulty. Words take on meanings of many kinds all through the ages. If we define our words to be a form of negativity then it will in turn manifest as the intention it so dictates. In other words kids; don’t let anybody tell you that you have a problem. The problem is the system of teaching that we have is very formatted and rigid and thinks not outside the box like many of the so-called people who have these conditions do. The aspect of which drives me in music today is no different than it was when I was young and fell in love with it. I find people’s lives and the stories that come from them fascinating, intriguing and fodder for songs and stories that end up in my own art form. I’m always trying to push myself when it comes to writing, not just in one style but following the idea that music has many rooms and provided you open the door correctly, you can step into that room despite you’ve never been in there before and engage in what it has to offer. From album to album you always notice there is a common theme. No common theme. Much of the music on my records will move from genre to genre such as folk, pop, jazz, rock, funk and really the whole kitchen sink. I think some of the most important things I learned from any of my mentors or the people that I aspired musically to be like was; always have the opinion that one should keep an open head about music. Not only as to the styles of music that you listen to, but the ideas that approach you and are followed in the same fashion. It can be very dangerous for artists to be pigeonholed into one category as this can promote only one way of writing and one way of working with a certain audience. I mean look at artists like the Beatles. Yes we may consider them a pop band but there’s so much more going on in the music that offers the listener aspects of classical, comedy, satire, funk, rock and a whole carousel of sounds and ideas. Why should it be any different?
What albums have had the biggest influence on your sound?
I guess we are all defined by our influences and at the same time our limitations but I would say a lot of the music that had some of the greatest impact on me was music that was recorded all through the 1960’s and 70’s. Everything from Muscles Shoals, Hitsville USA, British influenced rock such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin,The Who, and the 1970’s sound of jazz recordings from artists like Jaco Pastorius, the Tower of Power, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits. It seems like a big kitchen sink but once again it’s one of the things that defines me and an era of music that seems to be crackling with the mojo and alive sense of theatrical music that is unprecedented. It’s not just the music that is so defining for me, but the era itself of recording and the process was far more organic and spontaneous which to me greatly illustrates the true aspect of music and the connection to its human counterparts. As much as I love a lot of music today that is coming from all over the world, much of the main current and/or mega-corporate music is so watered down lyrically and mechanically that I find myself relating more to my grandfather’s air compressor that he built in the 1940’s. I guess for me there needs to be a sense of realism and a roughness in the music that is more like a leather handled strap on a barn that has stood the test of time and the forces of nature which have worked it more into an art piece by a greater and more creative hand.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Great question and its probably one of the toughest ones to answer. I really like a sense of adventure in an artist, anyone who is not afraid to take chances in the studio with ideas and inspiration.” Bringing in the donkeys and a Tesla coil and five more cans of red paint please” kind of thing. One of the artists that I fell in love with at a young age who I was turned on to by my brother Michael, was Tom Waits. I would be grateful to collaborate with him on anything that he does. Tom is one of those artists who is in the undercurrent of what we normally see from day-to-day. He is a poet, musical theologian, aristocrat, street philosopher, musician, gentleman, vagabond and actor extraordinaire. His music takes on multifaceted aspects and layers that encapsulate the listener into an envelope of story and a feeling that makes you feel like you’re being towed behind a 58 Ford truck in a broke down electrified RV that has Spud Mackenzie written on the side of it. The privilege would be all mine as Tom knows me not from the bite that Adam took. But I tell you this folks, it would be one hell of a ride and I’m sure the two of us would come out with something sounding more like ELO meets Duke Ellington meets the Lordstown volunteer fire department ladies auxiliary and gift shop sewage extraction team.
What do you have coming up next?
Well I have a bunch of dates that are coming up in the United States. I’ll be at the fantastic Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg PA on February 20th at the Blue Moose Bar and Grill. In March I will be playing in Austin, Texas on Wednesday, March 18 during SXSW for the Red Gorilla music fest at the Thirsty Nickel. Then I’ll be down in Cape May, New Jersey for the incredible Cape May Music Festival on Friday, March 27, location still to be announced. I’ve also been doing a lot of writing and I’m planning on starting a new record in the spring of 2015. Most recently I’ve also released a brand-new video for my latest CD Letters From High Latitudes. The song is called “I Found God” and it is an in-depth look at the interdependent and theological aspect of how we live our lives with the planet that we stand on. Check it out today on YouTube at my YouTube channel, Special Ed Roman. Share with all your friends, like it and leave your comments for all to see.
How can we stay up to date with what you are up to?
Thank you so much for having me today its been a pleasure talking to you and I look forward to chinwagging with you in future. You’re Ed Heads Now…
You can always stay in touch with me by flying by my website which is www.edroman.net. Check me out on twitter @specialedroman or you can follow me on Facebook at Ed Roman Music. A fun and easy way to stay in touch and find out what I’m up to is by getting the Ed Roman App for free on iTunes today. Great for your iPhone or android device which keeps you up-to-date with all my shows, radio appearances and news about the exciting world of ED HEADS. Ill be right in your pocket…