Ed Varga is Eddie and the Heartbeats
“When I take my shirt off it reveals I’m not a beefcake. I don’t have the body of a heavyweight or even a welterweight’s shape. There’s nothing I can fake….”
- Eddie and the Heartbeats, “Shirtless.”
While the song Shirtless is about the real life vulnerability Ed Varga feels as a queer transgender man taking his shirt off in public, Varga is also at his best when he’s peeling off his metaphorical shirt and giving the audience his complete, tenderhearted self.
After spending 35 years playing drums in punk and rock bands, Varga decided to come out from behind the kit. “I always wanted to write songs, sing and play guitar but being a trans kid and then trying to figure out how to come out and transition in the 1990's deferred some of those dreams. Around 2017, I decided to stop worrying about not being the greatest guitar player and singer and lean into who I am and just be authentic and honest and tell my stories through music.”
Eddie and the Heartbeats songs are a journey through Varga’s life as a transgender man that are honest, vulnerable, sometimes melancholic and sometimes goofy and sometimes both. Some of his songwriting influences are Jonathan Richman and the Magnetic Fields along with 60’s rock and pop. Eddie and the Heartbeats have been compared to Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Wally Peasant and Beat Happening. During his live performances Varga also shares anecdotes of growing up trans in the 1970’s and 1980’s in a small Wisconsin town, transitioning, trans trauma and other reflections on trans life.
In 2018 Varga released his first Eddie and the Heartbeats album, "Good Enough.” In 2019 he toured the U.S. and went back to college to work on a second degree. During 2020-2021 he just tried to get by like we all did. In June of 2022, he released the single, “Shirtless,” and will follow up with other singles through 2022. All releases, are available on Bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify and other services.
Varga was also the founder and director of Homocore Minneapolis and Homo A Go Go. He lives in San Francisco and is a student in music composition and songwriting at Berklee College of Music.