Thursday, August 31, 2006

polaroid (part 1)

faris and i played our last show together
january 16th 1999
the satellite dish in fort worth
we were paid $45 for our efforts
he quit the MF a week later
the 8-track recording sessions that would later comprise
the nourallah brothers cd
came to an end too
our musical partnership was finished
at least for the time being...
a few months later i formed version #1 of happiness factor
shupp on drums, t. roberts, d. deshazo
we played one gig opening for blondie in may
then imploded
b.s. wanted d.d. all to himself in s.r.
i had some sort of meltdown
too many emotional failures and disappointments
piled high in my skeleton closet
i couldn't take anymore
so i thought i'd quit music altogether

it took me over a year to get the nerve to come back to it
in early 2000 i dipped a toe in the shallow end
and joined j. hawkins punk band novachrome
hawkins is the painter of "happiness is a warm gun"
which hangs over the piano in pleasantry lane
i enjoyed the no pressure situation of not being the frontman
the guy everyone blamed the success or failure on
i was just the bass player
being just the bass player was fun
i guess it served its purpose
by the time i met drummer j.j. myers in mid 2000
i was ready to try the singing thing again
after 3 years of fun going nowhere fast in HF
with p. averitt, s. duncan and j.j.
i'd come to the end of my rock'n'roll fantasy
i had been running around making a racket
avoiding the one thing i knew in my heart i did best
my whole adult life i'd been too scared
to go it alone
hid behind bands
left a trail of musical crutches everywhere
something about our son's impending birth jolted me
into the realization
that if i happened to be hit by a bus or a falling piano
i would have never made the one good album
i always knew i had in me
the OBVIOUS one i'd ignored making all those years
so i set out to make the record that would eventually be called

everybody wants to be loved
was written for my son
who was yet to be born
an effort to pick up the sonic pieces
of where the nourallah brothers cd left off
the blueprint was there
why hadn't i seen it earlier?
suddenly it was crystal clear

there was never a question in my mind
this wasn't going to be the opening track
it was the anchor of the whole record to me
defined perfectly what my new sonic agenda was gonna be
goodbye loud guitars
hello what i do best
i wrestled with this recording for weeks
on my 16-track
to get it just right
the bridge still kills me
averitt's backwards guitar
"i can do it better"
i said
"no way, it's amazing!!"
and it is
makes me feel like i'm flipping backwards through time and space

did i write this one?

the second to last one recorded for polaroid
and one of my all-time favorites
the tune hit me on the bench in the PL control room
one afternoon sept. '03
while waiting for rhett to come to the studio
first thing that came out
"let's go back to 1978...oh, yeah..."
didn't take long to finish this one
maybe 15 minutes
i'd been a little concerned that polaroid was
too down
afterall i love the kinks beatles costello squeeze
pop music
that side of my songwriting wasn't being very keenly displayed
on this record
my "debut"
until 1978 came along

aaron kelley had been asking me to come record at his
edge of the world studios
at that point i'd done most of the record completely by myself
and was wary of there being too much of me on it
i'm really glad i took this one to aaron
we make a good production team and i still think this recording
is fab

waiting for you
proves my theory
that all along i'd had something
that i ignored
too many songs like this that i'd written over the years
that were "real"
and not me crawling up the musical asses
of my heroes
and almost forgotten
this one had come to me
one late night in april of '90
while i sat alone in my denton apartment
waiting for c.m. to come home from clubbing
it's a true melodramatic story

the recording started in r.r.'s bedroom
a "scratch" vocal on a SM57 ended up being the "keeper"
'cause it was started in acid and we couldn't separate
the multitracks to re-cut another one later
intro melody compliments of faris
nicked from an early demo we'd done of it
i asked him to play on this one
he said "no"
i like the scratchy drums

nothing ever goes right
the last one recorded for polaroid
again with aaron kelley
written even further back
can you believe 1986?
one of my first songs
oh, the eternal optimist!!
i fooled around with the lyrics for almost 20 years
a word here
a line there
the old bridge
was horrible
i think i finally got it right
"when you learn this life is slowly killing you
and you haven't got a hope..."
one of my favorite doomsday lines
decided upon right before i recorded the vocal

there's a version F and i did for the nourallah brothers cd
that i really like
he never knew it
but the reason i ditched it was only because
i still didn't like all my words!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

thanks for the knight

rick nelson
the one man string section
who helped with the beautiful side of
beautiful noise
came over last night for some recording
our first session since noise
he's one of a kind
his love for music astounding
an all day rehearsal with polyphonic and then still the goodnatured energy
to come record for 6 hours
never complaining
always happy to be playing
even after his back and arms were killing him
and he's going to do it again everyday this week
a violin playing trooper
a picasso with the cello
a very special person
thank you rick

the clock is ticking on departure day
have i gotten everything i need to do
out of the way?
not a chance...
it's a to-do list avalanche around here
if you happen to be coming over to my house this week
please bring a pick axe
as you're screaming in my ear
sorry to say
there's unfortunately not much else to tell

since there was a staircase right in front of the stage
it was virtually impossible to have much of a crowd watching our 2am
to 4am performance
i guess we were there to add to the ambiance
a bit of scenery for the dancers
even our flamboyant manager donny
was nowhere to be seen that night
maybe he was watching TV in the coed bathrooms?

after our less than spectacular
but now oddly comedic dallas debut at starck
the world was
of course
at our beck and call
there was just no room left on our social climbing calendars
for poor donny
or his gold teeth
we were heading straight to the bottom
denton rockers on our way to oblivion

with no connections
other than where to buy X
and waning enthusiasm
possibly due to the realization
that we were going ot be bigger than the beatles
but he was not our epstein
or even our horshack
donny gracefully bowed out of the MF story
and exited stage right
i still like to picture him out there somewhere
disco dancing on into the night
big old gold toothed grin blazing in the flashing lights

Sunday, August 27, 2006

donny knight

every good rock'n'roll band story
has the flamboyant gay manager chapter
and i'd almost forgotten the mf's
sir donny knight
from a small town in oklahoma
our very first "manager"
donny was a true raver
always up
always smiling
that big old gold toothed grin of his
truly infectious
he almost bounced
with enthusiasm
my denton girlfriend c.m.
brought him to one of our shows
in denton
a real dive of a place
i can't even remember the name
the red rooster?
something like that
had the vibe of a barn
c.m. drags donny to the front while we're rocking out
long hair flying
i remember the acid washed jeans with holes on the knees
donny smiling really big and holding both hands to his chest
rockin' side to side like stevie wonder
after the show he tells us excitedly
that he's been clubbing in dallas for years
knows all the owners
he can help us get gigs
he wants to be our manager!
we look around
don't see anyone else standing in line
so we agree
a few weeks later donny's got us our first dallas gig
the starck club
at 2am
that's right
we were a little perplexed
what kind of club starts music at 2am?
oh well
it paid well and it was dallas
so we took it

little did we know what starck was all about
it was an uber-trendy disco
dallas' attempt to mirror famous upscale new york clubs
coed bathrooms with the glass block dividers
and little TV's in the stalls
marble and pillars everywhere
the thump thump thump of pet shop boys
and other eighties dance giants blaring from large boxes
projected images on gigantic white drapes
cloth covered long white sofas
cold as hell
lot's of people on coke and X
we were totally out of place
they set us up on a makeshift stage right in front of these stairs
that led down to the dancing floor dungeon
our fog machine made the whole scene even more surreal
drugged discoers staggering up the stairs at 2am
to the sight and sounds of a long haired rock band
it was high comedy indeed

(to be continued...)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

lazing on a sunny afternoon

having a nice peaceful saturday afternoon
putting records on the i-tunes
for the trip
beatles white album (of course!!)
neil finn (try whistling this) a GREAT record
go buy it!!!!
or read about it here:
you am i (hourly daily) another great record from down under
track #1 is my flying song
every take off and landing
makes me feel calm for some reason

i'm a little sad
re-visiting all these great records
i haven't had time to listen to them in ages
i'm looking forward to the long flight
with a pair of headphones
some time to listen again
like when i was a kid
that's one of the things i miss
due to the hectic pace
of adulthood

sorta at the granada last night
i'm proud of my friends
trey carter holt balis ward trey c.
what a great band
what a great crowd too
made me feel proud of you dallas
i hope in a few weeks i can help spread the word
on how great the music scene here is

muellah's party at barley was a lot of fun
thanks everyone up front for the sha-la la-la's on '78
and handclaps on "she'd walk a mile"
you made it special for me
you also did a better job than me getting all the words right!

some more stories brewing for you soon
don't worry
i had some funny flashbacks last night talking to J at 3am
they jogged that rusty old memory of mine

gotta get back to the lazy afternoon now!

Friday, August 25, 2006

rocky nourallah

in training
started my fast
easy so far
not hungry at all
1 down
9 days to go
water park with G and J
what a nice time
mind melded with a blade of grass
weird how these things affect the psyche
i felt more focused and relaxed today
than i have in ages

i'm playing 4 songs at barley house tonight
around midnight
for muellah's birthday bash
others who are playing:
johnny lloyd rollins
the backsliders
the chemistry set

it's free

it will absolutely be my LAST appearance
before i leave for germany
i'm only doing it for muellah!!!!

come say goodbye or hello
i can't have a drink on you though
it's against the rules!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

meltdown city

i'm having a meltdown today
figuratively and
but i have to give you the surface things today
i'm sorry
i'm too worn out to wade into the deep

first of all
let me get my stradivarius out

it's tuned up really good now
D minor
time for my violin concerto number 9

for any texans reading this...
could the weather be any more MISERABLE today?
the dark comedy factor of this brutal summer
over now
i'm just pissed at mother nature
who is probably pissed at us
for polluting everything in sight
this sucks
al gore is right
i'm a believer al
i got my monkey suit and bowl cut on for you
it sucks sucks sucks
and i swear the summer's are getting worse
global warming is no hoax folks
i want to move to the polar ice caps today
or take a trip to germany

concerto number 7...
last night
i got the proof for the audio master of the pleasantry lane cd
heard all kinds of problems
but there's no time to fix them!!
a mini-melodramatic disaster on my hands
i had to beat it back into its cupboard with my broom
spent most of the last 24 hours dealing doing that
i know i know
play your violin S
i'm playing as fast as i can
the crisis is over as i've just left fedex
but it stressed me out really good
sweating like a devil
and cursing
i had that perfectionist guy in my brain
screaming obscenities at me
while i barely slept
'cause his voice was really loud

as i look up above this computer
at my list of things to get done
before i go on this tour
it looks more like war and peace to me
than a "to-do" list
too much to do
too little time
i need to chill out
but it's 9000 degrees inside and out
i've never been much of a drinker
i think you might see me at a local bar tonight
i'll take a summertime bob
on the rocks

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

i don't want to lose another friend this way

these aren't words of wisdom
or advice
this is just a plea
for the sake of the people all around you
who love you
you gotta fight this depression
that's swallowing you up
or it'll spit you out dead at the other end

this life is rolling past us
like a 90 ton freight train
an avalanche of time
it'll all be gone in a second
this day
is all we have
our limbs in tact
the sun still shining
they haven't blown up the world yet
it's never too late to turn things around
you may feel alone
like no one really cares
but there are people who love you
truly love you
you know it
they're all around you

if your parents are still here
please think of your mother holding you as a little baby
think of how much she loved that baby (you)
you're still loved like that
whether you feel it or not right now
no matter how much pain your parents may have caused you
please think of what your suicide would do to them
it will destroy the rest of ther lives

i know you don't wanna wallow in the misery
i know you don't
something inside dragging you down
is it chemical?
is it mental?
is it uncontrollable?
depression is sinister
it completely blinds us from seeing reality
it's delusional to the worst degree
but our minds have the ability to overcome anything
i believe this
fight your way through this fog
or you're gonna lose it all
you wanna be like a.g. and give up?
hurt everyone who ever loved you until the day the leave this earth?
you think everyone will be better off without you?
think again
that ridiculous self-loathing self-pity bullshit has got to stop
see the good in yourself again
i know you're tired
i know you're sad
i know you're lonely
reach out for your friends and family
when thoughts of ending your life invade your head
don't worry about being judged
your sadness is not a burden
they WILL NOT be better off without you!!!!

try to love this life again
don't give up

Monday, August 21, 2006

asylum calling?

deep in the heart of the night
what's tomorrow gonna bring us?
up again before we know it
groundhog day
all over again
radio's playin' "i got you babe"
but there's no snow on the ground
at 9am
"cornflakes dada????"
as that song that was playin' in my head
into thin air

what's tomorrow gonna bring us?
one step closer to...
snow capped mountains?
edelweiss and leiderhausen?
i'm looking forward to the swiss alps
i'm gonna face my fear of heights
i'm gonna enjoy the view at the top of the world
to the toppermost of the poppermost fellas!!
dizzying heights without passing out
i promise...

it was a schizophrenic weekend
started TERRIBLY
a perfect encapsulation of life
the cosmic rollercoaster
the big up 'n' down
i experienced the full spectrum of human emotion this weekend
dada robot
ran the gamut
believe me
and it helped me even write a couple of songs
shook the robot bear from his slumber
what a nice sunday we had
i was in the here and now
it felt good
read a lot of books with G
watered our dying plants
took it easy
had a nice sushi dinner with r.r.
he's been helping me with my record
then we did some recording
and i gotta say the song we worked on sounds
and i can't wait for you to hear it
at dinner r.r. and i discussed the possibility of this record being
a double album
why not?
3 of my favorite records of all-time are doubles
(you guess 'em and win a prize...)
tonight i'm entertaining the thought
why not?
i certainly have the songs
i'm definitely crazy enough
but speaking of crazy
all i need to do is take on something that ambitious
to push me over the edge
once and for all
the last remnants of my sanity
for me the sweet asylum could be
only a double album away...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

a pleasant sunday letter

spending some time around the house today
with G
gonna work on my record tonight
thanks to those of you who came out to bend last night
it was nice to get to play my songs for you
and relax for a little bit
it's been a hectic month
i've been working doubletime
trying to earn the right to relax
once i go on rock'n'roll vacation next month
yesterday wasn't a very good day for me
but i felt better after i saw you
and played my songs
music almost always helps me escape

i hope the set last night wasn't too long
there were still songs i wanted to try out
that i didn't get around to playing
i get kind of sick of myself around the 40 minute mark
the chuck barris in me starts itching to hit
the giant gong

ones i skipped last night were
"missing you"
forgot the bleedin' first line
it came to me at 2am though!
"somewhere the lights don't shine"
sorry kenneth
chickened out on that one 'cause my voice was feeling a bit rough
texas is a bad state for singing you know
all kinds of stuff in the air
allergies were killing me yesterday (and today)
i know
excuses excuses excuses!!
"sunday morning"
didn't think you all could bear another sad one

thanks again
i gotta get back to G now



Saturday, August 19, 2006

i've been swallowed up by your deep depression
a heavy black blanket thrown over my shoulders
everything seems hopeless
a road to nowhere
i need a light to shine
i need a sign
a fucking signal
i've suffered most my life
i'm tired
i want to try and enjoy what's left of this life
it's too short to squander in misery
when we have everything right there at our feet
we can't let the pain of life overtake us

Friday, August 18, 2006

martha and the vandellas got it right

when is this heatwave gonna come to an end?
can we call GW on the red phone
and tell him to turn down the global warming?
oh i know
he's too busy playing soldiers
too fiddle with the environment
what am i thinking?

the heat is dragging me down today
sucked all my energy
out my thumbs
melted my braincells
i just wanna sit like a lump
in my one summer outfit
on this uncomfortable green chair
and do nothing
but maybe type on my blog
or look at things i don't need
on ebay
gotta go out to the studio in a bit
for some sonic wizardry
not motivated one lick today
can gandolph cover for me?
i have a feeling
the day before i'm supposed to split
for the rhineland
the weather is gonna take a drastic turn
for the cooler
all dallas needs to do is get rid of SN
for some friggin' rain!!

i've been practicing for tomorrow night's show
over did it i think
my fingers hurt a little today
i hadn't had a chance to pick up my guitar in weeks
so the finger tips have gone "soft" on me
what a wuss
i know...

as i sit here
looking out over our once green and splendid yard
now parched and dying
begging for water
or a simple cloudy day
i turn my thoughts to the pleasantry lane cd
i'm getting impatient
i hope it makes it back from portland soon
we're running out of time
i wanted to have it before i split
the swiss are demanding a new
unavailable in europe SN cd
to be sold at my soldout salim does europe
2006 tour
they're threatening non-violent riots if i fail
it's coming down to the wire
i bet you all are on pins and needles
will salim's cd ever make it time?
will the fedex guy end up chasing our limousine on foot
with a 30 count box of cds
as we speed off to the airport
who knows what's gonna happen next in nourallahland
bearded women?
headless gimps?
bass playing chickens?
it's an endless parade of assorted sad oddities around here
so you'd better tune in to the next episode of
as the nourallahblog turns
to find out what's next
i assure you
you don't wanna miss anything!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

pretzel juggler

i'm playing bend studio this saturday
my last show in dallas
for awhile
also my one and only warm-up
for the swiss/german tour next month

i found out 3 days ago
chris holt can't accompany me
so i'm doing this tour
all by myself
i'm sad he won't be coming along
but i'm ok
i guess going it alone is appropriate
now it's an even greater challenge for me
all i'll have are my songs
written over the last 16 years
the only ammunition i'm bringing
no one to fall back on
or rely on for support
so i'm trying to dust off the best ones
a few from every record
a SN retrospective of sorts
i'm even going back to the MF's sugar pill
this week i've been walking around the house
strummin' my guitar and singing
mariachi style
G yells
"no singing in my room dada!!!"
grabs me by the arm
escorts me out
then slams his bedroom door behind me
my little napoleon
only 3
giving me a preview of the teenage years!!

i got the flight info this morning
i really hit me
this trip has been looming on the horizon for months
now it's almost here
hard to believe
so come say goodbye to me this saturday
you'll get a preview of what i'm gonna do over there
i've learned to juggle giant beer steins
and pretzels
while i sing my saddest songs

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

why do we try?

now i know we had this dream
to suffocate away
like reckless libertines
on sunny holiday
but you went too far this time
i could not follow you
dying inside
what the hell was i supposed to do?

we fell in love
got married in
i wrote your mom a letter
it made her want to cry
we had a little baby
you loved with all your heart
and while you held my hand
you were secretly falling apart

i moved to arizona
the sun baking my pain
i wrote you in the summer
was barely making the days
i waited for your phone call
the one that never came
and wished to god alot
i’d never seen your face

why do we try?
when everything’s stacked against us
why even try?
when there’s no winning
why do we try?
you cried to me

i had no answer for you

my life was truly over
it flashed before my eyes
our broken little family
my heart was paralyzed
there was nothing i could do
to put it back to right
once you're crippled inside
ashes to ashes

why do we try?
when everything’s stacked against us
why do we try?
you had no answer for me

i have an answer for you

it’s what we’re supposed to do
it’s what we’re supposed to do
it’s what we were born to do

Monday, August 14, 2006

so many problems that i can't explain

i've been hacking away at my record
like a blind man with a plastic knife
trying to make it through the jungle
can't even see the light shining through the trees
'cause i'm fucking blind
recording songs i don't remember writing
who wrote them?
when did that guy find the time?
nifty chord change there
wish i was clever enough to come up with that now
but i can't
i'm in a bad mood today
can you tell?

there hasn't been much writing for me this year
songs at least
it's hard to be motivated when i can't even manage to record
the scores of tunes i wrote last year
and the year before that
and the year before that
etc. etc.
i could stop writing songs today
never write another one 'til the day i die
and still have enough to put out another 20 records
all of my little songs lined up and waiting
on the nourotic SN songpile
glad i keep that little tape recorder handy
always in reach
every idea i ever had would've slipped away
disappeared into thin air
into the night
into the morning
slipped through the cracks
when the songs come
it's like tuning in a signal
on some strange radio station
never know when i'm gonna be able to receive it
lately the dials been stuck on
or is it that station playing survivor tunes
24 hours a day

L and L took on a magnificence labor of love last year
took all my old songwriting cassettes
a big box of 'em
and transferred them to cd for me
do you know how gigantic an undertaking that was?
i have about 80 cds worth of finished and un-finished song ideas
sitting on a shelf in my studio
all neatly labeled for easy access
this was one of the kindest acts anyone has ever done for me
i still don't have the words to tell them how grateful i am
i hope they know

why do i bother still trying to create?
am i just too stubborn to give up?
has it all become force of habit?
the bills keep rolling in
piling up
stack getting taller every day
just like the weeds growing in our backyard
they're never gonna stop
my own music doesn't pay 'em though
doesn't take care of one solitary bill
so does it mean that it's self-indulgent of me to continue?
why so many hours spent honing something
that's not gonna matter a lick when i'm dead and gone?
hours spent away from my family
how much is missing one evening of my 3 year old son's life
worth to me?
i guess i'm the only one that can answer that one...
i have a theory i've been clinging to
miserable parent's raise miserable children
so i guess part of me justifies it all with
"well, this keeps me happy...
so that's good for my kid, right?"
maybe the TD guy who overdosed in front of his kid
had the same theory?
health insurance is good for my kid too
if i had a straight job
a "real" job
my family would have that

on some days
like today
it's all too much
i wish i could stop
i know
i'd be miserable
but i'm questioning everything today
why i'm still doing this?
i wondering if i can keep running a recording studio
and support my family
when i'm 50
70??? (if i make it that far!!)
i'm wondering how long our lifestyle can fly in the face
of the straight way
the way THEY want us all to live
my records may get a few good reviews
scattered here and there across the world
but other than that
it's been a what?
every single friend that's supported me
by recording at pleasantry lane
believed in me
thank you
you're helping me keep going
without you
i'd be finished
i'd be pushing a broom in a highschool
or selling insurance in addison
so i'll leave you with the thought for today...

how many fucking great records do i have to make or be a part of
before i ever see a centavo from them?
if i can get my plastic knife moving a little faster
i got at least one more record coming next year
for anyone out there that cares

Sunday, August 13, 2006

shayboob gets pierced

when we were kids
my dad would tell us this bedtime stories
about two arabic hero's from the crusades
antar and shayboob
antar was the brave warrior adventurer
shayboob was his poetry spouting brother
who spun funny tales of antar's conquests
i guess it was the middle eastern version of
the lone ranger and tonto
or the captain and tennille
now F and i loved hearing the antar and shayboob stories
one of my fondest memories
we would imagine we were A and S while my dad told the tales
i think we used to fight over who was antar though
no one wanted to be shayboob
although i still dispute this
F and dad say
shayboob was actually supposed to be me...

sometime around '87
i was brewing up big plans
to go away to college
in fabulous denton
start my new identity
as a cool rock'n'roller
no one there would know my un-illustrious past
that i had notta one close friend in highschool
that i didn't go to the prom
'cause you have to actually talk to a girl to do that
and what's the point of that
when i wasn't allowed to go on dates

i got a job delivering pizzas
pizza hut on mesa street
fidgety gordon
forget his last name
was the PH manager
he always wore floods
faris and i had just started jamming with bob
looks like murder
the perpetual party
don't remember any of the other titles
bob made an old west spoof poster
a mustachioed outlaw
below him it read
it was pretty funny
we only got calls from mariachis and heavy metal dudes
it was time to split town
we were never gonna find a bass player in el paso
i was gonna grow my hair
get my ears pierced
the crunch had nice earring on the cover of heyday
i wanted to look cool like that!
i don't remember actually getting it done
maybe i need to be hypnotized to remember that event?
i think gina
my 1st kung-fu girlfriend
helped me out with that
maybe she did it with a fork?
don't remember...
what i'll never forget is
in his floods
timidly asking me to wear a bandaid over the offensive area
i was his star delivery man
the only one to have made it more than 2 weeks without quitting
i spoke english too
PH employees weren't supposed to do things
as wild and crazee as piercing your ears
i was a new pizza delivering radical
a rebel with a hoop

i think i made it through 5 or 6 dinners
before dad finally noticed it
he even sat directly to the left of me
at our white round star treck looking dinner table
maybe i had the bandaid over the hole for a few days
when he found out
he exploded
i'd always been the good son
never challenged his authority in any way
shut up
kept my feelings to myself
F was the rabble rouser
i was the silent mouse
so he relays a message to mom
i'd better be at luby's for lunch the next day
we were gonna have a talk

oh the dread
oh the woe
i didn't wanna meet my dad at luby's to talk about my earring
not one bit
a bad feeling sinking in my stomach like i'd eaten momma cass

when we walked through those glass doors
crossed over the luby threshold
there were grannies surrounding us
on all sides
walkers and canes
blue hair and salt free veggies
custer's last stand
surrounded by geriatric injuns
dad picked a table in the epicenter of the restaurant
smack dab in the middle
couldn't he have chosen a quiet little spot in the corner?
where we could have a private conversation
had to be in the middle
better for the show
and humiliation
as soon as we'd sat down
he looks at me with disgust
and in his low arabic accent
lips curling to a sneer
kinda like billy idol used to do
he says
"why would you go and do that to yourself?"
an accusing finger leveled at my new precious earring
"are you going to start wearing dresses now?"
sneer taking up his whole face now
a couple of old ladies looking at us
i'm horrified
i want to disappear
i want to use my cafeteria tray as a shield
maybe i should have patterned myself after houdini
rather then kilbini?
then i could've escaped
"are you going to wear pantyhose now? and high a girl?"
"only women pierce their ears..."
the disgust dripping off of his lips
after that sentence my memory goes blank
it was said loud enough that even all the old folks
swarming around us
heard it
so if anyone who knows me ever wondered
why i've never been big on causing public scenes

now you know

Friday, August 11, 2006


will F and S ever record again together?
never say never
but probably not
we had our years
we had our time
most of it was difficult
we never rose to the heights that the great brother combos scaled
the finns
the davies
simon and simon
the jackson 5
i always admired the ones who made it work
especially n and t
i wanted to be part of a great brother combo too
just like i wanted to be in a great band
but it was never in the cards for us
it's ok
all things must end
to be born as individuals we had to split up
like sonny and cher
peaches and herb
crockett and tubbs

in the years since the making of the nourallah brothers cd
we made several on and off again attempts
to re-kindle the spirit
the spirit of our youth
find some joy and creativity again working with each other
some of these tracks found their way to disc 2
of the NB re-issue
but most of the post NB attempts never worked
we never found it

so if anyone out there
really wants the nourallah brothers
to ever record again together
you think it'll be the best thing since a caveman
rubbed two sticks together
and made fire
or the coolest thing since the french
invented the guillotine and the bagette
if you're just dying to hear what old S and F could come up with now
what we'd pull from our bag of tricks
after all the wisdom we've racked up
and the chops
and sideburns
i'm afraid it ain't gonna happen

i look at photos of the children we used to be
beautiful and charmed
always smiling
shouting at the top of our lungs
singing our songs
playing soldiers in the backyard
my heart hurts
where did those happy children disappear to?
we shared part of a life
a dream
then watched it slip through our hands the tighter we gripped it
we suffocated it together
time changes people in different ways
no matter how close we feel to another human being
at times almost like we've become one with that person
be it a wife
alienation is only a heartbreak away
we're all changing so fast
it's all so temporary
we have to embrace it
it's ok
it's what we've been dealt
a test of this life

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the nourallah brothers (part 3)

a lot of our problems revolved around
differing opinions over production style
the fact that we were both having personal breakdowns
didn't help any with our failing powers of communication
over 10 years together
playing musican
a trail littered with disappointments
musical failures
and heartache
although i was the oldest
by 18 months
the big brother/little brother roles had been reversed
i would shut down
shut up
and keep my opinions to myself
anytime something bad came up
maybe a result of having been bullied by dad?
i had a hard time ever communicating the things i didn't like
about some of the recordings we made together
he'd eventually figure it out and it always hurt his feelings
on the flipside
F felt like i wasn't interested in his tunes
so he stopped allowing me to play on them
using the fact that he was writing them on the spot
as the reason
i tried to remind him i put christmastime and i'll be around
at the front of the cd i sent to s. fellows
along with
every burned cd i ever made
the final version of the NB cd
even contains more of his tunes than mine
and i'm the one who picked the songs!
it's all pretty sad

so the dysfunctional duo motored on
one afternoon
me F and our friend j.c. hanging out
on the front porch of my parent's house
F came up with an idea
"let's all go over to the studio immediately
and try to write and record a song on the spot
as a team - we'll see who ends up being the musical dictator"
cut to approximately two hours later
F at the mic
singing and recording i wanna be an artist
as the world now knows it today
johnny outside having a smoke
me behind the drumkit in the corner of the studio
contemplating how long it might take to learn how to play them
somewhere the lights don't shine
turned out completely different than the way our band
had previously played it
F was bored with the guitar at this point
he insisted on putting keyboards everywhere
he slaved over the music and i came in and did all the vocals
michael bolton style
someday i'm gonna re-record this one
bring it out of synth land back to guitarland
the lost resort was next and another that faris did alone
i love this song
i see it all in slow-motion when i hear it
i wish we could've shot a surrealistic black and white video for this one
i'll remember you was the first one i did without F
it's a song that means a lot to me
as it was written for my close friend
royce legg
royce had taken his own life earlier that year
i got ex-MF drummer bill shupp to show up and play a beat
then i cut the "wanky" guitars (as F called them)
i know my brother could have done it better but
who cares
this song was for my friend
i needed to do it myself i suppose
missing you and down were two of the last ones recorded
by now faris would work on his songs
when he knew i wouldn't be around
then i'd show up and do mine
no teamwork
no camaraderie
a lot of tension
we were recording like people in work cubicles
it was pretty obvious it was "over"
"let it be"
without the fame fortune or action figurines
it had stopped being fun
it was a drag
steve fellows never became our manager
we never moved to england
by the summer F was in portland
and we stopped speaking to each other

even though the nourallah brothers were over and done
finished and broken up
before we even released our debut record
there was a mini-miracle coming our way
after 10 years of bad luck
finally something good...

i was working one afternoon at cd world
when i got a call from my friend
john dufilho
he said "you'd better go find a MET now and read it"
wouldn't say why
i figured someone was in there slagging the poor old MF
i was wrong
there was an article on a fledging indie label
outta austin
called western vinyl
they were hooked up with some bigger label
called secretly canadian
wv's owner
brian sampson
had heard us on the UT radio station a year before
so taken by this song he heard
he had to pull off to the side of the road
and listen
he could only find out the makers of this song were from dallas
and called something like the noorullalla brothers?
tried to find us on the net but with the bad spelling
he put out a message in this interview
if there was anyone out there at all who knew who we were
or what our real identities were
please contact him immediately
he wanted to put out our record
i never read the MET
without that call from john d.
who knows?
you might not be reading this here blog
i might have become a haberdasher or used car salesmen

western vinyl would go on to release the nourallah brothers cd
almost 2 years after it's completion

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

the nourallah brothers (part 2)

the track by track
blow by blow saga of the nourallah brothers
continues today
we find our dim brother combo hero's in the middle
of making their 8-track wunderpiece...

who are we and heaven is the day
both recorded within 24 hours of each other
heaven was built around a demo i had done a couple of months earlier
without a metronome
it proved to be quite a pain in the ass for F to play drums to
with my ragged out of "perfect time" guitar
much cursing was done before this task was finally accomplished
it also led to the really really lo-fi sound of the entire recording
i wanted it on the CD despite all that
mainly because for me
this song had really fond memories attached to it
we wrote it one glorious afternoon
with our long-time friend bob schneider
(he also later designed the album art)
it was the first time F and i had stood in a room and played
with bobby in ten years
since el paso 1987
we had so much fun
it was like being kids all over again
cherry pie
granny smith's apples
innocent girl (she was just seventeen if you know what i meeeaaan)
all horrible n pretty funny impromptu "jams"
i still have the 2-track live recording of that
it still cracks me up when i listen to it
when we were all just boys we were going to move to austin
to play music together
F on drums
bob on keys
me warbling and strumin' bad guitar
bassist position vacant
the summer before we were supposed to move
bob went to germany to visit his parents
when he returned i had decided i would rather move to denton
(great choice sn)
he went ahead and moved to austin
he's been pretty successful with his music there
a much better environment for the arts i think
during the frustrating nineties i kicked myself
over and over again for that bad decision
so did faris
denton? how could i have picked denton over austin???
what kind of moron was i?
i have a pretty good idea
but now i think things definitely worked out for the best
at least for me
someone that you knew is a sad song
about the death of my ex-girlfriend's mother
right before i abandoned her as well
this song had a lot of sentimental value to me
i had been wanting to record it for awhile
i think i actually prefer the unreleased stark acoustic version
i still have trouble listening to this version
it was the beginning of the bickering
i didn't like what i considered to be the over-wrought nature
of this treatment
F's production touches were just too much for me
i think it was the last one we actually worked on together
he did she'd walk a mile
i'll be around and sorry with good-byes
all around the same time
the beginning of 1999
faris was writing songs as he recorded them
so i guess there wasn't much of a way for me to be involved
i always brought in finished songs to record
so it was much easier to know what the nature of the beast was
so to speak
i'll be around is one i wish i could have played on
maybe that's why i've recently adopted it as my onw?
i've just recorded my own version of it
with my band
the noise
perhaps a b-side or e.p. track in 2007?
everything about this song is
in my opinion
the vocals are amazing
the melody superb
this is the one brian from western vinyl heard
on the ut-austin radio station
the one that tipped him off to our existence
that story coming to you soon
in the nourallah brothers christmas miracle special
(in pre-production now)
we both dress like andy williams
wear matching white turtle necks
sport big toothy grins and neatly coiffed hairdos
spread yule-tide joy
brotherly love
peace in our time
with starstruck toddlers in elf get-ups
and babes in tight sweaters
gazing up at us
while we lip sync yer favorite holiday tunes

stay tuned for more and more and more

Sunday, August 06, 2006

the nourallah brothers (part 1)

so in the fall of 1998
my brother and i finally got around to making a record
it had taken 10 years of playing in bands together
to get to this point
relying on other people
(whom often let us down)
between the two of us we could now play every instrument
F had started out on drums way back when we were kids
he was also rapidly gaining ground on liberace
with his recent fixation with the piano
we had an 8-track recorder
some mics and a room (which i dubbed pleasantry lane)
that's all you really need right?
so we just started recording
no regard toward getting record deals
or what other people might think about our new decaffeinated songs
we just did what we liked
in the end about 50 songs were recorded
it was a strange time
during those 3 or 4 months we were both falling apart
so many things in both our personal lives going all wrong
and in the thick of it all
we recorded and wrote like madmen

it was tough deciding what should be on the CD
there was so much to sift through
F had fled to portland and we weren't even speaking to each other
by the time the CD was sequenced
i had been the one in contact with western vinyl
left holding the bag to make the final track selections
and running order
i leaned toward the songs that had the most significant memories attached to them
this is my account of some of those memories
if you don't have the CD this might not mean that much to you
but never fear
you can always order it here

a morning cigarette was the first one recorded that made it to the CD
it's a 4 in the morning song i had just written
and was anxious to record
started out with just 2 voices and 2 acoustic guitars
then faris got a hold of it
put some "ringo-esque" drums on it
we flanged 'em
(cause no one could tell us we couldn't!!!)
the rest is history - so to speak
that's when i first realized
we were gonna make some really cool recordings
in our own little "lo-fi universe"
christmastime came next like a bolt from the blue it
absolutely blew me away
F had never really written or sung
when we played in our "rock'n'roll" band
but this was just the beginning of something new
something way more interesting
both of us writing and singing together
for the first time
when i first heard it
i immediately forced my parent's to listen with headphones
at my computer
mom just smiled and smiled and loved it
dad said "it would be a nice song if you erased the middle,
baba, it will scare people away, trust me..."
i put it on a CD and sent it to my friend steve fellows
steve used to play guitar and sing in the sheffield group
comsat angels
now if you've never heard the comsats' first 3 records
go fiind 'em now!!!!
FICTION 1982 is an absolute masterpiece
trust me
F and i loved the c.s. angels when we were kids
i thought steve's little girl nina would love the song
it was in fact almost christmastime
he absolutely flipped over it
was convinced this song alone could make us "loads of money"
in europe
so talk began of him becoming our manager
he was having quite a bit of success at the time
managing his first group
he even mentioned the possibility of us moving to england
if he could land us a deal
of course none of this ever came to pass
but the excitement hung over the sessions
like a beautiful dream cloud
for a little while at least
those days are gone was written almost 10 years earlier
it's about our childhood in el paso
i never got around to recording it before
'cause it just never quite fit in with anything else we were doing at the time
suddenly this song seemed perfectly appropriate
it also happens to be my favorite recording on the CD
i think it's the best example of complete and total teamwork
we were totally n'sync with each other when we recorded it
no fighting
no bickering
it shows
i guess it's fitting that we got along on this one
i wish the whole thing could have gone like that
but it didn't
the wheels would eventually come off
public skool was one of faris' attempts
to contrast the rather bleak nature of a lot of the songs i was presenting
i'll never forget sitting at the mixing board
two feet away from him
as he casually played the acoustic guitar
knocked it out in one take
then he did the lead and backing vocals in ten minutes
took a hold of the faders and said
"that's it - finished!"
i wanted to add bongos
he didn't let me
my little innocent one another completely in sync recording
that was a great day
we were both enthused about steve's glowing response to our initial recordings
and were anxious to get him more material
we went in and knocked off this one right away
it was charmed from the start
the hammond auto-vari drum machine
a pawn shop banjo F had in his possession for a week
some casio tuba
all key indgredients in this one
an NB klassic

to be continued...
stay tuned

Saturday, August 05, 2006

goot dey sunshyne

we had a good good day yesterday
G's birthday
woke up and opened some presents
libby the robot
back from the doctor
head all fixed and not falling off
roxy the robot
with her pink dress and metallic headgear
ringo the orange robot
(there's always a ringo when G makes up the names)
then we headed off to the zoo
played "birthday" off the white album
really loud
did some car dancing
you know what i mean
wave your arms to and fro
legs don't do much
silly fun
i never went to the zoo when i was a kid
so i don't know what warrants
"killer zoo dude"
"what a sucky zoo maaaannn..."
when we were in LA last year
making the believer
i got to go to the zoo for the first time
pretty sad i'm almost 92 and i hadn't been before
i thought the LA zoo was fab
and now that i'm a seasoned zoo vet
i realize it kinda sucked
there's a far better zoo
right under our noses
in fort dirt
so we saw a bunch of very sad looking animals
and gavie loved every second of it
the guerilla's all turned their backs
on us gawking humans
i felt a little sorry for them
but that's me
bleeding heart liberal pinko commie bastard
i just wanted to say pinko commie
and bastard rolls really good on the tail end of that
don't you think?
anyway it was lovely
100 bizillion degrees outside but we had a grand time despite
nothing was gonna ruin our fun
saw all the animals
had some ice cream
G money took a shower under the old fashioned water tower
the brave men of the N family scared to death in the bat/snake cave
i was transformed into video camera daddy jap dad
must document
must capture and preserve
this kids of ours is gonna have more footage of his life than he knows what to do with
i've already got a hundred of these mini DV tapes laying around
who's ever gonna watch 'em?
i was thinking though...
the whole front end of our lives is basically lost
we don't remember diddley squat
so why not film as much of it as you can
for your kid to watch later
it's such a crying shame that all the best times are lost on us
that's why you have all these sentimental blubbering parents
walking around crying all the time
they remember all the best things
but their kids hardly remember anything
later on the kid says
"what's the big deal old man?"
"why do you love me so much?"
i'm just a stoneaged teenage romeo brat
93 thousand episodes of the G reality TV show
in the works
going into syndication
fall 2033

post zoo we had a birthday dinner
at pepe and mito's
a bunch of our loved ones showed up
thank you all for the thoughtful gifts and cards
we love you so much
it was such a great time for G
dad had the video camera rollin'
nothing missed
trust me
the robot cake was delicious
blue tongues for everyone!
griffin and hudson there too
now what G?
i hope it's not too much of a let-down today
that was one pretty kick*** birthday!!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

happy birthday g

gavie i love you
such a sweet and beautiful child
we're gonna go to the zoo today
eat some robot birthday cake
we're gonna spend the whole day as a family
doing things you like to do
make it as special as we can for you
maybe we'll make your first memory today?
i mean the first one that'll actually stick with you
a picture of momma in front of the lion cage
or dadda walking like a monkey?

a promise to you
i'm not gonna work a second today
or answer emails
or talk on the phone
all G
all day
mom and i got you some really cool toys
i hope you like 'em
some robots to add to your collection
and a bunch of other stuff
you are
such a funny and personality laden young man
so many words in you for only being 3
your vocab is already bigger than doug simmon's

we're trying to be good parents
i hope we don't fail you
i know someday we will
we're only human afterall
humans were made to fail
and fall apart from time to time
but it's what is in your heart that counts
i'm asking you???
you're only 3!!
but i wanna be a good father to you
i hope i am
i'll keep trying no matter what

you came to us at 10:10pm
august 4th
changed my life
and your mom's
for the much better
it was like my heart had been frozen solid before 10:10pm
at 10:11
completely thawed
i made a lot of sobbing "i love you, maaaaan..." phonecalls that night
i loved everyone in the universe
i wanted to show them
hug them
let them know i'd taken it all for granted before
ahh the night you were born
what a wonderful night
and we're gonna celebrate it today
all day
it's gonna be a non-stop action G party train!!!!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

anniversary of the bakersfield gimp

you're in for a real treat today
one of my best/worst rock'n'roll war stories
if you've spent enough time around me
you may have heard this one
if not
sit back relax and enjoy...

back to the early daze we go
saturday august 1st
the mannequin
bakersfield california
the MF were in the middle of a 14 date
3 week west coast tour
that would take us from texas
through arizona
new mexico
to the sunset strip and rick p.'s c-pipe (a story for later perhaps)
san fran
then back through nevada and colorado
there were even more dates booked than we ended up playing
we showed up and cancelled a few of them on the spot
FN questioned the purpose of this tour from the get-go
in san fran and oakland the shabbiness of the clubs
and sketchiness of the surroundings
didn't sit well with him
so he mounted several insurrections
all of them led to retreating to the next town
it was a little nourotic
and foreshadoweeee
our crafty booking agent p. nugent had gotten us
2 spectacular nights in bakersfield CA
with a hefty $500 guarantee both nights
i say hefty being that we were a relatively unknown band from texas
we probably wouldn't make the club any money
but the nuge was a sharky one

bakersfield has a kind of wacoesque feel to it
from the moment we rolled in
dusty and slow
more than a little creepy
it looked like a town half asleep
even on a friday night
lost in the valley
sun drenched and depressed
everything seemed to move in slo-mo
hometown of buck owens
buck teeth too?
we settled in to our roach infested motel 6 late afternoon
5 of us crammed into one room with 2 double beds
harold m. 6'4" 150 pound german/egyptian roadie on a cot
he had a funny slow low voiced germanish accent
highschool friend of F's from the el paso years
temporarily playing rock'n'roll band sidekick

the mannequin was bizarrely decked out with
scores of ex-department store
you guessed it
they were all wearing bondage gear and lingerie though
a little weird
during soundcheck i received the highest voltage microphone shock ever
many years have passed since
and i've never had the displeasure of receiving one even close to this one
nothing we tried remedied the situation
so after half an hour of wrangling with it
it was decided we needed some sort of pop filter to put over the mic
maybe try to reduce the current running to my lips and tongue?
off came drummer brad's black sock
there was no other option
he'd been wearing this sock in the van for at least 5 days
it was slipped delicately over the microphone like a condom
my lips pressed to it for 2 glorious nights of rock
i still remember clearly the awful metallic taste of electricity

come showtime night#1
we drew pretty poorly
like we knew we would
the nugent-promised radio and newspaper promotions strangely never materialized
go figure
the club was run by 2 partners
first partner:
a conservative looking totally non-descript guy
i don't even remember his name
the other one
a totally different story
his name was pinky
if there ever was a picture perfect stereotype of the hippie sanfran acid casualty
it was dear pinky
long braided hair
pigtails just like willy n.
round lennon granny glasses
tie-dyed headband
tie-dyed grateful dead t-shirt
ripped blue jeans
he drove a VW van with stickers and flowers covering every inch of it
a cartoon character brought to real life
had to be seen to be believed
i'll never forget him

first night came and went with not much action
in between sets on night 2 we're in the van having some pizza
me and harold in the front seat
we see 3 girls approach owner #1 on the streetcorner up ahead
they talk a bit and then they all come over to the van
he introduces us as "the band"
the girls say they're from texas
wow - what a coincidence
staying at the residence inn
visiting CA
don't remember the reason
it didn't matter
they were dressed kind of trampy
short plastic or faux leather skirts
big hair
lotsa hairspray
stiletto heals
lotsa clown makeup

the MF was 5 motley looking but ultimately pretty straight long hairs
brad was in AA
a condition of joining our band was we didn't drink
i never liked beer anyway
girls might've been our only vice
if any of us could ever get one
poor M Festival may have been the most debauchery challenged band
of all-time
so when the "texas" girls invited us to hang out after the show
it was a no-brainer
pinky told us to come back at 2:30am to settle up anyway
there was nothing to do until then
i was ready for some fun after 2 hours of swallowing electricity
and cozying up to a disgusting soaking wet black sock
harold and i were the only takers
the others too tired
none of the girls were very cute either
they weren't interested
so harold and i headed out alone

knock knock knock
standing at the door of the residence inn bakersfield
ready for our rock'n'roll adventure
looking pretty badass i might add
black hair down to our asses
both over six feet tall
i had my black suede cowboy boots on
making me 6' 6"
black jeans
white shirt
black leather vest with safety pins holding it together
i bet i looked like one pretty tough hombre that night in bakersfield CA
one of the girls opened the door
"hey - what took you guys so long?"
first thing we see before we even move one foot
right behind her
sitting in a chair
a topless 300 pound man with a leather mask on
a girlish squeal let loose from both tough-guy rockers
eyes buggin' out as we instantaneously run off like cheerleaders
in the opposite direction
"what the hell was that?" screams harold
a full octave higher than his regular speaking voice
van doors slam
peeling out of the parking lot in the super-sized white Ford van
swerving out of control
"what the fuck was that????????????"
"what the fuck???????"
shaking like two dunked kittens
2 of the girls run out into the parking lot
yelling after us to come back
they disappeared fast in the rearview

when we got back to the motel 6
we were still terrified
sure the gimp was coming after us
his beady eyes peering eagerly from two black holes in his leather mask
his puffy red lips glistening between the zippered teeth
"bolt the door!!!" advised harold
still singing soprano
the other guys said the girls had been ringing the phone off the hook
they were looking for us
odd thing was
we had never told them where we were staying

when i showed up at pinky's office
he looked like he'd just seen a ghost
"watcha doin' here man?"
waddaya mean?
we're here to get paid
"oh...yeah?...hold on a sec "
he gingerly dials the phone
says he's calling his partner
there was some music blasting in his office
he was talking hush hush on the phone
i couldn't make out what was being said
he puts his right hand over the receiver
leans toward me and says
" did the girls right?"
i go slack jawed
no pinky
we didn't do the girls
pinky's eyes kind of glaze over
then he slowly relays message
"uh...they didn't do the girls..."
nods a couple of times
his eyes sink to the floor
shoulders slump
he hangs up
the world's saddest hippie

you see their plan was faulty from the get go
even without the naked gimp we wouldn't have "done" the prostitutes
pinky and partner had unwittingly run up against
the world's tamest rock'n'roll band
next morning we rolled out of bakersfield CA
i haven't been back since