Thursday, September 28, 2006

the lag

this week has been strange
almost dreamlike
are we really back?
i feel like a zombie
going through the motions
i haven't seen any of my friends yet
makes returning anti-climactic
no one to tell the tales to
i wanna share what i've just done and seen
but i don't feel like going out
i'm supposed to later tonight but i just want to go to sleep

in the mail today came the pleasantry lane cd
a full-fledged bomb
a disaster
the artwork so jacked up i tossed it in the trash
i'm not giving it to one soul
certainly not selling it
until the label fixes their mistakes
and if they don't
then the cd is finished
i'll bury it under 10 tons of dirt
so it was a little depressing to me
and anger provoking
what a fiasco
i promise i will not sell an inferior product though
no matter how much pressure i'm put under to do so
so in the trash they go!!!
until someone gets it right

jayme and i are both in agreement
some changes have to be made around here
it was good to step away from our lives
i think that's part of the good of travel
it gives you a different perspective
it's important
so i'm not sure what we're going to do
but some things have got to change
one small thing already
we're shutting off the computer during the day
we realized it was sucking way to much of our time
and attention
also had this thought today
maybe we need a vacation from our vacation?
go somewhere and not actually work harder than we do at home
lay on a beach
take it easy
who knows?
i'm trying to figure it all out
just like you
it's a constant work in progress

i find myself being drawn back to the photos of our trip
it still feels like i'm there when i look at them
i guess that's why we take them
to draw us back to the moment
no matter how far away it's become
only a week has gone by
i'm not here at all
nowhere close to being in the moment
i've got one foot stuck in the past
that's for sure

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

i miss my friends

i feel like i've been changed
i'm looking at everything around me
from a different perpsective
i guess that's what is good about stepping away
from your life
every now and then
we get caught up in the day to day of things
go blind with the routine
no matter how much better it might be than
the person sitting next to you in cubicle 3
right now it all looks so weird to me
this city
this street
this house
i know in a week or two i'll be back in it all
and where we've just been
will be fading fast in the rearview
but right now
my thoughts are still there
in germany
some of them here

"i want to be a breezy haired guy like basti"
G said it first
or "officially"
sebastian tim
the guy who booked our tour
and took care of our every problem
"basti, we can't find the club!!"
"basti, how do we switch the cell phone from armenian!!"
"basti, how do i play a G chord??"
always there for us
always positive
one of the sweetest
most upbeat
funny guys i've ever met
a smile
that is infectious
and his career as a TV commercial extra
seems to be taking off
no wonder
tall mop of curly hair
almost fro-like
and austin powers glasses
basti is destined for every billboard in the motherland!!

we stayed with
gunther and his beautiful family
our first night in hamburg
a real music lover
i've never seen anyone with more cds
his collection was threatening to over-run the rest of the household
and the thing that blew me away
is even with all this music
he had clearly listened to my music repeatedly
was a fan
truly got it
and his reaction to me stating i had new rough mixes of my record
touched me
andrea and the children
sweet and beautiful
i never thought i would find people like this
who put out records for love
not greed
i'm a sworn believer in tapete records now

dirk darmstaedter
is just one cool guy
really comfortable in his own skin
without being cocky
hamburg's steve mcqueen
i know he's coming to texas to see us sometime
i just have that feeling
played in aachen with him
i wished we had one or two more dates together
maybe next time?

ibrahim i.
sitting in the window of the waggenmeister
in basil
having his morning coffee
and smoke
waiting to wave goodbye to us
as we drove off to bonn
on that rainy morning
a kindness
and sadness
in his eyes
a picture for my mind to hold on to

siebeth martin and soenche
smiling and singing with me
songs they'd never heard before
but they never missed a note
or dropped a best
we only had two nights
but they were the best part of my concert playing experience
when i go back
i'm making sure we play a bunch of shows together

simon t. in augsburg
my friend from england
spent a great night in augsburg
listening to all his stories
carrying on about music
and the stupidity of war
he'd served 10 years plus in her majesty's finest
all the places he'd been
all the cruelty he'd witnessed
but it only made his heart bigger
and his funny stories were the best
the glastonbury cross!!

like my own version of the sgt. peppers album cover
all these characters standing around staring at me
their faces and personalities in vivid technicolor
vitus from kerosin
heike and jorg muller from rastatte
martin the aussie ex-patriot
frank from das bet
gorg and peti (mausefalle)
frederic and his band, halfcup of superkings
simon and monique (who woke up early AM to get me photos from ONO)
the maplewood guys
jeff from downpilot
rodrigo from spain
lars (the man behind it all - thank you for sharing nourallah music
with dirk!!)

pictures coming in a week or two!
jayme took 1300 photos so it might take some time

Monday, September 25, 2006

43 hours (or the longest day)

last day in hamburg
up at 9am
G and J still passed out
so cute
hotel pacific
nausea inducing yellow room
shower in hall
avoid carpet with bare feet
rouse them at 10
drag 2 heavy bags
down stairs
58 euros
head to tapete offices
for meeting with basti
go over numbers for the tour
11:45 head to new hotel
drop J and G off there
(J has to drag all the bags up 5 flights of stairs!)
'caue i have to immediately race back to tapete to get melanie
for trip to radio station in bremen
empty stomach
head for bremen
autobahn is packed
sun is shining in my eyes
1:50 get to station
eat one piece of lettuce
slice of tomato
meet a really nice man
the radio host
we talk about music i love
my life
my records
my name
my family
play "the world is full"
comsat angles
the sound
lilac time
his voice is kind and soft
the hectic world outside dissolves
at 4:30 we're done
say goodbye
melanie and i rush to car
speed out of bremen
get stuck on the autobahn
gotta be at soundcheck by 7pm
should've only taken an hour and change to get back to hamburg
pick J and G up almost 7
weave through city traffic
make knust around 7:30
say hello
sign in
go upstairs and get our badges and info for the festival
go downstairs and outside to palle for some food
15 minutes later
my soundcheck
lovely venue
reminds me of the bowery ballroom in NYC
8:15 i start my set
G runs in circles in front of me during one song
people smile
finish with "never say never"
around 8:45
go backstage
feeling gREAT
adrenalin rush
5 minutes later
the crash
i gotta sit down
head's in a fish bowl
don't feel good at all
downpilot has started
i've no energy to watch
walk Jand G out to the cab
feel really paranoid letting this stranger take them away
scrawl license number on cardboard
like that matters!
walk back to knust
find basti
downpilot still playing
sounds good
but we gotta go return the rental car
and collect everyone's money for playing the festival
we leave around 9:45
i park illegally
as basti "runs in" to get paid
cops drive by
don't stop
i fiddle with the toddler seat
and go over excuses
as to why i don't have my passport
and my friend (who's coming back soon) does
40 minutes later
i see basti!
he's got coffee for me
so nice
it feels good on my tortured throat
we find a gas station
fill her up
it stings a bit
race to avis
i almost kill us and wreck the car one kilometer away
one last adrenalin rush
we drop the car off
jump in a cab
head back to knust
arrive around 11:45
maplewood is playing
it's 1968 california
12 string guitars
room is really smoking
my throat is screaming fro relief
i grab a 2 liter orange juice from backstage
go sit down near the merch table
have a lovely conversation with jeff from downpilot
spend the next 2 hours saying hello
and goodbye
my new dear friends
gunther basti dirk
sad to get in the cab
at hotel inner city
jayme is waiting
G is sprawled across bed sleeping
she hasn't slept a wink
but has packed up everything for us
our cab to the airport comes at 4am
i de-tune my guitar
wrap leftover bunny shirts around it
duct tape the outside
take a shower in the smallest bathroom known to modern man
drag the suitcases down the 5 flights
let the maplewood guys in at 3:40am from being locked out
flag a cab at 4
head to airport
G is bed headed and telling stories of cocoons and spiders
airport is jam packed at 4:30
line out the door
we wait until 5:10 for something to happen
rude old folks cutting in line right and left
ponce french man in suit with floods cuts right in front
german guy says something
he pontificates in french shakes his head and stays there
6:35 flight to frankfurt departs
7:45 land in frankfurt
deliriously make our way to bus shuttle
that takes us to terminal 1
we stagger through several security checks
they even frisk G
a sight to behold even for weary eyes
9am finally on plane
leave for dallas
spend next 10 hours
drifting in and out
G eats chocolate
watches videos on the laptop
we listen to the IPOD
eat a couple of good (for airlines) meals
i listen to the guy next to me recite the same prayer
from the koran
about 1000 times
i think he must be afraid of flying
or terrorists
we finally land
i can barely stand
it takes us an hour to go through customs
fill out the form
collect our bags
we finally exit to find jayme's parents
(aka: grandma and grandpa)
get to our house around 3pm (10pm german time)
it looks strange
like we've been gone forever
is this place my home?
our washing machine is leaking
2 trips to the hardware store with neal
fixed (by him) at 5
put away things
go to kroger to get G some dinner
go to teppo for some louisiana rolls
feeling really weird now
can barely stay awake
give G a bath
it's only 8
how am i gonna make it until 10:30?
somehow i do
the longest day is finally over
woke up in one world
about to finally sleep in another
safe and sound
in our own comfy beds
dallas texas
passed out

Sunday, September 24, 2006

ghost of the beatles

the last 72 hours are a haze
of fatigue
saying goodbye to new friends
traveling on airplanes

we're home
it feels weird
sunday morning
the backyard looks like a jungle now
G and J asleep
i feel like i've had my bell rung
more than a little out of it
it's good to be back
i feel a little sad too
wondering if i'll ever see any of our german friends again
i think we will
it was a great trip
even though the end was really difficult

since i'd last left you
so much has happened
no internet to keep you posted
but that was our german waterloo anyway
so it was fitting
the short re-cap might take one or two episodes
here goes something at least until i have to go...

thursday we decided to cancel hannover
and head to hamburg
i was pretty bad
i've only cancelled 1 show in all my years of playing
now it's 2
it really bummed me out
the drive was no short one
5 hours
jayme had to do her first bit behind the wheel
i'm glad she got to
it was fun to watch her deal with the crazy autobahn

in hamburg we stayed at the hotel pacific
where the beatles supposedly stayed at the very end
of their hamburg days
when they could afford a hotel
it's a bizarre place though
frozen in time
garish yellow walls everywhere
striped green and beige carpets worn paper thin
stained bunching and no chance of touchimg my bare feet
the hotel never changed that or obviously anything else
since its inception
a time capsule
but not necessarily the good kind
small little rooms with tiny sinks in the corner
'cause you gotta share a bathroom
the elevator was so bond
silver sixties cool
only thing left that still had some charm
it's a pretty rough place to hang out in now
although i couldn't help but imagine
having a smoke in our room
looking out of the open windows
out into hamburg
or mac and george
going down the marble steps to the receptive desk
back when this place was cool and new
and not dingy and lifeless
at least the ghosts that haunted the hotel pacific
triggered my imagination in a good way

so even though i really only wanted to stay in bed
i felt like i should try and get out for a bit with
jayme and gavie
so we had some food european style
and walked around a bit in this very busy area
with tons of restaurants cd shops clothes stores
and nightclubs
people walking and riding bikes
the evening air was cool
my head was in a fishbowl
the next day
was the biggest day of the tour
my show at knust for the reeperbaum festival
and a big radio interview in bremen
i was worried that i wouldn't even be able to sing a note

Thursday, September 21, 2006

sick in frankfurt

we're in our tiny room 2 floors above das bett
in frankfurt
on the rhine
we read this town wasn't very cool
but i like it
it's split down the middle by the river
and there's a nice walk on the east side
we're in the club district
cobblestone streets blocked off to cars
and tons of irish pubs
das bett is the nicest club i've played
great sound and lights
kind of reminds me of the largo in LA

i've gotten really sick
came down with a high fever before the show last night
it was awful
i barely made it through my set
and then came down with the worst chills ever
it was a bad day
and long night
i feel completely exhausted
mentally and physically
it's been a little daunting playing all these shows completely by myself
i already feel so much better for it
and more confident 'cause no one has bottled me
or booed me
or yelled
"go home yankee!!"
but i don't know what to do today
we're supposed to drive to hannover
and then to hamburg after the show
a lot of driving
a long long day even if i was 100%
i'm not sure i have it in me
so i'm thinking about heading straight to hamburg
tomorrow is a big day
the most important show of the tour
and an important radio performance
so if i don't use today to try and recuperate
it's could be a disaster
so i'm going to post this thing now
and then take a few minutes to figure out a plan



Wednesday, September 20, 2006

bonn, james

i'm sitting on my bed at the chelsea hotel
in köln
super mod german room
with 5 skylights
white ikea looking cabinets
an eamesesque round tulip table
gorgeous bathroom with really high ceilings and more skylights
we're on the top floor
if you look up from the street below
this part of the hotel looks like a jagged metal box
jutting out over the edge of the original part of the structure
it's really cool
we have a nice view looking out over the city center
and air conditioning
the first room we've had with that!

i'm not feeling very good today
running a slight fever
i think i caught something from G
he came down with something in switzerland
it's raining outside
so i guedoesn't doesn't matter
prwouldn't wouldn't have been able to see much today

i played a show in bonn last night
it was good to be back in germany
siebeth and his band opened
they're from hamburg
and really good
funny too
we played a great little place called mausefalle (the mousetrap)
more really nice club owners
peti and georg sonksen
the club is in a basement
it's decorated with all kinds of cool and strange stuff
old posters
life preservers
stop lights
has a very cozy english pub feel to it
a cool place

at the end of my set the siebeth guys got up on stage
and beat on things, sang, etc.
we played "never say never"
"she'd walk a mile"
and the rollicking encore
"gonna be a rockstar"
i had my first rowdy drunk experience
a strange little fellow
with an adolph mustache bavarian hat and comb over
sadly drinkinstuporelf into a stuper
at the front
he would blurt out (really loudly)
he made the rest of the audience uncomfortable
and embarassed
i think they thought he was bothering me
but he wasn't
i thought it was funny

i'm opening for a band from bonn tonight
called voltaire
they're supposed to be popular in this area
and the people in bonn said they think they're
"the shit"
i'm not getting paid because voltaire's manager
didn't feel like it was warranted
so i'm hoping to sell some cds
to pay for this fancy hotel room

only 4 more shows left
feeling really run down right now
not enough sleep
running only on adrenalin over the last couple of weeks
i need to get a decent night of sleep after the show

we'd like to see the famous koln cathedral before we leave tomorrow
to frankfurt
about 3 hours away
i'll try and write you from there

p.s. the pleasantry lane cds never made it
it was detained by customs

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

the swiss dichotomy

we escaped bern to the alps
had the most beautiful drive of my life
at the end of this tour we’ll be posting the picture blog
as words aren’t adequate enough to describe
most of the scenery we’ve seen
you just have to see the pictures
we drove right into the heart of the alps
parked our car in stechelberg
then took a gondola up to murren
you wouldn’t believe how high up this town is
once again jayme found the best hotel in the place
our room looked right out into the chasm over the valley
spectacular snowcapped mountains directly across
it was the most astounding view i’ve ever
we really lucked out with the weather too
sunny and in the seventies
some people spend their whole year saving up to come here
only to get rain all week
we took the half hour walk down the mountain to gimmelwald
just like rick steves told us
and i finally got to see the switzerland i had always imagined
it does exist
you just have to travel a bit to get to it
this was our best day yet

sunday was another story
pouring down rain when we woke up
the mountains took on an ominous presence now
our trip to the shilthorn at the very top of the alps
ruined by a blizzard
so we headed out to basel early
it’s on the german border
and the last swiss show
basel continued the swiss dichotomy
the countryside of this place is astounding
its cities
utterly annoying
road construction and chaos everywhere
completely opposite of the country
we arrived in basel around 3pm and our navigation system took us to
a 3/4 of a mile long warehouse
looking abandoned
with no address numbers and lots of punk rock graffiti on the outside
we thought we must be in the wrong place so we drove back out
and ended up heading to germany on a toll raod
i admit i then did some swearing and banging on the steering wheel
2 hours later we finally found waggenmeister
at the entrance of the long warehouse
we’d actually driven right past it on our way in!!!!
that was a pretty frustrating realization…

turns out the venue
is run by the kindest person we’ve yet encountered on this tour
ibrahim ishmail
exact opposite in every way to daniel k. of ONO
his hospitality made our day
cooked us up a 10 course meal before showtime
hummus, falafel, spaghetti, eggplant (the way my mom makes it)
it was so good
he’d also made sure the the quarters we were staying in
above the club
were G friendly
even had a simpsons comic book there for him
next morning he made us breakfast before we went
and even converted our francs to euros
he said he might take the night train up to hamburg for the last show
i really hope he does
what a sweet
kind soul
swiss dichotomy even in the 2 club owners we dealt with

the internet situation with us is still stupid
that’s an entire blog in itself best saved for when i get back
more blog as soon as i can get on again!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

pay to play ONO style

i`m really upset right now
should`ve maybe waited until after i calmed down
to tell you this story
but i can`t sleep
i gotta get this out of me right now
before it poisons tomorrow

i`m on some swiss keyboard
with the symbols moved all around
so pardon all the typos that are surely coming your way

i knew something was going to go wrong
we were having too much fun
it`s part of life
it`s certainly part of travelling
we hit our first bad day here in bern switzerland
walked right into a scam
at the ONO

after we`d done the soundcheck
the owner
daniel kölliker
a spikey blonde haired guy
about 5 feet tall
dressed all in black
with little square glasses
a weird swiss lisp
and one hoop earring
says to me
(there are no quotation marks on this keyboard)
so i`ll use capital letter for dialogue
he says
i`m totally bewildered
he`s confused by my surprise
i only had about one third of that in my pocket
i tell him


the nerve of this midget prick
we came all the way from texas
we`ve got a 3 year old standing right there
and he wants to shag me up the bum to play his arty farty
wanna be andy warhol piece of shit swiss club
so i call basti
the tapete booking agent
to check on the contract
basti is confused too
he reads over it
as he thought i got paid once the door went over 350
a standard club practice
a 350 breakeven would be high but at least i`d walk with my door money
this rat bastard has cleverly worded it
so it says we pay him 350 to play
there`s nothing we can do
i`ve come all the way from texas
to switzerland to get ripped off by him

basti feels terrible
he tells me not to worry
they`ll make up for the loss somehow
it`s wrong
i know it`s not GW wrong
and in the grand scheme of things it`s nothing
but it`s still shitty and wrong
this guy is a worm
a snake
a creep
he didn`t have one ounce of compassion
he took every cent i earned for him tonight
so i played 2 sets
2 and half hours
and a few people came
we made 184 francs at the door
not bad
frederich and monique came with their nourallah brothers cds
in hand
and that was BEAUTIFUL
for them i played
she`d walk a mile
somewhere the lights don`t shine
missing you
i`ll be around
it was a joy to see how much it meant to them
the audience was lovely
they bought about 200 francs worth of merch
which was awesome
and under any even partially reasonable circumstances
it would`ve been a very successful night
but i had to give almost everything i earned to
ONO and daniel k.
i came all the way to this place
not for money granted
but i`m working every night
to pay for the hotels
and the meals
and the outrageously expensive gas
and the toll roads
and everything else
and for them to take money from my cds
makes me FURIOUS
i`m not a violent guy
but i`m having some pretty violent thoughts right now
on what i`d like to do to that little rat...

ok i have to calm down now
nice and slow
it`s ok
instant karma`s gonna get ONO
i trust in that
i know it will

so what of bern?
how`s the city?
nothing like i imagined switzerland to be like
i guess i had the ignorant american vision of this country
peaceful and kind
cows grazing on mountainsides
the swiss miss girl running around serving chocolate
this city is a dirty crowded zoo of a place
overpriced and attitude laden `cause it`s switzerland
the driving in the town center is chaos
almost at the level of indonesia
all in all
it sucks
and i can`t wait to blow out of here tomorrow morning
and give daniel kölliker
and bern
my middle fucking finger
never coming back here
you can fool me once ONO
but never again

see you in the alps

Thursday, September 14, 2006


in eguisheim france
alsaces region
wine country
i'm having a glass right now
and nibbling on some swiss chocolate
we're in our nicest room yet
i'd actually call it "posh"
the hostellerie du chateau
a really nice place
comfiest bed i've ever slept in
recessed lighting galore
i highly recommend it when you come here to visit someday
and you should
this village has charm galore
once again
i have to hand it to jayme
she found this place
only 88 euros a night and outrageously cool
one big reason we're having such a great time is
all the places J mapped out for us to see
that and the great hotels

we drove south from aachen today
through belgium
then in to northern france
about 5 hours in the benz
i've never even been to this country
so i'm pretty happy to be here
this village is another place with beauty beyond words
flowers everywhere
gigantic pink and purple roses
narrow winding streets paved with old worn bricks
we walked around the village taking photos and gawking until sunset
ate french food outside
walked around some more afterwards
now we're enjoying this hotel room
off to bern switzerland tomorrow
i've never been to that country either
bern is the capital city
it's supposed to be really cool
einstein came up with the theory of relativity there
are the swiss ready for music from texas?
we'll soon see...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

the great aachen revival

hang on hang on hang on…

we did
and it paid off in spades

a sleepless night at the Polish depression hotel
gave way to maybe our best day yet
we bailed from the AM marschiertor fleabag first thing this morning
so far
it’s the best decision we’ve made on this tour
‘cause right now i’m sitting in a gorgeous peaceful room
with mod décor
looking out over a serene euro courtyard
relaxed and feeling good even though i got no sleep last night
we’re in the hotel residenz domicil
only 20 euros more per night and well worth it
this place is beautiful
one of the coolest hotels i’ve ever stayed in

explored aachen today
spent the whole afternoon walking around
had lunch outside
about 86 and sunny
dined right in front of an amazing gothic church
but on the way we’d lost one of G’s precious bacums
(gavie's word for blanky)
so i ran/speed walked 2 miles
re-tracing our route
to find it sitting on a ledge in front of a shop window
some kind and considerate soul had found it on the sidewalk
and placed it there for me to retrieve
they got some good instant karma coming there way!!
G was so happy when i finally returned
waving his bacum over my head
huffing and puffing and very svetty
but man it felt good
i thought it was gone gone gone
so know I’m of the opinion that this is a very charming town
we didn’t have time to find it yesterday
but i like it now
and it gets even better…

the show tonight was beyond description
i’m gonna try to fill you in on it as best i can
but i don’t think i have the words in me
i played a place called raststaette
it’s not a “club” though
they call it a culture center
it’s on the bottom floor of a two building compound
which houses the employees and offices of
a government funded art database
it was founded by a guy named wolfgang who’s a sculptor
i didn’t get to meet him ‘cause he’s in Vienna on business right now
but jorg (pronounced – yorg) and heike were our hosts tonight
incredibly cool and kind
we had a pre-gig dinner outside in their courtyard
with about 15 other people
they’d grilled fish especially for us ‘cause we don’t eat cow
and cooked up a veritable feast
everything looked so beautiful on the table
i wanted to take a picture but was too self-conscious
it was by far the best meal we’ve had here
fresh salads
gigantic soft round bread
a turkish dish a lot like spanikopita (spinach pies with feta)
so much fun
this place full of love life and happiness
an amazingly cool art music peace vibe
G ran around the courtyard with jeorge’s son henry
a two year old as tall as G with blond blond hair
they raced around on little push cars
played in a big cardboard box together
and ate pretzel sticks
G had to retire early tonight
‘cause he was just too worn out by the time i got around to playing
during my set
jorg projected really cool semi-digitized footage of me
on the white wall behind the stage area
while i played
i wore my crazy suit for the first time tonight
good accidental perfect timing
‘cause it looked bizarrely cool in the filmed footage
and the giant poster in the window touted the suit in german
they’re really all about atmosphere here
i love it
all the places i’ve played have been big on lighting and vibe
raststatte is only about as big as bend studio in dallas
the perfect sized venue for acoustic music
i played to about 35 people who intently listened
i mean
they f****** LISTENED
they don’t look around
or fidget nervously
every pair of eyes in the room all fixed on the stage
paying attention to ever single thing
it has been incredible to get a chance to play for audiences like this
i did another 2 encores tonight
then sold more cds than i have ever sold at any one show
i think every single person in attendance must have bought
at least 1, 2 or 3 of my cds
afterwards we had some wine and good conversation in the courtyard
talked about american tv shows
the history of raststaette
michael Jackson
and my weird name
i hated to say goodnight
as it was one of the best times i’ve ever had at a show
in the 16 years i’ve been performing
thank you Aachen!!

tomorrow we head to northern france on our way to switzerland
we’re gonna stop off in colmar
in the wine country
to make up for our cancelled gig in Wuppertal
oh, the suffering on this tour!!!
pity me not
see you in france my friends!!!



Tuesday, September 12, 2006

fleabag hotel aachen

it’s 2am
i’m exhausted
can’t sleep though
we’re in an awful hotel in aachen
i don’t even wanna take my clothes off to get in bed
missing augsburg a lot
not planning on coming back here again
this hotel is like what i'd imagine a polish YMCA would like like
bad vibe here
like a lot of folks have died here or something
depressing as hell
we’re bailing on it first thing tomorrow and finding a better one

had a really long drive on the autobahn today
too many cars and not enough highway in this country
road construction every 15 minutes
down to 2 lanes so narrow you can barely squeeze past the giant trucks on the right
i”d hate to drive these roads at night
my nickname for the autobahn is
not the most advanced highway in the world
far from it…
they egg the germans on with the “no speed limit” thing
with all the traffic jams even mario andretti’s gonna average 50 miles per hour

the best part of today was lunch in Heidelberg
where twaine wrote “tramp abroad”
J and i both agreed we have to come back to this place
it’s amazing
a ruined red brick castle looks down upon the town
beautiful river splits the lush hillsides
i wish we could have stayed longer
made me think of driving through texas
“hey, let’s lunch in big spring!!!”

the show at jacobzhof tonight was pretty good
i opened for dirk d.
wish i was doing so more with him
‘cause we really like him
a super cool guy
about 25 very polite audience members in attendance
i think i played a good set
my voice felt better than last night
and the audience seemed to like me again
if not quite up to Augsburg manic intensity
this is the set i played:
the world is full of people
a way to your heart
model brothers
nothing ever goes right
i’ll be around
black and white boy (for paul hester)
never say never

like augsburg
i sold a good amount of merch
especially considering how small the crowd was
the club had nice lighting and good sound
dirk sounded GREAT
jacobshof lacked a bit on the personality side of things
not nearly the flare or charm of kerosin but still ok i guess
G was so well-behaved today
made us very proud
he made it through my entire set without a peep
clapped between songs and cheered 1978
played the harmonica dirk gave him and did a little dance
in between sets
he even watched most of d.d.’s set pretty attentively
i still can’t believe how good he’s been

the rex theater show in wuppertal was canned yesterday
not enough advance ticket sales
i was on the bill all by myself
a 500 euro guarantee that we lost
so that one’s gonna hurt the pocketbook a lot
oh well
we’re gonna use the new day off to drive through france
in route to bern switzerland
that’s the great thing about europe
lose a gig
still win out

i’m playing aachen again tomorrow night
different club i can’t spell the name of
my farewell to this place
i hope we stumble upon some cool part of town tomorrow
something we missed today 'cause right now it looks kinda bleak here
you never know though
the cool thing about europe is boundless charm can always be
just a kilometer away

g soils lederhosen

we had an action packed monday
went to munich today
it was almost 90 outside
amazing weather
spent 4 hours strolling town center
giant pretzel and beer at the hoffbrau haus
people watching galore
lot's of characters
including us
found G some fetching secondhand lederhosen
a nice dark green with matching bavarian hat
he looked pretty funny with that and his clash shirt tucked in
to his leather shorts
we took plenty of pictures
and he got laughs everywhere we went
everyone at the kerosin club was really nice to us
mickey the sound man gave G some candy
which caused an explosion of sorts
we had made a dire parental mistake
gone up to the cafe to eat without the diaper bag
G has soiled his brand new lederhosen
and without knowing J picks him up
now he's gotten the special sauce all over the front of her white shirt
and favorite pants
all we could do was laugh
this had never happened before and it sucked
but it was pretty funny
how does one get poo stains out of lederhosen?
a good google search...
i documented G's less than triumphant return to the snooty dom hotel
walking up the steps bavarian hat clash shirt
diaper and no socks
lederhosen left to stink up tourmobile!!

later that night the first show went down
kerosin is a hip little club
a good dj spinning records
everyone who worked their was incredibly polite
5 or 6 disco balls swirling light around the dimly lit dance floor
they’d set up a P.A. in the middle for me
comfy sofas and overstuffed chairs set up in front of the stage
i played to about 20/25 uber enthusiastic people
they sat completely silent through every single song
but made a ton of noise showing their appreciation in between
the perfect audience
stomped and cheered me on to 2 encores
then i was requested to play a “mini” set
2 more encores followed that
felt like "the boss"
i played almost everything i’d prepared for the tour
and the best moment was the very last song
during “don’t be afraid”
the whole room sang the backup melody in unison
without me even egging them on to do it
it was a beautiful moment for me
thanks augsburg

i made some good friends too
me and simon the english bouncer
instantly hit it off
a smart funny guy with TONS of great stories
best one…how he took a chainsaw to a giant cross at Glastonbury
i hope he comes to texas someday for a visit
mikey the sound guy was really nice too
and vitus (pornounced: viteirs) the owner of kerosin
a true gentleman and patron of the arts
his flattery was so over the top
i think he kept me blushing for at least half an hour
after party at johans(?) i overdid it a bit
stayed up until 2:30
talking music and politics
i’m gonna pay the price tomorrow when we drive to Aachen
it’s about 7 hours away
and the autobahn is pretty draining
with all the traffic jams and start stop driving

internet situation is still ridiculous
i hope i'll be back again tomorrow!!!!

Monday, September 11, 2006


saw one of the world's most famous castles today
it was built by king ludwig around 1896
he never got to live in it though
declared mentally unstable and then a week later
"mysteriously" drown in a lake with his psychiatrist
(weird thing is - they were only walking beside the lake)
within six weeks of his death the castle was turned into a tour
that's been generating income for the motherland ever since
this is the castle disneyland was patterned after
if you could see pictures of it you'd see the similarities
nestled in the mountains bordering austria
overlooking a lush green valley
the views from inside the castle are ridiculously cool

the drive to neuschwanstein was beautiful
rolling hills sprinkled with farms and lazy grazing cows
narrow winding two lane roads
lined with trees
we arrived in fussen around 2pm
that's the village closest to the castle
our confused american tourist routine started there
the tourist office was closed and we had no info in our guidebook
on how to get to the castle
after parking our car in a garage in which we had no idea how to pay
(everything was in german!!)
we wandered down the main drag of fussen looking for
"this way to the castle" signs
no info anywhere though
so i came up with the brilliant plan to find a spot for lunch
and pray our server spoke english
G chased pigeons and we finally got our directions
in broken english

during the summertime the lines to get in neuschwanstein
are suppposed to be unbelievable
i guess we lucked out 'cause we didn't get there until 3pm
although there were still lot's of people it wasn't too bad
the hike up the mountainside is another story though
it was brutal
J is in 20 times better shape than me and she paid the price for it
pushing prince G in his 40 pound chariot up some of the steepest inclines
i've ever seen or tried to walk
i could barely do it myself without pushing the stroller
all the while G sucked his thumb quietly and clutched gutentaag the squirrel
don't worry
i got some hilaroious video footage of this!

as avoid danger waited at the side of marion bridge
which straddles two jagged precipices behind the castle
150 feet above a rocky stream
a happy japanese tourist emerged from the crowded bridge
waving G's squirrel around
finger puppet style
i said "excuse me! i think that's my son's..."
i don't think he understood anything other than I WANT THAT SQUIRREL
'cause he immediately (and politely) handed it over and scampered off

ten minutes later i ran into someone i knew
from texas
josh from lift to experience
who would have ever thought it?
he lives in berlin now

on the way back from castle ludwig
lori the navigation system saved the day
we ended up in the worst traffic jam i have ever been in
worse than new york or l.a.
or anywhere these kind of things are supposed to happen
we moved half a kilometer in half an hour
(a kilometer isn't even a mile)
a toddler pushing G up the side of mount neuschwanstein
could have made better time
so we punched in an alternate route request and in no time
lori had us zipping through the backstreets and alleyways of southern germany
james bond style
some of the roads we ended up on were so desolate
i thought we might be heading to narnia

munich and the first show tomorrow!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


sorry for the delay
getting an internet connection here has been hell
spinal tap comedic really
especially considering how "hi-tech" germany is
i called one 800 number for t-mobile germany
and everytime i said "sprechen zee engleesh?"
they hung up on me
i'm on the computer in the lounge of the dom hotel, augsburg
in the deep south of germany
equivalant to alabama in the U.S.A.
my first show is monday night at the kerosin club
it's sunday morning

our tour vehicle is a black mini mercedes
very sporty spice
we have a navigation system compliments of tapete
it speaks to us
her name is lori and she has a very nice voice
it's almost impossible to get lost with lori
thank god 'cause driving here is a little confusing
our tour benz is macked out
cd player
automatic everything
i think it even has an espresso maker in the back somewhere
G's got a big cushy car seat
compliments of dirk d.
so we're not suffering too much in our tourmobile
this is the way to go i think
i feel sorry for all the bands driving around in their grungy little beat up VWs

we got to augsburg late friday
after our 8 hour introduction to the autobahn
the autobahn is crazy but i like it
lot's of cars driving really slow on the right
then in the left lane you've got all the ones who think they're mario andretti
they'll come up on you in a split second
headlights going berserk
if you don't watch it
i've noticed more black cars here than i've ever seen before
it's all the rage i guess

we had an amazing day yesterday
one of those days you can wait a long time for
and one that i think i'll remember the rest of my life
we visited rothenbug
an almost fully preserved medieval town
cobblestone streets
tall narrow watchtowers
steepled shops and houses
rothenburg's original outer wall is almost fully intact
we followed it all around the outer perimeter
peered out of the little slots where they used to shoot arrows
the view out into the valley below was spectacular
beyond description really
coolest town i've ever seen behind santorini greece
wandered the streets for hours
sunny mid 70s
fresh air
ate outside at a quaint italian bistro around sunset
then caught a bit of the nightwatchmen's tour
a long haired german fellow dressed like a medieval watchman
leads a bunch of tourists round the town at sunset with a lantern
and tells funny tales of olden times
it was a perfect ending to an amazing day

i have to brag on G now
11 hours on the plane
not one fuss
while kids all around us cried and complained
in the car to augsburg friday
8 hours
happy all the way
and yesterday in rothenburg we did an awful lot of walking
he was awesome all day
he's having the best time out of us all
and that's made things even more fun for me
he's also named his new german squirrel "gutentaag"
also requested his own little suitcase for his robots next time we come back

anyway, if you ever get a chance to come to germany
you gotta see rothenburg
trust me
it's spectacular
tour manager J already kicking some major ###
she found this place in her pile of german guide books
i'd be lost in some bavarian pig skinning factoryhaus if left to my own devices

we're heading off to see the famous castle neuschwanstein today
it looks like another beautiful sunny day out there
i'll try and tell you about it tomorrow
i think we've almost got our internet problems figured out
so fingers crossed
i'll be back sooner than later

auf weidershen!!!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


sitting in the living room of the buskies' flat
altona district of hamburg
the tallest trees i've ever seen looking out into the backyard
lush green
tea and toast for breakfast
little G fast asleep upstairs
off to a wonderful start here
the tapete people treated us like royalty yesterday
met everyone at the office
spent the afternoon walking around exploring
ignoring the jet lag
down to the river with nina
my legs are gonna be sore today
this town reminds me of seattle
very similar scenary but cleaner
and hey, it's europe!!!
we're off to the tapete offices in a few minutes
to go over the tour
and then a 6 hour drive south to augsburg
where we'll be staying until the first show on the 11th
so more time in augsburg to write
i just wanted to let you know things are very good here
our flight was a breeze
the guild is one piece
a good night of sleep
wonderful hosts
couldn't ask for anymore



Wednesday, September 06, 2006


the day always comes to get you
no matter how far off in the distance you thought it was
it's here
knocking at your door
ready to come in and roll past you
i thought i had more time
where did it all go?
the day is here
months of waiting
and preparing

little G fast asleep
no idea what's in store for him tomorrow
i wanna crawl inside his mind
and forget it all
wash away all my grownup instincts
oh to be unaware of the machinery of this world

it's just shy of 3am
all is quiet
all is still
kind of eerie
the tension welling up inside of me
and dread
i see the lines
detection devices
the frantic rush of travelers
my guitar disappearing on a conveyor belt
gotta block those thoughts outta my mind tonight
the observer wants to observe
from right here in this chair
in this safe house
don't wanna go nowhere
i know it'll be fun once i'm there
but right now it all seems too risky
i told you there's a man in concrete shoes
that lives inside of me
he's invaded my house tonight
tomorrow i promise i'll be better

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

polaroid (part 3)

don't make waves
i've got dad to thank for this one
he's the role model i fashioned don't make waves after
"good things come to those who wait"
really came straight out of his mouth
the calculating observer
watch from a distance
don't get in
don't get involved
life might tangle you up in its net

you would think the slogan
"stick to the straight and narrow path"
would not be so much a part of my mindset
but underneath my seemingly radical facade
i'm pretty conservative
play my cards close to my chest
at least that's how i feel sometime even if it's not entirely true
i am mr. avoid danger
and more than a bit like dear old dad
the man in concrete shoes

model brothers
a good friend of mine
who happens to be a really good songwriter
advised me to leave this one off polaroid
he told me no one would relate to it
i didn't care
i ignored the advice
it was like someone telling me not to breathe

part of
the beauty and terror involved in making "solo" records
involves trying to capture the essence of whatever makes me
different from every other singer/songwriter/john smith
swimming around out there
in the sea of billions and billions of singer-songwriters
finding who you are can be a strange and difficult thing sometimes

model brothers covers a lot of time
my f-ed up life
with a strange name
a childhood
growing up in el paso
the beatles and the white album changing my life
all the disappointing years i'd spent playing music with my brother
and what it did to our relationship
all in 3 minutes
the wonder of "pop" music, right?

the first attempt at recording model brothers
was acoustic guitar based
i thought it made the song sound too maudlin
but in retrospect
maybe i was just afraid of hitting the raw nerve?
i guess that's why i shrouded the sadness in
cheesy organs
and cheery hammond auto-vari
i made it sound like a party instead of a funeral

the definitive version is about to see the light of day
on the pleasantry lane cd
the polaroids played this song beautifully
the way it should have been done on this record
true to the real emotion of it

christmas eve
i wrote this song in the middle room of our old duplex
june 2003
right before gavin was born
i was overcome with love
love for my wife
my son
and deep sadness over the thought of ever having to say goodbye to them
the otherside (part 1)

almost an MF reunion
faris and tommy roberts played on this one
recorded at f's house fall 2001
during one of our scattered attempts at NB part 2
i dumped the tracks in to my recorder at the end of recording polaroid
added some things
completely re-mixed it
played some e-bow
i like the words to this one
they were written in the middle of the night
this is more like a poem set to music than a song
it's different than what i usually do
i like it

Monday, September 04, 2006

we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming

it's a drizzling sleepy day
a stillness (other than squirming G)
blanketing my house
labor day
no one's working
streets are quiet
rain gently falling
banks closed
clouds hovering
postman in the bahamas
one more session for me though
in about an hour
tonight i'll try and ipod all the rough mixes of my stuff
so i can assess and critique
while i have a break from everything
i want to come back with a plan on how to finish
this sprawling mess
my sandinista?

i'm ready
mind is clear
to do list all checked off
responsibilities taken care of
almost collected
ready to leave our home for awhile
ready for the highs
and the lows
it's gonna be fun
but i know there will be times when it's tough
gotta roll with the blows
this is going to be one of the biggest adventures i've been on
in a long time
i've no expectations really
just looking forward to a change
i'm excited about playing my songs for these people far away
while i'm there
i wanna see
as much as i can

i was up until 3am saturday night
looked up the websites to all the venues i'm playing
don't know why it didn't hit me earlier to do that
(you can find the links on myspace/salim)
it got my imagination fired up
and led to the realization that i'm about to step into
a completely different world
it's gonna be a trip

i'm gonna try to blog about it while i'm there
got the laptop ready for action
expecting to only have time to do this late at night
before bedtime
so bonzo nourallah is ready to type the action
stay tuned for the big adventure...

(polaroid part 3 coming tomorrow)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

polaroid (part 2)

missing funerals
might be my favorite recording on polaroid
sadly based on real events
i did miss my grandfather's funeral in the fall of 2002
i was too busy
trying to finish avoid danger before i left on tour
with r.m. for 2 months
i shouldn't have done that
i regret it
i loved him very much
he was a very special person

we did some things
i was working late late hours
usually after paying sessions in the studio
up until dawn sometimes
we did some things came to me in front of the recorder
i was fooling around with this mellotron sound
it set the sn imagination in to high gear
written and recorded on the spot
unlike most of my songs which are already finished before recording starts
may 23 2003
2 days before our wedding anniversary
i had the whole thing done around 6am
i paid the price the next day

this is another note to my coming soon son
"look sonny, your parents used to be hip!!"

the beatbox drums
jerk and sputter
almost falling out of time
because i had to lay it back over the track
after i had already recorded everything else
every 2 measures or so they would drift out of time
it took me 3 or 4 hours to get it to work right
going a measure at a time
oh the inefficient glory of the pre-computer recording days!

a family disease
i knew i was gonna catch hell for this one
i'm a stubborn you-know-what though
never been very good at the songwriting self-edit
to try and stave off potentially hurt feelings
i don't know if this is good bad or extremely selfish of me
i obviously ploughed ahead with this one
i hoped that maybe the writing on the back of the cd
could be small enough for them to miss the title?
i only vaguely remember writing this song
in our duplex before G came
march 12 2003
i guess i was thinking about what kind of father i was gonna be
hoping i wouldn't pass on the deep mistrust of humankind
that ran on one side of my family
the polaroids do a better version of this on the PL cd

the ones who hurt us
the first song i did with a. kelley
no one but me and him on this one
nice guitar and scratchy drums
another one i had laying around
used to be called "matador"
MF demoed it in '92
really wild chords
i'd written it while i was living in plano
mom had given me a cd by the spanish composer rodrigo
this came out after repeatedly listening to it
about a fatal flaw

one foot stuck in the past
recorded with faris
about a year before i started work on most of polaroid
written during a dark period of my life
"come around to leave you at dawn..."
well, you can only imagine what trouble i might have been up to
f thought i didn't like the way this one turned out
i did
that's why i stuck it on the record
could've ended up just being a finger picked acoustic number
if not for his imagination
i think a lot of people i've met seem to like this one the most
it's c. holts' favorite