Saturday, April 28, 2007

good day sunshine

thought i'd better write before this weekend's onslaught
i have 2 10 hour days in the studio
what a beautiful day it is
sun is high
birds chirping
nice little breeze
i'm trying to take in my 45 minutes of sun
before i go to the cave
when i get out
it'll be dark outside

i feel better though
thought i'd let you know
i'm avoiding my own music for now
until the "you suck" voice shuts up
i had two randomly flattering emails wednesday
one asking me if i'd read for the lead in a movie
one begging for a song of mine to be placed in a film
they made me feel good

i hope you have a pleasant weekend
whatever you're doing out there
enjoy some daylight for me



Wednesday, April 25, 2007


i've been a little under the weather
since saturday night
slowly snapping out of it
but i felt really down today
very unhealthy
like a blob
i wanted to get out and enjoy the day
take a long brisk walk with G
but i didn't have the energy
it bummed me out
we had a nice dinner with my parents
and G's cousins
then did some shopping
it cheered me up
but i've got even less energy now that we're back home
i think i'm going to turn in early tonight
i have a lot of work coming up this weekend
so i need to rest up
i'm going to be in trouble
snowing in my heart promos are coming from germany
next week
that's exciting
the cover art is nice
i think you'll like it
no american release date though
looks like western vinyl is closing up shop
at the end of this year
either that or they didn't have the heart to tell me
"your record es no good and muy stinky"
there's that nagging voice coming in again
taunting me
i'm actually feeling positive about parting ways
sad to end an almost 10 year relationship with such a wimper though
i wish i could've made brian s. a load of money
he's such a good person
and has stuck with me
and been really positive
i hope things turn around for him soon
i'm in his corner
i think this will be for the best
i just have to be patient
and stay positive
i listened to polaroid 2 days ago
with G
for the first time in ages
i must admit
i had to take it out after 4 songs
i couldn't listen to it
it's been a bad bad 2 weeks for me
in that respect
i've been freakishly self-critical
not sure why
but it sucks
and it's dragging me down
the only answer i've found is...
i wanna make my next record with billy harvey
his new one
has made me sick of everything i've ever done
it's so good
you should buy it
i've already written the songs for salim #4
i've already got a plan
to make a record
with just me and one other person
plain and simple
no more musical army
kinda like nourallah brothers
we'll see what happens

our only may show is going to be minus holt
(he's going to england with jlr - congrats new daddy rollins!!!!)
i wanted to play the granada with my friends
the damnwells
so i didn't want to cancel
apparently may 18th is the date every possible
SN guitar player is splitting town
lefler is in NYC
carter gone
duncan gone
no one left to cover
oh well
i'm sure it'll be ok but i'm really stressed out about it
gotta let go
none of these things matter
i know
rich can do steve nieve
in a heartbeat
lead keyboards
i'll be the little hands of concrete
why do i keep thinking about this show though?
in the swarming buzz of self-doubt
it feels like a musical fiasco in the making
sorry to bum you out tonight
i'll be ok soon
you know i'm just a moody little b****

Sunday, April 22, 2007

sonny and cher

What are your musical backgrounds?

Faris: I learned to play every instrument I know how to play because my brother wrote songs from an early age (16ish) and we both loved music (Beatles, E Costello, Squeeze, Clash, Jam)

Salim: As a kid growing up in El Paso I learned how to play chords on guitar just to take the songs I was hearing in my head & put them into something more tangible…to make “real” songs. I started playing bass guitar later. Now I consider it to be the only musical instrument I actually play well. My brother has always been a natural at picking up almost any instrument. Ever since he was a kid he loved making NOISE – any noise. When we were growing up he would bang on the drums or play electric guitar for hours & hours & I would sit in my room trying to write songs while the noise from his room came in through the air conditioning vents! He’s a true genius when it comes to playing & arranging music, actually quite intimidating because he’s so brilliant. So, for years, when comparing my musical abilities to his, I really only considered myself to be a musician by default - I HAD to become a musician of sorts in order to play my songs.

What did you listen to when you were kids and then teenagers?

Faris: The Beatles came early, along with in particular, solo Paul McCartney, and the '77 stuff came in the teen years. Basically, up until the ages of 19 or so we had the exact same favorite bands only I might champion The Clash one year and he The Jam!

Salim: Johnny Cash dressed head to toe in black singing from the boxcar of a train is my first recollection of seeing a musician on TV – I was maybe five years old at the time. The Beatles made me want to play music but I remember thinking they were such good singers I could never be as good as them.

You had been playing in (different?) bands for some time,and you decided to work together. What exactly made you decide to do that? Explore new genres (I don't know what kind of band(s)you were in), play some more personal compositions?

Faris: Actually, I'd only been in a band with my brother and have never been in a band with anyone else. I had never felt like I needed anything more than just playing my brother’s music as a means of creative expression up until that time period. I had just gotten married and two weeks after the marriage, things began to go horribly wrong and I HAD to write in order to attempt to deal with some of my emotions.

Salim: Three years ago, out of the blue, Faris suddenly started writing these amazing songs. It was really the first time he’d ever shown any interest in writing – I think because he was going through some really hard times & needed the emotional outlet. That is what created the “Nourallah Brothers.” If that had never happened my brain would never have snapped to attention & noticed that we were suddenly making some sort of “duo” record. ‘Cause you have to understand, as adolescent’s we always dreamt of being in the Clash or the Beatles, not Hall & Oates or Simon & Garfunkel. This is why my brother & I played together for years in bands, even though they were going absolutely nowhere. It was him coming into his own as a writer & singer that made our first record happen.

Although most of the songs on your first album were written by only one of you (half for Salim and half for Faris),the whole album is very coherent, just as if you were twins. I especially have difficulties in distinguishing between your voices. Are you aware of that or do you totally disagree?

Faris: I agree with you on the voice thing.

With which artists/musicians would you like to work with?

Faris: I have no ambition to work with anyone as I can barely stand to work with myself!! It gets confusing enough switching hats from "Now I'm the Engineer" to "Now I'm the Singer" to "Now I'm the Keyboardist..." In a way, that’s kind of fun. At least nobody’s feelings get hurt when you tell them what they did sucked!

Salim: There are plenty of people I’d like to work with, mainly producer/engineer types like Tchad Blake, Jon Brion or Hugh Jones…I still subscribe to the theory that “X amount of heads are better than one…” Its hard for me not to have daydreams every now & then of getting the opportunity to work with people whom I really admire, people who have made great records in the past…it would be a real thrill for me. I would like for it to happen at least once in my lifetime.
Would you or are the Nourallah Brothers songs too personal?

Salim: Can any song really be “too personal”? I don’t think so…maybe people who dislike John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band” would disagree with me?

How did you both get back together after Faris left to Portland after the recording of the album?

Faris: We didn't really get back together after I got back from Portland. Salim carried on doing the same thing he had been doing for ten years with some new guys. I recovered (will I ever?) from my divorce by building a more proper home studio and continuing to write, play and record music in a non-rock band format (by myself). Salim showed up, every now and then, when he had some time.

Salim: We’re a bit like Sonny & Cher during the “rocky” years, I guess…you decide for yourself who’s more like Cher!

What made you decide to record a new album?

Faris: As far as the new album, that’s the current big debate!! Do we have one or have I just started my solo career??????? Time will only tell…

Salim: The first one did oh, so well, we owed it to ourselves to come up with a hit-laden follow-up. MTV was calling to us!!!

What can we expect from the new album?

Salim: Lots of painstaking reflections over song selection, song order & whether we’re truly “finished” recording or not! Since the first one was a fluke, making a follow-up under the now “defined” musical moniker “Nourallah Brothers” has been a tricky proposition.

When should it be out?

Salim: It should be out NOW but we can’t seem to agree on what exactly it “is” we’re going to put out!!! So who knows when…oh, we also need a label to actually “put it out” – the age-old dilemma.

Retrospectively, what do you think of the first album (you started in 1998right?)?
What will happen to the others tracks you recorded (over 50 !)?

Faris: Retrospectively, I love the first record and would love to release a companion CD in the future with some of the material that didn't make it onto the first CD.

Salim: For me, it’s always hard to look back without thinking of all the things I could have done better…the miserable life of a perfectionist, I suppose…so, some days I love the CD, other days it sounds incredibly flawed. The “other” tracks have joined scores & scores of additional “other” tracks recorded since then that may never see the “light of day” - so to speak

I must admit we have quite a negative idea of Texas : racism,homophobia, death penalty... (yeah I know I watch too much TV,but what I saw was quite frightening...)

Faris: Racism: Actually my Dad settled here as a Syrian immigrant and fit in nicely with the large hispanic population. His accent stuck out too much in Michigan!!!
Homophobia: I believe that Dallas has the second largest gay population in America, or at least it seems that way.
Death Penalty: Yes, but not for bad fashion or we'd lose half the states population overnight!

Salim: I must admit I have a rather negative view of Texas myself…sorry…maybe I should move to France then?

How would you describe living in Texas ? Why or why not would you move ?

Faris: Living in Texas is interesting. The place definitely has a vibe. Land is cheap as the state is large so things just kind of sprawl. The Hispanic influence adds a nice flavor (great Tex-Mex food). I don't want to move because my family supports me financially and they're all here and I would miss them. But mainly because they support me financially!!

Salim: There are plenty of good bands here that seem to only be appreciated in other places, lot’s of very talented musicians in this town. Faris & I were raised in El Paso but moved to Dallas over 10 years ago to be in a better musical environment. I’ve always wondered what my life would have been like if I had moved somewhere else…Dallas is by no means a musical “Mecca” but neither is Austin, despite its worldwide reputation. I think Austin is musically very narrow-minded. If you don’t play music that sounds like you’re from “Texas” there, no one will listen to you.

What would you say to destroy those French prejudices on Texas ?

Faris: I can say nothing to destroy French prejudices on Texas as those prejudices exist for valid reasons.
Salim: Didn’t Depeche Mode say it best? “People are people…”

I learned that you did a few concerts in Europe. What struck you and more generally what was your impression on European people?

Faris: Salim did a concert in Europe as the free trip was too tempting to turn down. I thought we didn't play live.

Salim: As our first record was unplanned from its inception & came out through Western Vinyl quite accidentally, Faris & I never actually sat down & “defined” what the “Nourallah Brothers” were all about, per se. At some point, right after the album’s release, I tried to convince Faris to perform some of the music on the CD live. We had one rehearsal & then he decided he “never wanted to perform again.” I went to Holland not only for the sheer experience of it all but also hoping that I could meet people that would help us release our next album in Europe…since we are not “signed” to Western Vinyl & have no assurances that any of our future CD’s will be released by them or any one else, for that matter. Anyway, it ended up being the single best musical experience of my entire life – I only wish that my brother would have gone & enjoyed it with me. The people in Holland were astoundingly gracious & it was an experience I will value the rest of my life.

Would you come back?

Salim: Of course I would.

Did you get back in touch with Steve Fellows to envisage (create) an international career or are you happy like you are?

Faris: Without an International career, I'm sure I wouldn't have one as it seems our music has been MUCH better received overseas. Perhaps we didn't rap enough or have enough Yahoo! on the first record.....Hmmmmm...
Salim: I guess Faris is trying to say that our first record was almost completely ignored in the USA & the only small bits of notice we’ve received have been abroad. Our country is simply too large & too dominated by corporate record labels to put out a record as small as ours & hope for any amount of attention.

We discovered you through the web site, and you have 4 track one can freely download on your website What do you think the Internet can bring to "independent" bands like you ?

Faris: The internet has been great!! Besides the music and communication thing, now I don't have to leave my house and I get everything in the mail which really excites me.

Salim: Anything that gives people all over the world the ability to communicate with each other is an absolute blessing – without the internet our future making music would be even bleaker than it already is!

We are not going to ask the influence question directly but ask what you think of artists like :
- Bob Dylan?

Faris: I've never heard any of the artists on your list except in casual passing (i.e. I walked through a room in which someone had Ron Sexsmith on their stereo, I heard Bob Dylan on the radio). The older I get the more I trust my pre-pubescent musical taste.
Salim: Isn’t he the one who turned the Beatles on to pot?

Ron Sexsmith?

Salim: I think Faris walked through my room once when I was playing him!

Elliot Smith? (Bruno who's working with me on said about your album "it's like having two Eliott Smiths on the same record !")

Salim: I wonder if he gets along with himself?

Neil Young?

Salim: I guess he wrote some good songs once upon a time – I never really liked his voice.

Will Oldham?

Salim: See: Neil Young.


Salim: My wife loves them.

Tom Waits?

Salim: Our friend Bob Schneider has always loved him.

Faris: Thanks for your interesting questions! I had fun.

Salim: Thanks Paul & Purjus!!!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

the ghost of sadness

the ghost of sadness hangs all around
she gently drapes her long fingernails
down the front of my shirt
whispers sad sweet nothings in my ear
"remember who you lost this week? was this time last year...the 17th of april..."
i'm happy
"but the world is full of sadness"
the sun is out
"can you see all those people in pain?"
the birds chirping
"listen to their cries for help"
my son singing playfully
"what about the virginia kids?"
my life is bliss
"you'll come back to me sooner or later..."
i spend every second like it could be the last
"and it could be my boy...wait and see..."

the ghost of sadness hanging on the line
banging on the door
waiting in the wings
singing "you'll be mine again soon"
i fight her off with daylight
beat her back with major chords
switch the TV off
tune out her whispers
block out her drone
throw open the windows
and put my favorite record on

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

don't dream, it's over

Saturday, April 30, 2005

i have to admit
five weeks out here has felt like five days
although i'm ready to come home
i'm also a little sad
last night we wrapped up tracking at good ole sound city
i've actually grown quite fond of it's dark comfy innards
it was my home away from home for a month
and i'm going to miss george
and the rest of the gang
for our last marathon day
gary louris (from the jayhawks)
sang backups for 10 hours
we inhaled george's moms world famous spanikopita
ate ice cream cake like there was no waist line
watched captain midnight get funky on the G4
and downed at least a gallon of drako’s renowned sangria
it was a perfect ending to this weird
little dream…

Sunday, April 15, 2007

warp factor 6

i'm playing hookie with gavin today
i was supposed to go in to the studio
but i just couldn't muster the energy
monday's manic session with jon brion fried everyone
he was only available for one day
and went from 1pm to 4am
it was the most frantic recording session i've ever been a part of
i've never seen anything like it
hopping from one instrument to another
an onslaught of musical ideas that we'll be sorting out
for weeks
fun but mentally exhausting for everyone but jon!!
he's the energizer bunny of rock'n'roll
"i can drink beer and play guitar all night!!!"
and he did...

going home in 3 days
i can't believe how fast this whole thing has rushed by
it's been weird totally disconnecting from our life back in texas
i already knew that i loved what we have back there
but this whole thing has re-inforced my feelings
there's this feeling i get out here
people desperately chasing after fortune's tail
it makes me uneasy
when i first visited here with faris
13 years ago
maybe i was one of those people?
in the sense that i was looking for a life i had no hopes of finding
until i reached 30
what about this record we're making?
gary louris from the jayhawks
is flying in from minnesota today
to sing backups
rhett and i are both studio fried
our trip to disneyland yesterday has me feeling re-energized
gavin loved it
it wore him out though
poor little guy is still sleeping and it's almost 11am!!
patrick warren
(george's quote "the original jon brion")
came in earlier his week and played some amazing piano
and chamberlain
he was great
rhett played the largo last night
but we were so worn out from d-land
that we stayed home and watched "village of the damned" instead
(hurt/weaver version)
i loved it and then passed out...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

warp factor 5

Friday, April 15, 2005

i just finished listening
to the final mastered version of "beautiful noise"
it sounded great
thank you golden mastering
i wish i could have made the session
but it wasn't to be
i'm ready to sign off on it now
almost 8 months of obsessing on this record
i'm so relieved to be finished
i'm writing from sound city
in van nuys
george says
"that's the mortal coil man
it burns really deep before it fades..."
he's got the gift of the one liners
that's for sure
"i'm stylin' it!!!!!!"
the mood is still pretty spirited here
which is good 'cause we're all really tired
rhett is cutting vocals
so i've got some time on my hands
they're grilling him good
with a tuner in between the speakers
that's a tough one
but he's taking it well
i've found that myspace is excellent
for mindless time killing
hello all my dear friends!!
i miss each and every one of you...

Monday, April 09, 2007

warp factor 4

Thursday, April 14, 2005

we logged over 50 hours in the studio in the last 4 days
12 basic tracks have been finished
including guitars
everyone was a little crispy yesterday
we're holding up though
today i feel better
this feels kind of like rock'n'roll band camp
it seems like we've hit our stride now
the mood has lightened considerably from the week of tracking drums
i'm having a great time now
george is one eccentric
but hilarious guy
and i'll take that any day over milk toast
his roy orbison/danzig stories are hysterical
remind me one day to tell
"i'm stylin' it!!!"
i think he's got a screen play waiting to happen
so where's wes A.?
the rough mixes are sounding great
and jon brion is coming in next week
to help with overdubs
that's going to be a super-cool experience
the hours have been crazy and i miss my family
but at least the good times are rolling again

Thursday, April 05, 2007

warp factor 3

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

so far we've been putting in 12 hour days
working on basic tracks
6 songs started and 10 to go
it's been a lot of fun even though the days have been pretty brutal
wearing headphones for 10 hours is a bit much!!
me lyle and matt
are set up in the big tracking room
with our own separate stations
lyle is surrounded by a bizillion pedals and guitars
plus about 10 amplifiers
he's a lanky blonde headed wacky guy
matt has 18 snare drums
6 vintage kits
and tons of cases full of stuff
m.c. is soft spoken and cool
an amazing drummer
i now know why he is LA's most highly sought-after
session drummer
he can do EVERYTHING
they both had their own techs haul their gear in
and set it up before they arrived
i have 1 bass
rhett partitioned off to the side
he's been hilarious
in great spirits
i know he's really excited about finally working on his record
i found out about some more records tracked
in the very same room we're in
it's kind of a fun assortment of rock legends...
all the rick springfield hits form the '70's
i've gotten a kick out of picturing rick belt out
"jesse's girl" in the very same vocal booth i'm staring at
fleetwod mac "rumours"
did stevie and mick do piles of blow
on the very same drab wood kitchen table we eat at?
foreigner "double vision"
tom petty "damn the torpedos"
weezer "pinkerton"
all the pat benatar hit records
mick jagger "the wanderer" (hilarious...)
this studio could be called
the double platinum factory

Monday, April 02, 2007

warp factor 2

Monday, April 04, 2005

today's the 1st day of recording
off to sound city in van nuys
where we've been told nirvana recorded "nevermind"
and weezer did "pinkerton"
i'm sure there's been tons of other big records made there as well
lyle workman (beck)
is playing electric guitar
matt chamberlain on drums
(fiona apple, finn brothers, new bohemians and tons more)
josh schwartz on acoustic (ex-beachwood sparks)
and lastly
on bass (ex-nourallah brothers HA-HA!!!)
george promised a quick start as matt is
"bringing his own sound"
i'm sceptical about the quick start
but i'll be wearing the new pair of black clarks
he gave me last week
2 very important people are flying in today
i can't wait to see them
wish them safe travels for me