Thursday, June 28, 2007

best aftermath

the show last night
with pete best
was beautiful
and poignant
i found out
he played around 1000 shows with the beatles
in 3 years
a ridiculous amount
a lifetime's worth of gigs

i've been performing 17 years
and i'm only hovering around 700
it became even more obvious to me than before
why his ousting from the band
was so bitter
we got a chance to play to a lot of people
most of whom probably would never have heard
or seen us before
so that was cool
they were all very gracious
and complimentary
and seated
the noise played great
and i think we actually had one of our best
granada shows
the salimunist/mao posters were very popular
with the older beatle fans
which was funny
'cause the kids don't get the pun

pete was very soft spoken
and extremely polite
to tell the truth
most of the night
he looked dead tired
who could blame him?
they'd been up since 4:30am
to play on TV
he's in his mid-sixties
a man half his age would've been worthless
he played the drums for 2 hours
then signed autographs for 2 more
most of the time it looked like he could barely hold his pen
it was actually very touching
they're playing 27 dates in 30 days
not by comfy bus though
just a plain white van
pretty hard travelling even for younger men
i had to ask myself the question
"why's he doing this?"
maybe to get a slight taste of what he missed
all those years ago?
i guess nobody knows but pete...

at the end of the show the autograph line held almost
everyone who had attended the show
a bunch of people with multiple things made it slow going
drum heads
he even signed a guitar
we waited to the very end
and finally snapped a quick picture
with poor tired pete
who kindly perked up a bit when i told him my son
would someday get a kick out of this picture
bucks was talking to him about the talking heads
when jayme and i waved farewell
and headed off to get our little G

the end of another beautiful night

Sunday, June 24, 2007

best of the beatles

it's been a beautiful
we've intentionally done very little today
i can't think of the last time
i did so little
for breakfast
jayme made migas
and blueberry muffins
they were delicious
then she even made me vanilla coffee
my favorite!!

we put teletubbies on for gavin
then went back to bed
and watched "reno 911"
what can i say?
it was stupid...
but amusing
it was nice just to lay around
and do nothing
after that jayme did some painting
and i did a bit of running in place

this wednesday night
at the granada theater

i'm playing a show with an ex-beatle
that's right
i'm not delusional
when i was a kid
i sure never thought i'd end up writing these words
ok, ok
so it's not paul
or even ringo
but pete best was a beatle once
that's something only 2 other people
in the whole world can say

it's gonna be fun
good weird fun
i'm very excited about the "historic" ramifications
of this gig
for me here in nourallahland
they are immense

come thursday night
i can finally say
as i point an old craggled finger
"sonny boy...
i once opened up for a beatle!!"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

my father

fayez salim nourallah
was born in jebleh syria
12th child of 13
birthdate unknown
no birth certificate
no record anywhere of his birth
no one knows the exact date for sure
my mother
assigned him a birthday in september
because she decided he had to be a virgo
based on the characteristics
of his personality:
erratically charming
aware of the slightest of personal imperfections
a compulsive worker
a perfectionist
a worrier

his mother had once told him
snow was on the ground when he was born
so my mom figured it must have been winter or fall
when he was born
maybe that's why i've always forgotten
my dad's birthday
it always seemed like kind of a sham
or sadly
at least a good excuse to forget
"the man with no birthday"
sounds like a song title
doesn't it?

my father was a super scholar
as a young man
determined to escape poverty
any way he could
he once memorized most of an english dictionary
to pass a test
his closest brother ahbid
who was two years older than he
was a pilot in the syrian airforce
my father idolized him

in 1957
while dad was away
attending cairo university
on a scholarship
ahbid was killed
when his airplane mysteriously crashed
during a routine test flight
my father's family didn't contact him
because they knew it would have shattered him
to the extent that he might have failed out of college
he didn't find out the horrible news
until after he'd finished school
when we were kids
he still spoke of his brother often
like he was speaking about some kind of a superhero
i don't think he ever got over the loss
he never seemed to be close to any of his other siblings

in 1962 my dad received an offer
to attend the university of illinois
he wanted to be a medical doctor
but settled for accounting because
his family didn't have enough money for him to attend medical school
his father
my grandfather
drove a school bus back in jebleh
they were very poor

dad later met my mother at U of I
they moved to el paso in 1970
faris and i were the only 2 kids at that time
my dad had gotten a job offer
teaching accounting at UTEP
he also had one in boston
i always wondered what our lives would have been like
if he'd taken us there instead
but el paso reminded him of syria
with the rough mountains
and open vistas
that's why he chose it

fayez nourallah was the first and only member of his family
to leave syria
pretty remarkable
considering the odds against it
but he ended up a man lost somewhere between two worlds
his whole life spent grappling with some sort of deep seeded mistrust
of western culture
i never understood this when i was a child
or even as a young adult
many years of resentment harboured toward him
by all of his children
now i just feel a bit sorry for him
he tried his best
he worked his ass off
he's still working at 71
and would've gone to the ends of the earth
for any one of his children
a difficult and complex man
there was probably never a chance for him to be understood
by any of us
some of the good things he taught me:

to never be a follower
to always be honest
to be fair
to be committed to your family's well being above all else
to attack your occupation with rabid diligence

these are all really important things to me
i think i finally see it now
what a positive influence he had on me

i hope my dad had a wonderful father's day

Friday, June 15, 2007

still alive and kicking

don't worry
the cockroaches didn't get me
i've just been really busy
i'm sorry
i apologize for my absence
it's friday night and i'm looking forward
to 2 days off this weekend
i hope to have more time to write
if you're feeling bored tomorrow night
stop by the all-good
for some music
dave little
and then
you guessed it...
music starts around 8pm

i received some good news this past week
HBO's show the wire
decided to place my song
"don't be afraid"
in an upcoming fall episode
this is particularly cool
as it's the 1st european single
off of snowing in my heart
i also got my 1st 6 tour dates confirmed
and set a plan in motion
to have my friend's in siebeth
tour as my backing band
not only do i get to look forward to hanging out more
with siebeth martin and sonke
but also
we get to make a racket together!!
it's gonna be fantastic
tony sheridan and the silver beatles
look out!!
and speaking of tony...
i'm opeing for pete best at the granada
in two weeks
that's gonna be awesome too
i've got a lot of good shows coming up
and i should have the new cd in about 3 weeks
it'll put a period at the end of a 2 year sentence
i gotta go now
time to put G to bed

see you later!!


p.s. if you have a sec
please send out a thought for erik
lee's nephew
he's only a teenager
and is having a very dangerous surgery
on his spine

Thursday, June 07, 2007


i have a friend who waited almost 30 years
to finally make his first record
it was a difficult thing to do
i won't go into the details
because they're personal
but it took a lot of guts
it wasn't made so he could become a pop star
it was made out of love for music
the record has a lot of good songs on it
it may or may not be your bag
it doesn't matter
it's a multi-textural
lovely record
and i'm proud of it

a local music blog has been drawing lots of attention
to itself
by pointlessly bashing this record
this is so absurd
it's not like it's the latest sony records release
with a 6 figure signing advance attached to it
it's been in the good records top 10
for the last month
a big whoop for a D.I.Y. indie release
but not a big whoop otherwise
i guess it's been reason enough to get the blog roaches interested
as the amount of bile
and jealousy
has been a bit staggering
of course all of it has come from "anonymous" commentators
like a bunch of cockroaches
hiding in the dark
it's so easy to hurl insults when no one knows who you are
it's the lowest form of cowardice
the second you shine a light in their direction
i guarantee they'll scatter

so for anyone still wondering why the dallas music scene
is barely a blip on the world radar
here's another fine example for you

even if melodic non-aggressive music is not your bag
it's hardly the kind of stuff to venomously rail against
like someone set your grandma on fire

i 'm just going to forget about it
so in case you're waiting for me to reply
to one of your insipid comments
keep on waiting
i'm not going back to that site
i won't have any idea how clever you are
at being an asshole

i enjoyed a beautiful day with my family
in the park
that's what i should have written about today
much more noteworthy than this

Monday, June 04, 2007

later with jools

i can't sleep
it's 2:30am
i'm exhausted
but my mind is on overdrive
i'm not sure why
i feel kind of revved up
and excited about things coming up on the horizon
there's no particular reason
i've just been feeling really good lately
and unusually positive
i just heard the sound of gavin's bedroom door opening
he usually sleepwalks right in to our room
around this time
every night
now i hear him saying something
i'd better go see what's up...

when i checked his room
gavin was sitting straight up in bed
he wanted "momma"
so i took him in to her
and somehow managed to step on something
in the dark
that slit open the bottom of my left
big toe
so now i'm bleeding
and typing this
i should probably go look for a friggin' band-aid
i'll be back...

i've got a nice little band-aid
on now
and my toe is throbbing
i wonder what this is gonna do for my insomnia
all i gotta say for now is
i've been watching a lot of later with jools holland
'cause we finally went HD here
(it's fantastic!!! amazing - i will watch anything now - no matter how boring)
it's cool jools is a mini celeb now in britain
i did love his ex-band a lot in the early '80s
squeeze's "eastside story"
is one of the best pop albums of all-time
"mumbo jumbo"
"woman's world"
even if you hate "tempted"
which i actually do
go buy this record!!!
although jools was gone by the time they made it
he has a lot of fine acts on his show
the good, the bad and the queen
with paul simonon
was one of my most recent faves
i highly recommend their new cd
if you don't already own it
"kingdom of doom" is in heavy rotation
on my ipod right now
like any music related show
later with jools holland also has their fair share of dodgy acts
acts that leave me scratching my head and wondering
"how on earth did THEY get on here??!!!???"
i've come to the conclusion that if they can
well then
why not me?
i think i'd like to be on later with jools
it's a new goal of mine
not conan
not carson ego
or jimmy kibbles n'bits
not big head leno
i'll take a trip to the UK
maybe ringo will turn up when i play?
i'm going to europe in the fall
i think i could work them into my schedule
what do you think?
why not, right?
i agree

now i need to get back to my insomnia...