Tuesday, September 30, 2008

headless salim impersonates chicken

it's been a frantic week
as the economy threatens to crash
i've been running around doing my headless chicken routine
working like mad
but i still can't seem to pay all of our bills
$500 dollars worth of medicine today
so i can get rid of the H pylori
4 new tires for jayme's car
and a slew of other expenses pouring in
i guess i'm worth 1.5 million right?
so it shouldn't be too hard to find a way to pay them all
the good news is
i've got all kinds of projects coming in
and on the horizon it looks great
if all goes well
2009 could end up being PL's best yet
hopefully the impending gloom and doom
won't crush our little recording studio
jayme has a busy month ahead too
but we still make it month to month
we can never get ahead
just like so many others i guess
i can't help but wonder if
god forbid
i ever got sick
and couldn't work for a long while
what on earth would we do?
i guess i shouldn't think those thoughts...

ciphers came in the mail friday
it turned out very nice
jayme's cover painting is awesome
and if you happen to show up to one of my october
residency shows
at the city tavern (starting this thursday)
i might be able to let you pick one up
before the official "cd release" show
on october 25
at the granada
(ssshhhh...i didn't just tell you that, it's a secret)
i've got the cd buying bug myself lately
it's been awhile since i last had it
a long time actually
but the new wreckless eric/amy rigby
is good
and i think i'm gonna get chris difford's latest
and tim roger's "hysteria of luxury"
salim vs. shibboleth is inching along
we cut two new old ones
"sorry seems to be the hardest word"
"the things we do for love"
now i just need to find the time to record vocals
for the new ones
this record is going to be very nice

there's a great bill at dada this thursday
the 1st anju gill presents show
3 of dallas' finest young songwriters
jacob metcalf
sammy strittmatter
philip creamer
i actually recommend that you go to that
and support these great
up and coming writers
over going to my C.T. show
i'll be there all month afterall
once we get around to finishing it

Saturday, September 27, 2008

jj always gets his man

my dad told me this story years ago...

he was doing the tax return
of a pakistani medical doctor
who called him up one day in a panic
"my wife has lost a bag with $300,000 dollars in it!!
she is hysterical"
"what?" my father slowly replied
"how did this happen?..."
the wife was apparently at a local hotel
with an indian man
who happened to work for her husband
she had a bag with $300,000 in cash
that she was transporting
for her husband
she failed to explain why she was at a hotel
with the man
she said that after she came back from the ladies' room
the man
and the bag
had gone missing...

she was very upset
especially about the man being gone
"i know exactly who to call" my father said
"jay armes!!"

the doctor and armes met later that day
at my dad's accounting office on chelsea
the doctor recounted his wife's story
as jj sat there and quietly took it all in
after the doctor was finished
jj said
"i will get the money back for you...i need $20,000 up front
and then $30,000 once i get it back"
the doctor wrote him a check for 20K on the spot
jj immediately traced the rental of a private plane
to the indian man
who had flown it to dallas
and then caught a commercial flight to new deli
the wife was still very upset
so upset
in fact
that she went to india herself
to find the escape artist
weeks later
she returned to el paso
not with the money
but with the man
she was now very happy
and explained to her husband that this poor indian man's
family needed the money desperately
and she didn't have the heart to ask for it back
soon afterwards
the wife and her doctor husband
moved to california
along with the indian man
the money was gone
but armes still got his extra 30K

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

acapulco christmas

senor papadopoulos
was a greek immigrant
that came to mexico
as a child
he represented the classic tale
of coming from less than nothing
to achieve wealth and success beyond
most people's wildest dreams
papadopoulos was a larger than life character
he didn't even seem like a real person to me
more like a comic book character
or someone from the movies
kinda like a greek/mexican john wayne
he was a large man
at least 6'3"
broad shouldered
and well-fed
with a wide torso and short legs (like wayne)
he had a deep belly laugh that would threaten
to bring the china down off the shelves
he wore little round wire glasses
his head was perfectly round and balding with thin whispy
white hair
i never saw him wearing anything but expensive business suits
he was a loud talker
in slow broken english
he would carefully spell out whatever point he was trying to make
with a heavy mexican accent
usually about "poli-tik"
his family lived in torreón mexico
they were seriously wealthy
i think they owned factories
hotels and car dealerships
one christmas my dad decided we should take a trip
to acapulco
in the south of mexico
not by plane
like most sane americans would do
but instead
by land
we borrowed dr. golam mortuza's
chevy love van
it was brown
with hideous shag carpet
and a penchant for going into outrageous spasms
whenever you tried to shift uphill
my parents made my sister sit with her back up against the refrigerator
to stop the door from swinging open
it was broken
and she wasn't very happy about the situation
we set forth on our 1100 mile trip
2 weeks before christmas
i remember all of us kids (except miriam) nervously
pearing over our dad's shoulder
as he drove through the mexican desert at dusk
we'd noticed many cars driving with no headlghts
and passing
on the narrow 2 lane road
my mom often let out a shrill "WATCH OUT FAAZZZ!!!"
as another car with no headlights spead past
it was hard to relax
dad's name was pronounced FIY-EZ
why couldn't my mom ever say it right?
when we got to torreón
we were relieved
to still be alive
the papadopoulos family
put us up in one of their hotels
and we went over to their mansion
and had dinner one night
we were to stay at one of their apartments
in acapulco
on the way there we passed through mexico city
and it left a firm impression on my adolescent mind
"i'm never EVER coming back here"
i thought to myself
it was beyond shocking how dirty and poor this mexico city was
i'd never seen anything like it
miles upon miles of cardboard hovels
covered by a thick pea soup of smog
it was like one vast junkyard
by the time we got to acapulco we were all ready to go home
but now we were 1100 miles away from home
in a borrowed piece of shit chevy van
my dad wanted to hit the beach right away
after 3 hours on the beach he came down with a terrible case
of montezuma's revenge
he was in bed or on the toilet
the rest of our 4 day stay in acapulco
our mother took us to a pizza hut downtown
the first night
while dad stayed at el apartmento hugging the commode
in el banyo
mom hooked chevy love on a dingy volkswagon
while she was trying to parallel park
in front of pizza hut
she was very scared and upset when a skinny old man
ran up to her
shaking his finger in her face
and yelling wildly in spanish
a kind man passing by
who happened to speak english
told her "he says he knows the owner of the beetle -
give him a few dollars and he'll shut up"
so she did
and he went away
we left with no police involvement
or further hassle
the only other things i remember is miriam and mom getting stuck
in the elevator in the apartment building
miriam looked kinda green after they finally emerged
from the 4 by 4 metal box
i think she still has a thing with elevators now
after that faris threw baby brother ameer's clothes out of the window
of our highrise apartment
we watched them fall several stories below
to an adjacent rooftop full of air conditioners
ameer cried
and cried
and cried some more
on the way back to el paso the van started shaking uncontrollably
in the middle of the mexican jungle
it was like an epileptic having a terrible seizure
then it stopped running
we were stranded by the side of the road
in the middle of nowhere
in the mexican jungle
i thought at that very moment
"ok - it's over - we're all going to die now -
thanks dad - thanks mom - way to go!!!
we didn't even make it to christmas
no toys
no fun
just death in the mexican jungle..."
i have no idea how we managed to make it out alive
but we did
it was a nourallah christmas miracle!
my parent's didn't speak a word of spanish
and no one where we were stranded
spoke a word of english
but somehow
in only a matter of hours
some natives fixed the van
maybe with twigs and banana leaves?
we were nerrily back on our way way
racing through the winding two lane roads
battling oncoming traffic with no headlights
praying to god we'd make it back to old el paso

we got home on christmas afternoon
(nice planning parents!)
before we'd even unpacked our bags
my sister let out a scream from her room
she was hysterical
her goldfish jamaica was laying in the middle of
the crusty yellow shag carpet
withered and dry
dead as can be
from an apparent chrstmas suicide
miriam was distraught
so my parents came up with another great idea
to take us all out for christmas dinner
as we slowly perused the main drag
mesa street
the only place we found open
was a sambo's diner
my dad pronounced it "sambo"
he always took the S off of everything
luby's was luby
macdonald's - macdonald
and so on...
in the middle of ordering our meal
we heard loud shouting coming from the kitchen
accompanied by a string of profanities
then a tall lean black man in a chef's hat
came racing out of the kitchen
and through the front door
our waiter appeared minutes later
and apologetically explained
that the chef had just quit
and he would be taking over for him
the only problem was
he really only knew how to make eggs
so we all ate scrambled eggs for christmas
at sambo
on mesa street

Sunday, September 21, 2008

club dada september 20

last night's show at club dada
was one of my all-time favorites
there was a serious party going on right in front of us
while we played
bob jammed on his keyboard and a mob
sang and danced
and smiled
the noise was like a well-oiled machine
ploughing through my back catalogue of songs
with power efficiency and finesse
the love the audience sent back our way
was so beautiful
and touching
especially in light
of some of the bad things swirling around our lives
over these past few weeks
i was using in ear monitors for the very first time
and i had a near religious experience
i can't even begin to describe how cool it was
the music was right there in my head
like i've always wanted it to be
not a second wasted on these usual thoughts
"i wish i could hear my voice..."
"it would be really nice to hear what chords i'm playing..."
i was able to thoroughly lose myself in the moment
it was unlike any show i've ever played
it's what i'd like to achieve every time
i plug in a guitar
or step up to a microphone
but it's spoiled so many times
by the dodgy onstage sound
even the slightest thing wrong
and i'm unable to transcend
last night i transcended...
thanks a million to tom bridwell
for bringing his in-ears for me to check out
i've seen the light now
and i'm never going back to the caveman way
of floor monitors
those things are like a doctor bleeding someone with a leech
in comparison to the in-ears

so now my friends
guitar center is calling my name
i have a purchase to make!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

j.j. armes

let's go back to the 1970s
back to el paso
where the arab american community
was living large
kinda like the sopranos
in west texas
but with dolmas instead of pasta
baklava instead of cannoli
the men had dark bushy sideburns
and unibrows
and gold chains
with tufts of chest hair pouring out
over silk disco shirts
plaid pants
heavy accents
white belts
leisure suits
velour track suits
and jaguars
working capitalism to the fullest
all born in the "old country"
trying to raise their own families in america
(well el paso was almost america)

my dad seemed to be in the epicenter of this bizarre community
of middle eastern ex-patriots
he was very popular
and well-respected
they all seemed to look up to him somehow
he was like the "quarterback"
of the high school football team
though i'm not sure why
fayez could be overly blunt
and abrasive at times
but then again
they all could
he was an accountant
maybe it had to do with saving them all loads of money
on their taxes?
i don't know
i was too young to understand
too caught up in my own kid trip
to pay close attention to the circus tent
pitched over my dad's life
he never seemed like a social person to me
but now that i look back
he had tons of friends and clients
jay j. armes was one of his most well-known
and eccentric friends
armes was a private investigator who'd lost both of his arms
in an accident involving "explosive railroad signaling devices"
when he was only twelve years old
his 15 minutes of fame came in 1972 with a case
involving the return of marlon brando's son
after he was kidnapped
the most bizarre thing about j.j. armes
was that he
in fact
had 2 prosthetic arms
described like this in his very own press release
"Amazingly, Jay can now do more with the fantastic steel claws that have replaced his hands than people with their own hands can do. He can reach into fire, smash through doors, fire bullets with unerring accuracy, cut through metal, fly utilizing a jet pack, scuba dive, pilot a jet -- and he is the master of the deadliest karate chop. No wonder Jay J. Armes is the most famous, most sought after investigator in the world."

when i was a kid though
it wasn't the fake arms that impressed me about jay j.
it was that he had his very own zoo
with a pet tiger and cheetah

in 1976 Kenner produced the short-lived j.j. armes
action figure line
a little mini jay was sold in a window box
10-inches tall
dressed in pants
a sweater and a vest marked "jj"
with black boots too
jay's molded hair helmet covered the upper part of his ears
just like all the dudes did in '76
the best part though
was that instead of hands
the j.j. armes action figure had clever accessories
stored in a red briefcase
for use instead of real hands
they were:
2 suction cups for climbing walls
a magnet for hanging onto steel structures
a machete to cut his way out of tough situations
a pair of "fake" hands for undercover roles
a hook that converts to a pistol
a pair of spring loaded hooks
oh how i wanted my very own j.j. armes action figure...

i never got one

now enjoy this nice video about jj


Sunday, September 14, 2008

wreckless E

i woke up feeling great this morning
a lot of good news this weekend
but also a lot of R and R
i'm going back to austin one more time
to tweak "constellation" just a bit
with lars
then it'll be officially finished!
tapete has already set May '09
as the european release date
i know exactly what i want to do now
i'm ready
but not waiting
or thinking too much about it
before i set this plan up
i was spending a little too much time
obsessing on the little things about this record
that were bothering me
i've let go of that now...
G money and i have spent a pleasant sunday
doing absolutely NOTHING
the weather is perfect
sunny and not too warm
not a cloud in sight
we went for a walk
kicked the soccer ball in the backyard
played tickle fall-downing
ate peaches and poptarts
sang some songs
sang some more songs
and had a "combursation"
my mind is clear
i'm in the moment
no racing thoughts
or distractions
nothing elese matters but this day
spent with my 5 year old son
i wish J didn't have to work and could've joined us!

i saw the legendary wreckless eric friday night
at the all-good
his debut album hangs on the wall of pleasantry lane
a stiff records classic
30 years later he's still doing it
not for fame or fortune
but outta love for music
he played with his wife amy rigby
and watching them both have the time of their lives
was one of the most inspiring things
i'd seen in ages
i bought his autobiography a dysfunctional success
after the show
i'm 50 pages in and it's great
very funny
and colorful
in person he was really genuine
and kind
he told me about the revox
a tape machine they bounced all the records down to
in the stiff days
he still even uses it now
he also invited me and the family to the south of france to play
their town bar
next time i make it back to europe
i think i'm gonna try to do this
i know it would be a wonderful experience
between meeting him
and squeeze's john bentley last week
i guess i had more than my fair share
of good times
with the 1978 set
they both left me with such a good feeling...
p.s. do yourself a favour
and go buy wreckless eric's "donovan of trash"
or "big smash"
"eastside story" from squeeze - producer by el catzu
is also an all-time classic with some of john bentley's best

Thursday, September 11, 2008

burn after reading

i just want to say
thank you
so many friends have come out of the woodwork
to show their love and support
for us
we love you for it

anyway...on a different subject
over the past couple of days
jayme and i have been listening to
eckhart tolle's book
"a new earth"
sarah jane lent it to us
before she left on her brave adventure
tolle's book is amazing
we're only 3 cds in
of 8
and we've both been completely riveted
so far it's dealt mainly with
the ego and the insanity and chaos
it creates for us
i highly recommend it
to any
and everyone

eckhart tolle believes that humanity needs
to make a shift of consciousness in order to
save ourselves and the planet
to make a "saner more loving world"

my favorite quote is this:
"if the history of humanity were the clinical
case history of a single human being, the
diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid
delusions, a pathological propensity to commit
murder, and acts of extreme violence and cruelty
with a few brief moments of lucidity."

it's a powerful book
go get it
read it
spread the word



Friday, September 05, 2008

the ft. worth exploson!!!!

wednesday night at dada was amazing
i will remember it the rest of my life
i saw so many close friends i hadn't seen in ages
it was the most positive show i'd been at
since september 3, 2007
we sang carter's songs
and our own
and honored his memory
it was triumphant
not sad
and even though there were still moments
when we all had to fight back the tears
it was more of a celebration
than a wake
just like carter would've wanted it

you helped us raise $1000 for anju
and now 2 anju gill presents shows are booked on
octber 2nd (with 3 brilliant young songwriters)
and november 15th (which will be a 8 to 10 band indoor/outdoor stage
fall extravaganza!)

tonight the noise plays ft. worth
with our friends the cut-off
and the fate lions
we're playing lola's
which i've heard is cool
and it makes me think of the kinks
which isn't half bad
i haven't played ft. worth in 2 years
so i'm really looking forward to it
i wish i felt better
i only slept a couple of hours last night
oh well
i'm hell bent on having a blast regardless
tomorrow the lifters come to pleasantry lane
the fort worth explosion is upon us!
they're another great young ft. worth band
wednesday at dada we repeat the soon to be legendary
fate lions/cut-off bill
for those of you dallasites that can't make the drive tonight
i will not have the noise in tow
just my acoustic guitar and john lefler

so many thoughts doing a number in my head today
tapping dancing right across my psyche
they stopped me from taking a much needed nap
thoughts of
anju shows
what chords to play tonight
and pancho's trip to monaco
gotta get ready for my gig now
what on earth am i going to wear?



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

september 3

today i miss my friend
it's always there
this sadness
behind everything
lurking there
waiting to come forward
today it's front and center
like an elephant in the room

change is in the air
our son started school last week
grace went away to college
sarah jane is off on a brave mission to uzbekistan
billy is driving around the west
i sit here alone
with my thoughts
questioning our existence
questioning everything really
i can't even relax and enjoy
the record i just finished
still doubting choices that i made
i want to sabotage it all
but at least i'm here
surrounded by love
and this beautiful life we've made
the more we have
the tighter we try to hang on
i see my white knuckle grip today
i don't wanna let go
i'm afraid of what happened to carter
i don't ever want it to happen to anyone else i love
i don't want to check out early either
the thought terrifies me
but it's all out of my control
i have to accept that whatever is going to happen
is going to happen
and try not to be afraid
this very moment is all we ever have
right now
is all there ever is
so why is it so hard to live in the here and now?

i don't want tonight to be a mope fest
we were all lucky and blessed to have known someone
as talented and kind as carter albrecht
we will fondly remember him tonight
sing his songs
and sing songs that make us think of him
september 3rd will always be the day we lost our brilliant friend
just like december 8th will always be the day the world lost lennon

i miss you carter - i'll fondly remember you the rest of my life