Sunday, September 26, 2004

Star Magnets

Last night, I took Aylin out to La Loggia for her birthday. Originally, I had planned on taking her to Fins in Calabasas. I thought we might see Jessica Simpson and Nick Lache since they frequent Fins often ;-). But in the end, I decided on La Loggia because it is one of our favorite restaurants. The place was packed. We were asked to move our table three times because they needed to make more space for the crowd. They were very courteous and apologetic, but we didn’t mind. In fact, as a result we received a complimentary desert – a delicious order of tiramisu. Dinner was excellent but we had another surprise in store for us. At one point, I turned around towards the window (we had window seats) and I saw someone who looked familiar. I soon recognized the face: it was Jessica Simpson’s father! And there was Casey, Jessica’s “assistant”, then her mom, then Jessica, Nick and the whole crew. It was amazing! Jessica was dressed nicely but both Nick and Jessica’s father were wearing t-shirts. Nick was even wearing a USC baseball cap. Lucky for them, they weren’t harassed by people and they were able to enjoy their dinner. Since Aylin and I watch their show “The Newly Weds”, we wanted to talk to them. In the end, we copped out. But I had a perfect view of them the whole time. Jessica was wearing a thick diamond bracelet that gleamed in the dark restaurant. When I walked by them, I got a coy look and smile from Jessica ;-) That was cool! When Aylin and I decided to leave, we saw the Simpson clan leave too. We were all outside waiting for our cars. Jessica is very small. But they are a good-looking couple. It was odd that they didn’t come and leave together. In fact, Aylin and I were thinking whether they are having marital problems.

And that’s that!

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. -William Shakespeare, playwright and poet (1564-1616)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The speech that never was
When we gave our wedding guests the opportunity to say a few words at our wedding, we were surprised that only two people got up on stage and gave a speech. Those two were my brother Ara and cousin Alain. It’s understandable that some people are too shy to talk in front of a crowd, but there’s one speech that I wish had seen the light of day. That is Jerry’s speech. Jerry, of course, is the inimitable bass player of NFU, Chemical Kids, and, of course, Jerry’s Band ;-) He had the speech written but he backed out at the last minute feeling that the speech might not have been appropriate for that crowd. Well, I wish he had given the speech. And now, two plus years after our wedding, and with Jerry’s permission, I present to you the speech that never was:

Like Armen said before, we used to be in a band. Many many years ago, when we had more hair, and none of it was gray, we were cool. We looked cool, we acted cool, we sounded cool. We were just cool. Well, that's the way I remember it anyway.

Some of the greatest songs of our time were written because of some inner turmoil or strife. And like many of history's greatest songwriters, when Armen's soul was torn and in disarray, he would write songs to relieve the pain. There were several reasons to blame for Armen's state of mind during these times. Alcohol and work are two words that come to mind. But without a doubt, the number one reason was....women. The most haunting and beautiful songs are always about the female species. And so it follows that Armen's greatest songs were written because of and about women. In fact, one girl in particular caused him so much grief that we got an entire demo out of the affair.

You can literally hear the angst-ridden cries for help in Armen's songs. Join me on a journey through the Notes From The Underground catalog and listen to the familiar themes in some of his most tortured words...

From the early track "Too Late" we hear:
I was a little child, but you failed to understand. Now you see it's much too late. Here I go you've sealed my fate. Won't wait around to see the end of the world. I've got me a plan.

From the epic "Cloudy Oceanside" we have:
What are we fighting for? Who's gonna clear the storm? Is this what we came here for? Won't be part of it no more.

And who can forget "Damage Done" where Armen cried:
Look what you've done, to the heart of this one.
Now that you are gone, I must carry on, someday I'll find my place in the sun.

From "Nothing Really Matters" we read:
Now that you have come undone, can you hear it coming 'round?
No one here gets out alive. You people never matter.

From the angry "I Want Everything" we hear:
Someone as stupid as you will never understand someone as friggin' brilliant as me.

From the blistering song "Dead On" we have:
It's coming down, it's like a spinal cracker, someone's going down!

From the melodic "I Want To Be Free" we read:
No time left for you, you're going down this time and you know it.

From the groundbreaking "Peace Of Mind" we hear:
I have a chasm, in my head, where I hide, my whisky mind, my subterfuge.
And I will give it all away, for some peace, peace of mind.

From the chart topping "Down" we have:
Honey? Did you sleep well last night, honey?
Sleep soundly honey....underground honey!

From the melancholy yet hopeful "Sunday Afternoon" we hear:
Why hold on? Why even try? You lie to my face.

And from NFU's final recorded work "Summertime" we have the appropriate:
Is this the end of everything? This is the end I know.
Is this the end of happiness? This is the end I know.

But as much as we loved hearing and playing these wonderful songs, the rest of the band secretly worried about their fearless leader. Armen had slowly acquired several bad habits, detrimental to both his physical and mental well being. Were we witnessing the descent of the next Kurt Cobain? Would we be responsible if Armen took the final plunge into the darkness of the unknown? Should we intervene?

Well, the answer to all of these questions came when, all of a sudden, Armen wasn't writing songs anymore. The muse had left him. And why? Looking back, I now realize that the cause of Armen's writer's block was....well, simply put...Aylin. It seemed that the moment he started dating her, he just couldn't write anymore. Soon we all connected the dots and realized that, while not exactly a great inspiration for the band, Aylin was the perfect girl for Armen. All the bad habits were soon a thing of the past. The inner suffering and pain were replaced by visible and outward happiness and bliss. Yes Aylin, as cheezy as it sounds, you complete Armen.

Soon the band drifted apart, and Notes From The Underground would go down as the greatest unsigned band in history, but that is another story. And although our worldwide fan base is sad that the band is now very much underground, Aylin I want to thank you for stopping Armen's downward spiral and for lifting him up out of the abyss.

On a final note, we've all heard the stories about how difficult married life can be in the beginning. And so we might possibly see Armen crank out a song or two in the next few years. In fact, we might even get an NFU reunion tour. But in the end, I'm very confident that the demons of the past will eventually be buried for good. We may have lost a great songwriter, but the world has gained 2 very happy people.

Congratulations and good luck to both of you.

Monday, September 06, 2004

We’re back from San Francisco! What a trip and what a city. On Friday we met my old friend and colleague Rajeev and his family. Rajeev’s wife had prepared a lovely Indian dinner for us. We also met their fun little ones. Hard to believe that he has three kids!

We stayed near the Fisherman’s Wharf. We ate a lot and drank a lot in North Beach. We even met the famous Iranian singer Satar. I was too chicken about approaching him, so Aylin took an “in burrito” picture of him eating at “O’Reighlie’s” (sp?). I’ve posted his photograph. The food and espresso in North Beach were excellent. We couldn’t get enough!

I have posted a few pics of our trip as well as a recent Indian Pow wow that we attended in Costa Mesa. Check them out.

By the way, I’ll say it again: check out the book “The Davinci Code”. There’s good reason why it has made so much noise in the literary world.


I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. -Susan B Anthony, reformer and suffragist (1820-1906)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?