Heather Wiese Alexander & Scott Alexander
The Alexanders listen to the band play a set.
Nothing For Breakfast's concert drew an intimate crowd of Dallas socials.
Julie Lloyd, Donald Fowler, Terry Loftis
Nothing For Breakfast concert
A trombone rests next to the band's equipment.
Guests indulged in Cavalli's Pizza.
Nothing For Breakfast
Heather Wiese Alexander and her husband, Scott Alexander (they own Knox-Henderson shop Nest and fine stationery line Bell’Invito), have developed a bit of a reputation for throwing some of the best house parties in town. Of course, when you have impeccable taste and a circle of friends that spans the globe and consists of talented creative types — most notably, the couple has a posse of famous and emerging musician pals — it makes putting everything together a fun adventure.
For several years now, the couple has hosted acoustic concerts featuring said music-makers inside the chic living room of their University Park home. They clear out the furniture, leaving only the seating and the musicians’ instruments and equipment. I have been lucky enough to attend many of these casual, effortlessly perfect evenings, so when an e-mail landed in my inbox from Heather recently inviting me to a “last minute concert” for Italian band Nothing For Breakfast, I promptly replied, confirming my attendance.
“I just found out yesterday they would do an unplugged session for us,” Heather’s e-mail said. “These guys are more rock than the usual suspects, so I was surprised they would come play at the house without all the amps. Love them — they are friends from Italy doing a small U.S. tour … I’m imagining an intimate group of true music lovers, since it’s such short notice!”
Undoubtedly, the best part about the concerts Heather and Scott host is their relationship with the musicians — their friends. It makes attending the concert all the more intimate. You’re not just being invited to listen to great live music in a small, private setting. You’re being invited to share in the friendship Heather and Scott share with the artists.
So, how did this Italian band land in Dallas? And how did the dots connect between Nothing For Breakfast and Heather and Scott, I wondered. Here, the full story, in Heather’s own words:
“I’ve known Jonathan since he was a kid. I met his parents during a study-abroad trip in college and we have remained close.
“Jonathan, who is the lead singer, and his brother David are the little brothers I claim, which I know sounds a little silly, but my husband truly calls them my Italian family. For well over a decade, with my frequent trips to Italy for work, and their frequent trips to the U.S. for family, we have spent the kind of time with each other that makes them feel like home.
“Both boys have lived with Scott and me for extended periods of time. They know about the concerts we have had at the house, and we had discussed having friends over to hear them. My feeling was that the rock was too hard for an intimate house venue — or at least mine.
“When the tour started, like a handful of bands we host, they were our house guests and we had no plans to have a house concert.
“(I have to tell you, these guys are full-on Florentines. They love great food and hate air conditioning (oy!), but five nights of coming home from work to fabulous Italian food and an Aperol spritz shoved into my hand was enough to get me used to a balmier-than-normal home for a little while.)
“The house concert idea came about very quickly on the third or fourth night of their stay. Two of the four band members play amazing jazz, and I had asked for a few jazz songs. The bass player picked up the trombone and out came some beautiful jazz. About two songs in, the drummer was on guitar, the bass player was on a trombone, a lead guitarist was on a trumpet and there were two guys on my piano — which if you are doing the math is one extra guy who is classically trained on piano, and who just joined in.
“Somehow, the jazz morphed into an acoustic revisit of their own rock music. I perked up and said, ‘This! Seriously?! You have to play this, here, for people. This is amazing.’
“They only had one slot open during their tour, which was the coming Sunday night, so I used my closest friends to get the word out and to find a food truck. (It ended up being Cavalli’s Pizza, which I now adore!) Coming up with a signature cocktail was a no-brainer: Aperol spritz. Mona, Jonathan’s mother, was with us and made a delicious sausage bruschetta, which we had the privilege of devouring, along with my favorite pasta from Francesco Farris (owner of Zio Cecio).
“I’m not sure how it all came together. All I know is that on both sides of the pond, Italians have always made great parties.”