By The Nation
e-mail: [email protected]
Natapol “Toe” Puthpawana, lead singer in the rock band Silly Fools, has quit music and embraced Islam. He unveiled his new identity this week on Channel 5’s “Jor Jai” – complete with long beard and imama prayer cap. And you have to call him Weerachon Sattaying now – no more “Toe Silly Fools”.
Host Sanya Kunakorn confessed that he didn’t recognise the former Toe at first when they met at Hat Yai Airport. Weerachon explained that he’s turned his back on music and fame because he wasn’t content with his life.
“At the peak of my career I was spending eight or nine hours a day in hotel rooms. I couldn’t go anywhere – I had to wait for show time. Then, at the concert, no one really listened to my music anyway. I saw people fighting, soaked in blood, in front of the stage and drunken groups spoiling the show for everyone else. Sometimes I couldn’t get past the first song because of the chaos.”
He turned to the Qu’ran. “It’s the only book I’ve read more than 100 times. I found the truth, and now I know there’s another room waiting for me, so I’m doing my test hoping to pass and get to the other room.”
Weerachon is still involved with younger people, giving motivational speeches.
“I just came back from the red zones in the three southernmost provinces. The kids were really attentive and receptive. Some even cried. That kind of honour you won’t get playing music.”
His current associates “don’t lie or pretend. Those who believe in God don’t have to lie to each other – everyone wants to just ‘pass the test’. It’s so unlike the people in the music industry.”
The old Toe is still under contract to perform occasionally, though, and “my religion teaches me to honour contracts, but I won’t play in certain places, like pubs.” And, “even if a foreign label offered me $2 million, I’d still say no. I’m happy with what I am now.”