X Marks Their Spot: 40 YEARS OF PUNK IN LOS ANGELES

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Michael Hepworth

 

X: 40 YEARS OF PUNK IN LOS ANGELES

Exene Cervenka, and John Doe

 

By Jimmy Steinfeldt

HOLLYWOOD (Perfect Music Today) 10/14/17–Jimmy Steinfeldt: What do you miss in L.A. from the 1977 era?

Exene: I miss America! I wish the United States had continued going in the trajectory it was going which was really positive. They devastated the Midwest, globalism and all that shit. I’m very sad about that. Everything was going really good: race relations, people were falling in love in high school, people of all different types, music, sports, etc meeting each other. People appreciated each other. Then all of a sudden we are the most racist country in the world. I don’t know how that happens. I think it’s a media construct. What I miss in L.A. is we weren’t mean to each other and we weren’t racist or sexist. We were just people having a good time making music and art. I liked that time.

JS: What’s next for X?

Exene: I hope some new recordings but we just got to get through this year.

JS: Can you speak about Ray Manzarek ?

E: Ray was really important. He produced our first four records. He’s not with us anymore which is really sad. He was a generous amazing person. A genius human being. He was so powerful for good. Everybody who met him said the same thing. We were so lucky and it was a highlight and one of the best things that ever happened.

JS: Can you speak about Henry Rollins?

E: He used to do poetry readings with me. He was just starting out when he still had long hair. We were playing McCabes and I was watching him and I liked his writing. He would read a poem, and then he would talk. And when he would talk people would laugh and be delighted. Then he’d read another poem, and he’d talk and people would just go crazy. I told him “Henry, people like it when you talk.” So maybe I had a little positive impact on him. He’s a great writer too but I just love to hear him talk. Boy he can talk!

JS: What’s next for your music and your acting?

John Doe: X will continue to tour. I’m doing one days work acting this month in Arizona. I’m going to write a memoir next year of my life in the world but I don’t know what it’s going to be called.

JS: Bands from around the world including bands from my hometown like The Replacements, Husker Du, and Soul Asylum, were influenced by X. Can you comment on X influencing so many bands?

E: We played a lot with the Replacements in the early days so that was really fun. It’s always flattering when people like your work.

JD: If someone gets something from what you’ve done, what you’ve created, you’re humbled and grateful. If you’re not you’re probably being an asshole. If because of X Paul Westerberg, Bob Mould, or any of the people you’ve mentioned believed in themselves a little bit more or thought of a different way of delivering a lyric or a melody I’m really happy and they can pass it on to somebody else.

It’s pretty much the highest compliment that you can be paid. If someone says “hey man I like you and because of you I did something” well that’s a great thing. You can’t take that for granted. You have to honor that.

 

Exene Cervenka, and John Doe X

Photography: Jimmy Steinfeldt

http://jimmysteinfeldt.com/

 

 

 

 

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