X is for X; yes, that’s the name of the band

“In 2003, X’s first two studio albums, Los Angeles and Wild Gift, were ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as being among the 500 greatest albums of all time.”

X-Beyond_and_Back-_The_X_AnthologyHello there, ABC Wednesday people.

Sometimes I’ve introduced you to bands I’m surprised you don’t know (The Kinks, Fleetwood Mac). Sometimes, it is groups I doubt you know (the Roches). Today, I’m sharing a band I very much doubt you know. And when better to do so than on the most difficult letter of the round. The name of the band is X. Just the letter X. And yes, I have those first four albums, on vinyl, all of which were produced by The Doors’ keyboard player, Ray Manzarek.

From Wikipedia: “X is an American punk rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1977. Established among the first wave of American punk, the original members are vocalist Exene Cervenka, vocalist/bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom, and drummer DJ Bonebrake.” The family band connection: Exene and John were married from 1980 to 1985.

“The band released seven studio albums from 1980 to 1993. After a period of inactivity during the mid to late 1990s, X reunited in the early 2000s, and currently tours.”

“X achieved limited mainstream success but influenced various genres of music, including punk rock and folk-rock. In 2003, X’s first two studio albums, Los Angeles and Wild Gift, were ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as being among the 500 greatest albums of all time.”
Here is Los Angeles.

“1981’s Wild Gift, broadened the band’s profile when it was named “Record of the Year” by Rolling Stone, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and Village Voice.
Here is Wild Gift.

My long-time friend Karen, who’s in the music business, once told me that John Doe was “like us.” By this, I believe she meant that he was not a pretentious jerk as some of the people she has worked with.

“X then signed to Elektra in 1982 to release Under the Big Black Sun, which marked a slight departure from their trademark sound. While still fast and loud, the album’s country leanings were evolving, and its raw punk sound was channeling raw guitar power chords. The album was heavily influenced by the death of Exene Cervenka’s elder sister Mirielle (Mary) in an automobile accident in 1980.”
Here is Under the Big Black Sun, which is Exene’s favorite album.

“1983 saw the release of the More Fun in the New World album. X slightly redefined their sound with this release, making it somewhat more polished, eclectic and radio-ready than in previous albums. With the sound moving away from punk rock, the band’s rockabilly influence became even more noticeable.”
Here is More Fun in the New World.

“A side project of some of the band members was Poor Little Critter on the Road in 1985, under the name The Knitters: X minus Zoom, plus Dave Alvin (of The Blasters) on guitar and Johnny Ray Bartel (of The Red Devils) on double bass.” Dave Alvin taught Exene how to play guitar, and was briefly in X.
LISTEN to Someone Like You – the Knitters.
Walkin’ Cane – the Knitters
And for good measure: LISTEN to I’m Shakin’ – The Blasters from their eponymous album I also own; in fact, I probably bought the LP for this song.

My collection of X ends here save for Shoot Out the Lights (LISTEN), a cut on a collection of Richard Thompson covers. Though I DO have one John Doe and two Exene solo CDs.

A couple more LISTENS:
Burning House of Love – X
Burning House of Love- Knitters (2005)

I’m going to guess that, of the four albums, most of you may find the last album more accessible, and the first less so. Or not.
Exene sells some of her memorabilia.


ABC Wednesday – Round 14

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

15 thoughts on “X is for X; yes, that’s the name of the band”

  1. Thanks Roger for your post! I listened to Burning House of Love. How clever to make a video like that!
    Have a great week!. Hope your weather is just as fine as ours!
    Wil, ABCW Team.

  2. Nope, never heard of them and off now to “sample” your links. This is so much fun!

    Thanks and have a great week.

  3. Because I am so very cool, I have heard of X, but I was never that in love with their music. Still, it’s nice to see that you too are so very cool!

  4. Lots of interesting things here Roger, – I listened, briefly, and could understand their appeal to people more ‘cool’ than I am!!!! 🙂

  5. I had never heard of them, either. Not really a fan of punk rock anyway, but always good to learn something news.

    abcw team

  6. I never heard of them either. Unique name. Wish Burning House of Love would play…now. Youtube is crawling. Ah, there! It’s upbeat. I could dance with my two left feet 🙂

  7. You’ll gather by my confessed adoration of The Beatles and The Beach Boys that punk is really not my scene but I did try to listen to a couple of tracks…honest !


  8. You are right, never heard of them, I’ll have to ask my punk loving friend if she has. This did remind me of the time a band of a not dissimilar name, The xx, won the Mercury Prize and the radio news reader came to that part of the script which said “the Mercury Prize was won by The xx” and assumed they were just the letters put in by the editor because they didn’t know yet. One of those unintentionally funny moments.

  9. I’m presently listening to your link to X’s Shoot out the Lights. It’s terrific! I now want to go dance. I might just do that….

  10. You must have one of the most extensive archives of rock’n roll history of anyone I know. It would truly be a treat to go through your music collection. Blessings!

  11. The last three tracks on Wild Gift — “Back 2 the Base,” “When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch” and “Year 1” — will serve as a good introduction to X, and combined they take only five minutes. (“Year 1” is seriously rockabilly, no matter how punk they sounded on the first two.)

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