Marking the spot with X
“Underrated” is such an overrated word, isn’t it? After all, who created these arbitrary “ratings”, anyway?
So, I’m not going to tell you that the great band X is underrated. But I will tell you that they might just be one of the greatest underappreciated and underexposed (at least outside of their hometown of Los Angeles) bands of the last 30 years.
Perhaps their status as California’s preeminent punk band didn’t hold water for influential rock critics who had previously championed more geographically appealing New York bands (Ramones) or Brit bands (The Clash, Sex Pistols). I’ve got nothing but love for those bands, but X should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside each of those.
Maybe it was the fact that their brand of “punk” included country and folk to go along with their political underpinnings. Maybe it was the fact that co-lead singers John Doe (born John Nommensen Duchac) and Exene Cervenka (born Christine Cervenka) were destined to stay on the fringes and work on various disparate projects to complement their work in X.
Whatever. The fact is simply that if you haven’t discovered their music, there is still time. Check out allmusic’s biography of the band for a quick primer on X and an introduction to their classic releases of the early ’80s. Or go the easy route and treat yourself to their greatest hits. Better yet, check them out on tour this spring. You’ll even get a chance to participate in the process of choosing the setlist.
The band (including original members Billy Zoom & DJ Bonebrake on guitar and drums, respectively) has not actually released a new album since 1993, though new material is in the works.
However, all of the members of X have been involved in numerous additional projects over the years.
John Doe, specifically, has been nothing less than prolific. He talks to The Patriot Ledger in this interview about the four bands that he is currently working with (including his most recent release with The Sadies).
One of the most well-rounded representatives of the music business, he was a perfect candidate to speak with CNET News this week about the role of technology in the recording process, his experience with record labels and the effect of filesharing on artists. Good stuff.
And the classic X material is just great stuff for any music collection. I can see all of you X fans out there nodding in agreement.
Oh, and sports fans, I’ll remind you of their role in one of the greatest sports movies of all-time. Yes, that is their cover version of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn’s theme song in Major League. Check it here.