Forty-two years after their groundbreaking album “Los Angeles” was released, the influential punk-rockabilly band X is showing no signs of slowing down. Fueled by a passionate and supportive fan base, and a genuine desire to continue playing for the love of music, X is one of only a handful of bands from the early ‘80s still touring regularly.
In 2020, X released their first studio album in 27 years, “Alphabetland.” Unlike many active bands that started decades ago, the original lineup remains intact.
Singer Exene Cervenka, singer/bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom, and drummer D.J. Bonebrake all continue to enjoy their wild and unlikely ride as one of America’s most influential punk bands. Cervenka explains, “It’s the best time for X right now. Everyone’s really open-minded, and we’ve stuck it out so long. We’re just gonna keep doing it, and we’re never gonna be able to stop.”
As the holiday season approaches, X is revving up for a short, but special, West Coast tour this December. The eight-gig tour will start December 8th in Seattle, continue to Portland, followed by two shows in San Francisco, then Santa Ana, Los Angeles, and a two-show run in San Diego. X fans in San Diego (like myself) are especially excited since last years’ San Diego concert was cancelled last second due to COVID issues (I was literally driving to the show when I got the bad news!). Enjoying an X show has become one of my favorite holiday season activities and I highly recommend adding it to your holiday wish list as well!
I am frequently surprised when supposedly knowledgeable music fans express blank stares of unfamiliarity when I mention X. The conclusion is clearly that X is just one of those “If you know you know” bands. Fans that “know” proudly enjoy membership in a select fraternity that understands, appreciates, and enjoys X’s unique sound – a sonic experience combining pop melodies, driving punk chords, rockabilly, country, and folk music into a musical experience incomparable to any other band.
The main ingredient of their unique sound is grounded in the eccentric vocal callbacks and untraditional harmonies between Cervenka and Doe. Harmonies often don’t go where you’d expect, and this unconventional male/female singing teamwork is magical – especially moments where Cervenka and Doe trail off the ending of phrases as if both singers were approaching, then passing you by on a speeding train. It’s crazy and it works!
A spirited, upbeat rocking show is a gift you deserve to give yourself this holiday season. Skip the Nutcracker and Trans-Siberian Orchestra and book tickets for X instead. Remember, “If you know you know.”