Los Angeles Is To X As NYC Is To the Ramones. Discuss.

Los Angeles is to X as New York is to the Ramones. Discuss.

Actually, not exactly. As X frontwoman Exene Cervenka relates, if it wasn't for a review slagging the Ramones, X might not exist. Seems the negative notice assured future X guitarist Billy Zoom that another band was as aberrant as he wanted to be, and, joining with bassist John Doe, the duo sowed the seeds of X.

X play 11/30 and 12/1 at Irving Plaza, and 12/7 at The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, NJ.

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- Live: X at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza

As part of L.A.'s nascent punk scene, "We knew we were part of something that was gonna have an impact, whether it was five years of 20 years," says Doe. "We didn't know and we didn't care." Cut to 2012, 35 years later, and, as frontwoman (and former Doe spouse) Exene Cervenka says, "We failed or succeeded. But we're still here." As to how they're celebrating? "Every year is the anniversary. You may not live to 100, so celebrate 97. I celebrate everything, every day."

That edgy energy and attitude permeates an X show. If seeing X live is proof that "punk's not dead," then a conversation with Cervenka is a rally for punk positivity. Speaking both about the political and personal aftermath of super storm Sandy as well as generally, the 56-year-old believes that "All we have are each other and our words. The word is a power, a divine power. It's up to us to discern what's right and wrong, and speak."

The poet-turned-singer has been doing so on record since 1980's Los Angeles, the band's aural love letter to a city. That year, this very paper voted the album #16 on the Pazz & Jop Critics Poll, and in the ensuing decades, the nine-song paean has lost none of its urgent relevancy. It was produced by Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, the poster boy for intellectual hippiedom, and a seemingly unlikely choice for L.A's preeminent punkers. "New York had {Brian} Eno; we have Ray," Cervenka quips. "He's a magical person, a driving force in American culture. People did not understand my singing, the guitar sound. But he just corralled us a little bit."

Location Info


Irving Plaza

17 Irving Place, New York, NY

Category: Music

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