It’s been over 35 years since vocalist Exene Cervenka first met bassist John Doe at a poetry workshop in Venice, California, preceding the formation of X with guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer DJ Bonebrake. Since releasing their breakthrough 1980 debut album, Los Angeles (produced by The Doors’ keyboard player, Ray Manzarek), the band along with the LA landscape, has etched a permanent place within the then budding punk rock sounds of the American underground in the late 70s and early 80s. Although never quite reaching the commercial apex of some of their LA contemporaries, X have had no shortage of impact or recognition. Rolling Stone went on to name Los Angeles one of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album was also ranked 91st in Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 1980s, to name but a few of countless recognitions the band has received over the decades.
With scores of renowned and influential releases under their belts, the members of X have seen a colorful and tumultuous run of it. Much of X’s third full-length, 1982’s Under The Big Black Sun, was based around the death of Cervenka’s sister Mirielle, who was killed in a car accident in 1980. The band would see several shifts in line-up while maintaining a prolific flow of new material throughout the remaining decade. This prolific outpouring resulted in albums that often strayed far from he band’s original punk rock leanings, undoubtedly widening the band’s audience, while alienating some longtime fans. The original line-up would re-unite for a final time in 1998 as the band recorded with producer Ray Manzarek (the Doors) to record a cover of The Doors‘ “The Crystal Ship” for the soundtrack for The X-Files: Fight the Future. The original line-up has remained in tact since, although they have not released any new or original material.
X find themselves once again traversing the globe in front of adoring audiences as they continue to support 2009’s 2-track E.P., Merry Xmas From The X, featuring covers of holiday classics, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “Jingle Bells.” We recently caught up with X at Philadelphia’s TLA venue, as they fired off a batch of East Coast tour dates with The Reverend Horton Heat and opening act No In The Face. The lights had to be dimmed severely for X‘s set as Billy Zoom‘s classic guitar rig “buzzes” under certain bright lights, of which, the TLA seemed to have plenty. The dim overtures did not put a damper on the evening however, as fans sang along and gyrated to the tunes unwaveringly throughout.
The Reverend Horton Heat is celebrating the recent announcement of having joined Victory Records with a tenth studio album slated for 2013. If that weren’t enough, these punk-tinged, country-esque rockabillies are slated for a 60-city tour throughout the winter of 2013. This, evening hailing the praises of Motörhead‘s legendary front-man Lemmy, who recently stated, “Reverend Horton Heat, he’s great and plays the music he believes in and nothing else. Go see him or I’ll kill you!” And Lemmy was quite right, as The Reverend Horton Heat trio put on an energetic and engaging performance that sparked a fantastic reception from the growing audience. Austin’s fun-lonvin’ rock ‘n’ rollers, Not In The Face, rounded out the bill with tight and catchy song offerings.
We know you are here for the pictures, so without further ado..
All photo by BTS Editor-in-Chief, Joshua T. Cohen.