X man John Doe (second from right): “The one thing that getting older teaches you is that you have a lot more gratitude for getting there.”
Anybody who caught X when they were wee lads playing shows in Los Angeles circa 1977 is about to feel old: X is on the brink of turning the big 4-0.
"Johnny Hit and Run Paulene"
“The reason we’re doing four nights is because it’s the 40th anniversary next year, which is mind-blowing...and wonderful,” X singer/bassist John Doe says. “That’s the one thing that getting older teaches you, that you have a lot more gratitude for getting there. You have a birthday when you’re 30 and you think, Oh, my god, I’m 30! By the time you have a birthday when you’re 60, you’re, like, Fuck yeah! I made it! There were plenty of people in punk rock that didn’t. When you see that, and you look around and think, Shit, where’s Tomata du Plenty? Where’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce? Where’s all the Ramones? Then you think, Fuck, I’m here. This is great!”
The band has four nights booked in four cities: Seattle, San Francisco, L.A., and here at the Casbah Thursday through Sunday, with openers that include Mike Watt and the Blasters. The group has about 40 songs ready in their arsenal for the shows.
Besides celebrating the 40th anniversary of his band, Doe is also the proud new parent of his first book, Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk. The book tells the story of the early days of L.A. punk by farming out most of the chapters to the players involved in the scene. Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s gives an account of what it was like to be a young female at the onset of this era, while Dave Alvin (the Blasters) chronicles how the roots players fought hard to win over punk crowds.
As Chula Vista native Robert Lopez (the Zeros/El Vez) describes in his chapter, there really wasn’t a punk scene in San Diego when L.A.’s took off. So, what was it like for X when they first played in San Diego?
- Saturday, December 17, 2016, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
“There was a pretty serious rivalry between San Diego and L.A.,” Doe explains, “where people in San Diego felt a little like the kid sister or brother and they had to show us how punk rock they were. It got pretty insane. I remember one of the theater shows we did. It was a rundown place that maybe held 1000 people. Someone was climbing up onto the stage, and she was kind of known for getting onstage and starting fights. It was right near Exene [Cervenka, singer], so I just walked over there and started trying to push her off the stage. Then she grabbed me and, out of the corner of their eye one of our stage crew saw these two people, didn’t even realize one was me, and just pushed us both into the pit. Great! Thanks! By the way, you just threw one of your employers into the mosh pit!”