Today’s Guest: John Doe, singer, co-founder, X, author, Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk, musician, The Westerner
Watch this exclusive Mr. Media interview with John Doe by clicking on the video player above!
John Doe, co-founder of the seminal LA punk rock band X, talks about the early days of punk, the differences between LA, NYC, and London punk, and how he assembled such a remarkable cast of contributors to his new book, Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk. He also discusses his new album, The Westerner, which features Debbie Harry of Blondie on one of the songs.
JOHN DOE podcast excerpt: “(X’s 2016 appearance on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ with Terry Gross) was not the first time people have tried to explain X’s harmony in somewhat strange or even a backhanded compliment. Exene didn’t know traditional harmony. She would get to that at times, then she would stray. She just sang what she heard.”
Key interview moments:
• 4:14 After appearing on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, who described X’s melodies as “being a little off” and that its notes “become flat in unusual places,” X co-founder John Doe shakes off the “backhanded compliment” and explains Exene Cervenka’s approach;
• 20:00 Doe compares the nascent 1970s punk scenes in New York, London, and Los Angeles;
• 37:30 It wasn’t that X didn’t want to be successful and commercial, Doe explains, it’s just the band didn’t fit well in its era the way Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Green Day would later fit in theirs.