Monday, March 24, 2008

X welcomes us back to the States

(could anything look more sexxxy and dangerous as that...? I really don't think so. one the best band names eva....)

Pretty fucking sweet to come back from Ireland and see the legendary American (Wessssiiiide) poetic punk rock-a-billy rockers that I love and admire so much. AT the goddamn Cabooze, to boot! Such a strange but wonderful place to see X. My first (!) time. Whoa. I got to see John Doe at the 400 Bar on a press pass ( I had just phone-interviewed him that day) and it was, by far, one of the coolest journalistic experiences I ever had. He was so damn down-to-earth and easy to talk to. I was positively giddy.

here's the link to that interview with him...

They sounded incredible. Exene Cervenka and John (heartthrob) Doe had that amazing chemistry, still. So one-of-a-kind, that egalitarian, totally feminist vibe. Billy Zoom, looking a helluva lot older than the rest of 'em (cuz he is), was incendiary on that rock-a-billy guitar, dipping the neck of it into the crowd and holding firm ground with a power stance to beat the band. John *still* looks like that ragamuffin, skinny and lanky puppy like he always has...big ol' grin on his face fer most of the time. Exene looked severe and modest in her long burning-witch-at-the-stake-like black dress. She sounded divine. I gained a new appreciation for her on Saturday night. I loved watching her play to he crowd of sweaty, smiling pit po-go-ers that TOTALLY looked like they crawled straight outta 1979. She got nice and close to their faces and held some of their hands. It was kinda touching, really. X really did create a totally unique kind of punk atmosphere, if ya ask me. Socially political, passionate, a lil' touchy-feely, sexual, sensual music that transcends the violent nihilistic attitude that pervades most people's idea of what punk was and can be.

I got to witness what they were all about in only the way that live music can provide. I feel fucking lucky.

John and Exene are equals up there, harmonizing that truly unique soulful, punked out wail-drone that I will always be in love with. It sounded so vibrant, so urgent--I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. Those prose/poetry-style lyrics still sting and engage me...

When they sang "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline" I got crazy chills. That song has always made me tear up and clench my fists. Musically, it kicks it into a frenzied Chuck Berry-mode, then the story unfolds and the vocals of Exene and John are downright mournful.

Dig those haunting words:

he bought a sterilized hypo to shoot a sex machine drug
he got 24 hours to shoot all Paulines between the legs
he'll throw 96 tears thru 24 hours
sexed once every hour
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)
l.a. bus doors open
kicking both doors open
when it rested on 6th street
that's when he drug a girl inside
he was spreading her legs
and didn't understand dying
she was still awake
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)
when he was waking up beside the bed he found clumps of hair
the last Pauline wouldn't cooperate
she wasn't what you'd call living really
but she was still awake
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)

One of the most amazing "punk" songs ever, if ya ask me. (it's that "she was still awwaaaaaake" that always gnaws at my heart) I will never forget seeing an interview with John Doe when I was a kid. He described how kids at shows ended up pumping their fists, violently, mindlessly to that disturbing chorus. He said they "don't perform that song anymore" because these kids didn't even understand that it was an anti-rape song. (Can't help but think of the Reagan exploitation of Bruce, of course....) Course, that interview was probably over 15 years old, but I was still pleasantly surprised to hear 'em do it. It is such a powerful and awesome song.

And then, this was weird...Fitzy and I are watching (well, re-watching, for me) Six Feet Under right now and we're at the episode where Lisa leaves for a trip to Santa Cruz. Nate and Maya are chillin' and Nate is bopping her around to the sounds of....bamp-bamp-bamp-bamp- BAMP...“She-he-he, had to leave...Los Angeles.” X! In SFU! Such a totally fitting song for the scene and the story, too. It's like a way, way, WAY cooler version of the whole John Travolta and baby (voiced by Bruce Willis) doing their "Walking On Sunshine" number. sigh.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Yup, "She was still awaaaaaaake" haunts my nightmares, too.