Throwback next Thursday with ‘80s punk rockers X | TheUnion.com
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Throwback next Thursday with ‘80s punk rockers X

Seminal Los Angeles punk quartet X, including all the original members, will bring the band’s first-ever acoustic tour to Grass Valley July 24.

In a concert presented by the Center of the Arts, X will be fresh on the heels of the recently announced special four-show engagement this month at Hollywood’s famous Roxy Theatre. This marks the first time all four original members (Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake) have left the electric guitars behind and will play all original X material acoustically.

Three decades after the inception of X, one thing is clear: X was not only one of the most influential bands to crash out of the punk movement of the late ‘70s, but the band’s music continues to be sonically groundbreaking today. Songs written during the group’s inception are as relevant and inventive today as they were in 1977.



It’s not surprising when you consider the group’s unique beginnings, which can only be attributed to fate. On the same day with nearly the exact same wording, two want-ads appear in a local music rag. One was sent in by a guitarist named Billy Zoom, the other by bassist who called himself John Doe, according to X’s bio.

Zoom, a rockabilly rebel who’d performed with Gene Vincent, had read a negative review of a band called the Ramones. It said they only played three chords and they played ‘em too fast. So naturally, he went to see them. The show was at the Golden West Ballroom in the L.A. suburb of Norwalk in early ’77, and as soon as the Ramones started to perform, Zoom realized that, musically, he’d found exactly what he wanted to do with his life.




Doe, who was originally from the Baltimore area, was already down with the East Coast CBGB’s scene and by the time the two got in the same room together after responding to each other’s ads, it seemed it was meant to be. They performed a few shows with various drummers before a poet with no ambition of being a singer would enter the picture.

Doe found her in Venice Beach, at a poetry reading. He liked her poems so much he offered to perform them in his band. The poet, Exene Cervenka, had just moved to town from Florida and she told him, no offense, but if anyone was going to perform her poems, it would be her, and she soon ended up in the band. Zoom was skeptical about someone’s girlfriend being in the band. After they did their first show with Exene, he didn’t know exactly what it was she had, but he knew it was magic, according to the bio.

After a succession of drummers, Doe was at the underground punk club the Masque in Hollywood one night, checking out a band called the Eyes, which featured a pre-Go-Go’s bass player named Charlotte Caffey. He called Zoom immediately and said he’d found their drummer. Doe told him he played with a parade snare and hit it hard as a hammer. Zoom told him to promise him anything. His name was D.J. Bonebrake and he quickly signed on. The band was now complete, and X would soon emerge from the young punk scene as one of its most successful offspring.

X is set to take the stage at 8 p.m. July 24. Tickets are $45 for members of the Center, $50 for the general public and are available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384 ext. 14, online at http://www.thecenterforthearts.org or at BriarPatch Co-op.


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