I was 18 when I first saw X. Exene Cervenka and John Doe were 22. She was a tiny, exotic beauty with a voice that would alternately rip your guts out and break your heart. He was hot punk on wheels. The music was raw, the lyrics often brutal (“Johnny Hit and Run Pauline”). I was hooked.
Fast forward 33 years; not much has changed, from my perspective. We’re all a little more than a bit older, probably a little more than a bit wiser, but X still brings more punk cred to a stage than many bands with members young enough to be their children.
X appeared at a mini-festival at Tempe’s Club Red, featuring two stages, a host of local talent including nationally recognized local acts The Love Me Nots and Scorpion vs. Tarantula, as well as punk veterans Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss. The audience ranged from 20-somethings to grandmas, punks to hipsters (I want to give props to the younger crowd, they were much more civil to this photographer, as I tried to navigate the packed rooms, than the (predominantly) women my own age who claimed the front of the stage 3 acts before X came on). I ran into Bobby Calabrese there, and we simultaneously exclaimed “What are YOU doing here?” It was a motley crew on and off stage, and a hell of a show.