X marks the spot

July 22, 2007 at 7:30 pm (Drunk and disorderly, Waxing Nostalgic)

While watching an old episode of The Sopranos, I got a blast from the past. The end credits, which have introduced me to great acts like RL Burnside, occasionally play old favorites. This time? ‘4th of July’ by the group X.

I saw X for the first time in 1987. They were the opening act for Warren Zevon. It seemed an odd coupling, but I’d seen stranger mixes. Black Sabbath and The Outlaws? Bananarama and Judas Priest? (Okay, didn’t see that one, but heard about it. Eesh!)

I’d seen them in film performances, and had read stories. John Doe and Exene seemed like good people, I liked the tuned I’d heard. (Los Angeles, Hungry Wolf.) Still, why pair up a classic rock act with a punk act?

Soon it became clear. When X took the stage, it was more like Jefferson Airplane than the Sex Pistols. John Doe wore a ten gallon cowboy hat, and Exene was wearing a mu-mu. She was chubbier than I’d remembered. Later in the show, it was revealed that she was eight months pregnant, and I read somewhere that Viggo Mortensen is the father. There, your celebrity gossip for today.

They rocked, they played ballads. They played a song considered to be one of my favorites of all time; The Call of the Wrecking Ball. It’s a rockabilly romp about a ‘special’ fellow from the country who kills chickens with his steel-toed boots. It’s cowboy punk at its finest, about murder so fowl.

The second time I saw them was in 1996. They were doing a reunion tour, same time as KISS. I chose to see X at La Luna, or The Pine Street Theater, or whatever it was being called that day. I spent the day consuming a bottle of whiskey, and showed up after the opening act. One couldn’t wander with a beer, and since pints of Foster’s were only $2, I chose to stay in the bar.

After about six beers, the show started, and the bar was packed. A kid who looked like a college football quarterback and his date stood in front of me. QB decided he could only drink Coors Light, so he went to the other bar, leaving his date there. As the songs played on, she danced in close to me, and began grinding her backside into my frontside. After a couple of songs, um, magical things happened, and I could barely stand up. Soon after, QB came back. She gave me a discreet squeeze, and a look that said ‘We’re both dead if he finds out’. I smiled, and decided I’d had enough fun in the bar. I went walking, to see how close I could get to the stage.

As I got close, they began playing Wild Thing, their signature show-closer. The dust settled, and I made it to the side of the stage to buy a tee shirt. As the place emptied, a sweaty, leathery looking guy with a towel over his shoulder came from the backstage area and walked past me. “Thanks for coming!” It was John Doe!

How did he know?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: