X Spots the Mark

Don't expect Exene Cervenka to drag X quietly into the future

In 1997, Elektra issued Beyond and Back: The X Anthology, a compilation of the band's best moments. "And then Tony quit, and we were like, 'Now what?' We realized we needed Billy back in the band," Cervenka says. "Billy hated the music industry, but he was what we needed." Last year, Rhino bankrolled another major reissue campaign, releasing the first five X albums with bonus tracks galore.

And so the story goes. X has come full circle, reaching the maturity that many bands of that era failed to attain. What does a woman who still lives and breathes LA punk think of the current "revival" and commodification of punk rock? "You can't create something like that twice, no matter how hard you try," she says with a chuckle. "Culture sucks again, like it did when we started playing. I don't particularly follow trends. I'm not going to make an electronic album. I still listen to punk music."

And what about singing songs she wrote with Doe when they were together? Isn't that close to Fleetwood Mac territory? "I don't live in the past, I don't get nostalgic, and I'm not 20 anymore," she declares, casually exhaling. "But it was sure as hell fun when we started out. Now, if I look into the crowd and see a young kid singing along, that makes my day."

Nothing desperate about that.

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