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Music / X

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Left to right: Billy Zoom, DJ Bonebrake, Exene Cervenka, and John Doe

"I play too hard when I ought to go to sleep
Well they pick on me 'cause I really got the beat
Some people give me the creeps
Every other week I need a new address
Landlord, landlord, landlord cleaning up the mess
Our whole fucking life is a wreck
We're desperate, get used to it..."
—"We're Desperate", the B-Side of the band's first single (later re-recorded for Wild Gift)

X is a popular Punk Rock band from Los Angeles which formed in 1977. Their first two albums, Los Angeles and Wild Gift, are consistently ranked among the greatest punk albums. They also played an important role in punk rock documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization. They went on an extended hiatus in the late 80s, but have reformed sporadically for tours and one studio album ever since.

Unrelated to the Australian band X, the Japanese band X (now known as X Japan), the video game series, or the CLAMP manga and adaptations known in the States as X/1999.


X's studio discography:

  • Los Angeles (1980)
  • Wild Gift (1981)
  • Under the Big Black Sun (1982)
  • More Fun in the New World (1983)
  • Ain't Love Grand (1985)
  • See How We Are (1987)
  • Hey Zeus! (1993)

X's live discography:

  • Live at the Whisky A Go-Go on the Fabulous Sunset Strip (1988)
  • Unclogged (1995)
  • Live in Los Angeles (2005)

Tropes that apply to X:

  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Their drummer, DJ Bonebrake. Sure, the rest of the band's classic lineup have cool-sounding stage names (Exene Cervenka, John Doe, and Billy Zoom), but DJ Bonebrake was in fact born with that name... Though technically he's Donald J. Bonebrake.

  • Canon Discontinuity: The albums recorded following Billy Zoom's 1985 departure are largely ignored in their live shows nowadays. Exception: "Burning House of Love" from Ain't Love Grand.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Exene later in life. Dear lord, Exene.
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  • Cover Version: "Soul Kitchen" and "The Crystal Ship" (both The Doors), "Wild Thing" (The Troggs), "Dancing with Tears in My Eyes" (a Tin Pan Alley song the band got from Lead Belly), "Breathless" (Jerry Lee Lewis), "Positively 4th Street" (Bob Dylan), "Shoot Out The Lights" (Richard and Linda Thompson).
  • Grief Song: Exene's sister Mirielle (aka Mary) was killed in a 1980 car accident while on her way to see the band, a tragedy that affected her so deeply that she wan't able to write about it until the band's third album, Under the Big Black Sun. Three songs (the Title Track, "Riding With Mary" and "Come Back to Me") refer to the incident, and the band's decision to cover "Dancing with Tears in My Eyes" was also influenced by Exene's mournful state of mind.
  • Hardcore Punk: They were part of the Los Angeles hardcore scene in the late 70s and early 80s.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: John and Exene.
  • One-Letter Name
  • Punk Rock
  • Rape as Drama: "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene".
  • Vocal Tag Team: John and Exene.
  • Working with the Ex: John and Exene, post-divorce. These days, they're Amicable Exes.


Example of: