Saturday, October 03, 2009

White Girl: Exene

To have been of age in the late 70's/early 80's was to have experienced bizarro world. The move to "greed is good" was gearing up, and yuppies were everything I hated. LA was leading the nation in terms of coke consumption and, as usual, vapidity, but one of the ironies about being an industry town is the enormous overflow. Thus, punk's perfect petri dish was set.

The first time I heard X I'd already heard of them, but when Thrust threw in a casette in the dash of Los Angeles I casually pushed "off." Love at first listen it wasn't.

Later, I saw the cover...

...and decided any band that would have a cover as cool as that deserved a second chance. Besides, Ray Manzarek was producing, so the curiosity quotient went up a notch.

The thing that got me was their contrasts; Zoom was this rockabilly dude, Doe the Levis wearing blue collar dude, Bonebrake seemed like a skateboarder, and then there was this weird, ultra pale goth kinda nerd chick, eponymously named Exene.

And she "sang" kinda off, but somehow that off kilter approach worked in contrast to Doe's straightforward approach. An analogy could be drawn to Flav's craziness in contrast to Chuck's normal delivery in PE.

In her own way back then she was kinda cute.

Having been a musician, I acknowledged their talent in a sea of mediocrity - let's face it, while punk was fun, there were tons of bad hacks. The fact that there were so many good bands then is because there was such a huge pool to begin with coupled with unprecedented will to give them venues. So the music grabbed me, but then I started to read Exene's lyrics and I was really sold then. I love live shows, and that period delivered, but of them all, X stands out. It's cliche' to say, I know, but it's true; X was and is a great live band.

The reason I'm committing something here is because I found out not long ago that Exene has been diagnosed with MS. That bummed me out. I hope she does alright.

The following vid is jacked; dropouts and a real rough look complete with bad audio; there are slicker versions, but this one captures their live spirit better.