Sex and Dying in High Society
The first time I ever heard X was on a compilation called Punk University
that I bought at Westwood Discount, which is this genius junk store in Pocatello
. I also bought my Hammerman lunchbox there. The comp was all classic punk songs, but the one that hit me the hardest was Los Angeles
by X. Lyrics that eschewed typical punk nihilism, and emo whiney boy histrionics for a kind of drunken poetic sensibility. Male and female harmonies that were just a little off, so you knew it was punk rock. John Doe and Excene Cervanka were the Sonny and Cher
of early punk. But way cooler. X quickly became one of my favorite bands.
So why is this important?
Because, I got the infinite pleasure of seeing them live in person last Friday, that’s why. The Rollins Band, with everyone’s favorite VH1 talking head and occasional spoken work artist, Henry Rollins, opened. He came out wearing only black gym shorts, which is an outfit I fully endorse, though few, if any can pull it off.
The Rollins Band was a very manly band, but way better than I expected. It’s very easy to exceed expectations when they were astronomically low to begin with.
Anticipation building, I stood in the front, second row, close enough to see the sweat of the performers. An attractive older woman, 30’s maybe 40’s, asked how old I was. She was surprised that I was so young and liked X. She said I was really cool. The crowd was really old, lots of grey hairs.
Then X came onstage and proceeded to kick ass. I won’t bore you with a set list or any other details, but I will say that it was one of the best rock and roll shows I’ve seen. After the show, in a touching show of band-fan, punk-rock love, guitarist Billy Zoom, who looks much like Christopher Walken trapped in the 60’s took pictures of everyone in the front row (I’m in one) and also shook hands and got hugs from all the fans in the front row.
X is tragically underrated, but seeing them live gave me an idea of what it must've been like to be a part of those nacent punk days.