Getting the opportunity to interview Exene Cervenka was unbelievable! I have been a huge fan of her music since being introduced to punk at age 13. Whatʼs interesting about her and the different bands that sheʼs been in is how different each band is from the next. X is a staple in any good record collection, but Exene also has been in a band for many years with John Doe and DJ Bonebreak from X and Dave Alvin from The Blasters called The Knitters. They are a totally roots based country, Americana, blues-y outfit. I really love The Knitters. It was funny to see these punk legends playing stripped down acoustic country when I was first getting into punk, because I just wanted to slam dance and be pissed off like punk is supposed to make you feel. I was instantly drawn to what The Knitters were doing, though. I donʼt think I could fight my love of Americana roots music from the start!
Exene was so easy to be around from the second Down The Highway arrived at her door. She made us feel like old friends stopping by for a visit. We received the grand tour right away. Exene brought us straight into her art studio (which is where we did the interview for the Los Angeles episode) and started telling us about her art and different collections of items. A studio like that and the possessions inside are all very private things to most people, but Exene let us right in to her world. That is something Iʼll never forget.
Exeneʼs story and stories are great to listen to. Sheʼs full of information that youʼll see in the show. We had some of our most interesting conversations before and after the cameras were rolling about conspiracy theories and other things unrelated to music. She definitely knows exactly who she is, what she wants, where sheʼs been, what she believes in and she doesnʼt mind telling you about it!
If you have a favorite musical act or there is a songwriter that you think is great, don’t you just want to have a chance to sit down conversation and ask them question about their music and anything related? I’m fan of the band X, and being of Los Angeles and living in Hollywood the band had become intertwined in events and non-events in my life. They “got it” and so did I. The music was always interesting, original and played with great accuracy and precision. The lyrics were what gave it focus, an artistic sensibility that would flow into the album covers, hand written lyric sheets. Exene’s lyrics shared about real life events, issues. The tone could be fractured with a bitter sweet element and always truthful. Her ability to navigate through the Music industry raising the bar of what a female lead singer could represent. Integrity, talent and originality.
In her interview you will find out about her insight, about how Governor Jerry Brown helped Exene and John Doe meet. The trip as a child with her family and the songs on the radio that a young Exene identified with. The general attitude about punk changing it’s direction from 1978 to 1980 and beyond.
Exene’s creativity includes: Twenty Four studio albums, poetry books and written editorial in the photography book “Just Another War”. Just to name a few. -T.Malone
Links to Exene’s Music:
X The Band: http://xtheband.com/
Exene’s Website: http://www.exenecervenka.net/