Punk rock converged at the same time that Southern California’s archetype suburbia was collapsing.Young families were getting divorced and their kids would join neighborhood gangs. Doing drugs was the de rigueur of the times. And there were all these kids who were into skateboarding, surfing and looking for a connection; and it twas the media sensationalizing its portrayal of punk rock as violent and antisocial.
But L.A. wasn’t far behind with the birth of local punk rock bands as X, the Germs, the Zeros the Weirdos and Los Plugz who by 1977 were all at the forefront of the local punk scene.. And while New York had legendary punk rock club ..CBGB’s, where the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie and Television made a name for themselves. L.A. punks had their own home venues. Most notably The Masque, a small, short- lived punk club in the basement of an X-rated live theater that became the epicenter of the early scene here.And almost overnight a scene emerged. The L.A. punk scene was open to everyone. Anybody could salute to the punk culture that wanted to be there. [It] did not matter how old you were, what you were like. It was a free-for-all for outcasts. It’s really bewildering and psychologically confusing to look back at a time three decades gone now! Despite club owners not booking Hispanic punk bands the scene finally made it to the Sunset Strip! Freshly formed punk bands, with few other places to play, flocked to the Masque. Young people considered outsiders for their taste in music, fashion and art found a place where they could gather as a tribe.Back then, anything different was just viewed with suspicion. You had to watch your back from the cops, from rival gangs, football jocks and stoners.
Writing this story is especially important to me. The band X are the benchmark of L.A. rock and roll… sure their pathos was punk rock but they could easily be “shoe horned” with rockabilly, country and Goth……I’ve always loved X! It’s been nearly 35 years since L.A.’s greatest Punk rock export, X released new music. They are a true rock and roll icon. The group has shared their first record since 1993’s Hey Zeus! and if you want to go back further, it’s their first record with the returning of original guitarist, Billy Zoom since 1985’s Ain’t Love Grand! …Alphabetland is the right X album for right now. X fans can rejoice.. the new album is amazing! The album is iconic. The duet, “Water and Wine” has biblical greatness..Cervenka and Doe’s cacophonous harmonies while Zoom’s guitar work has brought a greater prophetic vitality; much like the early albums…. The quartet of John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Zoom and DJ Bonebrake gallops through a cavalcade of 11 songs that are a jounce of energy that revels Los Angeles’ greatest punk rock band.. X!