All original members: Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom & DJ Bonebrake
with Folk Uke opening
INTIMATE MAIN STAGE THEATER
The Center for the Arts presents
Thursday, July 24, 8:00PM
$45 members, $50 non-member
(Does not include applicable fees)
“X emerged from the L.A. punk scene as the most critically lauded American band of the early ’80s. …while X’s music then was properly labeled as punk, the music and lyrics were more sophisticated than the hardcore sound that would later define the genre. And for all the speed and thrust of their playing, X claims roots in rockabilly and old-time country music, which echoes in the vocal harmonies of John Doe and Exene.” – Rolling Stone
“Still whole, still strong, X are playing, deep in their fourth decade, like a band in renewal – and poised, if they choose to write again at this level, for renaissance.” – David Fricke, Rolling Stone 7/15/14
“It was all ferociousness and tenderness, a half-hour blast of one of L.A.’s finest rock records.” – Los Angeles Times 7/11/14
“The L.A. punk icons celebrate their 34-year-old debut album with a red-hot set that proves they can still rock as hard as anyone.” – The Hollywood Reporter 7/11/14
“Thirty-four years after Los Angeles’s release, X still has that same punk-rock fire, judging by the original lineup’s high-energy Roxy gig and the crowd’s crazed reaction.” – Yahoo! Music 7/11/14
“That (X) have survived stronger than ever makes a strong case for their candidacy in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has generally been kind to punk pioneers like The Ramones, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Stooges, all inducted over the past decade.” – The Hollywood Reporter 7/15/14
Three decades after the inception of X, one thing is clear: X was not only one of the most influential bands to crash out of the punk movement of the late ‘70s, but the band’s music continues to be sonically groundbreaking today. Songs written during the group’s inception are as relevant and inventive today as they were in 1977.
The fact is, no one sounds like X and no one ever will.
It’s not surprising when you consider the group’s unique beginnings, which can only be attributed to fate. On the same day with nearly the exact same wording, two want-ads appear in a local music rag. One was sent in by a guitarist named Billy Zoom, the other by bassist who called himself John Doe.
Zoom, a rockabilly rebel who’d performed with Gene Vincent, had read a negative review of a band called the Ramones. It said they only played three chords and they played ‘em too fast. So naturally, he went to see them. The show was at the Golden West Ballroom in the L.A. suburb of Norwalk in early ’77, and as soon as the Ramones started to perform, Zoom realized that, musically, he’d found exactly what he wanted to do with his life.
Doe, who was originally from the Baltimore area, was already down with the East Coast CBGB’s scene and by the time the two got in the same room together after responding to each other’s ads, it seemed it was meant to be. They performed a few shows with various drummers before a poet with no ambition of being a singer would enter the picture.
Doe found her in Venice Beach, at a poetry reading. He liked her poems so much he offered to perform them in his band. The poet, ExeneCervenka, had just moved to town from Florida and she told him, no offense, but if anyone was gonna perform her poems, it would be her, and she soon ended up in the band. Zoom was skeptical about someone’s girlfriend being in the band. After they did their first show with Exene, he didn’t know exactly what it was she had, but he knew it was magic.
After a succession of drummers, Doe was at the underground punk club the Masque in Hollywood one night, checking out a band called the Eyes, which featured a pre-Go-Go’s bass player named Charlotte Caffey. He called Zoom immediately and said he’d found their drummer. Doe told him he played with a parade snare and hit it hard as a hammer. Zoom told him to promise him anything. His name was D.J. Bonebrake and he quickly signed on. The band was now complete, and X would soon emerge from the young punk scene as one of its most successful offspring.
The band’s early albums, Los Angeles (1980), produced by Ray Manzarek of the Doors, Wild Gift (1981), and Under the Big Black Sun (1982) explored dark love and an even darker L.A. with the unflinching eye of a Raymond Chandler novel. Doe and Cervenka would marry and later divorce, but they’d always remain soulmates. As they released each ensuing album, More Fun in theNewWorld(1983) and Ain’t Love Grand (1985), the band continued to grow sonically and politically, fearlessly mixing genres without ever losing its center. As each member went on to explore diverse careers—careers that included acting, art, writing, producing and multiple side projects.”
Being the offspring of famous musicians may come with some baggage, but that doesn’t seem to bother the members of Folk Uke: Amy Nelson (daughter of Willie Nelson) and Cathy Guthrie (daughter of Arlo Guthrie). They stand on their own merits by offering charmingly off-kilter material and not taking themselves too seriously. Their mellow country-folk features honey-sweet vocal harmonies and subdued strumming (Nelson on guitar and Guthrie on ukulele), but the duo really makes its mark with humorous and often absurd lyrics and entertaining tongue-in-cheek tales.
It was 1998 in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter when Cathy Guthrie and Amy Nelson met at a bar…where they both worked. One was a tramp and one was devastatingly pure. With a ukulele and an acoustic guitar, they formed a band for the same reason kids join gangs— just to survive, but also to unleash the brilliance that was poking them from within.
Don’t believe the rumors. Folk Ukeis not totally amazing. They’re just kind of amazing. If you find yourself at a Folk Uke show, you are in for a treat— but maybe not the kind of treat that you like the taste of. Come to the show and see for yourself.
Better yet, buy their albums first and you may save yourself the trouble.And if you make it to a live Folk Uke show, do your best to enjoy it…and then give them two more chances. They are hit and miss, but so are you most likely, and that is their charm. We live to inspire and we’re tired of writing in third person.
Love, Cathy & Amy
A note from the publicist:
• Folk Uke has two critically praised albums to their credit, Folk Uke(2004) and Reincarnation(2011).
• They have garnered a dedicated cult following and have played many prestigious venues both in the US and Australia, including The Hard Rock Café in NYC, SXSW, Tamworth Country Music Festival, The Woody Guthrie Festival, Hempstalk and Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic.
• Folk Uke tracks have also appeared in feature films like “Indie Jonesing” (2012) and Jay Chandrasekhar’s “The Babymakers” (2012).
• Snoop Dogg has said of Folk Uke, “They’re off the mother*cking chain…Dope as f*ck,” and John Trudell claims, “They are like angels talking sh!t.”
• Folk Uke is currently at work on several recording and film projects.
This duo is a unique amalgam of angelic harmonies often wrapped around edgy, surprising lyrics. Folk Uke plays folk music in its truest form with a delightfully wicked twist.