I devoured Under the Big Black Sun (2016) because X was one of my all-time fave bands as I grew up in Southern California. Compiled by John Doe of X and Tom DeSavia, a writer and record industry veteran, the book goes a long way in helping tell the story of the origins of Los Angeles punk and roots rock.
The new volume from Doe and DeSavia, More Fun in the New World, is just as compelling to midlife retreads like myself who still summon up happy memories of punk rock and rockabilly shows in the 1980s.
“This was never going to be a simple story; and Doe and DeSavia aren’t looking to simplify it,” writes Jay Gabler in The Current. “As the ’70s bled into the ’80s, life for the stars of Penelope Spheeris’s era-defining 1981 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization — bands like X, Black Flag, and Circle Jerks — was a mix of agony and ecstasy. … DeSavia says telling the story that way would be depressing, even if it might be accurate. So instead, Doe and DeSavia corralled the usual suspects — some contributors to the past book, some new ones — to write about what happened to all of them when the MTV era dawned.”
I saw X a few months ago while on their tour with the Violent Femmes. Their show was fabulous. Their longevity is notable — and appreciated.
“X has weathered many battles, successes, and failures and, to this day, remain a working, touring band — one who celebrated a fortieth anniversary in 2017 by playing over one hundred dates in the U.S.,” writes Doe in More Fun in the New World. “In those forty-some years Exene and I married, divorced, and stayed friends; Billy Zoom beat cancer twice, quit the band, and rejoined ten years later; and somehow DJ Bonebrake continues to be known as ‘the nicest man in rock ‘n’ roll.’ We can’t play casinos or state fairs because we never had a bona fide ‘hit.’ If you ask Joan Jett or Blondie, they may say that can be a double-edged sword. I’ll admit that sometimes we wish we had the bank account or luxury to reach the masses like they have. But at every X show I see some twenty-something or younger in the front row, losing their s–t and getting schooled in original American punk rock. In that way it’s the best job anyone can have.”
To check out Jay Gabler’s review of More Fun in the New World in The Current, click HERE.