By Nicki Escudero
By Amy Silverman
By Brian Palmer
By Chris Parker
By Troy Farah
By Lauren Wise
By Lauren Wise
"Nobody wanted to work with a band like X in 1979," Cervenka says. "They weren't gonna make any money off it--plus, they didn't get it. "They also thought we were too violent. They were afraid if they let us in a studio, we'd tear it up," she says, smiling in disbelief. "Well, God, maybe just a little. Maybe just the bathroom, but not the control board. Sometimes you drop a cigarette. With any other band, it was like, 'Hey, don't worry. We'll take care of it.' But with us, it was like, 'Get out of here, fuckin' punk rockers. You owe us three hundred bucks.'"
But it's cash, not catastrophe, that occupies the band today. Although X emerged from the Eighties as one of the most influential punk-pop bands ever, its finances remain in shambles. Cervenka says she's still desperate, and Doe's serious coin comes from the film biz. The old punk-rock adage "success is for losers and parents" seems to have destined X for a lot of respect but no money.
"It used to be that if you made a living, people would throw things at you, because you were a traitor to the punk-rock cause. Now you have people like Henry Rollins, Eddy Vedder, and Nirvana making millions of dollars--and more power to them. See, it's okay now to make a living, but when we came up, there was a real stigma attached to success. It was selling out." As the words "selling out" come off her lips, the director of the video motions impatiently for Cervenka and Doe to take their places. Both laugh at the timing. As he's being shooed onto the set by an assistant, Doe adds a parting thought. "By our first album, we'd 'sold out' two or three times. We sold out when we signed to Slash and when we played some place other than the Whiskey-A-Go-Go. And if we played for more than $5, we were thought of as filthy rock stars."
"It's weird," Cervenka says. "We've never made a lot of money or anything. But I think if we're artists who can work at music and make a living, then I think that's a success story.