X Marks Its Territory

Legendary L.A. punks are still shoving it in your face, but gracefully so

"I'd meet all these 16- to 18-year-olds wearing Dead Kennedys tee shirts," he grumbles. "And I'd think, They don't have a clue who the Dead Kennedys were.' They like the design of the shirt, and they think it's rad to wear it. Two years before that, they were probably wearing Nine Inch Nails tee shirts."

Finding young rock fans who understand the punk ethic isn't easy today -- even at events like last summer's Inland Invasion in San Bernardino, which united old-school punks like X, the Damned and the Sex Pistols with such young turks as the Distillers, New Found Glory and Blink 182.

"That was just a big dumb rock show," sniffs Doe, who found New Found Glory "disappointing" and dismissed Blink as "not the strongest live band -- although they do write some catchy songs."

Accepting things graciously: X punks its way through another reunion.
Debbie Leavitt
Accepting things graciously: X punks its way through another reunion.


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Bonebrake, too, was left largely unimpressed with the supposed punk summit meeting -- although he was happy all the young Offspring and Pennywise fans got to hear his old band do it right. "My niece, who's in high school, said a lot of her friends got to see us for the first time," he reports. "And they said they liked us."

Of course, being honored for your lifetime contributions doesn't exactly jell with the punk rock ethic, either. The quartet was honored recently with a slab on Hollywood's Rock Walk, and Doe was invited to speak at Seattle's Experience Music Project, where X was awarded a permanent place in the museum's Milestones Gallery (in the "Western Front" punk section). More important, Rhino has just reissued X's first three albums (the classic Los Angeles, Wild Gift, and Under the Big Black Sun) in expanded, remastered versions, with more to follow ("Nice Christmas money," Bonebrake allows).

It's a little surreal to be honored for making music once meant to go against the grain of everything popular, Doe and Bonebrake admit.

"In one way, you're really honored," says Bonebrake. "But you also don't want it to happen." Nevertheless, the members of X have learned to live with the respect.

"We used to piss on things like awards," says Doe. "However, as you get older, I think you're able to accept things graciously. You realize this respect is good, not fake or stupid. Now, to anyone who wants to honor X, I just say, Thank you very much. Glad you got something from what we did.'"

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