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X Marks the Spot

X front man John Doe flies solo in Tucson.

Considering the haunted after-hours vibe he kept returning to on last year's critically acclaimed Forever Hasn't Happened Yet, it may seem strange to find John Doe reissuing the far more raucous For the Rest of Us, a little-heard EP from 1998, as For the Best of Us, its outtakes only adding more explosives to the fire. But the way Doe looks at music, it's just part of one continuum, from the trash-rock abandon of X to songs as sad and lonely as "The Losing Kind." In fact, when New Times caught up with Doe in mid-August, he was on the road with X.

New Times: So this reissue is a lot more raucous than Forever Hasn't Happened Yet.

John Doe: The thing about working with Smokey [Hormel] and Joey Waronker was that it was kind of a perfect time for them to play those songs. It was after the whole Seattle scene had sort of peaked, so there was that influence, but they had been playing with Beck enough that they were tight together, and Smokey wasn't afraid to be a guitar hero. It was a good transition period for all of us.

NT: So you found inspiration in that whole Seattle thing?

Doe: Sure. I mean, you can only listen to so much old country and western and blues.

NT: Any hope of your doing an album of new material with X?

Doe: Exene [Cervenka] and I have worked on a few things. I don't know whether it'll be an X record. It's hard to say. And I don't mean to be elusive. But there are a lot of things in play. Exene just moved to Missouri, but she sent me a bunch of lyrics and we're hanging out now, so we'll see. If I can keep Exene away from the gambling table long enough, maybe we'll work on a couple of things. She's actually good. She makes money. It's like her ancillary employment out here on the road. I think she's up 3,000 bucks so far.

NT: There's a link on X's Web site to a MySpace page where some guy's lobbying to have the band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Is that something that matters to you?

Doe: I think anybody who says that it isn't is fooling himself. Of course it does. I'm not one for false humility. I think if you work hard and get recognized, you should appreciate it.

NT: Where do you see X's place in the bigger picture?

Doe: I'd say on a soccer field, it would be somewhere between midfield and defense. We're not the star striker. We're sort of the first line of center midfielders.


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