Inquiring Minds

A Lively Round-Table With the Still-Dangerous X

X were (and still are) the kind of band that makes critics salivate endlessly. Writing fiercely literate songs with barbed insight about feral youth lurking in the shadows of decrepit Hollywood, the band's cutthroat melodies and rockabilly-clogged music contrasted the gnarly noise of their contemporaries, who were often more addicted to aggression than poetry.    With Exene Cervenka and John Doe trading vocals on the front lines of the band, they peppered songs with lust, love, confusion and loss. They revisited these themes with new insights on each record while drummer DJ Bonebrake and guitarist Billy Zoom, both children of well-rounded musical skills and heritage, carved out a seminal sound rooted in classic country, exuberant jazz, 1950s rock and roll and the Ramones. Though many tried, no one ever quite sounded like X, especially as tell-tale songs like "The Have-Nots" smashed punk's borders by marrying Nashville-like barstool ruminations with barely submerged punk nerve endings.

Recently, the band re-released their first Dangerhouse single, the taut and manic "We're Desperate" and crooning "Adult Books," whose vintage vibe proves their musical creed went well beyond year zero. The Press' David Ensminger caught Doe, Bonebrake and Cervenka right before they embarked on their spring tour that pulls into Warehouse Live tonight.

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David Ensminger