X- In Concert at My Father’s Place – -WLIR-Radio, November 1983 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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X in concert this weekend, recorded in November 1983 by WLIR Radio. X are just as much an L.A. institution as Pinks, or Musso & Frank’s or the Santa Monica Pier. Weathering stormy breakups, before getting back together and picking up where they left off, X have a huge fanbase who have stuck through thick and thin for what is probably one of the most original bands in the late 70s/early 80s period of L.A. history.
X formed in Los Angeles in 1977. The original members are vocalist Exene Cervenka, vocalist-bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D. J. Bonebrake. The band released seven studio albums from 1980 to 1993. After a period of inactivity during the mid- to late 1990s, X reunited in the early 2000s, and currently tours, as of 2019.
X achieved limited mainstream success but influenced various genres of music, including punk rock and folk rock. In 2003, X’s first two studio albums, Los Angeles and Wild Gift, were ranked by Rolling Stone as being among the 500 greatest albums of all time. Los Angeles was ranked 91st on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. The band received an Official Certificate of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles in acknowledgment of its contribution to Los Angeles music and culture.
This concert, given at My Father’s Place in Roslyn New York on November 12, 1983 was given during the course of a tour supporting the release of More Fun In The New World.
X signed to Elektra in 1982 to release Under the Big Black Sun, which marked a slight departure from their trademark sound. While still fast and loud, with raw punk guitars, the album displayed evolving country leanings. The album was heavily influenced by the death of Cervenka’s elder sister Mirielle in a 1980 car accident. Three songs on the album (“Riding with Mary”, “Come Back to Me” and the title track) all directly related to the tragedy. A fourth, a high-speed version of Al Dubin and Joe Burke’s “Dancing with Tears in My Eyes”, was, years later, indirectly attributed to Cervenka’s mournful state of mind. The stark black-and-white cover art and title were also a reflection of the somber mood of the band during this time. Cervenka has said it is her favorite X album:
“You know, my favorite record is Under the Big Black Sun, so everything else is kind of …”
I’m saying if I had to sit down in a room and put on an X record—which I don’t generally do—I have recently listened to some X records but I generally don’t listen to myself—the record I would pick to listen to would be Under the Big Black Sun.
In 1983, the band slightly redefined their sound with the release of the More Fun in the New World album, making X somewhat more polished, eclectic and radio-ready than on previous albums. With the sound moving away from punk rock, the band’s rockabilly influence became even more noticeable, along with some new elements: funk on the track “True Love Pt. II”, and Woody Guthrie-influenced folk protest songs like “The New World” and “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts”. The record received critical praise from Rolling Stone and Playboy, which had long been stalwart supporters of X and their sound.
Crank it up and enjoy!