John Doe calls his new release “The Westerner” a “psychedelic, soul record from the Arizona desert.” (Courtesy photo)

John Doe calls his new release “The Westerner” a “psychedelic, soul record from the Arizona desert.” (Courtesy photo)

Catching up with X’s John Doe


X bassist John Doe is busy. In concert on Sunday, he’s backing “The Westerner,” his galloping new solo album recorded in Tucson with Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb featuring duets with Chan Marshall (“A Little Help”) and Debbie Harry (“Go Baby Go”). The disc is dedicated to his close friend Michael Blake, the “Dances With Wolves” author who died in 2015. Doe also has recent film and TV appearances to his credit as well as a book (co-written by Tom De Savia) called “Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk,” with chapters from Mike Watt, Henry Rollins, and his partner in X, Exene Cervenka, Next is his “X Re-Zoomed” summer tour. “And then before you know it, it’ll be time to play our ‘Merry X-mas’ concerts again,” the El Cerrito resident says.


You met Michael Blake and Kevin Costner at an acting workshop in 1982. What did you bond over?

Horseback riding. Michael was a horseman, and he invited me out to his favorite stables, out near Magic Mountain. And we rode every week for two or three years. And eight months into that, I bought a horse, and I’ve been riding horses ever since. And that whole part of my life allows me to connect to something that’s much bigger. But Michael was like my older brother — a mentor and a best friend. And when you think about your friend’s life, you end up writing a few songs. And then you suddenly realize that these songs have a theme.

But you actually guest-starred on the insane TV show “Children’s Hospital”?

The creators of that show are totally crazy, and they’re big X fans, and they asked the whole group to appear. One of the actors, in past episodes, would say that he was in certain bands, and they’d go, “No, you’re not in Blues Traveler.” But he claims to be the second bass player in X, and they don’t believe him. But then suddenly, we’re rehearsing in the hospital break room with him playing second bass.

And there’s the movie “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” with Eric Roberts and John Schneider?

It’s about two estranged brothers, and John Schneider is their father, and he passes away early in the movie. So in order for the brothers to complete the will, they have to go on a road trip. And I’m one of the guys on the road. But the good part? I got to wear an eye patch, so I can check that off my list: “Play eye-patch guy — check!”

And there’s a “Black Sun” audiobook?

Yeah! And everybody read their own chapters. I’d like to think that super-fans will get both.

IF YOU GO
John Doe and His RocknRoll Band
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. June 26
Tickets: $21
Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.slimspresents.com

[XChan MarshallDebbie Harryexene cervenkaHowe GelbJohn DoeMichael BlakePop MusicThe WesternerUnder the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. PunkX Re-Zoomed

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