In recent years, X bassist-vocalist John Doe has been busy. He got a Grammy nomination for his punk history book “Under the Big Black Sun” and organized a Grammy Museum retrospective exhibit featuring vintage X memorabilia. (“X — Forty Years of Punk in Los Angeles” was on view in Southern California and has since moved to Tulsa’s Woody Guthrie Center.) He appeared in several films, composed music for another, and — while traveling the U.S. on a 40th anniversary tour — found time to record (with X drummer D.J. Bonebrake) on Chris D’s upcoming Flesh Eaters album, “I Used to Be Pretty.” Topping that, dressed in a Western suit and bolo tie, he sang the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium in August 2017, while bandmate Exene Cervenka threw out the first pitch. “We also just signed to Fat Possum and regained the rights to our catalog,” he says.
In assembling the Grammy exhibit, what forgotten oddities did you come across in your collection?
Well, I knew that I had some stuff, because Exene and I had talked about doing a book ourselves. So the best thing I found — the thing that I’m most proud of that’s in the exhibit — was the original book where I wrote down the lyrics to “Los Angeles.” It was a little book I’d stick in my pocket, all water stained, and looking just how you’d think it would. And we knew that we had our original instruments —– D.J. had his old drum kit, I had two electric basses. But I was surprised that Exene still had her wedding gown. But she’s not as much of an archivist as D.J. and I are.
Since you’re playing Thanksgiving, and not your usual X-mas shows, what’s the weirdest Thanksgiving you ever had, either at home or on the road?
I can’t remember what year it was — some time in the mid-‘80s, I think — and we were on tour through Thanksgiving. And I think we had four, maybe five full Thanksgiving dinners presented to us backstage, because everybody felt sorry for us. And we didn’t really give a s—. But at the same time, we were touched by all the effort. It was pretty nice. But all night long, it was like, “Oh, look! Thanksgiving! Again!”
Any traditional dishes for you and the missus?
Well, since we’re both vegetarian, and there’s only two of us — my daughters don’t live there now — green bean casserole is still a big one. And also, there’s black rice and butternut squash with pomegranate seeds, with a drizzling of maple syrup. It. Tastes. Awesome!
IF YOU GO
X, Los Lobos, Jane Wiedlin
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 23-24