Monday, November 7, 2011

X - Chicago 10.7.1983

X are one of the most iconic bands to come out of the Los Angeles punk scene. There sound is so heavily immersed in the city of Angels that they named their debut album after the city itself.

Billy Zoom came from Savanna, Illinois.  His background was in rockabilly and blues. He heard about punk after reading a review of the Ramones. It criticized the Ramones' songs for being too fast and too short. Billy thought those sounded like positive attributes and decided to form a punk band.

 Jon Doe grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He had been exposed to punk rock by listening to Patti Smith records. He moved to LA and decided he wanted to be part of a band. He answered an ad and in a local paper and met Billy Zoom. During this time Jon Doe was also participating in a poetry workshop where he met future X singer Exene Cervenka, who had just arrived to L.A. from Tampa, Florida.

Doe thought that Exene's poetry would make great lyrics so he invited her to come sing some songs for his new band. Billy Zoom was not thrilled that Jon Doe had invited his crazy, new, poetry writing girlfriend into the band without asking but they all managed to make it work. The band went through a variety of drummers before Billy and Jon discovered D.J. Bonebroke playing drums with The Bags at the historic L.A. punk venue the Masque. With the addition of D.J. Bonebroke the classic X lineup was complete.

X played scaled down strait forward punk-rock when the L.A. scene was splintering in every direction except Rock and Roll. Bands like Fear, Black Flag, and the Circle Jerks were pioneering the brutal sound of hardcore while other bands like Devo were crafting a more slick and modern aesthetic that would become new-wave. X retained a classic sound through the eighties which is one of the many reasons why their records remain timeless while many of their contemporaries have faded into obscurity.

By 1980 X had attracted a lot of attention in the L.A. scene. Ray Manzarek, founding keyboard player and founding member The Doors, was also an L.A. native and a fan of the band. Manzarek agreed to produce X's first album Los Angeles for Slash Records and to play keys on the Doors cover of "Soul Kitchen". Upon it's release Los Angeles recieved rave reviews from independent punk fanzines and even some attention from the national press. X's debut sold over 50,000 copies which was very rare for a punk album on an indy label. Ray Manzarek went on to produce X's next three albums.

Their 1981 follow up Wild Gift proved to be just as strong of an album both artistically and commercially. It was their second and final album for Slash records. The single "White Girl" became their first major hit and the record snuck on onto the Billboard Pop chart at #165.

For their next album X signed to major label Elktra Records. Under the Big Black Sun was slightly more polished than it's predecessors. It charted at #76 but it held true to the band's sound and for a little bit it looked like X was one of the few punk bands that could gracefully handle the transition from indy credibility to widespread commercial appeal without alienating their original fanbase.

More Fun in the New World, X's fourth album in four years, was the final X album to be produced by Ray Manzarek. It was just as solid as any of it's predecessors, it sold just as well, and it charted at a respectable #86. But through the twisted eyes of and Elektra record executive steady sales is not enough. More Fun in the New World was released in September of 1983. It was the last great X album. After that most of the members of the band became distracted by side projects. Everything else they recorded as X after More Fun had a slick commercial sound that felt like a betrayal of the bands original aesthetic.

This bootleg was recorded in October of 1983 less than a month after the release of More Fun in the New World. It captures the band at their peak before they lost their edge. They perform an assortment of songs from their first four albums.

The sound quality and performance on this recordings are excellent. The show was captured from an F.M. broadcast. All the instruments are clearly audible and the vocals are mixed at a good level. This record is infinetly better than that official 1988 album X - Live at the Whisky a Go-Go. This bootleg sounds much deeper, louder, less compressed, and more vibrant than it's commercial counterpart.


Venue: Park West
City: Chicago, IL
Date: 10.07.1983
Size: 132 mb
Runtime: 58:04
Source: Frequency Modulation Broadcast

Set List:
01 Motel Room In My Bed
02 We're Having Much More Fun
03 In This House That I Call Home
04 Make The Music Go Bang
05 White Girl
06 True Love Pt. 2
07 Beyond and Back
08 Hungry Wolf
09 Poor Girl
10 Riding With Mary
11 Year One
12 Some Other Time
13 Breathless
14 Johnny Hit And Run Pauline
15 The Once Over Twice
16 Sugarlight
17 Because I Do
18 How I Learned My Lesson
19 Soul Kitchen

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