John Doe


John Doe was born in 1977—after he arrived in Los Angeles. His previous life in Tennessee, Wisconsin and Baltimore was a fertile time, but new music and social changes led him to events that created a life in art. He graduated from Antioch College in Baltimore in 1975 and worked as a roofer, an aluminum siding mechanic and ran a poetry reading series.

John met Exene Cervenka in November 1976 at the Beyond Baroque poetry workshop (Venice, CA) and started working with Billy Zoom around the same time. When DJ Bonebrake joined X in mid-1977, the lineup was complete. The band has released seven studio records, two live records and several singles from 1978–2021. Five of X’s records have been reissued through Fat Possum Records along with two compilations.

The film X: The Unheard Music documents the band members’ lives and X’s progress as a band from 1980–1983. In 2009, the film was included in the Sundance UCLA archive of the greatest films of all time. X appeared several times on American Bandstand, Solid Gold and David Letterman. As one of the last original punk rock bands still standing, they continue to tour.

As a solo artist, Doe has recorded 10 records with numerous renowned singers and players, including Neko Case, Patty Griffin, Aimee Mann and Don Was. 
He has also appeared in more than 60 films and television productions, with some of his most notable roles in Road House, Georgia, Roadside Prophets, Great Balls of Fire, Pure Country and Roswell.

Other musical side projects include work with the Knitters, the Sadies and Jill Sobule. He continues to write poetry and currently lives in Austin, Texas.

John Doe released his album The Westerner in 2016, and as a friend of Checkered Past, it is now being offered for sale in our store. With guest appearances from Debbie Harry (Blondie) and Chan Marshall (Cat Power), the so-called desert rock album was widely praised by critics and fans alike. ALL COPIES OF THE ALBUM HAVE BEEN SIGNED BY JOHN DOE.

The Westerner in the News

“The title of John Doe’s new album couldn’t be more appropriate. The Westerner, which will be released April 29th, finds the co-founder of Los Angeles punk legends X meditating across open expanses of the desert, sun burning bright in the sky and the arid landscape shimmering with mystery.

Doe’s inspiration came in a feverish burst in Tucson, Arizona, where he was recording with Howe Gelb (of Giant Sand) and spent time with his friend, author Michael Blake (Dances With Wolves), hours before his death. From the opening rumble of The Westerner’s leadoff track “Get on Board,” Blake’s spiritual presence and the inevitability of mortality are threaded through the album." 
 —Rolling Stone


“colored with plenty of rock ‘n’ roll grit and reverb, Doe exhorts us to partake of a journey that’s both urgent and unavoidable, without getting too specific about the destination” 
—NPR Music

 “one of the most distinctive and passionate voices to emerge from any American punk band” 
—American Songwriter

“Doe simply is making some of the most striking music of his career.” 
—The Boston Globe

“The result recalls the quieter Doors, various psychedelic Nuggets and a healthy amount of Americana folk.” 

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