John Doe has had a long and curious career. Born John Nommensen Duchac, he came to prominence in the late 1970s L.A. Punk scene via his iconic Rockabilly-infused outfit X. In the late 1980s he starting acting in movies like Salvador, Road House and Great Balls of Fire; according to IMDb, he’s appeared in some 76 titles, from Boogie Nights and The Rage: Carrie 2 to TV shows ER and CSI: Miami. His poetry has appeared in various places over the years as well, and he recently published Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk, a memoir he co-wrote with other era luminaries Mike Watt, Henry Rollins and X bandmate (and ex-wife) Exene Cervenka, among others.
But music remains his first and enduring love. Beyond the seven albums he recorded with X — which hasn’t released anything new since 1993’s Hey, Zeus! but has reconvened sporadically over the years to play live shows — he’s dropped a dozen solo records. Doe’s latest, The Westerner, is another introspective set that fuses his long-running interests in Rock, Country and Folk.
The Westerner, with its Tex-Mex flavor and elegiac tone, was inspired by the death of Doe’s friend, Michael Blake.
“He was like an older brother to me,” Doe said in a recent interview with Denver’s Westword. “He wrote (the book and movie screenplay for) Dances With Wolves and a bunch of other novels and history pieces and stuff. Most of the songs are about him or use him as a main character, even though you could say that every writer is just writing about himself. This was mostly inspired by him and the desert — just the life that we live, and things that have happened in the West.”
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