John Doe’s career has gone from poetry to punk to country to acting to punk to folk and back again several times. Frontman for the extremely influential LA punk band X, John was there at the dawn of West Coast punk and has written about it (twice) in his books Under the Big Black Sun and More Fun in the New World. He actually sourced out most of the books’ chapters and had his friends and other people who were there give accounts, which makes them both pretty well rounded.
John grew up mostly in Baltimore, under the influence of John Waters and Divine. He worked odd jobs and ran a poetry group there. He’d moved to Los Angeles in the mid 70’s and met his future X bandmates Exene, Billy Zoom and D.J. Bonebrake. John’s been in countless films and TV shows since 1987. He kind of stumbled into acting by getting an agent after he was in the indie film Border Radio. You may have seen him in films like Road House or Boogie Nights or series like Carnivale. He’s lived in Austin, Texas since 2017 and loves to tell people it’s terrible, so that no one else moves there.
John Doe’s latest album Fables in a Foreign Land takes place in the 1890’s and surrounds a young man who’s found himself alone in a cruel hard world. The album’s sound was developed through weekly jam sessions in his bassist’s backyard. This time around, John’s played up his interest in folk and roots music, all the while keeping that punk sensibility. He says, “These songs take place alone, wandering, searching and hungry accompanied by horses not machines.” And speaking of horses, John’s got a couple and it seems they’ve kept him grounded especially during the pandemic, so yeah, I ask the guy about his horses. That and we also talk about controlling the ego, listening to intuition, taking care of your physical health and his cameo in The Bodyguard (yes the Whitney Houston movie). Thanks Joe Doe!
Photo Credit: Todd V. Wolfson