[Editor's Note: Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. Her column, Exene Says..., is her space to basically just write what's on her mind, everything from crazy life stories to political theories and observations about what's going on in this fucked up world of ours. To contact her, send all messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
People have this idea that touring is all fun and no work, that bands just drink a lot and party every night! People think we musicians are out here, watching great bands play with us, night after night. That we have no responsibilities, such as doing dishes, laundry, weed whacking, etc. That it's just a whirlwind adventure of meeting beautiful, creative, crazy people! That you end up in the coolest bars with total strangers, swapping punk-rock stories, and then you become friends for life.
Well, they're right! That is exactly why I do this. You couldn't ask for a better life.
Except, we do work, and we have to still wash our clothes. Our tour has three great crew people, which makes it easier. The shows are physically demanding, and I do get exhausted at times from sound checks and stairs and playing and talking and stairs and icky food and no sleep. Plus, dragging a suitcase and backpack and purse and coat around, in and out of the van, sometimes into nice hotels, sometimes into super-crappy (or medium-crappy) hotels. And the bills don't go away while I'm gone.
Truly, this is a fun tour. The shows and audiences are good, with no mishaps, dust-ups, screw-ups or boo-boos. One night, I had to apologize to some concert-goers in the front row. They had their fingers in their ears the whole time we played, and they weren't even on Billy Zoom's side of the stage! It is always nice to play to people who have never heard X. Even if they are hearing us somewhat painfully.
Festivals are great fun, too. You get to see and sometimes hang out with bands you'd never otherwise share a bill with.
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I think about the ills of Earth (and possible solutions and escape plans) almost nonstop, so this tour is a break from that. But it's hyper-real, too. Onstage, if you can get lost in the music and the energy, it can be mighty profound. And it totally makes up for the no health insurance, no benefits, no pension, no security, barely eeking by--that part of being in a band.
I'm really grateful that after 35 years, people (young, old, new and veteran fans) still like what X and Blondie do, that they love and respect our punk-rock ways!
Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk-rock pioneer, as the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners.