X: 40 Years of Punk in Los Angeles
X: 40 Years of Punk in Los Angeles opens in Tulsa May 18, presenting a history of the influential West Coast punk band
X singer and songwriter Exene Cervenka will speak at Woody Guthrie Center opening event May 17
TULSA, Okla. – As punk music was developing in New York in the late 1970s, Los Angeles was making strides in the genre, thanks in part to the work of four pioneering musicians in the band X.
X: 40 Years of Punk in Los Angeles is the latest exhibit to be displayed at the Woody Guthrie Center, presented by the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE. The exhibit will give visitors a glimpse into how X’s four original members – Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake – quickly established the band as one of the best in the first wave of L.A.’s flourishing punk scene.
“An X exhibit in a museum? Unbelievable! We are honored, dumbstruck and so grateful that all four original members are here to celebrate and share our history and 40th anniversary. “It’s a very long way from a basement on Hollywood Blvd (The Masque) to the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, but we feel that we bring with us all the punks from then and now. We are just the representatives for what has gone before and what is still to come.” — Exene, Billy, DJ, and John
Items on display will include:
- Original instruments and gear played by the band
- Handwritten lyrics and notebooks by Exene Cervenka and John Doe
- Clothing and other personal items
- Original concert flyers for L.A. shows
- Rare photographs and artwork by Exene
- X: The Unheard Music film, and more
Guthrie’s growth as a social justice activist through song and art developed during his time in Los Angeles, taking his music to the people in a spirit that musicians across genres would follow for decades to come, including punk.
“Woody Guthrie is considered the first punk rocker since he fought against the accepted norms for artists and wrote about real struggles to speak for the disenfranchised,” said Deana McCloud, executive director of the Woody Guthrie Center. “Forty years ago, the L.A. punk band X followed in Woody’s footsteps as they addressed topical issues for their generation. It’s a pleasure to celebrate the impact the band has had on music and society as a continuation of Woody’s legacy.”
“This exhibit will place a much-deserved spotlight on the history of punk music in Los Angeles and one of the bands who played a vital role on the genre’s impact on Southern California,” says GRAMMY Museum Curator Nwaka Onwusa. “Visitors will get a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the development of X’s career and how, after 40 years, they remain one of the few bands to continue to tour with all four original members.”
The exhibit will be on display at the Woody Guthrie Center through Aug. 20.
Formed in 1977, X quickly established themselves as one of the best bands in the first wave of L.A.’s flourishing punk scene, becoming legendary leaders of a punk generation. Featuring vocalist Exene Cervenka, vocalist/bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom, and drummer DJ Bonebrake, their debut 45 was released on the seminal Dangerhouse label in 1978, followed by seven studio albums released from 1980-1993. Over the years, the band has released several critically acclaimed albums, topped the musical charts with regularity and performed their iconic hits on top television shows such as “The Late Show With David Letterman” and Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” X’s first two studio albums, Los Angeles and Wild Gift, are ranked by Rolling Stone magazine among the top 500 greatest albums of all time. The band continues to tour with the original lineup fully intact. Their 40th anniversary tour kicked of May 1 with dates scheduled through December 2017. For more information, visit www.xtheband.com.
About The Woody Guthrie Center
The Woody Guthrie Center, opened on April 27, 2013, features state of the art exhibits, an extensive outreach and education program, and a concert series to bring his legacy to Tulsans and those who make the pilgrimage to what is a destination for Woody Guthrie fans worldwide.
The Center is more than a museum; instead, it is a center of investigation for inspiration. By providing examples of Guthrie’s ability to use his creativity as a way of expressing the world around him, we hope to encourage others to find their voices and, through their educational programs, explore the power that lies within the creative process. For more information, please visit www.woodyguthriecenter.org.
About The GRAMMY Museum®
Established in 2008 as a partnership between the Recording Academy and AEG, the GRAMMY Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating a greater understanding of the history and significance of music. Paying tribute to our collective musical heritage, the Museum explores and celebrates all aspects of the art form—from the technology of the recording process to the legends who’ve made lasting marks on our cultural identity. In 2017, the Museum integrated with its sister organization, the GRAMMY Foundation, to broaden the reach of its music education and preservation initiatives. As a unified organization, today, the GRAMMY Museum fulfills its mission of making music a valued and indelible part of our society through exhibits, education, grants, and public programming.