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Thoughts on John Doe's playing in X?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Billyzoom, May 3, 2021.

  1. Billyzoom

    Billyzoom Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2011
    Bay Area
    I've been a huge X fan from their first album, as if you didn't know from my handle here.

    I'm really more of a guitar player, so I naturally gravitated towards Billy Zoom's guitar, and he was so damn cool.

    As I relisten to their music nowadays (and all music now, I suppose) from the perspective of someone who's interested in bass, I think John was a very solid bassist, and he is also a vocalist, songwriter, and guitar player outside of X.

    His playing is certainly more "meat and potatoes" rather than virtuosic, but isn't that a big part of the bass role? Especially in this genre. I dig him, dig his playing, and always loved his bass...that's some legit relicing.

    Here they are in 2017. Take a listen.

    Last edited: May 3, 2021
    GregC, Peteyboy, 350125g0 and 2 others like this.
  2. Tubehed


    Oct 27, 2011
    John is a solid bass player in addition to his other considerable talents. Nobody sound like Billy, DJ, John and Excene. Such a magic combination!

    Last saw X two summers ago opening for the Damned at the Pacific Ampetheatre. Billy had to play seated the whole show due to health problems but didn't miss a note and had one of the very best live guitar tones I've ever heard. They were all fantastic. DJ even played a couple songs on vibes. Yeah, John is a really solid, no nonsense player.
    GregC, TN WOODMAN and Billyzoom like this.
  3. 20GLJazz

    20GLJazz Supporting Member

    I saw X at some dump in San Fran in '82. What a mosh pit. :)
    I admire anyone who can sing and play at the same time. I can't.
    X was so different from the others(punk bands), because they really could play and obviously rehearsed.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  4. Great band. I can think of way worse ways to spend my time than listening to X.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  5. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    I love Billy Zoom.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  6. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    S. Texas Hill Country
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    I saw X at Madame Wongs in El Lays Chinatown back in '78 or '79. They were fantastic. I've been a big fan ever since. John's "meat and potatoes" playing is just what they require.
    This is the X I saw:
    TN WOODMAN, LBS-bass and Billyzoom like this.
  7. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    I haven't been able hear his bass much yet. I loved their vocal harmonies. I loved Exene's unique fashion style. Each member had a distinct look and style. "Hungry Wolf" on MTV is where I first heard them. I got that cassette eventually and I loved every second (Under the Big Black Sun). They really created a unique sound just on their own.
    Tubehed and TN WOODMAN like this.
  8. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    I still remember getting my first electric guitar and amp in 1985. One of the first things I discovered was the main riff to "Hungry Wolf". Actually I was good enough on chords by then, that I figured out all the chords. Or maybe everything but the middle section. (Their stuff was kind of complex).
    But I loved the main riff where you let the A chord ring and played the low notes on the E string.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I wasn't a giant X fan but I love Billy Zoom. Rockin' the cool Gretsch and smilin' the whole time.
    Tubehed and ElectroVibe like this.
  10. 350125g0


    Mar 4, 2020
    Love X, and I really like John Doe as an overall creative person. I always am in awe of people who can play bass, and sing at the same time... I find it so difficult to do.
    LBS-bass, GregC and 20GLJazz like this.
  11. Billyzoom

    Billyzoom Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2011
    Bay Area
    Yeah, Billy Zoom’s stuff is a little harder to play than it sounds.
    20GLJazz, Tubehed and ElectroVibe like this.
  12. 20GLJazz

    20GLJazz Supporting Member

    That was his whole deal, to make it look easy. :) It's hard for me to stay with John Doe on a lot of songs because he(cheated :D) plays with a pick and I ain't that fast. ;)
    Billyzoom likes this.
  13. Really shines as a vocalist, incredible depth to his singing.

    Here with Dave Alvin and the rest of the Knitters covering a Merle Haggard classic:

  14. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    A band I was in around '07 or so used to rehearse @ Yo! hourly studios in N. Hollywood. We were taking a break out in the parking lot once and I saw this guy pacing back & forth smoking & talking on the phone and I thought he was some poser John Doe wannabe. You know, trying WAY too hard. Then I walk back to my rehearsal room and the door next to ours is open and I look inside and there's DJ, Exene & Dave Alvin in there. Not only was that John Doe wannabe actually John Doe, but The Knitters were rehearsing next door to us. I was extremely excited. I told my bandmates and they were all, "Who's John Doe?" :bored:

    To get it back on topic: I love his playing/singing and I've seen X live many times here in Los Angeles.
    LBS-bass, GregC and elgecko like this.
  15. 20GLJazz

    20GLJazz Supporting Member

    Who's John Doe? LOL :D
    Peteyboy likes this.
  16. 20GLJazz

    20GLJazz Supporting Member

    Are you why she had to leave?
  17. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    I blame Viggo Mortensen.
    GregC and 20GLJazz like this.
  18. X is a really kick ass rock band. Punk energy combined with Rockabilly/Country. Just a class act. Never saw them live but did see John Doe solo many years ago opening for Neko Case. Can act too.
  19. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Burning House of Love. The last song I remember hearing from them. It sounded more commercial so I wonder what possessed them.
  20. GregC

    GregC Questlove, Black Thought, Hamilton Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Count me among the big fans of X and John Doe. His bass is mixed down on the records, he's playing some things that are trickier than I'd realized before I finally got to see them live in the '90s. And his voice is classic, I love that cover of Silver Wings.
    LBS-bass, Peteyboy and Tubehed like this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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    May 11, 2021

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