Happy Birthday, Exene, Pt II: Exene, The Style Queen

The Queen of thrift store chic


Happy Birthday, Exene Cervenka

The first real critical favorites to emerge from the L.A. Punk scene, X pioneered a unique sound combining elements of rockabilly and country with a lyrically literate flair. Initially chronicling their own world in such anthems as “Los Angeles”, “We’re Desperate” and “Nausea”, X eventually began writing about society’s troubles and the greater human condition in such songs as “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts”, “The New World”, “The Have Nots” and “See How We Are”. The band were the darlings of punks, Americana/No Depression types, and critics alike, creating an immediately identifiable sound, carried by Exene and John Doe’s unique vocal harmonies.

X were, and are, one of my favorite bands, one whose first four albums I know intimately.

1986 Documentary with great clips and stories. Well worth watching

Happy Birthday To Martha Davis of The Motels

The Motels only had two big hits, “Suddenly Last Summer” and “Only The Lonely”, in the 80’s, but those two are well written and carried over the top by Martha Davis’ beautiful voice and unique phrasing. Either of those songs could become a modern standard, given the correct cover version. In addition to her vocal delivery, her look and stage presence were mesmerizing. There’s a reason why videos of The Motels have alotta close-ups.

And, unbeknownst to me until today, The Motels started out as a much more rocking, maybe even Proto-Punk, band in LA 1975, where they were one of the few bands performing original music in a scene dominated by venues featuring cover bands. According to this article, http://www.metaljazz.com/2010/01/la_protopunk_imperial_dogs_and.php, they sounded like the Velvet Underground and had a song called “Whatever Happened To The Modern Lovers”. A google search for said song comes up empty, so if anyone has any recordings of this or other Motels recordings from this era, please lemme know, coz as far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong with a song about The Modern Lovers.