John Doe

Amoeba Berkeley - May 29th @ 6:00pm

John Doe -- modern music's most authentic and enduring songwriters, and the keystone of the legendary LA punk band X -- graces the Amoeba Berkeley stage for a live performance and signing of his new album The Best Of John Doe: This Far (available on LP, CD & Download) and new DVD Pleased To Meet Me.

John Doe is much more likely to look ahead to what’s next, rather than fixate on the past – even a past as storied and influential as his own. Doe’s sizable contribution to the music of X and The Knitters, which first brought him to international attention, made clear what was important to him: haunting songs, heart-rending vocals, pronounced country/rockabilly underpinnings, and no-frills production. His commitment to these values only deepened as he branched out on his own.

Part scrapbook, part roadmap, The Best of John Doe: This Far guides listeners through Doe’s solo catalog. Compiled by Doe himself, the generous track listing encompasses nearly a quarter century, highlighting songs from from nine records on six different labels.

Sequenced non-chronologically, The Best of John Doe: This Far was compiled with four vinyl sides in mind. (“Side three is the quiet side,” Doe offers.) There was no formula: These are simply Doe’s favorite moments, including in-concert staples, pivotal collaborations, personal milestones, and even a pair of unreleased reexaminations of songs from his past.

Even while first making his mark with X, amidst the tumultuous Los Angeles punk scene of the late ’70s, Doe’s roots ran deeper – his burnished howl equally inspired by dustbowl troubadours, the pioneers of early country music, and rock forebears like Jim Morrison and the Rolling Stones at their most raggedly desperate. His songs stood out as gripping vignettes, focused to a razor’s edge, and the vocal blend of Doe and his songwriting partner Exene Cervenka only ratcheted up the intensity. His 1985 album with The Knitters (featuring Doe, Cervenka, X drummer DJ Bonebrake, bassist Jonny Ray Bartell, and guitarist/songwriter Dave Alvin) further emphasized Doe’s connection to roots music, and suggested avenues to be explored more fully in his solo career, which began with 1990′s Meet John Doe.

These days, his voice is more lived-in, more able to inhabit the increasingly complex characters of his songs. Taken as a whole, the material gathered on The Best of John Doe: This Far also documents a slow turning in his outlook. “There’s an emotional, romantic and lyrical thread through these songs,” Doe explains. “It starts on the down side, the unhappy side. But I’m glad to see that changing, as I change.”


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