The West Coast punk scene exploded in the late 1970s and early 1980s with X leading the charge. Now some 40 years later, the band is out with a new album amid the backdrop of COVID-19.
Exene Cervenka, who does vocals for X, says “Alphabetland” has been in the works since 1976.
Some of the songs’ titles have a particularly prescient ring: “Strange Life,” “I Gotta Fever,” and “Water and Wine.”
“I think one of the biggest impacts of this quarantine is there's [sic] inequities,” says John Doe, vocalist and bassist for X.
“All I can picture is Nancy Pelosi standing in front of her $24,000 refrigerator, showing off her curated collection of chocolate ice cream,” says Cervenka. “That's what you go on late-night TV and brag about when there's [sic] people lined up … hoping for a box of food?”
The band initially planned to release the project in August, but worked with Fat Possum Records to surprise fans by pushing it up. Under normal circumstances, promotion for a new album involves press, concerts, and time spent together. Instead, band members are spending their time alone.
“It gets a little rough … but we're on the same boat. So you can't … feel too bad for yourself,” says Cervenka. “I've tried to do some writing, but I had that thing of like well, is anyone ever going to see it? And why would my experiences be any better or worse or different or more interesting than anyone else? I just don't want to think about anything. I just want to get through every day.”
“Alphabetland” is available on Bandcamp and streaming services May 1.