Singer/songwriter John Doe was the featured guest for a recent installment of the GRAMMY Museum's The Drop series. In an interview setting, Doe discussed his musical influences, songwriting and the creative process behind his most recent album, Keeper, among other topics. Following the discussion, Doe performed select tracks from the album, including "Never Enough," "Little Tiger" and "Painting The Town Blue."
"The more tender songs on this record owe a debt to Joni Mitchell," said Doe regarding Keeper. "We [also] brought the band up a lot more, and allowed them to have a lot of interplay."
A native of Decatur, Ill., Doe was a founding member of the Los Angeles-based punk band X. Consisting of Doe o (bass/vocals), D.J. Bonebrake (drums), Exene Cervenka (vocals), and Billy Zoom (guitar) X emerged as one of the top bands on the L.A. punk circuit in the late '70s. Featuring eight songs co-written by Doe and Cervenka, X's debut album, Los Angeles, was released in 1980, selling 50,000 copies, an impressive figure for an independent punk band. X subsequently secured a deal with Elektra Records and released their major label debut, 1982's Under The Big Black Sun, which peaked at No. 76 on the Billboard 200. The band would record four more studio albums for Elektra, including Ain't Love Grand! (1985) and See How We Are (1987). The former album featured "Burning House Of Love," which reached No. 27 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart.
With X on hiatus, in 1990 Doe released Meet John Doe, his debut solo album that incorporated his country and roots rock influences. While X reunited in 1993 to release Hey Zeus!, two years later Doe released his sophomore solo album, Kissingsohard. He followed up with Freedom Is… (2000) and Dim Stars, Bright Sky (2002). In the interim, X continued to reunite for select shows, with a run of 2004 concerts at the House of Blues Sunset Strip resulting in 2005's live album Live In Los Angeles. Doe then secured a solo deal with Yep Roc Records and has released a series of albums, including Forever Hasn't Happened Yet (2005), For The Best Of Us (2006), A Year In The Wilderness (2007), and Country Club (2009). Recorded under the moniker John Doe And The Sadies, the latter album further showcased Doe's country influences and reached No. 32 on Billboard's Country Albums chart.
Released in August, Keeper features 10 songs written by Doe, a cover of Earl Jackson's "Moonbeam" and one Doe/Cervenka composition, "Painting The Town Blue," as well as contributions from musicians such as Patty Griffin, Jill Sobule and Don Was. NPR Music described the album as reflecting "a place somewhere between rock 'n' roll and country music," with some songs resembling a "gorgeous soundtrack to a darkly romantic movie."
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Reel To Reel: Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix At The Isle Of Wight (Dec. 8) and Reel To Reel: Looking Back On Love With Special Guest Lenny Kravitz (Dec. 12).
For more information on the GRAMMY Museum, visit www.grammymuseum.org.
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