John Doe set defines `Freedom’
Thanks to Janet for sending this in!
John Doe set defines `Freedom’
By CHRIS MORRIS
BPI Entertainment News Wire
(c) Copyright 2000 BPI Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
LOS ANGELES — On “Freedom Is . . . ,” his new solo album due July 18
from spinART Records, X bassist John Doe takes on an unlikely
collaborator who has worked with some high-profile pop acts.
But X once shared the same management company,
Shankman-DeBlasio-Melina, as the well-known producer/mixer Dave Way,
and veteran punk rocker Doe wound up hitting it off with Way.
Doe says, “I got to be pals with Dave, and he’s got a beautiful studio
in his house. So any time I had some songs, we’d get together. If he
had the time, not mixing the Spice Girls and Christina Aguilera and
all these hit pop bands, he’d do the John Doe thing.”
Though a couple of songs on the new album date back to band sessions
for Doe’s 1998 Kill Rock Stars EP “For The Rest Of Us,” most of the
material was cut solely by co-producers Doe and Way over a period of
months in 1999.
“It’s really liberating and sort of iconoclastic,” Doe says, “in that
you only have to deal with one person’s contribution, in addition to
your own. I’m pushing the buttons, and he’s playing piano, and I’m
playing guitar, and he’s pushing the buttons, and then, “Oh, well, we
need one more thing, let’s call up [guitarist] Mike Ward.’ It was very
home-style. Elliott Smith does that all the time.
“It’s frightening, though, because you hear all the eccentricities in
your own playing, and you’re very critical of that . . . When you pile
four or five things that you’ve done on top of each other, you hear
all the minor flaws, and think, “This is [crap].’ And then somehow,
magically, it comes together, and you come to accept it.”
After the collection was finished, Doe shopped it to a number of
labels, of which, in his words, spinART was “the best of the people
that were truly interested. I’m sort of grateful that it’s not a major
label, because they’re so backward now. They seem to be concerned with
form, not content, and youth and things that I’m not part of.”
Doe calls his new material (published by Verelia Music [BMI])
“hopeful-[it’s about] wishing that things were easier but accepting
He says of the album title, “Freedom is the moment before death, when
you are truly free. Freedom is not another word for nothing left to
lose — freedom is the moment of clarity, the moment of truth, as it
were. I totally believe that you have to suffer in some way to get to
the truth. That moment that you’re truly contemplating ending your
life, or when your life is about to end — that is a moment that leads
to something incredible . . . I embrace that.”
Doe cut “Freedom Is . . . ” with a collection of top L.A. musicians,
including Joey Waronker and Smokey Hormel (formerly with Beck’s band),
Money Mark Nishita (of the Beastie Boys), Tony Marsico (formerly with
the Plugz and Matthew Sweet), and two of his X colleagues, drummer
D.J. Bonebrake (who is now in Doe’s touring band as well) and vocalist
(and ex-wife) Exene Cervenkova.
X, which re-formed two years ago with original guitarist Billy Zoom
back in the fold, continues to play reunion shows, performing its old
Doe says of the possibilities for an album of new X songs, “You never
know. Actually, Exene and I have been talking about writing some songs
together, so we’ll see if they become X songs. You know, just writing
is rewarding. Writing for something can be stifling. And sometimes,
what’s expected of X is a bit much.”
In addition to gigging with X and his own band (which also includes
Drew Ross of Aimee Mann’s group on bass), Doe has continued to pursue
a burgeoning acting career. His 1999 film credits included “Sugar
Town,” “Forces Of Nature,” and “Brokedown Palace”; he also took a
recurring role on the WB TV series ” Roswell .”
Doe — who is managed by Zeitgeist Artist Management and booked by
Stormy Shepherd of Leave Home Booking — plans to tour this summer.