X's John Doe Talks Solo Album; X World Tour Kicks Off

X's John Doe Talks Solo Album; X World Tour Kicks Off

It's looking to be a busy fall for X's John Doe: not only are L.A. punk icons X touring the world through December, Doe has put out his first solo album in four years, the excellent "Keeper."

Doe's new solo material prominently features Patty Griffin and Jill Sobule, and Doe says both guest spots grew out of his affinity for each of them. After Doe and Sobule's fan-funded "A Day At The Pass" earlier this year, he was eager to include her on "Keeper." "She's the most adorable, engaging performer… Then you'd get afterwards that her songs were funny and political and they're everything you could want in a song. I'd hate to have to go on after her," Doe jokes.

Doe was particularly drawn to Griffin's "incredible voice. The first time I sat in with her I was like this close and it sounded like she had the good microphone with the good reverb… I sent her two songs and she liked them. We hit it off."

But at root, the album showcases Doe front and center, turning to the dark harmonies of early 70s rock that he says formed his ideas about songwriting. The sound he went for was, "not a hippie sound," he explains, but more like "flower power turned sour: the Rolling Stones' 'Let It Bleed' or the Band's second record. Even though they were beautiful records melodically and pretty sophisticated, they also had sort of an edge to them. Those are the records I drew on; those were sort of the foundation of my musical knowledge which I put aside to work with X but it was there; the ability to play, the ability to put songs together and structures. It's more simplified and more economical with X but at this point I can do whatever I want."

Doe is currently on tour with X headlining theaters through early October, and these U.S. dates will feature a screening of the 1984 documentary 'X: The Unheard Music' in addition to X's live set. The band will hit stadiums in Central and South America in November opening for Pearl Jam before returning for a headlining West Coast theater run through December.