Ex-X Singer Looks To Youth To "Create Something New"

The younger generation "just have so much power," says Cervenkova.

Don't talk to former X singer Exene Cervenkova about the past. As

far as she's concerned, the past is all too much a part of the living

present--and whether you're talking about politics or punk rock, that's not a

pretty picture.

Now fronting the band Auntie Christ with fellow X-er D.J.

Bonebrake on drums and Rancid's Matt Freeman on bass, Cervenkova, who is in her

40s, rails against such '80s headline grabbers as crack, the N.R.A. and strip

mines on the new song "Bad Trip," which leads off their debut disc Life

Could Be A Dream (Lookout).

To look at the album's lyric sheet, you

might think President Ronald Reagan were still in office. "I can see Ronald

Reagan's face in the clouds," sings Cervenkova, and indeed, there's the

Gipper's mug right next to the words.

Cervenkova (formerly Cervenka) told

ATN that she doesn't believe America is making a return to the excesses of 10

years ago. Rather, she asserts that the 1980s were never left behind, and

indeed that the decade will haunt the nation for years to come.

"The

Reagan years will damage this society for the rest of our lives," says

Cervenkova. "What Reagan and Bush--who was really president at that time--what

those 12 years did was deregulation, all the ecology damage, and all the

military damage, and the civil wars in Central America. The legacy of that will

keep returning to us forever."

According to Cervenkova, firsthand observers

of the damage have a duty to today's children to bear witness to what she says

Reagan did. "They have to be reminded that this is the person who ruined your

life. If you want someone to blame, you can look at this person, who was just a

senile puppet, who handed over the reigns of government to all the corporations

that wanted a piece, and all the people that wanted to go in and loot

everyone's savings accounts. That's why now your taxes are so high. And that's

why now your life is so fucked. And that's why now there's all these refugees

living here."

Fans of X will instantly peg the voice on "Bad Trip" and its

nine companion tunes...



Fans of X will instantly peg the voice on "Bad Trip" and

its nine companion tunes as Cervenkova's. They might even hear the ghost of X

in the chord changes that precede "Rat In The Tunnel Of Love," or in the

frenzied chorus to "The Nothing Generation." But different times call for

different measures; as a three piece band, Auntie Christ is a much more ragged

sounding outfit than their predecessors. Gone are John Doe's roots rock

leanings, to be replaced by Cervenkova's desperate, lean guitar.

Some

folks would even venture to describe the album as "punk," although Cervenkova

might challenge that point. According to the singer and guitarist, there are no

punk kids today, only consumers of punk trappings. "It would be impossible to

be a punk rocker and be rebellious in this generation," she said. "It's

embraced as just another fashion trend and just another thing to buy. As long

as you're buying something, you're OK. You fit in, you're normal, you're

playing the game, you're right. It's when you don't buy stuff" that you

can best monkey wrench the system.

That said, Cervenkova's not some aging

punk rocker raving about a loss of the good ol' days. In fact, she not only

said she holds out hope for the today's kids; she demands something new and

vibrant from them.

"My idea of the younger generation, the generation from

about 13 to 20, is they're the luckiest people alive," she said. "Because

they're 13 to 20--they're young, they're beautiful, they're strong, they're

healthy, they're invincible. They just have so much power. So you have to give

something back for that gift, which is you have to create something new. And if

you have to destroy half of society to do it, that's the trade."

Meanwhile,

as those kids are forging tomorrow's punk equivalent, Cervenkova is winding up

an inspirational blueprint for them in the form of a two-disc X retrospective

anticipated for fall release.

"It's gonna have a lot of stuff people

haven't heard," said Cervenkova, "and it's gonna have a lot of alternative

[material] to the album stuff. We never recorded anything alike... These are

more like older songs that were more like rough mixes. More rough recordings.

It's gonna be raw and I hope people will be inspired by that."