Exene Cervenka
by Timm Carney

Exene Cervenka
Exene Cervenka

Exene Cervenka, do you remember her? I do. I was thinking about Exene just the other day. I saw a girl at Brown University working in a student café. She looked like a young Exene Cervenka. A spitting image. Well, a spitting image if Exene were attending an Ivy League University and 21 years old. I guess that is sorta the Exene I remember. The Exene I remember from when I was in college. She was young.

She was so punk rock. She was so LA. I was entranced by her. I saw X when for the first time when I was in high school. They were opening for a home town favorite, Talking Heads. I was there for David Byrne and of course Tina Weymouth but first there was X.

They were the opening band and billed as “X from LA”. I only sort of knew who they were. I had heard of them, but didn’t know any of their shit. I was there for Talking Heads. Exene came out on stage and I was enthralled. Yeah there was John Doe and Billy Zoom and D J Bonebreaker; but there was Exene.

She rocked, no, she fucking rocked and I loved her. I had to know more about this chick. I needed an X album. Pronto! I remember going to the record store, remember record stores, and buying their first album. I remember rocking out. Years later I worked with John Doe and thought “whatever.”. I knew it was Exene!

Sure he rocked but I always thought he was a bit country folk for my tastes and it turned out I was right. Yeah, Exene rocked she was an artist. She made freaky colleges and rambled poetically. That rocked. I moved to California and I was still loving X. I was on their turf now.

I was living on the left coast and I became so left coast and Exene made even more sense. I was in LA for work, doing crap for cash. How LA is that? I met up with this agent chick in LA.

She lived in a cool apartment in Hancock Park. I was hanging in Hancock Park one night and we were drinking beer and I needed to pee. I went into her bathroom to take a whizz and was amazed by her bathroom. There were these wild freaky murals all over her bathroom walls.

I came out and asked her what was up with her bathroom. She told me that Exene had once lived in her apartment and painted the murals and the landlord had put a thin coat of white paint on the bathroom walls. Apparently the steam from the shower had created a pentimento effect and the paintings he had covered over bled through.

That was punk rock.

I was back on the east coast for a wedding and a friend called me up and said he saw a show was playing that I should check out when I was in town. It was X.

ANOTHER SHOT Exene Cervenka
Another Shot of Exene

They had gone back out on tour and were playing in Providence and I was there that night. I was so there.
I went to the show and met up with my friend and some weird chick he knew.
We hung out and the opening band played. It turns out the weird chick was obsessed with Exene too and was even more obsessed I ever could have been..
She was in contact with her. We were chatting and lo and behold who should come up for a chat but Exene.
We chatted some more and I told her about working with John Doe and some mutual friends we had and she dished.
She was fun and I then told her about the apartment in Hancock Park. She bad mouthed the landlord and we all laughed.
Out of nowhere an annoying guy I knew from college came up and started to talk to me. He was snotty and rather rude.
He asked me condescendingly who I was here with and Exene said, “With me”. It stopped him dead in his tracks and he walked away.
We roared with laughter and I thanked her and she said, “He looked like a jerk”. She was right. Of course she was; she rocks!
I was blathering away one late night on the phone with Ginger Coyote. I mentioned I hadn’t heard any thing about Exene in ages.
The last time I had even seen her was in her shop in LA and I knew it had closed.
Ginger knows everything and of course knew where Exene was.
The last she’d heard Exene was living in Kansas City with some young punk rock guitar boy. That’s Punk Rock!