X : Half Way Round The WorldMay 20, 2010

the legendary Australian band, X, plans an intervention, rather than an invasion, of America. Gretchen Wood shares a cuppa tea and a chinwag with Steve Lucas prior to the band’s first US tour. Listen to a 33 minute podcast from their Portland show (audio player and photos from the gig at the end of the article)

Deep in the city canyons of Melbourne, Australia, a band called X gathers at the Cherry Bar on ACDC Lane. This is their fourth rehearsal before their first American tour, 33 years after the band was born on spit, gasoline, stark rage and anger. Nope, this isn’t some reunion thing with John Doe and Exene. This is the seminal Aussie punk band that shares the same name and formed about the same time as the band outta Los Angeles. Like the L.A. band, this X is revered by their native punkers and wields a massive influence, particularly in their native country. Through a combination of a risky reputation and the giant impact the album Los Angeles had on American music fans, the Aussie band was damned to obscurity on this side of the Pacific.

But X’s influence bled through, seeping into the West Coast grunge scene, inspiring legions of snarly guitars and shrieking vocals and a rhythm section driven by an aggressive downstroke. Before Nirvana ever sold a single copy of Nevermind, before Butch Vig ever helmed nary a production, Steve Lucas, Ian Rilen and Steve Caferio were hammering out the shit to rioting audiences, getting banned from an impressive string of pubs, and basically frightening the music biz from ever coughing up the dough to export the Aussie incorrigibles. Only the most hearty were X fans.

And ya gotta be pretty damn hearty to be a member of X as well. Their mortality rate stretches longer than the list of living X alums. Of the originals, only Steve Lucas survives. Joining him in the U.S. will be former Love Addict Kim Volkman on bass and ex-Cosmic Psycho Bill Walsh on drums. Long time drummer Cathy Green had to forego the trip to look after her son, but with Walsh comes a style more reminiscent of Cafiero’s drumming on the debut, X-Aspirations.

Probably the biggest single loss was bassist Ian Rilen’s demise in 2006 from cancer. Formerly of Rose Tattoo, Rilen had written their biggest hit “Bad Boy For Love.” Looking for something more raw, more primal, he formed X with the two Steve’s. His stage persona was animated, charismatic, and his aggressive bass was emblematic of their uniquely heavy sound. It seemed unlikely X could continue without Ian’s powerful downstroke.

Enter Kim Volkman. He played guitar with Rilen’s Love Addicts, Rilen’s main band while X was on indefinite hiatus. Took balls for the one time busker and self-described “bedroom picker” to hit up a man of Rilen’s legendary status for a spot in his band – which at the time was Skin Diver – but Volkman got the nod. The Love Addicts formed on the heels of Rilen’s 2001 solo album Love Is Murder. They played together until Rilen’s death.

According to Melbourne myth, Rilen himself handpicked Volkman to take over bass in X after his death. The reality was that again Volkman poked his hand up at the right place at the right time when Steve Lucas was considering a one off reunion night. With his powerful downstroke and explosive stage presence, Volkman proved himself to the surviving members of X as well as skeptical X fans to be a worthy replacement for the legendary Aussie rocker. That explosive stage persona even got Volkman kicked out last year, but after a year of penance he’s back in the fold.

Steve Lucas couldn’t be more excited for this version of X to cross the ocean. I spoke with him at his St. Kilda flat the day after sitting in on rehearsal. Far from the roaring mad man, he greets me with a hug and a kiss, and putters into the kitchen to fix a cup of peppermint tea. His home is cozy, unpretentious; in the art deco style that’s common to the suburb, which is a lot like Melbourne’s version of Coney Island. As we settle down for a lengthy “chin wag,” I ask why X relocated from Sydney.

“Melbourne makes quite a good first impression”. What about a second impression? “I never got over the first one!” Steve moved here from Sydney in the ‘80’s, while Ian Rilen and Cathy Green, X’s long standing drummer, stayed behind. Although the distance added a big logistical wrinkle in keeping the band alive, he saw a benefit: “Familiarity breeds contempt so sometimes 800 kilometers is a handy thing to have up your sleeve”.

How’d X connect with the A-Frames for this tour? Is it X or the A-Frames that are headlining?

Oh, we’re headlining… X has come to tour America so we wouldn’t be going as a support act. We’re doing all our shows with the A-Frames. Call it a double headline, but I wouldn’t be going over there if I was playing second fiddle. Timmy Hefer put us together – the promoter. We’re starting up in Seattle, then down to San Francisco, San Diego, and then the festival in Texas. Austin, Denton, and New Mexico, too. I’m looking forward to THAT, from an anthropological point of view… because I’ve spent 50 years here in Australia. I mean, I’ve been to New Zealand, but it’s not much different from here, a tiny island and people pretty much sound the same, look the same.

What are you looking forward to?

I just want to see what it’s really like because what I’ve got is from T.V. and Marval comics. That’s all I know about America. I was a big fan of Dare Devil, X-Men, the Fantastic Four. I used to love Tales of Suspense, Tales to Astonish. I used to be a fanatic.

When I think of America, I think of comics and films and T.V., so to be confronted with the reality… that’s what I’m really looking forward to. There must be something over there for all that stuff to come out of. So I want to see, to distill the essence of America that creates these modern day demagogues and heroes. Well, it was the new world hundreds of years ago, but like Christopher Columbus, I don’t know what to expect. So long as I don’t get devoured by the natives, I’m happy.

I just want to get a bit of an infection going over there, so if people get desperate they can call back the band and we’ll give ‘em another dose of the cure, ya know? I’d love to tour again and go to New York, Detroit, Chicago…

There was a US label that released the debut album, how did that do?

Rock n’ Roll Blitzkrieg re-issued the EP as well as the debut album, X-Aspirations, and both were well received. There’s going to be another vinyl pressing for the tour, and the merch table will also have the first two albums as deluxe CD sets, with bonus tracks.

On Facebook, you posted something yesterday about going on a big spiritual journey [on this US tour]. (Steve laughs.) When you do stuff like that, how much truth is there to it, or are you just knocking the piss out of people?

Anything that I do is both. If I decide I’m going to take something on seriously, if I can’t laugh about it, how am I going to do it? Because you can just take it all seriously, you tend to disappear up your ass pretty quick.

So going to America is a pilgrimage of sorts. I’ve thought about taking some little X flags and planting them in each city that we go to in memory of Ian, and Steve Caferio and Lobby Loyde who produced our records… Just leave a little thing like “X was here”. Just slip off by myself somewhere and find a little spot to leave a mark. That will be me acknowledging their support from beyond the grave. So I’ll put up a thing [posting] like that, but I’ll mock it as well.

Well, that IS real, because these are people who had a huge role in your life, and you’re taking the band to the next level by hitting a whole new continent…

But if I don’t laugh about it I’ll get all nostalgic and sad. I have to put that spin on it so that it’s fun to do.

Kind of that whole idea behind a wake?

Yes, it’s like a wake, but an international one. I like the comment my daughter made. “Daddy, you’re going to America, the land of paranoid. You can’t say it’s an invasion.” Not after the bullet belt fiasco with Virgin that I went through… my guitar strap is full of empty cartridges.

Are you going to be able to bring that?

No, I’m not gonna… I’ve already had enough trouble with that. I thought this time, I’m going to leave it behind. If I can find one in America, I’ll just buy one, a bandolier.

But she said, you can’t say X is invading America, so I posted we’re having an intervention in America. So we’re going to intervene rather than invade. (giggle)

It’s the politically correct version of an invasion.

So that Virgin flap, tell me more.

The pilot had caught whiff that there was this thing that looked like bullets in a guitar case and wouldn’t take off until it was examined. But like what am I gonna do? Dig my way through the undercarriage from my seat on the plane, get down into the cargo hold, rip open my guitar case, and throw bullets at people? Stupid! The whole thing was stupid. Then I used to deliberately fly Virgin with that so I could make a stink. They were the only ones who objected to it, and they’re supposed to be THE rock ‘n’ roll friendly easy going airline. The most uptight of the lot of them.

I can see how that’d punch some buttons, but it’s your signature thing.

I thought about mailing it over, but it’s such a heavy thing. To tell the truth, my back is still in it’s recovery stage (after slipping a disc 6 months before). It adds to the weight of the guitar. It probably wouldn’t be really smart thing to do anyway.

So why isn’t Cathy Green doing the US tour?

Her son, Cormac, he’s five now. Yes, that’s her little boy, just starting primary school; which is why she can’t come to the States now. She wants to do the right thing by him. I like it when Cathy’s on board because she’s the other long-term survivor from the X experience. I’ve been at it for 33 years. She has 20, 25 under the belt. But it’s a lot of pressure on her being a single mum. She said to me: go do it, and do it any way you need to do it the best you can, and that’s how we ended up with Bill Walsh. Last night’s rehearsal was his fourth go at it. I was at the Cherry Bar just talking out loud and Billy said if you want a drummer, I’ll do it. he’s been to the states heaps, knows lots of people over there, and he said he’d love to come along, so he got the gong.

It’s getting better… He wants, like we all do, for it to sound authentic. I don’t want to get over there and do sluggish half-assed versions. It’s gotta be real.

Every time someone leaves, and someone comes in they bring a new piece to the puzzle, and it gives new life. Playing with Billy is a lot like playing with Steve Caferio (the original drummer).

From my perspective, the biggest personnel change would be losing Ian.

Hmmm, yes… If we could survive that, we can survive anything. Yeah, that was sad… but, um…

So back to Kim Volkman, is he back in the band permanently now?

(laughs) If he behaves himself, yeah!

Oh, what’d he do?

That’s ancient history. We don’t need to know about that. I need to give him the respect, ya know…

I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask…

No, no… we’ve got to maintain solidarity, and you can’t do that by telling tales after school. If he gets booted out again, I’ll tell you. (laughs) But he’s all right. He’s earned his stripes, so I think he’ll be here for a while.

[editor’s note: the show in question, after which Kim got booted, is reviewed here: ]

How’s Kim stack up to Ian?

(laughs) Kim wouldn’t like it, but I sometimes I refer to him as the mini-me of Ian. They’re very similar in physical build. Kim played with Ian a lot, and sort of absorbed a bit of him. His [Ian’s] mannerisms sort of manifest when he [Kim] does play with X. Sometimes when I half close my eyes and it could almost be Ian standing over there. Physically, he’s very similar. He has a similar character, but I think Kim’s a lot more in control of himself than Ian was. And he is really good on the downstrokes. To play that music at that tempo and keep it all on the downstroke is not an easy thing to do, and a lot of people say that they can do it, but they can’t at that intensity. I mean Kim is one of the rare ones. as far as that goes, if Ian had a legacy or an apprentice it manifests in Kim when he gets on stage and plays with X. There’s enough of himself to warrant it, too. He’s not a puppet, but he’s the closest thing to Ian that I’ve come across.

Playing with Kevin [McMahon from Lucas’s side project Bigger Than Jesus] was a totally different thing. He sort of wanted to reinterpret things a bit. Cathy was happy with it. We were all happy with it, but in retrospect we were slowing down, doing it more for fun than anything else. Now that Billy’s come into it it’s time to pull the socks up, tighten the belt and get back to the serious business of hammering it out.

What America’s gonna get is obviously not the X that recorded the album in 1979. I mean that’s physically impossible. I’m the only one alive, so it can’t be done. But this is as close as I can get it. I want the people over there not to feel cheated like if we turned up with big pot bellies, going bald, and trudging through it. We’re gonna be up there hammering away for real

So you’re going to play live a week from tomorrow? Going to be ready?

Yeah, of course we will! The thing is, when you’re rehearsing you can stop and ask questions, you can afford to be unsure, but once you walk on stage, you’re committed. That’s just it, and everything changes.

Like I said after the run through, it was a bit too easy. Because I don’t want to nit pick at this stage and make Billy self-conscience. I’d like to encourage him. It’s really down to subtly and nuances now. It will grow. It will become it’s own thing, become organic rather than hiring hands to duplicate something. There’s always been an interpretive thing that’s been essential to any X performance. Even with the original line up, we never sounded the same two nights running. That was one of the things that people used to love about the band, cuz even the songs would be short and concise in their arrangements, we could play them a hundred different ways. They’d still sound the same but then totally different. Some people used to love it more when we fucked up than when we got it right…

What are some of the best fuck ups?

Oh god… we were doing a live T.V. show, and Ian started playing one song, and the rest of the band started playing THE song we were supposed to play. That was a pretty funny fuck up! (laughs) You try to catch up with each other, and you’d think how to get out of this. Ian would be looking down like that, and then you’d think, ooh, I’d better concentrate on what I’m doing. Then just as he’d look up, I’d look down. So it’d be like oh fuck, what’s he doing? Oh, ok… so he’d look down again, so you’d get this thing where we’d just miss each other all the time. Stuff would just grow out of that. Then we’d finally lock in on each other again, and come back in, and be channeled and be back into the song.

It sounds like jazz.

Yeah, it is… a lot. And in a way X-Aspirations is more jazz in it’s roots than in rock. When you listen to the arrangements it’s not a typical rock record by any standard, by any band. It did have that jazzy thing but it’s still rock. And when Cathy came into it, it had more of that swing, almost a big band kind of undercurrent, you know. So when she came, I automatically started playing guitar differently. I started playing fuller chords, stuff like that. And she was a very melodic drum player, too. It became complimentary of the stuff. It opened it up yet again to another dimension. I’m fortunate to have had some really top class people to play with.

When you made that first EP, was there anyone else who sounded like X?

There were people who were trying to… I mean everyone was trying to be something like the Sex Pistols or someone like that, but we just wanted to be a hard rocking band.

We were more influenced in retrospect by maybe ACDC than the new wave of punk rock and all that stuff. We still had our feet firmly planted in the soil, and there’s plenty of rocks to roll around in you know… so we’d rock n’ roll in our hearts, but because punk was happening, and we were aggressive anti social and anti establishment we got tagged with being punks. to a degree we were… capable of being really self-indulgent brats at times, but music always won… and I think when we played with Flipper, the singer said, “You guys aren’t punks. You guys sound like ACDC.” But we never planned to be a punk band. We were always rock n’ roll.

A few weeks ago I was up in Brisbane, learned about how Saints shows back in the ‘70’s were getting shut down, record stores were being raided. Did X ever get caught up in that?

Oh, we had riots all over the place. There’s someone who got stabbed in an eye with a pool cue at one of our gigs and was killed. That started an all out brawl.

We were banned from 32 pubs consecutively in the Sydney metropolitan area because every time we’d play, the punks would show up, throw chairs through the windows, smash every glass in the place, and just demolish it.

Even when we had a residency at the Civic… I think Bob Yates booked us that gig… It was on the second floor of a pub. They had people climbing up the drainpipes trying to get through windows. They had a full house I think three times during that one night. as people would come they’d charge them money. When it was finished, I remember getting changed and walking out. Just all over the floor it looked like it was snowing inside. There was so much broken glass it looked like snow. and the publican’s going, “we’ll never have this fucking band in here ever again! every fucking piece of fuckin’ glass in the fuckin’ joint is fuckin’ broken, and fucking this, and the drain pipes have fucking pulled off. People were climbing up ‘em… and fuckin’ fuck fuck!” …and Bob’s like, “Till, do the till…” and he’s like, “Fuck the fucking till! I don’t want to see these guys again! Fucking fuck them!” “Do the till… do the till!” and he was like arrrgghhh… He counted all the money, and he just went, “Do you wanna do a residency?” (laughs) And so we did. Finally one publican woke up and saw, yeah, there was damage done, but it more than covered.

We had the hardest drinking crowd around. We held the record in several pubs for the hardest drinking crowd. There’s a time we’d ask for a quarter of the bar rather than a guarantee because we’d get more money from drinks. Just let ‘em in for nothing. Take a quarter of the bar. that’s twelve bucks, ten more bucks that they’re gonna spend, how ever much it was in those days… yeah, it was fun. we had riots.

Down here at the Prince of Wales [in St. Kilda], they had paddy wagons pulling up, arresting people because they couldn‘t get in. They’d throw people in the back of paddy wagons, take them off, come back and get another load. It was full on. Yeah, we had riots and stuff.
We didn’t have a publicist so our riots weren’t acknowledged, but they were there.

People used to lacerate themselves to show their dedication. Because they didn’t have any money, they wanted to get in for free. I remember being horrified when some people came up with X’s cut into their arms with broken glass. It was still bleeding, saying, “We love you. You’ve got to let us in for nothing.” So what do I do? If I let them in, do I encourage this behavior? Or do you say, fuck off. Like you’re a danger to yourself.

That’s the intensity of the people who used to see us. I think that’s what scared the industry, as a whole is the riots… The riots weren’t skirmishes. They were riots. When the Hopetown closed in Sydney – we played the last night at Hopetown gig – they were turning over cars in the streets. All sorts of stuff…

Sounds like they were pining a lot on you…

Yeah, we were the whipping boys. We paid for what everyone else got away with. We were shunned because we experimented with heroin, but every freaking band was off their nuts with smack at the time.

The thing with the X songs, they were observation comedy. We’d write about real life, and what happened that day or that night. For instance, Simulated Lovers. That song was essentially me sitting down and I turned on the TV, and that’s what I saw. A commercial came on. Then there was this horror movie, then this full on adult sort of movie. The next thing I know I was sitting there playing guitar, and I thought: what did I do last night? And there it was…

I Don’t Wanna Go Out was Ian writing a song taunting me because I never used to want to go out. He wrote the first two verses, and I did the bridge and the last verse. I spoke up for myself, said no I don’t want to go out because I’d rather go out to the pub and play pool. It was all very real. The songs are good enough to have never become stale to me personally. I love singing them. I remember the in jokes that were behind them.

Steve Caferio was THE ultimate X drummer in the beginning, and sometimes he’d get fed up with me and Ian, and our radical attitudes toward the industry and life in general, take a stress leave, I guess you’d call it. And then Eddie Fisher would come back to the fold, but he wouldn’t last long, and Steve would come back. Even when Cathy joined the band, after we did At Home With You, she didn’t want to do X anymore.

There’s a lot of fiascos, disasters, catastrophes, or whatever you want to call it all the way through the band’s history. It was her turn to take stress relief. Steve came back for a while… it was nice to have him back, then unfortunately he passed away. Even when Cathy was in the band, and we’d do a gig in Sydney, he got up and played part of the set.

It was always a revolving door, but everyone was always kind of welcome. Ian even left the band for a while. Steve and I got another bass player, did a gig in Sydney at a venue called the Governor’s Pleasure and I think that night pissed him off because no one really missed him. and his band then was Sardine that was doing very well. So he decided X and Sardine should do a gig together, and he couldn’t stand it. Halfway through X’s soundcheck he couldn’t stand it, said, “Fuck it. Get off the stage. Gimme the bass. This is how it goes,” and he was back into it.

But now they’re gone… Steve’s gone. Ian’s gone…

How do you maintain the constancy?

I was always the lead singer, and I started playing guitars as well in ‘79, ‘80. That has remained constant. I write half the material. It was good when Ian was there, but we used different drummers… When Ian passed away I thought that really was it.

Then one day I thought I wouldn’t mind playing those songs again, was going to do a one off night, a night of X music. Sort of remember the people who’d passed through the ranks. I did that with Kim [Volkman]. Cathy didn’t want to do that show, so I used another fellow named John Hall. Learned 20-odd songs, got up and played them, and with the idea that it was a tribute thing. Everyone really really liked it. That was good it was accepted.

Then some friends with a rehearsal & recording studio in Collingwood [Bakehouse] invited me, Cathy and Kim to play the Christmas party.

“I um’ed and aha’ed about it until I said OK, so when Cathy came back into it, everyone was really excited. Next thing you know X was up and running again. Started doing more shows, started going back up to Sydney. Slowly built itself up again with the help of good friends. Greg Sawyer – he was kind of our surrogate manager. He helped a lot in getting things happening. Aztec Music, in releasing the stuff. It was very fortuitous that we were around to promote it. Gave X-Aspirations and At Home With You a new life… then the Forum thing came up, the gig we did with the Saints that we filmed for the DVD.

Why the US tour now and not earlier in your career?

No one seriously asked us before. We nearly went over in 2000. We had money for the tickets, a tour coming together, and basically because the money was there, and we were waiting for the tour to be consolidated, people started chipping away at it, and chipping away at it… and ya know someone would say, if they have money, I want money for this, too, but this was our fare. We’d exhausted all the gigs we could do before leaving the country so we couldn’t do anther round to top off the coffers. We can’t be bringing this person along, and that person along just because we want them to come. They’ll have to find their own way there. In the end I cracked the shits and said enough’s enough; I was ready to divide all the money three ways, and go our separate ways. Anyway, my little girl was just starting school so I preferred being in Melbourne to flitting all over the place.

Everything was really quiet for a while after that. Cathy and I are really good friends now, but we didn’t talk to each other after that for about three years. Ian was a lot easier. You’d have a beer in your hand and be best mates again.

But when that tour fell through, I kinda gave up hope; thought that no one else would take the risk. From its conception, X was perceived as a high-risk venture.

How’d you injure your back?

That is the most unexciting story of them all. I was just standing there. Turned to the left and something went plunk. I thought, oh, that didn’t feel good, but nothing happened immediately. Thought, things move in your body all the time, but by the time I got back to my home, it was starting to scream. Thought well, just something’s a bit out. It’ll be all right, but I had to go to Sydney and I got bitten by a spider, and I think the venom getting into the joints inflamed them even more. Then somewhere along the line, the disc in my back actually burst open. All the jelly gunk inside leaked out onto my sciatic nerve which caused the most unbelievable pain. My left leg felt like it was about eight inches outside of my body, and I could hardly walk. Couldn’t sit down. Couldn’t stand. Laying down even hurt. If anyone even touched me, it was the end of the world. It was blackout stuff almost. It was terrible. So they gave me a shot of cortisone into the spine, said it would fix it, which it did – for like two hours. That was up in Sydney. I came back to Melbourne, saw another doctor. They sent me to a specialist. Then I had to get more scans and stuff. They said, we’ll give you another shot because that one didn’t work. And that one didn’t work. I was coming to terms with that, getting scripts for Panadine 450 eating them like M&M’s, and I was getting out the bath and fell over. Whisked off to the hospital. They gave me another shot in the spine. I had three like that, my specialist sent me to another. Said, “If that doesn’t work, we’ll give you four at once. We’ll go on either side of the disc and then just above the hips.” I thought one was bad, but having four at once was unbelievable, because they are pumping you full of slow release steroids. Yeah, four into the spine simultaneously. The thing was you’re so pumped full of steroids that you’d get these mad rushes, like anger or sometimes you’d just want to start weeping and bawling for nothing…

‘Roid rage?

Well, there was this road rage thing. After I got picked up from the hospital, the girlfriend was taking me to her place for the night so she could look after me, and these guys were hassling her on the road, so she pulled over. She was worried about me, was going to say, hey look this guy’s not good, but as soon as she pulled over, steroids just kicked in. I felt like the Incredible Hulk. I kicked the door open, started down the road at them. There were four guys sitting in the car, and you could see them, you know – This guy’s crazy! You could see all the doors locking, they’re going, “It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay!” I’m like, “C’mon the fucking lot of ya! Line up one at a time or alla ya! Fuckin’ errrrrrr…”

Another time I was walking across the road, but too slow. The bus was trying to turn the corner, and he beeped his horn at me. So I turned around and started punching the fucking bus! (laughs) and it’s just crash, throwing the bag, kicking it. The bus driver got up. I thought he was going to tell me to fuck off. Then he got a good at me, sat down, closed the door and drove off. So we’re pretty extreme characters.

Yeah, I’d say so!

You gotta keep that in check. But the steroid thing was weird. Now they’re pretty much out of my body, and they’re talking about giving me another four at once just before I go to America, but no, I’d rather deal with the pain than explode like that in a foreign country. I don’t know what people would think if I tried to tackle a bus in the middle of San Francisco.

It was wild. I felt like the Incredible Hulk, so pumped. I wouldn’t have felt anything that anyone did against me. So that’s it. I’ll stick with the opiate painkillers and cruise through the tour.

That’s all I ask for, to be painless and happily coherent. (smiles)

That’s pretty strenuous stuff. You’re there for what, three weeks?

We have two weeks, but I think we have 16, maybe more gigs. A few times we’ve been asked if it’s okay to do more than one gig a day, and I’ve always said yes. I think there are gigs, and then there is some private party things. I’m not sure. I’ve just got the official gig listing.

Oh, I can get through it. It’s just two weeks. It’ll be over and done with before I know it, and then I’ll get back and wonder what the fuck it was all about.

And what about the future?

We might even do an album… maybe a mixture of new and old material.

There are songs that Ian and I wrote together that we never did a studio version of. There are also songs I wrote for I never got a chance to put forward. there’s plenty of stuff for another X album. it would be punchy and self-deprecating and all the things that make X what it is.

Would anyone new contribute material to a new album?

No… It was pretty much Ian and me all the way through. Other people contributed bits and pieces, but the real basic songwriting was always done by Ian and myself – together or as individuals.

If someone else wanted to write an X song with me, I’d laugh. that was just me and Ian

I can name ten – at least that I can remember – that I can teach another line up to do. It’s just not known what that line up would be. I suppose it would come down to who could make the commitment to keep it going.

[the flat mate’s cat Marbles comes creeping over…]

Your’s or your flat mate’s?

The flat mate’s.

Oh yeah, you’re looking for a new flat mate, aren’t you?

Yeah, that’ll be interesting.

Anybody bite yet?

Naw… I think everybody’s scared! (laughs)

Of what?

Of rejection! (laughs)


Listen to X live in Portland at Slabtown

Turn My Head/Good On Ya Baby/Dream Baby/Dipstick/I Don’t Wanna Go Out/Halfway Round The World/TV Glue/Revolution/Police/Degenerate Boy

double click the player to listen:

Photos by Gretchen Wood of the band X at Funhouse in Seattle & Slabtown in Portland

Steve Lucas shredding ears at Slabtown

Steve Lucas shredding ears at Slabtown

Kim Volkman does the downstroke

Kim Volkman does the downstroke

Kim and Steve fuel the mosh pit at Slabtown

Kim, Steve & Billy fuel the mosh pit at Slabtown

Billy of the Cosmic Pyschos mans the kit

Billy of the Cosmic Psychos mans the kit

Tearing Down the Funhouse in Seattle

Tearing Down the Funhouse in Seattle

At the Funhouse

At the Funhouse

Holding the crowd with TV Glue

Holding the crowd with TV Glue

Seattle girl licking Kims frets

Seattle girl licking Kim's frets

Lost In The Funhouse

Lost In The Funhouse


May 22nd Portland, Slabtown

May 23rd Woodland, CA Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom

May 24th San Francisco, The Hemlock

May 25th Los Angeles, The Five Star Bar

May 27th Austin, Chaos In Tegas Festival

May 29th Denton, TX, Rubber Gloves

May 30th Las Cruces, NM, The Trainyard

May 31st Phoenix, AZ, The Rhythm Room

June 1st San Diego, Soda Bar

June 2nd Long Beach, CA, Alex’s Bar

June 4th San Francisco, Bottom Of The Hill

June 5th Oakland, The Stork Club

2 Comments on "X : Half Way Round The World"

1. Dan The Man | May 21, 2010

Good stuff girl, especially my photo! Thanks for using it. By the way no copyright issues were breached.
Great great interview, hope it get’s a few more heads through the door.
You rock and so does X

2. Barman | June 21, 2010

Great int, Gretch. Great pix.

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