John Doe | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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If Dylan married the sensibilities of Elvis and Rimbaud, X pulled off a similar trick with Hank Williams and William Burroughs--all, of course, within the confines of the genre of LA gutter punk in the late 1970s. Lovers John Doe and Exene were riotous romantics adrift in a milieu that didn't allow for much hope; but they persevered and found at least a measure of redemption in their last, melancholy albums (particularly See How We Are). Doe's solo debut, Meet John Doe, continues the process, melting away the trappings of punk for a new and mature, full-throated exposition of American rock 'n' roll. He finds some surprisingly good covers (by Hank Cochran, John Hiatt, even Bruce Hornsby), lets us know his sympathies still lie with C and W, and proffers two more cuts for the pantheon. The first, a sort of sequel to "See How We Are," argues, as I read it, against the efficacy of art on the grounds that people should be figuring this stuff out for themselves. The second ("Take #52") is a love song disguised as a here-I-am-in-the-studio song disguised as a life song. Guess which one he wrote with Exene. Hint: It's not about art. MVP: Richard Lloyd, who's in Doe's touring band. Thursday, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Geoffrey Barish.

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