John Doe (musician)

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John Doe
John Doe, born John Nommensen Duchac.jpg
Doe in 2006
Background information
Birth nameJohn Nommensen Duchac
Born (1953-02-25) February 25, 1953 (age 70)
Decatur, Illinois, United States
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Punk rock, alternative country, folk rock, roots rock
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • poet
Instrument(s)Bass guitar, guitar, vocals
Years active1973–present
Member of
Formerly of The Flesh Eaters

John Nommensen Duchac (born February 25, 1953), [1] known professionally as John Doe, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, poet, [2] guitarist and bass player. Doe co-founded LA punk band X, of which he is still an active member. His musical performances and compositions span rock, punk, country and folk music genres. As an actor, he has dozens of television appearances and several movies to his credit, including the role of Jeff Parker in the television series Roswell .


In addition to X, Doe performs with the country-folk-punk band the Knitters and has released records as a solo artist. In the early 1980s, he performed on two albums by the Flesh Eaters. [3]



Doe moved to Los Angeles, California, and in 1976 met guitar player Billy Zoom through an ad in the local free weekly paper, The Recycler. [4]

John Doe performing at Adams Avenue Street Fair, San Diego, 2006 John Doe Performs at Adams Avenue Street Fair 2006.jpg
John Doe performing at Adams Avenue Street Fair, San Diego, 2006

As a musician with X, Doe has two feature-length concert films, several music videos, and an extended performance-and-interview sequence in The Decline of Western Civilization , Penelope Spheeris's seminal documentary about the early-1980s L.A. punk scene. [5]

Along with co-writer Exene Cervenka, Doe composed most of the songs recorded by X. Wild Gift , an album from that band's heyday, was named "Record of the Year" by Rolling Stone, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. With Dave Alvin, he co-wrote two of the songs on the Blasters' 1984 album Hard Line , "Just Another Sunday" and "Little Honey". He also wrote "Cyrano de Berger's Back" for the Flesh Eaters LP A Minute to Pray, a Second To Die . [6]

Since 1990, Doe has recorded nearly a dozen albums as a soloist or in collaboration with other artists, and has contributed tracks to motion pictures. In the 1992 movie The Bodyguard (starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston), it is Doe's version of "I Will Always Love You" that plays on the jukebox when Costner's and Houston's characters are dancing. It was released on audio cassette by Warner Bros. in September 1992, but no version is believed to exist on CD. He co-wrote and played on the song "Lobotomy" with Tyler Willman for the eponymous 1998 debut studio album of the band Calm Down Juanita. [7]

Doe took part in Todd Haynes's 2007 movie I'm Not There , recording two Bob Dylan covers, "Pressing On" and "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine." Both recordings were included on the film's soundtrack, and the former was prominently featured in the film, with Christian Bale (as Pastor John Rollins) lip-synching Doe's vocals. Doe recorded the song "Unforgiven" in 2007 with Aimee Mann on A Year in the Wilderness, an album which also featured Kathleen Edwards, Jill Sobule, Dan Auerbach. He then joined with Eddie Vedder on a mix of the song "Golden State" in 2008. "The Meanest Man in the World" by Doe was featured in Season 4 of the television series Friday Night Lights and included on the second soundtrack album. Country Club (2009), featuring Canadian indie rock band The Sadies, covered country classics along with original songs.

Doe contributed a cover of "Peggy Sue Got Married" to the 2011 tribute album Rave on Buddy Holly .

His latest solo record, The Westerner, was released in 2016. Doe said that it was made in the desert, in Arizona, and that the genre is psychedelic soul. [4]


In the 1989 biographical film Great Balls of Fire! , Doe played Jerry Lee Lewis's cousin-turned-father-in-law J. W. Brown. He starred in the 1992 films Roadside Prophets and Pure Country , and in the 1998 short Lone Greasers. Other movie acting credits include Road House , Vanishing Point , Salvador , Boogie Nights , The Specials , The Good Girl , Gypsy 83 , Wyatt Earp , Border Radio , Pure Country , The Outsiders , and Brokedown Palace . Doe has appeared on the television series Law & Order , Roswell , Carnivale , One Tree Hill , Childrens Hospital (alongside his fellow bandmates in X) and The Wizards of Waverly Place .


With co-author Tom DeSavia, Doe wrote and compiled stories for a book about the LA punk rock scene from 1977 to 1983. The book, Under the Big Black Sun , incorporated the punk ethos of contributions from other musicians that were part of the scene, people like Exene Cervenka, Jack Grisham, Henry Rollins, Mike Watt, Jane Wiedlin and others who wrote chapters. Doe wanted it to be a collective recollection, not just one person's perspective of the time. [4]

A sequel of sorts was released in 2019 entitled More Fun in the New World: The Unmaking and Legacy of L.A. Punk. [8] Doe and DeSavia again invited contributors to narrate the space of time from 1982 to 1987. [8]

Personal life

Doe was born in Decatur, Illinois. He was married to fellow X member Exene Cervenka between 1980 and 1985. [9] He remarried in 1987. He revealed to Adam Carolla in a podcast in September 2011 [10] that he resided (at the time) in Fairfax, California. [11] He has three daughters. In early 2017, he announced that he would be moving to Austin, Texas. [12]


John Doe albums
YearAlbumPeak chart positionsLabel
US US Heat US Indie US Country
1990Meet John Doe193Geffen
1995 Kissingsohard Forward/Rhino
2000Freedom Is...spinART
2002Dim Stars, Bright SkyArtist Direct BMG
2005Forever Hasn't Happened YetYep Roc
2006 For the Best of Us
2007A Year in the Wilderness42
2009Country Club (with The Sadies)103732
2011 A Day at the Pass (with Jill Sobule)Pinko
Keeper13Yep Roc
2012Singing & Playing (with Exene Cervenka) [13] Moonlight Graham
2014The Best of John Doe: This FarYep Roc
2016The WesternerCool Rock
2022Fables in a Foreign LandTBDTBDTBDTBDFat Possum
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">X (American band)</span> American punk rock band

X is an American punk rock band formed in Los Angeles. The original members are vocalist Exene Cervenka, vocalist-bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D. J. Bonebrake. The band released seven studio albums from 1980 to 1993. After a period of inactivity during the mid-to-late 1990s, X reunited in the early 2000s and continues to tour as of 2022.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Exene Cervenka</span> American singer (born 1956)

Exene Cervenka is an American singer, artist, and poet. She is best known for her work as a singer in the California punk rock band X.

<i>Wild Gift</i> 1981 studio album by X

Wild Gift is the second studio album by American rock band X, released on May 4, 1981 by Slash Records. It was very well received critically, and was voted the year's second best album in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop poll. Wild Gift was later ranked at number 334 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

<i>Los Angeles</i> (X album) 1980 studio album by X

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Knitters</span> Band

The Knitters are a Los Angeles-based band who play country, rockabilly and folk music. The Knitters' name is a play on the name of the folk group The Weavers.

<i>Aint Love Grand!</i> 1985 studio album by X

Ain't Love Grand is the fifth studio album by American rock band X, released in July 1985 by Elektra Records. The album was their first not produced by Ray Manzarek. It was reissued with four bonus tracks by Rhino Records in 2002. The album included the minor radio hit "Burning House of Love", which the band performed on American Bandstand in September 1985, their largest television exposure to date. The album also includes a cover of the Small Faces song "All or Nothing". Lead guitarist Billy Zoom left the band after this album but he later returned to the group in 1998 during a tour and the original line-up released their next full-length studio album in 2020 with Alphabetland.

<i>See How We Are</i> 1987 studio album by X

See How We Are is the sixth studio album by American rock band X, released in 1987 by Elektra Records. It was their first album without founding guitarist Billy Zoom, who was replaced by ex-Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin for the album's recording sessions and some live shows. Alvin left X on good terms and was replaced by Tony Gilkyson.

<i>Live at the Whisky a Go-Go</i> (X album) 1988 live album by X

Live at the Whisky a Go-Go on the Fabulous Sunset Strip is the seventh album and first live album by American rock band X, released April 29, 1988 by Elektra Records. The album was recorded on December 13, 15 and 16 in 1987 at the Whisky a Go Go nightclub in West Hollywood, California, United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Flesh Eaters</span> American punk band

The Flesh Eaters are an American punk rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California, United States, in 1977. They are the most prominent of the bands which have showcased the compositions and singing of their founder, punk poet Chris Desjardins, best known as Chris D. While Desjardins is the group's only continual member, the Flesh Eaters' lineup has drawn from some of the most famous bands of the L.A. punk scene, such as the Plugz, X, the Blasters, and Los Lobos.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">D. J. Bonebrake</span> American drummer

Donald J. Bonebrake is an American musician who first emerged as the drummer of the punk rock band the Eyes. He is best known as an original member of and drummer for punk band X, of which he is still an active member.

<i>Beyond and Back: The X Anthology</i> 1997 compilation album by X

Beyond and Back: The X Anthology is a two-disc compilation album by American rock band X, released October 28, 1997 by Elektra Records. The anthology's tracks are split between already-released songs and demos, single versions, outtakes and live recordings.

<i>X: The Unheard Music</i> 1986 film

X: The Unheard Music is a 1986 rockumentary film directed by W.T. Morgan about the Los Angeles punk band X. The film stars John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake.

<i>X – Live in Los Angeles</i> 2005 live album by X

X – Live in Los Angeles is a live album by American rock band X released May 10, 2005, by Shout! Factory on compact disc and DVD. The concert was recorded on Thanksgiving 2004 as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Los Angeles. DVD bonus features included acoustic duets by Exene Cervenka and John Doe on "See How We Are" and "True Love" and a photo gallery from Billy Zoom.

Poor Little Critter on the Road is the debut album from X side project The Knitters, Poor Little Critter on the Road contains original compositions and covers of songs by X as well as established Country music performers.

<i>The Modern Sounds of the Knitters</i> 2005 studio album by The Knitters

The Modern Sounds of the Knitters is the second album by The Knitters, released in 2005. It has received mixed critical reviews.

<i>Under the Big Black Sun</i> (book)

Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk is a book by John Doe of the American punk rock band X and co-author Tom DeSavia. The book examines the evolution of Los Angeles punk rock between 1977-1982, covering the years between the emergence of punk as an underground phenomenon and ending as some of the musicians in the scene crossed over to mainstream success. The book featured guest chapters by Exene Cervenka ; along with Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's, Mike Watt of Minutemen, and Henry Rollins of Black Flag. Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong penned a foreword for the book.

<i>Alphabetland</i> 2020 studio album by X

Alphabetland is the eighth studio album by American punk rock band X. Released digitally in April 2020, it is their first studio release in 27 years and the first with their original line-up in the past 35 years. X released the album with no prior announcement to coincide with the 40th anniversary of their debut album Los Angeles and credited songwriting to all four members for the first time in their career. The release has received positive reviews from critics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Destroying Angels (song)</span> 2018 single by Garbage

"Destroying Angels" is a 2018 stand-alone single released by alternative rock band Garbage with John Doe and Exene Cervenka of the American punk rock band X. The song was written and recorded for 2018's Black Friday Record Store Day event in North America, with a digital release worldwide the following year.

Old Wives' Tales is an album by the American musician Exene Cervenka, released in 1989. Cervenka told the Los Angeles Times that she considered the album to be "for and about women."

Kissingsohard is an album by the American musician John Doe, credited to the John Doe Thing. It was released in 1995. Doe promoted the album by touring with Juliana Hatfield, and then with Shane MacGowan.


  1. "United States Public Records, 1970-2009".
  2. Wertheimer, Linda (June 23, 2007). "John Doe: The 'X' Man Returns" (audio). Weekend Edition Saturday. National Public Radio . Retrieved June 2, 2008.
  3. Eakin, Marah (May 22, 2014). "John Doe on his first big movie, solo record, and day as a dad". The A.V. Club.
  4. 1 2 3 Stafford, James (July 27, 2015). "In Conversation With X's John Doe". . Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  5. Graff, Gary. “SXSW: John Doe of X, Kieran Leonard Give Accounts of Fatal Incident”. Billboard. March 13, 2014
  6. "John Does - Songs". AllMusic. RhythmOne Group. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  7. Calm Down Juanita (CD Liner). Calm Down Juanita. Seattle, Washington, US: Echo Records. 1998. inside front cover.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. 1 2 Larsen, Peter (June 7, 2019). "What happened when LA punk splintered apart? John Doe and friends tell tales in 'More Fun in the New World'". Los Angeles Daily News . Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  9. Mervis, Scott (June 10, 2014). "X (and Exene) coming to Altar Bar in August". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  10. Carolla, Adam (September 20, 2011). "John Doe of X". The Adam Carolla Show. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011.
  11. John Doe at IMDb
  12. Curtin, Kevin (February 9, 2017). "John Doe Moves to Austin". The Austin Chronicle.
  13. Hudson, Alex (April 3, 2012). "John Doe and Exene Cervenka of X to Release Duets Album". Exclaim! . Retrieved April 27, 2020.