As a writer, mixed-media artist and lead vocalist for the seminal '70s L.A. punk band, X, Exene Cervenka has never hesitated to express herself. Last week she publicly revealed something else about who she is:
"After some months of not feeling 100% healthy, I recently had some medical tests run and the prognosis is that I am suffering from multiple sclerosis.
"Many people remain strong and continue to live their lives as productively as they had before an MS diagnosis, and I plan to be one of those people."
X plays the Majestic Theater on Monday, June 22. I talked with Cervenka by phone last week.
Was going public with your MS diagnosis a hard decision to make?
No, and I'm glad I did it. It was like a secret I didn't want to keep. The response has been overwhelming and positive. A lot of people have reached out to offer support.
You're taking set-list requests for your upcoming shows, including your Madison show, on the X website. Any surprises in what's being requested?
No. But it's been a great way for us to make sure we're not playing the same songs every night. There haven't been too many people making requests. The response has been kind of medium.
What can you tell us about your solo album being released this fall?
The songs are pretty and kind of quiet. There's lots of use of strings. It's all me and my songs. The album will be called Somewhere Gone.
Do you find yourself gravitating toward any particular style of music over time?
No. It's actually just the opposite. I'm less connected to any one type of music now.
You've been involved in a variety of very different musical projects, including X, the Knitters and the Original Sinners. Do you experience your role in each of these bands differently?
They're all different kinds of fun for me. If you like this touring lifestyle, then it's all about having fun. The different people you tour with make it fun in different ways.