By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
“Bands serve a real useful purpose besides their music. They‘re like tattoos.” Cervenka herself got some skin etchings a couple of decades ago, when it was still taboo. “There are memories involved with things. Sometimes people come up to you and say, ’You know what? I met my husband at an X show, and we‘re still married, and it’s our anniversary.‘”
Moving around, on tour or otherwise, is a stimulant for excitement and change that’s become a permanent component of Cervenka‘s blood. First taste: Her parents’ sun-seeking move to Florida hit her when she was 14, at the same time as puberty and poetry. And that was the end of going to church seven days a week.
Her mid-‘70s relocation to L.A. was a logical extension. She says that some people come here to embrace the glitter, some just for the irony of it; it’s not hard to guess which camp she belonged to. And as a poet, she was following a literary tradition.
“Day of the Locust is one of my favorite stories; I‘ve read that book so many times. John Fante and Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski, all those people who wrote about Los Angeles -- all that stuff is still true.
”I like real life. I don’t think L.A.‘s very real. I like Los Angeles in some ways, but in some ways I really want to move away and go to a small town somewhere. I do it periodically. Last time, I lived in Missouri for a while, for the whole summer, and I lived in Idaho for three years. Idyllic small towns. You return to where you grew up, maybe.“
Doesn’t she ever get bored in the boondocks? ”Not with those flea markets they‘ve got.“
Nevertheless, the woman whose most famous song begins ”She had to leave Los Angeles“ remains right here. Checking out absurdist art at Track 16 in Santa Monica. Going to a big May Day demonstration at the surreal Bradbury Building, down by Grand Central Market: ”Communist workers marching, and megaphones, and all these police lined up in riot gear.“ Sounds like a flashback to about 1979, when the LAPD was trying to stamp out punk rock. Some would say the cops failed.
Well, time for Exene to go prepare a meal for the family. ”What do I like to cook? Stuff that I shouldn’t be eating, probably -- pork chops, regular old American food, Mexican food. I don‘t know how I learned. Everything I know, I’ve learned from trial and error, going out there by myself and saying: What happens if I do this . . .? Ow!“