X's Exene Cervenka's Advice to Female Musicians: "Don't Get Married"

Categories: Q&A, Show Preview

At your shows, do you tend to see a lot of the same people coming time after time, or do you have a lot of younger people getting into your music as well?

It's never changed. There's always young people, middle-aged people, all kinds of people. There's as many young people now as there ever has been. Thank you to the Internet for making it possible for bands like us to still exist.

But, I should bring up right now that the Congress of the United States is going to pass the Protect IP Act, which will take down anything that any major corporation construes to be a copyright violation. So, goodbye Betty Boop cartoons, goodbye 78s, goodbye movies, goodbye sharing a file with a CNN news clip on it, goodbye showing something about the World Trade Centers falling down, goodbye exposing any truth. It's all going to go.

So, for instance, let's say someone puts an X song up there. Someone else, a third party, not me, can say, "Oh, that's a copyright violation. Take that down." It doesn't have to be the copyright holder who takes it down; it can be anyone. So, it's over. The only reason it hasn't passed is because one congressperson is holding it up.

I was at Occupy L.A. last night and you had one in Phoenix. Is it still happening?

We had about 1,000 people show up for the first event.

That's great. All the cities did it, and it's great. Now, everybody's got the idea it's time to occupy your street, occupy your house, occupy your electricity. Turn off your electricity and light candles and go to bed at night. It's time to fight back.

What happened at Occupy L.A.?

Last night, I was there until about 10:30. They were supposed to shut it down at midnight. There was the regular 800 or so permanent people. I want to estimate about 1,000 more people came. They arrested four people, and they let them keep the camp because they fought back.

They're going to do a surprise at a surprising moment.

How do you feel about fans downloading your music?

I couldn't care less. They can do anything they want with my stuff. If they want to listen to my music, or look at my art, or download a poster or a book, I say go for it.

I'm not going to get paid anyway. Do you think Warner Brothers is ever going to pay me a penny for any records I ever made, or Slash Records? I don't get paid for those. They're protecting the rights they own on my work so that they can make money, not that I can get paid. They don't pay me, the laws are not in my favor.

They have so many restrictions on payment. Let's say you sell 50,000 records and in the stores, there's another 10,000 floating around. They won't pay you on the 50,000 because they say, "What if those 10,000 get returned? Then we'll have a loss, so we can't pay you." It's ridiculous.

Slash Records is now part of Warner Brothers, so all the records [Slash] sold don't count now. We have not gotten a gold record for Los Angeles, which means we have not sold 500,000 copies. We sold well over a million copies of that record, but they just say that we haven't, and there's nothing you can do.

It's really difficult to get paid. So, yeah, I say, "Steal it all. Steal it all." I make my monthly bills. I don't care. I don't need more than what I need. I'm not looking to be a millionaire. It would be nice if those situations weren't corrupt.

You guys are celebrating the 31st anniversary of Los Angeles. Is there anything special about the number 31, or is it a continuation of the 30th anniversary?

Well, it's just another successful year where we're still living and we're still doing it. 13-31. Thirteen was always a number that we liked to play with -- it's like the backwards 13. I celebrate everything I can. I celebrate my birthday and anybody's anything. In rich cultures that are still intact in the world, celebrations are very important, and there's celebrations all the time for things. For us it's like, "Oh, it's Martin Luther King Day. I don't have to go to work, yay."

Location Info


Club Red

1308 W. University Dr., Mesa, AZ

Category: Music

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Totally agree with her on the married thing. Very well put.


Sounds more like, don't get married to a jealous asshole. Because being married to someone really supportive and invested in your artistic side can be amazing.

Grave Hunter
Grave Hunter

Very insightful interview with Exene.  Read the entire interview.


Exene is the real deal...a treasure of the world.

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