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Exene Cervenka

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Exene Cervenka

Exene Cervenka
Exene Cervenka at The Chestnut Cabaret
Philadelphia, PA (July 1986)
Background information
Birth name Christene Cervenka
Also known as Exene
Exene Cervenková
Born (1956-02-01) February 1, 1956
Chicago, Illinois
United States
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Punk
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Visual artist
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1978–present
Labels Bloodshot Records
Rhino Records
Kill Rock Stars
Nitro Records
2.13.61 Records
Freeway Records
Associated acts X
The Knitters
John Doe
Auntie Christ
The Original Sinners
Website .netexenecervenka

Exene Cervenka (born Christene Lee Cervenka, February 1, 1956) is an North American singer, artist, and poet, known for her work as a singer in the California punk rock band X.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Music career 2
    • Collaborations 2.1
  • Art career 3
  • Personal life 4
    • Health 4.1
    • Conspiracy theories 4.2
  • Discography 5
    • X 5.1
      • Singles, soundtracks, compilations, etc. 5.1.1
      • Albums 5.1.2
    • The Knitters 5.2
    • Solo 5.3
      • Bands 5.3.1
      • Other 5.3.2
    • Additional musical contributions 5.4
    • Video 5.5
  • Works or publications 6
    • Exhibitions 6.1
      • One-person exhibitions 6.1.1
      • Two-person exhibitions 6.1.2
      • Group exhibitions 6.1.3
      • Exhibition catalogs 6.1.4
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Cervenka is of Czech and Irish ancestry. Born in Mokena, Illinois[2] in the Chicago area, Cervenka moved to Tallahassee, Florida with her family, where she lived from age 13 to 20.[3][4] Cervenka dropped out of high school. After her mother died, she raised her sisters.[5] Cervenka moved to Santa Monica, California, in the summer of 1976.[1]

Cervenka had an older sister, Mirielle, a jewelry designer who lived in New York City. During a 1980 visit to Los Angeles, while en route to the Whisky A Go-Go nightclub to see X, Mirielle was hit by a drunk driver who ran a red light, and was killed instantly.[6][7]

Music career

SXSW 2010

The 21-year-old Cervenka met 23-year-old musician John Doe at a poetry workshop at the Beyond Baroque Foundation in Venice, California.[8] Cervenka started working there.[9]

Billy Zoom and John Doe founded X in 1977.[10] Doe asked Cervenka to join soon after. They released their debut album, Los Angeles, in 1980 and, over the next six years, five more critically acclaimed albums.

Dave Alvin taught Cervenka how to play the guitar.[11]


In 1982, Cervenka published Adulterers Anonymous, her first in a series of four books, in collaboration with artist Lydia Lunch.[12]

From 1996 to 1999, John Roecker and Cervenka co-owned Los Angeles store "You've Got Bad Taste." The store specialized in kitsch and various "off-color" novelties.[13][14]

In 1999, as Exene Červenková, she appeared in the cult video Decoupage 2000: Return of the Goddess, along with guests Karen Black and the band L7. She gave a reading of her poem "They Must Be Angels," and appeared in an interview skit with Decoupage 2000 hostess Summer Caprice.[15]

Art career

In 2005, her journals and mixed media collages were exhibited in a one-person exhibition titled America the Beautiful at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The exhibit was curated by Kristine McKenna and Michael Duncan. An expanded version of the exhibition traveled to DCKT Contemporary in New York in January 2006.

Personal life

Cervenka was married to John Doe from 1980 to 1985. She met her second husband, Viggo Mortensen, in 1986 on the set of the comedy Salvation!, a parody of televangelism. Mortensen played her husband, Jerome. They married on July 8, 1987. On January 28, 1988, Cervenka gave birth to a son, Henry Blake Mortensen. Mortensen and Cervenka lived in Idaho for three years.[8] They separated in 1992, and were divorced in 1997.[16]

Cervenka married musician Jason Edge, who went on to play in her band, Original Sinners.[7] Edge and Cervenka are now divorced.[17]

Cervenka moved from Los Angeles to Jefferson City, Missouri[8] for four years, and then returned to Southern California.[18] She now lives in Orange County.[19][20]


On June 2, 2009, Cervenka released a statement revealing that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.[21][22] Well before this diagnosis, she and X have actively supported Sweet Relief, a charity that aids uninsured artists. Sweet Relief was begun by musician Victoria Williams when she herself was diagnosed with MS.[23] In 2011, Cervenka said she may have been misdiagnosed.[19][24] However, Cervenka had to cancel a Spring 2011 tour due to problems associated with her MS.[25] During a July 2015 interview, John Doe said that the multiple sclerosis diagnosis was a misdiagnosis, that Cervenka, after consulting with various doctors who were not able to diagnose her, is healthy.[26]

Conspiracy theories

Cervenka, as a self-styled "conspiracy therapist" has recently provoked controversy on social media and on YouTube, under the name "Christine Notmyrealname" by advancing conspiracy theories including the view that the Santa Barbara shootings were a hoax designed to bring about stricter gun control laws. After the backlash, she has issued an apology on her Facebook and Twitter accounts and the conspiracy related YouTube videos are no longer available for viewing.[27][28][29]



Singles, soundtracks, compilations, etc.


The Knitters




  • 1985: Wanda Coleman, Exene Cervenka: Twin Sisters LP (Freeway). Poetry performance recorded at McCabe's Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, CA on February 1, 1985.
  • 1995: Lydia Lunch & Exene Cervenka: Rude Hieroglyphics (Rykodisc). Recorded live at the Sapphire Supper Club, Orlando, FL on March 20, 1995.
  • 1999: Decoupage 2000: Return of the Goddess. Read poem "They Must Be Angels" and appeared in an interview skit.[15]
  • 2012: John Doe & Exene Cervenka: Singing and Playing (Moonlight Graham Records). Recorded at Way Station April 2–3, 2010.[35]

Additional musical contributions


Works or publications

  • Lunch, Lydia, and Exene Cervenka. Adulterers Anonymous. New York: Grove Press, 1982. ISBN 978-0-394-62412-9
  • The 1984 Calendar of Olympic Games, Music & Orwellian Dates. 1984, n.d.. Produced by M. Hyatt, Exene Cervenka and 53 mail artists from around the world.
  • Bad Day: A Short Film by Modi Frank and Exene Cervenka. (1986)[37][38]
  • Mohr, Bill, and Sheree Levin. Poetry Loves Poetry: An Anthology of Los Angeles Poets. Santa Monica, CA: Momentum Press, 1985. ISBN 978-0-936-05450-6[39]
  • Jarecke, Kenneth, and Exene Cervenka. Just Another War. Joliet, Mont: Bedrock Press, 1992. ISBN 978-0-963-47840-5[40]
  • Cervenka, Exene. Virtual Unreality. Los Angeles: 2.13.61 Publications, 1993. ISBN 978-1-880-98515-1
  • Cervenka, Exene. "Consumption." Details Magazine, July 1993. (poem)
  • Cervenka, Exene. "Acres of Defeat." Raygun Magazine, Dec./Jan 1993. (article)
  • Cervenka, Exene. "Midnight Black." L.A. Weekly Magazine, Best of L.A. Issue, 1993. (poem)
  • Lake, Bambi, and Alvin Orloff. The Unsinkable Bambi Lake: A Fairy Tale Containing the Dish on Cockettes, Punks, and Angels. San Francisco: Manic D Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-916-39742-5 Introduction by Exene Cervenka
  • Snowden, Don, and Gary Leonard. Make the Music Go Bang!: The Early L.A. Punk Scene. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1997. ISBN 978-0-312-16912-1 "Halos Above Our Horns" by Exene Cervenkova. (essay)
  • Rollins, Henry. The Best of 2.13.61 Publications. Los Angeles: 2.13.61 Publications, 1998. ISBN 978-1-880-98562-5 (excerpts from "Virtual Unreality")
  • Maybe, Ellyn, and Exene Cervenka. The Cowardice of Amnesia. Los Angeles: 2.13.61 Publications, 1998. ISBN 978-1-880-98558-8
  • Hyatt, Michael, and Exene Cervenka. Lucky 13 Postcards. Los Angeles, Calif: s.n., 2000.
  • Cervenka, Exene. A Beer on Every Page. 2002.
  • Jocoy, Jim, Thurston Moore, and Exene Cervenka. We're Desperate: The Punk Photography of Jim Jocoy : SF/LA 78–80. New York, NY: PowerHouse Books, 2002. ISBN 978-1-576-87156-0 "Slivery Moon" (essay)
  • Kihn, Greg. Carved in Rock: Short Stories by Musicians. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003. ISBN 978-1-560-25453-9 features short story "Perfect World from Virtual Unreality" by Exene Cervenka
  • Cervenka, Exene, and Viggo Mortensen. Magical Meteorite Songwriting Device: Collages. Santa Monica, CA: Perceval Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-976-30092-2[41]


One-person exhibitions

  • America the Beautiful. Santa Monica Museum of Art (September 17 – November 26, 2005)
  • America the Beautiful. DCKT Contemporary (January 7 – February 11, 2006)
  • A Fifth of Tomorrow. Collages and journals. Western Project (June 9 – July 14, 2007)
  • Sleep in Spite of Thunder. DCKT Contemporary (May 23 – July 18, 2008)

Two-person exhibitions

  • Exene Cervenka and Wayne White: We’re Not The Jet Set. Paintings, collages and sculptures. Western Project (July 25 – September 5, 2009)

Group exhibitions

  • Hollywood Satan. Mark Moore Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (December 5–25, 1998)
  • Forming: The Early Days of L.A. Punk. Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (April 10 – June 15, 1999)
  • Capital Art: On the Culture of Punishment. Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (February 3 – March 31, 2001)
  • Cruel And Unusual: A Benefit For The West Memphis Three. sixspace, Los Angeles, CA (2003)
  • Vexing: Female Voices from East L.A. Punk. Claremont Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (May 18 – August 31, 2008); Museo de las Artes, Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico (2008–2009)
  • Yard Dog, Austin, TX (2009)
  • Celestial Ash: Assemblages from Los Angeles. Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA (April 11 – September 13, 2009)
  • Western Project: The First Six Years. Western Project, Culver City, CA (November 7 – December 30, 2009)
  • Tanya Batura / Exene Cervenka / Amir H. Fallah / Will Yackulic. Western Project, Culver City, CA (August 14 – September 11, 2010)
  • Never Can Say Goodbye, No Longer Empty. at former Tower Records Store, West 4th Street & Broadway, New York, NY (2010)
  • Girls Just Want to Have Funds. P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, NY (2010)
  • DCKT @ Miami Project. Midtown Art District (December 3–8, 2013)

Exhibition catalogs

  • Bessy, Claude, and Edward Colver. Forming: The Early Days of L.A. Punk. Santa Monica, CA: Smart Art Press, 2000. ISBN 978-1-889-19544-5 Track 16 Gallery (April 10 – June 5, 1999). Cervenka was co-editor, essay: "Forming: the Early Days of L.A. Punk"
  • Botey, Mariana, and Pilar Perez. Capitalart: On the Culture of Punishment. Santa Monica, CA: Smart Art Press, 2001. ISBN 978-1-889-19546-9 Track 16 Gallery (February 3 – March 31, 2001)
  • Cervenka, Exene. Exene Cervenka: America the Beautiful. Santa Monica, CA: Smart Art Press, 2005.

See also


  1. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Exene Cervenka: Biography".  
  2. ^ Scher Zagier, Alan (June 11, 2008). "Exene Cervenka: Exile in the Ozarks".  
  3. ^ Burk, Greg (July 24, 2002). "She Had To Stay".  
  4. ^ Laughlin, Jamie (December 30, 2013). "Exene Cervenka on the Pending Alien Invasion and the Decline of Authenticity".  
  5. ^ Shein Win, Maw; Kathleen Munnelly. "La Boheme: Checking in with Exene Cervenka". Comet Magazine. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ Darling, Nikki (July 14, 2009). "'"B-Side Stories: X, the Whisky A-Go-Go, a Tragic Night, and 'Under the Big Black Sun.  
  7. ^ a b Yokoland. "Exene Cervenka". Swindle Magazine. Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c Trucks, Rob (May 20, 2008). "Interview: Exene Cervenka of X".  
  9. ^ "Exene Cervenka – Singer, songwriter, poet, artist" (audio interview). Storytellers. Blog Talk Radio. July 3, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Kay, Tony (April 24, 2010). "More Fun in the New World: Exene Cervenka of X, Interviewed".  
  12. ^ Palmer, Robert (November 3, 1982). "The Pop Life; 2 Rock Queens Turn to Literature".  
  13. ^ "Business: Diary; Who Says 'Nobody Ever Went Broke . . . '?".  
  14. ^ Lecaro, Lina (February 28, 2006). "Punk Puppet Apocalypse".  
  15. ^ a b "Decoupage 2000". Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  16. ^ Heller, Zoe (December 2, 2011). "Viggo Talks and Talks".  
  17. ^ McCall, Michael (February 4, 2010). "Somewhere Gone from Exene Cervenka".  
  18. ^ Lewis, Randy (October 6, 2009). "Keeping up with Exene Cervenka".  
  19. ^ a b Fadroski, Kelli Skye (June 1, 2011). "Exene tells it straight on X, illness and O.C.".  
  20. ^ Zaleski, Annie (October 21, 2009). "Somewhere Out There: Exene Cervenka's new solo record, Somewhere Gone, has strong roots in Missouri".  
  21. ^ "A Statement from Exene Cervenka". Bloodshot Records. June 2, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  22. ^ Radford, Chad (February 1, 2010). "Despite her MS diagnosis, Exene Cervenka lives for the moment".  
  23. ^ Cervenka, Exene (June 2, 2009). "A Statement from Exene Cervenka". Archived from the original on July 30, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  24. ^ Ohanesian, Liz (October 6, 2006). "Exene Cervenka Returns to Southern California".  
  25. ^ "Exene Cervenka Cancels Tour". Bloodshot Records. April 4, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  26. ^ Stafford, James (27 July 2015). "In Conversation With X’s John Doe".  
  27. ^ 80s Punk Star Exene Cervenka Claims Santa Barbara Shooting Was a Hoax"'". May 28, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  28. ^ Brown, Eric (June 1, 2014). "X Singer Exene Cervenka's Santa Barbara Shooting Conspiracy Theory Is One of Many".  
  29. ^ Hicks, Tony (May 29, 2014). "'"Punk legend Exene Cervenka calls Santa Barbara shooting 'hoax.  
  30. ^ Palmer, Robert (June 23, 1982). "Pop Life; New Album Shows X Has Grown".  
  31. ^ Pareles, Jon (July 20, 1995). "Pop Review; John Doe and Exene Go a Little Bit Country".  
  32. ^ Pareles, Jon (October 29, 1989). "Reviews/Music; Half of X Equals Cervenka".  
  33. ^ Gray, Chris (January 27, 2010). "Inquiring Minds: Exene Cervenka on Losing a Friend, Weeping Willows, Albums as Collage and Her Good Buddy Biscuit". Houston Press. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  34. ^ Steffens, Charlie (March 2011). "An Interview with Exene Cervenka". AMP Magazine. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  35. ^ Bose, Lilledeshan (May 23, 2012). "How Exene Cervenka Came to Rule Over the Boy's Club".  
  36. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 21, 1986). "'"Film: 'Unheard Music.  
  37. ^ "Kevin Costner in a "Lost" Western Movie Found and Released Exclusively Online" (PDF). Bad Day Movie. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  38. ^ Derrick, Lisa (July 20, 2010). "Bad Day: Kevin Costner's Secret Movie Released Online".  
  39. ^ Bartruff, James (August 17, 1986). "Fiction : Poetry Loves Poetry, edited by Bill Mohr; photographs by Sheree Levin.".  
  40. ^ "Exene Cervenka Interview". Shaved Neck. June 26, 2002. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  41. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 1, 2006). "Viggo Mortensen's Unusual Role: Indie Publishing Mogul". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 

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