Exene Cervenka

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Exene Cervenka
Exene Cervenka at The Chestnut Cabaret in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 30th, 1986
Background information
Birth name Christene Lee Cervenka
Also known as Exene, Exene Cervenková
Born (1956-02-01) February 1, 1956 (age 61)
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 exenecervenka.net

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

Early life[edit]

Cervenka was born in Mokena, Illinois,[2] in the Chicago area, and is of Czech and Irish ancestry. She 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[edit]

Cervenka at 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 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. She and Lunch also released a spoken word album, Rude Hieroglyphics, in 1996 and toured in support of the project.[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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 Isla Vista 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.[edit]


The Knitters[edit]




  • 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[edit]


Works or publications[edit]


One-person exhibitions[edit]

Two-person exhibitions[edit]

Group exhibitions[edit]

Exhibition catalogs[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Exene Cervenka: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ Scher Zagier, Alan (June 11, 2008). "Exene Cervenka: Exile in the Ozarks". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ Burk, Greg (July 24, 2002). "She Had To Stay". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ Laughlin, Jamie (December 30, 2013). "Exene Cervenka on the Pending Alien Invasion and the Decline of Authenticity". Dallas Observer. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  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'". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  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". Village Voice. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Exene Cervenka – Singer, songwriter, poet, artist" (audio interview). Storytellers. Blog Talk Radio. July 3, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  10. ^ http://www.rockerzine.com/index.php/2011/03/exene-cervenka-high-priestess-of-punk/
  11. ^ Kay, Tony (April 24, 2010). "More Fun in the New World: Exene Cervenka of X, Interviewed". The SunBreak. Archived from the original on April 24, 2010. 
  12. ^ Palmer, Robert (November 3, 1982). "The Pop Life; 2 Rock Queens Turn to Literature". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Business: Diary; Who Says 'Nobody Ever Went Broke . . . '?". New York Times. March 21, 1999. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  14. ^ Lecaro, Lina (February 28, 2006). "Punk Puppet Apocalypse". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Decoupage 2000". Decoupagetv.com. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  16. ^ Heller, Zoe (December 2, 2011). "Viggo Talks and Talks". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  17. ^ McCall, Michael (February 4, 2010). "Somewhere Gone from Exene Cervenka". Nashville Scene. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  18. ^ Lewis, Randy (October 6, 2009). "Keeping up with Exene Cervenka". L.A. Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Fadroski, Kelli Skye (June 1, 2011). "Exene tells it straight on X, illness and O.C.". Orange County Register. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  20. ^ Zaleski, Annie (October 21, 2009). "Somewhere Out There: Exene Cervenka's new solo record, Somewhere Gone, has strong roots in Missouri". Riverfront Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  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". Creative Loafing. Creative Loafing Atlanta. Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  23. ^ Cervenka, Exene (June 2, 2009). "A Statement from Exene Cervenka". ExeneCervenka.com. Archived from the original on July 30, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  24. ^ Ohanesian, Liz (October 6, 2006). "Exene Cervenka Returns to Southern California". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  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". Diffuser.fm. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  27. ^ "'80s Punk Star Exene Cervenka Claims Santa Barbara Shooting Was a Hoax". Radio.com. 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". International Business Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  29. ^ Hicks, Tony (May 29, 2014). "Punk legend Exene Cervenka calls Santa Barbara shooting 'hoax'". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  30. ^ Palmer, Robert (June 23, 1982). "Pop Life; New Album Shows X Has Grown". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  31. ^ Pareles, Jon (July 20, 1995). "Pop Review; John Doe and Exene Go a Little Bit Country". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  32. ^ Pareles, Jon (October 29, 1989). "Reviews/Music; Half of X Equals Cervenka". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  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". KCET. KCETLink. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  36. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 21, 1986). "Film: 'Unheard Music'". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  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". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  39. ^ Bartruff, James (August 17, 1986). "Fiction : Poetry Loves Poetry, edited by Bill Mohr; photographs by Sheree Levin.". L.A. Times. Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  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. 

External links[edit]