John Doe (musician)

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John Doe
Doe in 2006
Doe in 2006
Background information
Birth nameJohn Nommensen Duchac
Born (1953-02-25) February 25, 1953 (age 70)
Decatur, Illinois, United States
OriginLos Angeles, California
GenresPunk rock, alternative country, folk rock, roots rock
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • poet
Instrument(s)Bass guitar, guitar, vocals
Years active1973–present
Member of
Formerly ofThe Flesh Eaters

John Nommensen Duchac (born February 25, 1953),[1] known professionally as John Doe, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, poet,[2] guitarist and bass player. Doe co-founded LA punk band X, of which he is still an active member. His musical performances and compositions span rock, punk, country and folk music genres. As an actor, he has dozens of television appearances and several movies to his credit, including the role of Jeff Parker in the television series Roswell.

In addition to X, Doe performs with the country-folk-punk band the Knitters and has released records as a solo artist. In the early 1980s, he performed on two albums by the Flesh Eaters.[3]



Doe moved to Los Angeles, California, and in 1976 met guitar player Billy Zoom through an ad in the local free weekly paper, The Recycler.[4]

John Doe performing at Adams Avenue Street Fair, San Diego, 2006

As a musician with X, Doe has two feature-length concert films, several music videos, and an extended performance-and-interview sequence in The Decline of Western Civilization, Penelope Spheeris's seminal documentary about the early-1980s L.A. punk scene.[5]

Along with co-writer Exene Cervenka, Doe composed most of the songs recorded by X. Wild Gift, an album from that band's heyday, was named "Record of the Year" by Rolling Stone, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. With Dave Alvin, he co-wrote two of the songs on the Blasters' 1984 album Hard Line, "Just Another Sunday" and "Little Honey". He also wrote "Cyrano de Berger's Back" for the Flesh Eaters LP A Minute to Pray, a Second To Die.[6]

Since 1990, Doe has recorded nearly a dozen albums as a soloist or in collaboration with other artists, and has contributed tracks to motion pictures. In the 1992 movie The Bodyguard (starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston), it is Doe's version of "I Will Always Love You" that plays on the jukebox when Costner's and Houston's characters are dancing. It was released on audio cassette by Warner Bros. in September 1992, but no version is believed to exist on CD. He co-wrote and played on the song "Lobotomy" with Tyler Willman for the eponymous 1998 debut studio album of the band Calm Down Juanita.[7]

Doe took part in Todd Haynes's 2007 movie I'm Not There, recording two Bob Dylan covers, "Pressing On" and "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine". Both recordings were included on the film's soundtrack, and the former was prominently featured in the film, with Christian Bale (as Pastor John Rollins) lip-synching Doe's vocals. Doe recorded the song "Unforgiven" in 2007 with Aimee Mann on A Year in the Wilderness, an album which also featured Kathleen Edwards, Jill Sobule, Dan Auerbach. He then joined with Eddie Vedder on a mix of the song "Golden State" in 2008. "The Meanest Man in the World" by Doe was featured in Season 4 of the television series Friday Night Lights and included on the second soundtrack album. Country Club (2009), featuring Canadian indie rock band The Sadies, covered country classics along with original songs.

Doe contributed a cover of "Peggy Sue Got Married" to the 2011 tribute album Rave on Buddy Holly.

His latest solo record, The Westerner, was released in 2016. Doe said that it was made in the desert, in Arizona, and that the genre is psychedelic soul.[4]


In the 1989 biographical film Great Balls of Fire!, Doe played Jerry Lee Lewis's cousin-turned-father-in-law J. W. Brown. He starred in the 1992 films Roadside Prophets and Pure Country, and in the 1998 short Lone Greasers. Other movie acting credits include Road House, Vanishing Point, Salvador, Boogie Nights, The Specials, The Good Girl, Gypsy 83, Wyatt Earp, Border Radio, Pure Country, The Outsiders, and Brokedown Palace. Doe has appeared on the television series Law & Order, Roswell, Carnivale, One Tree Hill, Childrens Hospital (alongside his fellow bandmates in X) and The Wizards of Waverly Place.


With co-author Tom DeSavia, Doe wrote and compiled stories for a book about the LA punk rock scene from 1977 to 1983. The book, Under the Big Black Sun, incorporated the punk ethos of contributions from other musicians that were part of the scene, people like Exene Cervenka, Jack Grisham, Henry Rollins, Mike Watt, Jane Wiedlin and others who wrote chapters. Doe wanted it to be a collective recollection, not just one person's perspective of the time.[4]

A sequel of sorts was released in 2019 entitled More Fun in the New World: The Unmaking and Legacy of L.A. Punk.[8] Doe and DeSavia again invited contributors to narrate the space of time from 1982 to 1987.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Doe was born in Decatur, Illinois. He was married to fellow X member Exene Cervenka between 1980 and 1985.[9] He remarried in 1987. He revealed to Adam Carolla in a podcast in September 2011[10] that he resided (at the time) in Fairfax, California.[11] He has three daughters. In early 2017, he announced that he would be moving to Austin, Texas.[12]


John Doe albums
Year Album Peak chart positions Label
US US Heat US Indie US Country
1990 Meet John Doe 193 Geffen
1995 Kissingsohard Forward/Rhino
2000 Freedom Is... spinART
2002 Dim Stars, Bright Sky Artist Direct BMG
2005 Forever Hasn't Happened Yet Yep Roc
2006 For the Best of Us
2007 A Year in the Wilderness 42
2009 Country Club (with The Sadies) 10 37 32
2011 A Day at the Pass (with Jill Sobule) Pinko
Keeper 13 Yep Roc
2012 Singing & Playing (with Exene Cervenka)[13] Moonlight Graham
2014 The Best of John Doe: This Far Yep Roc
2016 The Westerner Cool Rock
2022 Fables in a Foreign Land TBD TBD TBD TBD Fat Possum
"—" denotes releases that did not chart



  1. ^ "United States Public Records, 1970-2009".
  2. ^ Wertheimer, Linda (June 23, 2007). "John Doe: The 'X' Man Returns" (audio). Weekend Edition Saturday. National Public Radio. Retrieved June 2, 2008.
  3. ^ Eakin, Marah (May 22, 2014). "John Doe on his first big movie, solo record, and day as a dad". The A.V. Club.
  4. ^ a b c Stafford, James (July 27, 2015). "In Conversation With X's John Doe". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  5. ^ [1] Graff, Gary. “SXSW: John Doe of X, Kieran Leonard Give Accounts of Fatal Incident”. Billboard. March 13, 2014
  6. ^ "John Does - Songs". AllMusic. RhythmOne Group. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  7. ^ Calm Down Juanita (CD Liner). Calm Down Juanita. Seattle, Washington, US: Echo Records. 1998. inside front cover.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. ^ a b Larsen, Peter (June 7, 2019). "What happened when LA punk splintered apart? John Doe and friends tell tales in 'More Fun in the New World'". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  9. ^ Mervis, Scott (June 10, 2014). "X (and Exene) coming to Altar Bar in August". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  10. ^ Carolla, Adam (September 20, 2011). "John Doe of X". The Adam Carolla Show. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011.
  11. ^ John Doe at IMDb
  12. ^ Curtin, Kevin (February 9, 2017). "John Doe Moves to Austin". The Austin Chronicle.
  13. ^ Hudson, Alex (April 3, 2012). "John Doe and Exene Cervenka of X to Release Duets Album". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 27, 2020.

External links[edit]