A “no wave” band formed in Cleveland by John D Morton (electric eels, Johnny and the Dicks) back in 1978, X__X has recently picked up a bit of traction. Last year, the band was featured in a New York Times article that chronicled the events leading up to the group’s recent rebirth. What's been the key to getting people to pay attention to a group that's thirtysomething years old?
"People want it," says Morton via phone. "We show up when we’re asked for. Anywhere, anytime. It was dead in the water for 35 years. I started to get interest about reissuing the singles about five years ago. I didn’t like the deals and record company business confused me, but then when Ektro Records approached me, I loved the fact that they were Finnish. They want to do underappreciated American music. It was not for profit. That took the angst of the contract out of it."
Once the record came out, the New York Times came calling. The band did a tour in August. "I wanted to see if we could do it," Morton says of the tour. "We could. It went well. We get to do new music based on historical importance. I hesitate to use that word, but we recorded a new record for Smog Veil Records, which has long been supportive of me and my work. We’re doing what we do. So what if we had a 35 year hiatus."
Now, in advance of the band’s forthcoming album, Albert Ayler’s Ghosts: Live at the Yellow Ghetto, the group has announced a few gigs. The band performs on May 22 at Annabell’s in Akron, on May 23 at Ace of Cups in Columbus and on May 24 at UFO Factory in Detroit. The group includes veteran Cleveland punk rockers such as Morton, who plays guitar, Theremin, didgeridoo and electric sitar, and Rocket From the Tombs' Craig Willis Bell, who plays bass.