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Gone Hill Country: Legendary punk rocker playing western set at BBQ restaurant

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X marks the brisket.

A co-founder of the Los Angeles punk band X will take the stage at Downtown’s Hill Country Barbecue on Oct. 23, playing a down-home set of country and western tunes. The legendary punk-rocker, who will perform with Canadian country group the Sadies, says the two genres are really just an accent apart.

“There are a lot of elements between punk rock and country that are similar,” said John Doe. “They’re all about simplicity and honesty and drinking and f------ up and being sorry — maybe.”

This show is no country-punk fusion — Doe is straight-edge about his music genres. And there is nothing under the big black sun he dislikes as much as artists who describe their work as “a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.”

“If you can describe it in two or three words, then it means something,” said Doe. “If it takes you a sentence, then it’s like, what the f--- is that?”

Those who turn up at Hill Country for brisket and a country show will get to scoot their boots to the real thing, he says, although he might treat old-school punk fans to some rock-style X throwbacks.

Doe is a longtime country fan, and some of X’s songs had a rockabilly twang, but he never considered going full Nashville until the Sadies entered the picture in 2007. He and the Sadies began riffing together at a music festival, he says, where they drunkenly resolved to make an album — 2009’s “Country Club.” The resulting sound was more rooted in country tradition than most of what comes from the modern-day country music capital, said Doe.

“I don’t know if the people in Nashville would recognize what we did,” he said. “What people call country now is a strange pop kind of music.”

Doe and the Sadies are riding a circuit of Hill Country’s east coast locations at the barbecue chain’s behest — the meat experts at the Texas-inspired joint called asked them to play at their trio of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Washington D.C. locations. But Doe said he will blow through all three meat havens without a taste of their claim to fame.

“I’m a vegetarian, so that cuts me out of some of the stuff,” he said.

John Doe and the Sadies at Hill Country Barbecue [345 Adams St. at Willoughby Street Downtown, (718) 885–4608, www.hillcountrybk.com]. Oct. 23 at 9 pm. $5.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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