steve cafeiro - The I-94 Bar

Forty years of X-treme doings

earlyx

Before there was punk rock there was Ian Rilen. Then there was X.

X weren't punks in the sense of the term that the skinheads understood but they were primal, punk rock and roll in one combustible package.

Sydney had never seen a band like X whose wrecking ball power centred on Rilen's bass-played-as-a-lead-instrument, the massive backbeat of fellow veteran Steve Cafeiro, the slashing guitar of Ian Krahe and the shredding vocals of Steve Lucas, the latter two rookies.

Living a quiet life wasn't part of the X creed. Krahe's submission to a heroin overdose left the already outlawed X even more out on a limb, but they grimly continued as a trio and proceeded to record their debut album with legendary guitarist Lobby Loyde producing.

"X-Aspirations" became an instant classic, setting a benchmark for a whole legion of new, uncompromising and minimalist bands.

These words (and those that follow) were written for the liner notes for the 2009 re-issue of X’s debut album “X-Aspirations” but were inadvertently shelved. We’re reviving them to coincide with the 40th anniversary tour by the X line-up that lives on after the passing of all original members except guitarist-vocalist Steve Lucas. Lucas has crowd-sourced a Best of and Rarities collection ("X-Citations") on vinyl, copies of which will be available at the gigs. Read on.

X-Citations: Best of X and Rarities Vol 1 - X (Radio Rock)

x citations vol1Whatever your view about recent and current line-ups of the band (and there are naysayers of the Rilen-less version), X in their prime were The Real Deal. On a good night, no other act in Australia could match them for raw intensity with an underlying musicality.

There was something dangerous about X and it wasn’t just the lunatics that followed them, leaving a trail of smashed glasses, broken furniture and self-inflicted flesh wounds behind them.

That’s why the 40-year anniversary package of “X-Citations Vol 1” is so welcome. Picking up on the earliest days of X - the four-piece with Steve Lucas on vocals and Ian Krahe on guitar - and pushing through to the end of original drummer Steve Cafeiro’s tenure, this vinyl collection of 14 songs serves as a perfect reminder - or an introduction for the unaware - to their unique music.