One of the best punk bands of all time, X holds a special place in my heart. They were among the very first punk bands I ever heard, with John Doe and Exene Cervenka's dueling harmonies, and I loved them. She was the ultimate rock-chick, wearing crazy vintage dressed, ratted-out hair topped with a pretty sparkly tiara. I discovered them when I was about 19 and to this day (some - ahem - 23 years later) I STILL play their song "Fourth of July" every. single. Independence Day. And I still sing it at the top of my lungs. Here, in part, is why:
Back in 1985, my boyfriend at the time and I went to Europe together. We were still a fairly new couple and 2 months of traveling and living out of backpacks had begun to take its toll. Toward the end of our trip, we found ourselves (for we were traveling with no itinerary whatsoever) on the island of Corfu, Greece. The climate reminded us, oddly enough, of McCall, Idaho but with the gorgeous blue Mediterranean just offshore. We found a darling little room with shiny wood floors, lovely crisp white bedding and floor-to-ceiling french doors which opened up to a private balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. The room cost us $11 a night. Furthermore, the room was above a market/bakery that sold good cheap beer and wine, which we'd take to the beach with us every day. Needless to say, we weren't overly anxious to leave this place. We'd swim and then sit on our towels and marvel at the endless parade of young tourists, euro-freaks and crusty old local fishermen. Every morning we'd go down to the little hut near the beach where we'd have the only item on the menu "scrabbled eggs on toast". So several days into our stay, Dan and I had some sort of fight. I have no idea what it was about, and it doesn't matter. I was young and moody, timid but starting to come out of my shell, tired of being defined by my boyfriend. So one night Dan pissed me off somehow and I went off by myself. I sat on the beach, staring out into the inky black sea, brooding and drinking. I had taken our only form of music with me, our Sony Walkman (for this was the mid-80s) and was listening to all the angry, black music that fit my mood. And then X came on...and my mood changed completely. Feeling completely in the moment, I jumped up, ran down to the shore, cranked up those little head-phones as loudly as they could go and proceeded to dance in the surf and sing at the top of my lungs. I was facing the ocean...getting into it...I am woman, hear me roar!! Eventually the tape ended; I'd danced in the salt water and sang along with the entire tape. I was finally ready to go back and face Dan. As I turned around to go, I saw that a small crowd had gathered along the road...people stopping to be entertained by the crazy drunk American singing at the top of her lungs to music only she could hear. As I walked toward them (my only option to get back to the room) they began to clap. All I could do was laugh right along with them. It was oddly empowering and still makes me smile.