[UPDATE: Tonight! $2 Show!] Exene Cervenka (of X): On Folk Being the New Punk Rock and Why She's Performing a Benefit Show for Sweet Relief

UPDATE, MARCH 11, 8:12 A.M.: See Exene Cervenka tonight at Big's for $2! Info after the jump.

ORIGINAL ITEM, MARCH 8, 9:54 A.M.: On Friday, Exene Cervenka–writer, artist, punk-rock prototype of X fame–will perform at a benefit show for Sweet Relief hosted by Heard Mentality at Big's Grill in Fullerton. 

She'll be playing old tunes, as well as more than a few new ones from her latest solo effort, The Excitement of Maybe, out today. 
In an interview, Cervenka, who moved to Orange two years ago, said, “I love it when people get together,” she says. “I think that's the essence of punk rock. It's not the music and the fashion–it's not superficial.”


The Excitement of Maybe is more folk/alt-country than punk rock, she says, in that today's folk carries the same punk-rock ethic that was so prevalent in the '80s. “Punk rock was an alarm we were sounding, that things were going to be bad unless we did something to change it,” she says. 

What's that again? How can folk be considered punk rock? Cervenka replies, “How are the Knitters punk rock? How is Woodie Guthrie punk rock? How is Johnny Cash–the most punk-rock person of all time–punk rock? It's not about clothes, and it's barely about music. It's about a revolutionary way of thinking. It's anti-corporate and human rights-oriented. It's a social movement more than a musical movement.”

On Friday, she's performing a benefit show, co-hosted by OC Weekly's music blog Heard Mentality. Proceeds will go to Sweet Relief, a musicians' fund that provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability or age-related problems, and it's a fund that's helped Cervenka personally through her bout with MS.

“There are a wide range of symptoms that come from MS, and right now, it's not affecting me. Some people don't even know they have it. I'm extremely lucky that I'm still working, and if I have to stop, I'll stop,” she says. 

Still, Cervenka gives back to Sweet Relief when she can. “Insurance is impossible to get after you've been diagnosed; they're really good about getting the money to whoever needs it,and I support them in every way,” she says.

Big's Grill, 323 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 526-4950; www.bigsgrill.com. March 11, 8 p.m. A donation of $2 to Sweet Relief gets you in. Click here for the official Facebook invite

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