Saturday, April 16, 2011

HOW JOHN DOE PROTECTED MY DAUGHTER’S INNOCENCE FROM JILL SOBULE

Me, Kate (with Lanie), and the great John Doe

Saturday was Record Store Day – an international celebration of local, independent music retailers – and as part of the occasion John Doe and Jill Sobule delivered an in-store concert at Euclid Records in St. Louis (they’d performed the night before at Off Broadway – the best concert venue in all of STL).

Jill Sobule had an MTV hit in 1996 with the song “I Kissed a Girl” (yes, BEFORE Katy Perry). John Doe, of course, is the founder of the legendary band X; truly a founding father of the Los Angeles punk rock scene. He’s continued to record “rootsier” records through recent years and has acted in a number of movies and a few television series.

My daughter – a huge music fan in her own right – and I made Record Store Day one of our fairly regular Daddy/Daughter Dates and we spent the day in St. Louis, visiting our favorite record shops and enjoying the day.

I was scheduled to interview John Doe following his in-store performance, so I hoisted Kate up on my shoulders and lingered around the side of the stage.

One of Jill Sobule’s songs included the lyric, “…You fat f#ck$” which she didn’t shy away from singing in mixed company at an 11 a.m. public performance. I didn’t mind. Bad language never offends me and the line was recited in a fairly rapid-fire delivery amidst the song, so I knew Kate didn't catch it. John Doe, however, grimaced and shook his head.

He asked for requests from his back catalog and the audience threw out an obscure number that he said he’d be lucky to get through. He did get through it, but when he got to a line that included the F-bomb you could tell it snuck up on him and he quickly scrambled to self-censor it. He did and later when complaining about the use of banjos in indie rock, he said he aimed to “take the banjo back from all these indie rock mo-fos”. He was looking in my general direction when he said "mo-fos" and I couldn’t help but think he was protecting Kate’s little ears.

But I didn’t want to be presumptuous. Life doesn't revolve around me, after all. So I didn’t dwell :-)


Later in the show, John introduced a song he said he’d “done a lot of preaching” before at the previous night’s concert. He said he didn’t want to preach this morning, but wanted us to listen to the song and think about getting rid of our storage units. Again, I sensed he was holding back.

Jill Sobule apparently sensed that he was holding back, too, and with a big grin she explained to the audience, “John’s trying to get you to not buy so much $h!t!!”

Immediately John, with what appeared to be a genuinely revolted look, turned to Jill and said, “THERE ARE LITTLE EARS HERE!!!” The entire audience busted up and Jill locked eyes with me in genuine horror; “Oh, I am SO sorry!”

Again, I wasn’t too worried about it. Kate clearly didn’t catch onto anything. Everyone had a laugh. I was the focal point of a John Doe/Jill Sobule concert for a second.

And we can always say that the almighty John Doe chivalrously came to the defense of my daughter’s sweet innocence. A true gentleman indeed.

So, we listened to X’s classic album “Los Angeles” on our way to the next Record Store Day stop. And Kate became a fan.

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