X

X plays Friday at the Webster. (Handout / August 25, 2014)

Just before X took the stage at the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia two years ago, Chris Cornell was staring at the punk icons. "Forgive me for geeking out," Cornell said.

Cornell isn't the only legendary grunge alum to give props to the band that put So Cal punk rock on the map a generation ago.

"Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam were the reason we were added to the "Made In America" lineup," says drummer DJ Bonebrake during a call from Hackensack, N.J. "That event was fantastic. It's great to have these larger than life figures love what you're doing. So many amazing recording artists that everyone knows have told us how influenced they've been by X. It's pretty cool."

Well, X has come full circle. A late, lionized rocker fell for the band during its embryonic period and produced the first X sessions. Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek was blown away when he caught a club show X rendered 35-years ago.

"We were playing the Whiskey in L.A. and Ray was there with his wife Dorothy," Bonebrake recalls. "We were playing the Doors "Soul Kitchen" and Ray didn't recognize it since we were playing it four-times faster than the Doors. Dorothy said, 'check that out.' He loved it and he took us into the studio."

Manzarek produced the band's seminal debut 'Los Angeles' and 'Wild Gift.' The independent releases effectively blend punk, blues and rockabilly. Early X songs are cynical and visceral. Most of the songs, which were written by vocalist-bassist John Doe and vocalist Exene Cervenka, from the band's salad days still hold up, unlike many of their peers' dated material.

"I think the reason the songs still hold water is for some simple reasons," Bonebrake says. "John and Exene are great writers. When they sing, nobody sounds like them. Nobody bothered us when we made our music, even when we signed (with Elektra). We benefitted from being isolated when we made those records. We didn't follow the cookie cutter formula everyone else did."

X, which will deliver its classics Friday, Aug. 29, at Webster Theatre as part of the TNT fest, is one of the few bands from the Reagan era to feature all four of its original members.

"That's truly an amazing thing since we don't get any younger," Bonebrake says. "So many bands break up and then there is the mortality factor. So many guys in bands from the '80s are dying due to heart attacks and cancer. But we're all still here, knock wood."

Bonebrake, Doe, Cervenka and guitarist Billy Zoom plan to stick around for a while.

"We see no reason to stop now," Bonebrake says. "We've taken breaks to work on other projects. John has done a lot of acting, but now we're really into focusing on X. The crowds we've played to have been so enthusiastic. The love hearing "White Girl" and "The Once Over Twice." Why stop touring?"

>>X will headline TNT fest Friday, Aug. 29, at the Webster Theatre, 31 Webster St., Hartford. Negative Approach, Hub City Stompers, Defiance, Victory and Drug Shock will open. Tickets are $40. Show time is 7 p.m. Information: call 860-525-5553.