A punk rock pioneer with the world-famous X, songwriter, poet, actor, and author, John Doe returns with Fables In A Foreign Land, his debut release with the John Doe Folk Trio.
On Fables In A Foreign Land, John Doe’s tales are vividly set in a dusty and desolate pre-Industrial Era. And though many of the 13 songs were written over the last three years, the sound was born in loose weekly backyard jams on bassist Kevin Smith’s patio.
“I guess Fables In A Foreign Land is my version of folk music." says Doe. "It started by being sick of musicians that play too much and having to orchestrate or arrange songs. ‘What if it was just less?’ Everyone says less is more, but you have to figure out for yourself what that means. I didn’t do a deep dive into folk music and concern myself with what was ‘traditional,’ it was just an outgrowth of trying to strip the songs down to the basics.”
Fables In A Foreign Land includes contributions from outsider country polymath Terry Allen on “Never Coming Back,” Los Lobos’ Louie Perez on “El Romance-O,” and fellow X bandmate Exene Cervenka and Shirley Manson of Garbage, who co-wrote “Destroying Angels.”
“While on tour with Garbage and Blondie, Shirley Manson asked Exene and I if we wanted to write a murder ballad together. Only a fool would say 'no'. Shirley wrote most of the lyrics, Exene added words for the chorus, while I came up with the music. Garbage, Exene and I reworked and recorded a heavy, goth, waltz version for Record Store Day back in 2018. For this version, the folk trio returned the song to a traditional, up tempo, folk version in 4/4 time. I changed a few lines but kept the same somewhat gruesome story. The term 'destroying angels' and 'death caps' are colloquial names for certain types of poison mushrooms."
Fables In A Foreign Land was recorded live with the John Doe Folk Trio - comprised of John Doe, bassist Kevin Smith (Willie Nelson and Family), and drummer Conrad Choucroun.