Cervenka's music career started with the rock band 'X' that was formed in 1977, with herself, Doe (on bass), Billy Zoom (as a guitarist), and D.J. Bonebrake (as a drummer).
She contributed to several singles, soundtracks, and compilations, such as 'Adult Books'/'We're Desperate 7' (through 'Dangerhouse Records' in 1978), 'Yes L.A.' (1979), and 'No Questions Asked by Flesh Eaters' (through 'Slash Records' in 1980). She also contributed to a few tracks from the album of the 1981 documentary film 'The Decline of Western Civilization.'
Around the same time, Cervenka changed the spelling of her first name to ''Exene.'' As an 'X' member, she became part of the Hollywood punk movement, with her unique poetic lyrics.
'X'’s debut studio album, 'Los Angeles,' released on April 26, 1980, through 'Slash Records.' Their second album, 'Wild Gift,' released the following year.
In 1982, 'X' released their third album, 'Under the Big Black Sun.' Their country spin-off group, 'The Knitters,' was formed at about the same time. Soon, Cervenka published her first book series, titled 'Adulterers Anonymous,' in collaboration with artist Lydia Lunch.
The following year, the album 'More Fun in the New World' was released. Cervenka was also part of the album 'Poor Little Critter on the Road,' the debut album of the 'Knitters,' released in 1985. Most of the tracks in the album were composed by Cervenka and John Doe.
She also published a poem named 'Twin Sisters,' composed in collaboration with music artist Wanda Coleman.
In July that year, 'X' released their fifth album, 'Ain't Love Grand,' through 'Elektra Records.' The band performed the minor radio hit 'Burning House of Love,' from the album, on the TV music program 'American Bandstand' in September. It has been their most popular TV appearance to date.
On February 1, 1985, Cervenka recorded a poetry performance at the 'McCabe's Guitar Shop,' Santa Monica.
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'X' dropped their sixth album, 'See How We Are,' in 1987, under the label 'Elektra Records.' Their seventh album, 'Live at the Whisky a Go-Go on the Fabulous Sunset Strip,' which released on April 29, 1988, was the band's first live album.
Toward the end of the 1980s, with Cervenka and Doe's marriage turning sour, the popularity of 'X,' too, fizzled out, and the group ultimately disbanded. Following this, Cervenka began her solo career and released 'Old Wives' Tales' and 'Running Sacred.'
However, toward the beginning of the 1990s, Cervenka, Doe, and Bonebrake reunited. 'X' dropped a new studio album, 'Hey Zeus!,' in 1993. They also came up with the acoustic affair 'Unclogged' in 1995.
The band united completely when Zoom joined them later in the decade. Soon, the re-formed 'X' toured, performing at several live shows. However, the band did not release any studio album after this.
On March 20, 1995, the spoken-word album 'Lydia Lunch & Exene Cervenka: Rude Hieroglyphics' was recorded live at the 'Sapphire Supper Club,' Orlando. They toured with the project the following year.
From 1996 to 1999, Cervenka and independent filmmaker John Roecker co-owned the Los Angeles store 'You've Got Bad Taste,' which offered kitschy items and various "off-color" novelties.
Cervenka, along with Karen Black and the band 'L7,' was featured in the cult video 'Decoupage 2000: Return of the Goddess.' She was seen reading her poem 'They Must Be Angels' in the video.
Around the time, Cervenka launched her short-lived band 'Auntie Christ,' which included her 'X' bandmate Bonebrake and bassist Matt Freeman from the band 'Rancid.' She played the guitar for the band. Cervenka's third solo release was the 22-track record 'Surface to Air Serpents,' featuring her poems.
Toward the beginning of the 2000s, Cervenka launched her musical side project for 'Exene,' the 'Original Sinners.' Additionally, several of her books, such as 'Virtual Unreality,' 'A Beer on Every Page,' and 'Just Another War,' were published. The last one was a collaborative effort with 'Pulitzer Prize'-nominated photojournalist Kenneth Jarecke,
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'The Knitters' re-united in 2005, with the album 'The Modern Sounds of the Knitters.' That year, art curators Kristine McKenna and Michael Duncan exhibited Cervenka's journals and mixed-media collages in a one-person exhibition called 'America the Beautiful' at the 'Santa Monica Museum of Art.' Cervenka released her solo album 'Sev7en' the following year.
Her next solo albums were 'Somewhere Gone' in 2009 and 'The Excitement of Maybe' in 2011.
In 2012, 'Moonlight Graham Records' released the 'John Doe & Exene Cervenka: Singing and Playing,' which was recorded at 'Way Station' in April 2010.
Cervenka was initially married to John Doe, from April 1980 until their divorce in 1985. She met her second husband, actor Viggo Mortensen, in 1986, when the two played a married couple in the comedy film 'Salvation!' They got married on July 8, 1987, and their son, Henry Blake Mortensen, was born on January 28, 1988,
Mortensen and Cervenka lived in Idaho for 3 years and separated in 1992. Their divorce was granted in 1997.
Following this, Cervenka married musician Jason Edge, who was part of 'Original Sinners.' This marriage, too, ended in a divorce.
She delivered a charity performance at the 'Puss Puss Cafe' in Capitol Hill to raise money for the 'Domestic Abuse Women's Network.' She has been a huge supporter of 'Sweet Relief,' a charity that aids uninsured artists and was established by musician Victoria Williams.
On June 2, 2009, Cervenka revealed that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In 2011, she expressed her doubt about the diagnosis. She, however, canceled her ‘Spring 2011’ tour due to the issue.
Her first symptom of the disease, blurred vision in one eye, surfaced in 2000. However, her MRI test was inconclusive. She wanted a lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap), to confirm her diagnosis but had to postpone the test due to her tour the following day. However, when she returned, the symptoms were gone.
She was fine for a long time, even though episodes such as confusion and severe headaches persisted. By 2004, because of the recurring symptoms and with the knowledge that she had accumulated through her research regarding the disease, Cervenka was quite sure she had multiple sclerosis.
However, her MRI report again came out fine, and the doctors thought that she had just been a bit of a hypochondriac.
In a July 2015 interview, Doe labeled the whole thing as a misdiagnosis and confirmed that Cervenka was medically certified as healthy.
As a teenager, she raised funds for the 'National Multiple Sclerosis Society.'
Cervenka is a self-styled "conspiracy therapist," a fact that has triggered a social-media controversy. Using the 'YouTube' name "Christine Notmyrealname," she published conspiracy theories about the Isla Vista shootings of May 23, 2014, which she termed a hoax. She claimed the whole event was just a staged act to impose stricter gun control laws.
As a result, she received a lot of backlash and had to issue an apology on 'Facebook' and 'Twitter.' Her conspiracy-related 'YouTube' videos are now either deleted or disabled.