John Doe PhotoAs one of the founding members of the Los Angeles punk band X, John Doe was one of the most influential figures in American alternative rock during the early '80s, but when he launched a solo career in the early '90s, he decided to pursue a rootsy, country-rock direction instead of continue with punk. X's latter-day albums exhibited a rockabilly and country influence, but it wasn't until Doe's 1990 debut, Meet John Doe, that he recorded a pure country album.

Meet John Doe was recorded during a hiatus in X's career. Following the release of the 1988 live album Live at the Whiskey A Go-Go the band went on hiatus. Initially, Doe concentrated on the acting career he began in 1986 with Oliver Stone's Salvador, appearing in Road House and The Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire in 1989. The following year, Meet John Doe was released on DGC to positive reviews, yet it didn't appeal to an audience outside of X's cult, peaking at 193 on the pop charts. Later in 1990, X began playing live again and Doe's solo musical career went on hiatus, although he continued to act in movies like Pure Country, Liquid Dreams, Roadside Prophets, Wyatt Earp, and Georgia.

Following X's 1993 reunion album Hey Zeus!, Doe signed a solo contract with Rhino/Forward. In the summer of 1995, Doe released Kissingsohard, a punkier album than his debut. A few months after its release, X released the live Unclogged, which would turn out to be its final album. In early 1996, X broke up, with John Doe turning his attention to his musical and acting career. His solo efforts resurfaced in mid-2000 with the release of Freedom Is... on the Spin Art label. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide