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John Doe: The Coolest Dad Ever
Author: Rick Porter
Date: Dec. 24, 2001

LOS ANGELES ( - When John Doe released his last solo album, "Freedom Is..." he did a number of appearances in Borders bookstores to promote it. He'd play a few songs, then sign the CDs.

Most of the fans who'd come to see him, Doe tells, were what you might expect: a mix of younger and older folks who knew his work from the landmark Los Angeles punk band X and have since followed his solo career.

"But every once in a while, maybe every other one," Doe says, "there would be this little clump of 15-year-old girls. And they of course would want to know ..."

How he balances his acting and singing career? If he would be collaborating with the Old 97's again? When X might get together again for a couple of shows?

"'Is Shiri cool?', No. 1 -- well, actually it's a close call, with 'How hunky is Jason Behr?'"

Doe is in a position to have this information by way of his role on "Roswell," the aliens-in-high-school drama on UPN. He plays Geoff Parker, owner of the Crashdown Cafe and father to Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby), the girlfriend of Behr's brooding alien Max.

For the record, Doe says the answer to the first question is yes, and he doesn't feel qualified to answer the second.

"I'm also unable to tell them if Jason is a good kisser," he says, laughing. "Shiri says he's pretty good, but I don't have any personal experience. Yet. But you never know -- I did line dance. If they're gonna make a punk-rock guy do line dancing, they may have him french-kissing a man any second."

Doe is working more steadily on "Roswell" this season, as the show's adults re-enter the story after being pretty much absent from the second season, its last on The WB before moving, along with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," to UPN.

"I think I worked twice the second season," he says. "This season has been much more family oriented. I think people got a confused with all the plotlines last year. It was a little too 'X-Files.' "

That the shift in storytelling and the shift from The WB to UPN occurred at the same time is merely coincidence, Doe believes. "As far as it being more family-oriented [this season], that's just what the first season was about -- the human drama, dealing with the fact that there are aliens in our midst. That's a lot to deal with right there."

Doe, who's appeared in about 30 movies since the mid-1980s, says the thing he values most about his work on "Roswell" is "the chance to keep my chops up."

"If you go three or six months between jobs, for the first couple days you're flopping around like a fish, thinking 'Do I remember how to do this?'" he says. "Here, there's more time to develop a character, more different situations."

He plans to continue his movie work during the show's off time; he recently completed work on an independent thriller called "Jon Good's Wife."

"I know I'll be doing more independents because that's what I like, and that's what directors and casting directors like me for," he says. "It's where I'm comfortable. Basically, my take is more money, more bulls---."

He's also continuing his music career. X reunites several times a year "for fun, and some profit," and he's working with songwriter-producer Joe Henry on some new tracks. He recently recorded a song with the Old 97's for a tribute album to the Knitters, X's countrified alter ego. "That was very strange, to be on your own tribute record," he says.

His song "Totally Yours," from "Freedom Is..." will be featured in the Jan. 8 "Roswell," playing at the end of an episode in which one of the show's couples breaks up.

Doe won't say who it is. He will admit, though, that he believes UFOs exist. "I saw one," he says. "It was definitely an unidentified flying object. Whether it was a spaceship or not, I couldn't tell you."

He then adds, conspiratorially, "I think that's classified information. I'll have to check with the sources. We have more information than a lot of people. Being on the show 'Roswell,' they tell us stuff."

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