New Year’s Eve will be unusual for Jeff McDonald from the campy Los Angeles rock combo Redd Kross. The band – which includes his brother Steven – plays The City with old chums The Melvins and Frightwig, backing their latest riff-fest, “Researching the Blues.” But it’s not exactly McDonad’s preference. Most holidays, he and his wife Charlotte Caffey (of Go Go’s renown) watch “Rocking New Year’s Eve” on TV. He says, “New Year’s is a holiday that I’ve basically given up on, because people have these really high expectations for good times and it’s basically a hooligan’s paradise.”
Los Angeles band Redd Kross, led by brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald, has had a long and storied career, releasing its first EP in 1980 and then albums slowly but steadily through 1997. After 15 years away from the studio, the band came roaring back in 2012 with Researching the Blues, a cracking rock-’n’-roll record that earned Redd Kross some of its best reviews yet. Guitarist/singer Jeff McDonald weighs in on the twists and turns of the band’s existence.
Last year, rock and roll veteran punksters Redd Kross released their first album in 15 years, Researching the Blues, on Merge Records.
What does some time to grow do for a band of boys with glammy makeup and a psychedelic sense of style? For Redd Kross, it seems marinating in those creative juices does a body good.
We caught up with guitarist Jeff McDonald at his LA home base to talk about the album, his gear and a few other tidbits.
Now Toronto interviews Steven McDonald:
“I’ve met people in the past year who’ve told me the new album turned them on to Redd Kross, which of course is really exciting to us,” he enthuses, citing new label Merge as one reason for that attention.
In the spring, McDonald doubted that Redd Kross would become a full-time concern again, but there’s been a constant stream of activity, and upcoming plans include a performance at Jack White’s Third Man store to celebrate Record Store Day.”
Tap Milwaukee speaks with Steven McDonald.
“”It’s definitely more art for art’s sake, nowadays,” Steven said. “I’m proud of our accomplishments and what we’ve survived: so many eras and fads and trends. I continue to make a living doing what I love.”
It’s not often that you can chat with a 45-year-old who can relate tales about hanging out with the likes of Black Flag and The Descendents when both of those bands were in their infancy. That’s because Steve McDonald was practically an infant when his own band, Redd Kross, got their start in 1978. The kid was only in middle school! Besides playing bass in Redd Kross, McDonald also currently holds down the low-end for the ferocious Keith Morris-helmed hardcore outfit OFF!.
When Redd Kross went on the rocks in the late 90s, Steven went back to rock school in an effort to learn more about the technical aspects of recording music and also how to play like a pro. One unique feather in his cap is producing and engineering the first fun. album, Aim and Ignite. I caught up with McDonald last week via phone to chat about their upcoming show at The Casbah, the recording of their new album, life during band hiatus, and the possibility of a middle-class existence as a rock musician. We also chatted about past Redd Kross San Diego shows a bit, at which point he told me that it was at a concert in this very city circa 1997 that then drummer Brian Reitzell informed the band that he wanted to leave the group, an action that lead to a band hiatus which would last until 2006. Hopefully history chooses not to repeat itself this time around.
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