Denver Westworld: Redd Kross: The 39-Year-Old Band You’ve Never Heard That Inspired Nirvana

Redd Kross is playing Denver for the first time in twenty years.

The influential proto-alternative band started in 1978, when bassist Steve McDonald and his older brother, Jeff, were eleven and fourteen, respectively. They had grown up in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne, where they, led by Jeff, discovered underground music from magazines like Creem and Rock Scene. They’d already experienced stadium rock at a young age. By the time they started their own act, they had discovered a punk band whose members lived and practiced nearby: Black Flag.

The Flag, a fairly new band at the time, took these kids under its wings. And Redd Kross’s first show, as “Red Cross” – the band’s name before it was legally forced to change its name by the medical organization – was at an eighth-grade graduation party in someone’s living room.

“If you’ve seen the first ten minutes of the movie Boogie Nights, where they show Dirk Diggler’s humble beginnings in suburban Torrance and suburban L.A., imagine that living room and imagine a rock band playing in it, and that was the scene,” says Steve McDonald.

From those humble beginnings, Redd Kross took its glam-rock influences and infused them with a wide variety of musical styles and a punk attitude defined by irreverent humor and a skepticism about fitting in; the result was one of the most secretly influential bands of the era. You can hear the impact of Redd Kross in generations of musicians, including Sonic Youth, the Melvins and Nirvana.

“My brother has never been interested in joining any kind of community and has been into his own trip and is a little too shy to be that social,” says McDonald. “So he never wanted to be pinned to any kind of community. That said, if you look back at the history of the band, any time the band seemed to be part of any kind of movement, we would throw a wrench in it and not benefit from being part of any kind of bandwagon. I don’t know that it was because we had the forethought to think that once that bandwagon starts to fall apart you go with it, or if it was just that we were way too anti-social or punk in our attitude to let anyone else speak for us.”

That willingness to change gears and follow instinct over trends made an impact on a young musician from Washington and all of his peers. Dale Crover, perhaps best known as the drummer for the Melvins, caught a show in 1987 at the Crystal Ballroom in Tacoma, when Redd Kross toured in support of its Neuroticaalbum, which Crover feels was massively influential on the grunge movement. Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were in the audience, too, as Crover remembers, acting unimpressed with the band’s “good vibes and their happiness.” But the seeds of fusing punk with pop in the heart of the band that would become Nirvana were obviously firmly planted that night.

Although it was influencing underground musicians and impressing music critics, Redd Kross only flirted with mainstream and commercial success its entire career before going on hiatus from 1997 until 2006, when the band was convinced to play some festival dates. Around the same time, the Melvinsrelocated to Los Angeles, and Crover and McDonald became friends. Crover would go on to occasionally gig with McDonald’s hardcore band OFF! when Mario Rubacalba wasn’t available, and McDonald played on the 2016 Melvinsalbum Basses Loaded and then on 109 dates of a tour promoting that project. McDonald also recently played on the new Melvins album due out in summer 2017.

“Those guys came from a punk-rock world but fell into their own thing,” says Crover. “I always thought they were into the same kind of music I was getting into. They could be into Kiss and the Germs at the same time. The Melvins guys had the same vibe. We can listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd and MC5, Black Flag and Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater and Discharge. Punk rockers were dumbfounded by that stuff. A lot of that music I grew up on, and from that I found this. So I feel like I understood where they were coming from very well. [Steven’s] the punk-rock-Paul McCartney bass player.”

Crover always appreciated what he calls the “weirdness factor” of the band as well as Jeff’s strange but compelling pop songs. “Those guys are both weirdos, and I love them for it and wouldn’t want it [any other] way.”

Long-term, that weirdness factor has meant that Redd Kross can still have a career precisely because it avoided trends.

“We saw to it that we were awkward in all worlds. We inhabited many worlds but fit into none of them,” says McDonald.

Redd Kross, with The Omens and The Lollygags, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 15, Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street, 303-291-1007, $17-20, 16+.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

REDD KROSS-Pre tour 3 day sale-Redd Kross ‘On Tour’ t-shirt-Silver Foil Stamp

Pre-Spring US Tour fashion!

3-Day Sale – Click to Order Now!

Limited run ‘ON TOUR’ design on black vintage style ring spun super soft T.
This new creation is the coolest yet and impossible to photograph because of the reflective surface.
Illustrated by Jon Krop / Atomic Pop Monkey.
Trust us, It’s extremely cool and a ‘must have’ for collectors of the RKF line.

Order Now!

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

Oh Canada Hot Issue Vol.2-Show World Tour Live! Limited Edition CD

OhCanada

Oh Canada Hot Issue Vol.2-Show World Tour Live!

Newly Remastered for CD
OH CANADA!
HOT ISSUE VOL. 2
SHOW WORLD AROUND THE WORLD TOUR.

In the great tradition of ALIVE (Kiss/Slade) and Live at Leeds.
Powerfully recorded by the Canadian government for your amazement.
Very cool gatefold digipak system.
The Last Redd Kross Release Of The Summer.
Limited Run-Redd Kross Fashion
‘Keeping It Rare’

TRACK LIST:
1. lady in the front row
2. switchblade sister
3. stoned
4.jimmy’s fantasy
5.mess around
6.annie’s gone

ACT 2: SILVER ODESSEY
7. (a) silver threads and golden needles
8. (b) follow the leader
9. (c) it’s in the sky
10. (d) huge wonder

*100 percent live-no cheating or overdubs-just wild energy with a sweat cocktail on the side!
CLICK HERE TO ORDER ONE NOW!

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

KQED News on “Songs That Chargo Taught Us”

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 4.03.10 AMThe Side Eyes/Redd Kross, ‘Songs that Chargo Taught Us’ split single

Remember the good ol’ days when rock and punk were about rejecting your parents’ ways, ideally really ticking them off in the process? Well, kids today …

Take 21-year-old Astrid McDonald, singer in the L.A. punkish band the Side Eyes. Not only isn’t she railing against her mom, but on the band’s new vinyl-only single she sings a song written by her mom. Well, her mom happens to be Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Go’s. And the song the Side Eyes does here, “Don’t Talk to Me,” dates from when mom was around the age her daughter is now, back in the late ’70s when Caffey fronted a pre-Go-Go’s trio with drummer D.J. Bonebrake (soon of X) and guitarist Joe Ramirez (Black Randy & the Metro Squad). The name of that band? The Eyes. Yeah, even young McDonald’s band’s name pays homage to mater.

What’s more, the other side of the single is by the veteran L.A. power-punk band Redd Kross, which as you may have already realized features McDonald’s dad, Jeff McDonald, as well as her uncle, Steven. And what’s more more, the song they do is also an old Caffey composition, “Screaming,” a rare one from the very earliest days of the Go-Go’s, notable for the stinging guitar and brusque energy that came to mark Caffey’s famous band’s best work.

Together the songs are presented as “Songs that Chargo Taught Us,” “Chargo” being Caffey’s nickname. Both are sharp, spirited performances, given more meaning for being a deeply loving appreciation to McDonald’s mom and spouse, respectively. It’s wonderful. But seriously, is this any way to have youthful rebellion?

ORDER THE SINGLE FROM IN THE RED RECORDS.

 

 

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

LA WEEKLY “The 10 Best South Bay Punk Bands of All Time”

logo-1506. Redd Kross
Perhaps one of the most underrated and overlooked of South Bay punk bands is Redd Kross, which over the years evolved from hardcore punk to a more avant-garde, indie-rock form of alternative music. Hailing from the same city as The Beach Boys, Hawthorne, only a couple decades later (late ’70s), Redd Kross had a huge impact on L.A.’s early punk and later alternative and garage-rock scenes. Featuring brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald, the band has otherwise sported a revolving lineup of musicians; an early incarnation included guitarist Greg Hetson, who left to form Circle Jerks, and drummer Ron Reyes, who left to become the singer for Black Flag. The band’s first gig in 1980 was opening for Black Flag while they were teenagers. Redd Kross might not be the same band as when they started, but their influence looms large and they continue to perform and record to this day.

Read the full article here.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

REDD KROSS – THE SIDE EYES – “SONGS THAT CHARGO TAUGHT US” SPLIT 7

ChargoIn The Red is over the moon to announce the release of this new split single by REDD KROSS and The SIDE EYES. REDD KROSS should need no introduction so we’ll just say that they are the finest purveyors of punk-glam-pop-metal in the world and one of the best band’s to come out of Los Angeles ever. Fronted by brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald, the band started out in the late 70’s LA punk scene when they were 12 and 15 years old! They’ve continued to record the entire time releasing one amazing record after another.

The Side Eyes are a brand new Los Angeles punk band fronted by Astrid McDonald, daughter of Jeff from Redd Kross and Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go’s). The Side Eyes are a ferocious young punk band whose sound recalls early punk bands like The Bags and Avengers and they play with a heaviness that would make Mudhoney or Fuzz proud. Their live shows are frantic, aggressive and incredible.

One this single both bands have recorded renditions of songs written by Charlotte “Chargo” Caffey back in her early punk rock days. The Side Eyes do “Don’t Talk To Me” originally recorded by Charlotte’s band The Eyes. Redd Kross tackle “Screaming” a very early Go-Go’s song. Both are incredible! You need this!

Limited edition blue vinyl!

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

1 2 3 12