KQED News on “Songs That Chargo Taught Us”
The 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?