San Diego Reader Jam Session with Steven McDonald

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 11.53.04 PMIt’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.

Click here to read the full interview.

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Photo by Tiina Liimu Music Photography  Used with permission.

Photo by Used with permission.

For the first time since 1997, Redd Kross will embark on its first full-blast run of shows along the east coast and in the Great Lakes area. The same is true for San Diego and the Mojave Desert! The band will also join Dinosaur Jr. on several dates in Australia.

Redd Kross founding member and bassist Steve McDonald says of the tour: “We’re very excited about this run as it will also be the first chance we’ve had to spread the gospel of Researching the Blues on US soil beyond the west coast since its release back in August.”

The band has always garnered raves for its electrifying live shows. Of a recent performance, the Los Angeles Times wrote: “Redd Kross greeted 2013 with long hair flying and the kind of big, distorted chords, singalong choruses and head-banging ditties that made them one of Los Angeles’ greatest punk bands when they rose from Hawthorne in 1980 alongside kindred spirits Black Flag and Circle Jerks.”

For these upcoming dates, Redd Kross will work with Burger Records (the label that put out Researching the Blues on limited-edition cassette) to find “Burger-approved” local support in each town. Steve tells us that Lee from Burger will also be driving the guys around in the Burger Van, selling merch and maybe even guest DJing on special nights. Also, longtime Redd Kross fans will be excited to know that the band plans to dig deep into its 30-plus-year career-spanning catalog, playing such underground rock classics as “Annie’s Gone,” “Linda Blair,” and “Annette’s Got the Hits” in addition to songs from the recent album.

Researching the Blues features 10 new songs clocking in at just under 32 minutes. With songs written by co-founder Jeff McDonald and produced and mixed by Steve, the album is by far the band’s favorite record.

NPR’s Stephen Thompson provided this glowing review of the record: “Power-pop signposts abound throughout the album, from Cheap Trick to Teenage Fanclub—the latter could’ve fit ‘Dracula’s Daughters’ onto Bandwagonesque and no one would have minded—but Researching the Blues never delves into nostalgia. Who has time, when you’re having this much fun blowing kids half your age out of the water?”


Mar 1 Casbah San Diego, CA  Tickets
Mar 2 Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneer Town, CA  Tickets
Mar 10 Golden Plains Festival
w/ Dinosaur Jr., George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cat Power & more!
Victoria, Australia
Mar 12 The Espy– (headlining) Melbourne, Australia Tickets
Mar 14 The Hi-Fi – w/ Dinosaur Jr Brisbane, Australia Tickets
Mar 15 Coolangatta Hotel – w/ Dinosaur Jr Coolangatta, Australia Tickets
Mar 16 The Hi-Fi – w/ Dinosaur Jr Sydney, Australia Tickets
Apr 3 The Earl Atlanta GA  Tickets
Apr 4 Kings Barcade
Raleigh NC  Tickets
Apr 5 Black Cat Washington DC  Tickets
Apr 6 Santo’s Party House (early show) New York NY  Tickets
Apr 7 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia PA  Tickets
Apr 10 Il Motore Montreal QC
Apr 11 Horseshoe Tavern Toronto ON  Tickets
Apr 12 Lager House Detroit, MI
Apr 13 Empty Bottle Chicago IL  Tickets
Apr 14 Cactus Club Milwaukee WI  Tickets


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