Spring / Summer / Fall 2014
Fly ins; Festivals; Open to Ideas
Imagine if the Stooges had formed in L.A. in 1980 and were fronted by two dandyish brothers whose hard-rockin’ proclivities were offset by a taste for Archies/Partridge Family-variety bubblegum. read more…
Music critics and fans agree, Redd Kross is back and delivering their signature brand of genuine rock ‘n roll with a vengeance.
“A purer explication of rock and roll’s essence would’ve required Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon playing Chuck Berry songs while James Brown’s sweat poured from the sky.” —SF Weekly
Founded 34 years ago in Los Angeles during the first wave of LA punk rock by brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald (then respectively 15 and 11 years old), Redd Kross cut their teeth opening for Black Flag at a middle school graduation party. Their debut recordings caught the attention of Rodney Bingenheimer, who quickly became a fan as he spun their Ramones inspired songs like “Annette’s Got The Hits” and “I Hate My School” on the world famous KROQ.
Their following releases maintained roots still firmly planted in punk, but the band started to experiment with different musical elements and band members. Redd Kross boldly broke new ground by intuitively and inventively mixing their eclectic inspirations in song and performance. They understand and embrace the esoteric commonalities between the Partridge Family and the Manson Family; the Beatles and Black Sabbath; The Osmonds and the New York Dolls. The result was a band that was ahead of their time – daringly original, artistic and uncontrived. “Teen Babes from Monsanto”, “Born Innocent” and “Neurotica” became precursors to the Seattle bands of the 90’s, as well as becoming an inspiration to many indie and alternative rock bands world wide.
“Neurotica was a life changer for me and for a lot of people in the Seattle music community.” —Jonathan Poneman, cofounder of Sub Pop
“(Redd Kross) are definitely one of the most important bands in America.” —Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore
In 1990 the band released their major label debut, “Third Eye”. Taking their obsession with late 60’s bubblegum am radio to a new level, the song writing matured with more complex arrangements, harmonies and lush production. Redd Kross had their first single chart “Annie’s Gone”(#16 billboard modern rock), and began to tour with notable artists such as Sonic Youth, The Go-Go’s, The Posies, Jellyfish, The Lemonheads, and the HooDoo Gurus.
Robert Hecker took leave as lead guitarist and the McDonald brothers were joined by Eddie Kurdziel (guitar), Brian Reitzell (drums), and Gere Fennelly (keyboards). They released the critically acclaimed “Phaseshifter” album in 1993 featuring the hit songs “Jimmy’s Fantasy”, “Lady In The Front Row”, and a raucous cover of Frightwigs “Crazy World”.
Redd Kross toured relentlessly for the next several years, appearing on television sets across America performing on the Jon Stewart Show (pre Daily Show), Conan, and the Tonight Show. The band began working their magic on UK festival stages such as Redding Festival and Finsbury Park, and did a US arena tour with The Stone Temple Pilots and Meat Puppets.
In 1997, Redd Kross released one of their most polished albums, “Show World” featuring the perfectly crafted pop single, “Mess Around”. After supporting the album by touring with Sloan and the Presidents of the United States, the band went on a much needed hiatus. Fans wondered when they would return, and things seemed more uncertain after the untimely passing of guitarist Eddie Kurdziel in 1999.
The McDonald brothers launched www.ReddKross.com and began to reconnect with their fans and make new ones. They experimented with the new medium just as innovatively as they do with their music – Steven McDonald released an online only mashup album called “Redd Blood Cells” by adding bass tracks to the White Stripes album, Jeff McDonald began podcasting (“Hit It!”) before iPods or podcasts were invented, and also released a web based video series (Bitchin’ Ass”) far ahead of YouTube.
Redd Kross reissued their classic “Neurotica” album as they worked on a variety of other projects including “Ze Malibu Kids”, “The Steven McDonald Group”, and worked in various capacities with other bands on stage and in the studio such as the Donnas, Turbonegro, Imperial Teen, Anna Waronker, be your own pet, fun., Sparks, Tenacious D, Beck and OFF!
In 2006, Jeff and Steven announced their reunion with the “classic Neurotica” line up – and were joined once again by guitarist Robert Hecker (IT’s OK) and drummer Roy McDonald (the Muffs). Redd Kross have been playing to enthusiastic audiences at sold out select shows and festivals such as the Azkena Festival, Coachella, and Pop Montréal.
“Researching the Blues” is the highly anticipated new album. It is their first new album in 15 years and will be released on Merge Records August 7, 2012.
—Jonathan Krop 2012