Last summer, it was wild (man!) to hear several little youngwomenteens chirping to their pals merrily about the so cool “new” band they’d just seen over at one of the Detour Festival stages, Redd Kross. Nice to see that the McDonald bros still have the same David Cassidy-like charm they had in the early ’80s, when the lads from Hawthorne were mere Teen Babes from Monsanto, and had their elders – like Black Flag – fawning all over their baby-smooth angst. Then they gave hardcore the slip, and were the first band of the decade to say, “Wait, we’re not ready to let the ’70s die just yet.”
These days, Redd Kross is almost like the Leonard Zelig of rock (of course, Rodney Bingenheimer’s been a booster for eons): Yep, that’s them, waving at you from the album photos, alt-weekly snapshots, and thank-you listings of all the right dudes and damsels for 26 years … they know everybody. But that cool cachet wouldn’t be worth a damn if Jeff and Steve weren’t two of the most down-to-earth nice guys around, and talented songwriters to boot. Admittedly, I have little patience for their hardcore punk albums, preferring everything Redd Kross has done from Neurotica to Show World, all fine examples of the group’s brilliant Beatles/Monkees/Cowsills/Raspberries mélange of bubble-grunge and psychedelia. Kids! Collect ’em all!