Without further ado, Thers's report on Redd Kross.
Last Friday I day tripped down to Irving Plaza to see Redd Kross. Goddamn it was a great show. Just a lot of fun. One new song that sounded really good, a lot of cool old stuff, a really comfortable kind of a vibe -- not that they seemed to have rehearsed all that much, as there were plenty of fuckups. But whatever. The old energy was there, the old attitude, the old ironic chaotic joy in the endlessly absurd, thoroughly ludicrous, but very, very tasty, eternal carnival that is American pop culture. It was neat to see the old Neurotica lineup. I'd never seen Roy McDonald before, and while maybe there are better drummers, he was a grinning sticks-chucking goofball, and thusly rocked.
The first Redd Kross show I ever saw was in, shit, 1989, I think, at the old Ritz. I went with Deeptoej. It was fucking amazing; they led with "Jesus Christ Superstar," and dear lord did it rock. They had all the rock star moves down pat, a collection of catchy original songs and some inspired covers, and, something that should never be overlooked, a knowing, coherent aesthetic. In other words, they made deliberate choices as to what they were doing onstage, and knew what sort of effect thay wanted to produce.
I don't mean that they were calculating; not quite. Rather, they were a band that knew what had come before and so knew what they were doing that was new.
And what was this? I think in retrospect the reason I love Redd Kross is that their whole schtick is that rock music is fun. This sounds pretty trite when you just lay it out there, but there really is a lot to it. How many bands are there in existence that can pull off "fun"as an organizing concept? Most rock bands (even probably almost all my favorites) don't take the fun that is rock music as their main subject, and if they do, it mostly sounds pretty retarded, because it's artificial. Redd Kross, though, was always about the artificial. And recognizing the artificial is one way to keep a step ahead of the game. "No metal sluts or punk rock ruts for me," you know.
Part of the band's problem, indeed, was always that they were never really able to sell out effectively, because that would have meant being "taken seriously," and that was never the point. Rock music is weird. You're always supposed to pretend that it isn't really kinda stupid. You're always supposed to pretend that it's "about" something, even when it clearly isn't, and is just about faking emotions.
Annnnyway. Deeptoej first heard of Redd Kross, I forget how now, but I remember what he said that made me want to buy some of their stuff: "they rock hard, and they're even more into stupid TV than we are!"
The concept of a band that was pretty much all about pleasure, without being naive or poisonously cynical, appealed to me greatly. Not that I would have put it to myself like this back then, oh, 20 odd years ago. Mostly what happened was we put on Teen Babes from Monsanto and just rocked the fuck out.
The good old days...
I'm glad you had fun, honey.