A primer on veteran riffmakers Redd Kross

Redd Kross, headed for Beauty Bar.
Photo: Emmy Etie / Courtesy
Annie Zaleski

Members: Guitarist/vocalist Jeff McDonald and his younger brother, bassist Steven McDonald—who were ages 15 and 11, respectively, when they started a punk band called The Tourists in 1978—are now joined by lead guitarist Jason Shapiro and a formidable drummer: Melvins powerhouse Dale Crover.

Sound: Redd Kross isn’t necessarily mentioned alongside legendary LA punk bands like X, Circle Jerks and The Germs, but it should be: The band’s first live show was opening for Black Flag at an eighth-grade graduation party, and its self-titled 1980 debut EP (released when the group went by Red Cross) is a churning blast of wiry punk with gleeful hooks. Over time, however, Redd Kross sharpened both its pop sensibilities and rock-star riffage, and developed a noisy sound indebted to garage rock, power pop, molten metal and ’70s classic rock.

Stream now: “Peach Kelli Pop,” “Annie’s Gone,” “Lady in the Front Row,” “Annette’s Got the Hits,” “Linda Blair.”

Getting its due: Although Redd Kross was dormant for the first half of the 2000s, the McDonald brothers resurrected the band in 2006 and have been going strong since. In 2012, the group released a fuzzed-out new album, Researching the Blues, on Merge Records—the same label that’s issuing an expanded version of 1984’s tour de force covers album Teen Babes From Monsanto (crank up the band’s massive take on Kiss’ “Deuce”) and odds ’n’ sods collection Hot Issue on December 7. For those who prefer Redd Kross’ pure pop moments, the band’s 1990 major label debut, Third Eye, also arrived as a vinyl reissue earlier this year on ORG Music.

Looking back—and forward: Live, Redd Kross is still a total thrashing, energetic blast, with a setlist drawn from its early days, a pool of choice covers and selections from later work. Fingers crossed that verve translates to the studio: A new Redd Kross album is due from Merge Records this summer.

REDD KROSS with Dale Crover Band. December 7, 9 p.m., $12-$14. Beauty Bar, 702-598-3757.

Tags: Music
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