Steve McDonald from ‘90s alternative power pop heroes Redd Kross tells Noise11 about their new album.
Redd Kross are back, preparing new album Researching The Blues and visiting Australian on the monolithic Hoodoo Gurus-curated ‘Dig It Up!’ festival. Redd Kross and the Hoodoos have been “brothers-in-arms” (according to Steve) since the mid-‘80s when they shared a label.
We spoke to the bassist about the proper return of the band following a decade hiatus – putting out a new album.
Researching The Blues will be their first album since 1997’s Show World and the first recordings since brothers Steve and Jeff McDonald reunited with guitarist Robert Hecker and drummer Roy McDonald in 2006.
Steve reveals that they started the album a long time back and have just finished it, planning for an August release. Steve and Jeff mostly assigned themselves to producing and writing respectively. As for the sound, which veered wildly during the first phase of their career from hardcore punk to indie rock to power pop, Steve says Jeff has a slogan for the new album: “Ten songs designed to make you happy”.
The title track obviously references the blues, but Steve confirms “There’s definitely an enhanced sunshininess to the way we attack a song, but at the same time there’s a dark undercurrent”.
He says the lyrical topics covered reflect Jeff’s struggles and triumphs, but also include their former penchant for pop culture obsession. Steve jokes, “We were raised by three entities: our parents, and our third parent – the television. And it’s only got more psychedelic in time. He loves to embrace whatever ridiculous spray-tanned person who has their own TV show, and he likes to drink it in.”
But this reunion isn’t merely the McDonald Brothers Show. He says the relationships within the band are “great”. “We’re all older and wiser, we’re all parents of children. Logisitically-speaking it can be very complicated,” he chuckles, “It can be hard to get together to rehearse and organize everyone’s schedule so we can go out and do some touring, but at the same time there’s a gratitude for being able to do what we do.”
Check out the whole interview below, where Steve also discusses his producing work with Imperial Teen and Turbonegro, and his recent visit to Australia with punk supergroup OFF! led by Keith Morris (who Steve confirms is as “pissed as ever”).
‘Dig It Up!’ is currently touring Australia, in Adelaide today, Melbourne tomorrow, and Perth on Saturday 28 April.