Legendary L.A. groovy punks Redd Kross are back for reals with a new album, Researching the Blues (Merge), and soldiering on with their insistence that punk is indeed groovy. They were never strictly “punk” according to the norms of the early-’80s California scene they grew up in; nor did they always sport the “Brady Bunch extras” look they cultivated later in that decade, when the founding brothers starred in the goofy cult classic Spirit of ’76 and went off about Charles Manson, Cher, shag carpeting, and whatnot. But brothers and founding members Jeff and Steve McDonald have consistently crafted oddly catchy tunes via an undying love for Cheap Trick and all loopy things L.A. And judging by their new record, they’re still as good as distilling those influences into songs as ever.
The band has had the same lineup for six-plus years, and when we caught lead singer/guitarist Jeff McDonald on the phone, they had recently returned from a two-week tour in Australia. Since the Brothers McDonald pop up in the occasional film and TV show, when Jeff started by saying he’d just returned home from Universal Studios I figured he was lining up a new role…
Who are some of your favorite girl groups?
You know, it’s weird, right now girl groups have made a huge resurgence via the Kpop scene, you know the Korean pop scene? A lot of the Kpop stuff is bad and I don’t really like it. But the good stuff is always done by girls. Right now I am obsessed with this group called 2NE1 [ed: 21, get it?]. I just discovered them through a Korean pop TV station in L.A. here, with subtitles. So what they do with Kpop is they have these entertainment production houses. So you’re signed when you’re a teenager, and then you’re a trainee for awhile—you get in physical shape, you dance like 20 hours a day, you learn how to deal with the press, and you record and record until you’re ready to make your debut. It’s kind of a cross between like the Phil Spector/Motown model and the Olympics gymnastic team. But 2NE1 have this reality show, and it’s really fascinating seeing people come up through that system. The guy that ends up producing and writing most of the songs is from the U.S. actually, he’s Korean-American. And these records are amazing! 2NE1 has recorded a couple songs in English. A lot are in Korean with English in the choruses; and a lot of the English is really bad broken English. But a lot of the YG Entertainment groups—the one that 2NE1 and Big Bang are in—everything is pristine as far as that. 2NE1 are the new Ronettes as far as I’m concerned.
Note: Omitted parts not related to 2NE1!
Source: Village Voice