How did Redd Kross get their start?
My brother Steven and I always wanted to be in
a band, so when the Ramones and the Runaways started I
realized that I could use the same chords I had learned by
playing Cat Stevens songs for punk songs. Steven was 11 and
because he played the stand up bass in the school orchestra
he was able to talk our parents into buying him a fender bass
for Christmas. After I was able to get my hands on an
electric guitar, which I bought for $40.00 we started writing
You originally had a different name for the band,
is that correct?
Yes, we were called the Tourist.
You started in the band when you were young. . .
I was 14 and Steven was 11. . .
What did the cool kids in your high school think
about Redd Kross?
All of the "so called" cool kids were surfers
(surfers/skaters would take a couple more years to learn
about punk) and at the time nobody knew what punk was so when
they would see me with green hair they would lose it.
How about parents and teachers?
The teachers weren't really involved in my
life I doubt they ever noticed me. Our parents were
supportive in as much as they didn't try to stop us. Later
when we became slightly famous, they enjoyed us but that took
How did the band get its start?
I saw the Beatles when I was 3. It was one of
my first memories. We always loved rock ‘n roll and finding
rare strange music was a passion for us. I remember buying
“Hunky Dory” by David Bowie when I was 11 and the clerk tried
to talk me out of it as if I were a child buying a porn mag.
It's very strange to think back about a time when the Sweet,
Bowie, Lou Reed was beyond the comprehension of an average
record store sales person. These legends were still very
obscure to normal rock fans. I knew by the time I was 12 that
if I didn't start learning how to play I'd miss my chance to
be a rock star.
Was Redd Kross your first band?
Writing a majority of the songs, do you consider
Redd Kross to be your band? We guarantee your brother won’t
get mad with your answer . . .
Of course it's Steven and I, but we've only
played with people who were a part of the band not side
people. Every time someone has left we found someone else
that would take us to another place, not just musically .
One of the first songs you released was a cover
of the New York Dolls. . .
It was on a Punk comp called 'Hell Comes To
Your House'. None of the other bands on the record knew who
the New York Dolls were. The other groups were hardcore or
You have covered a lot of interesting songs, are
all the cover songs you have done bands that have inspired
you or do you some covers humorously?
It's based only on the song. Can we make it
our own, etc? We would do a song like, "Blow You a Kiss in
the Wind" from the 'Bewitched' TV show not because we thought
it was funny but because liked it. It was always fun doing
songs from funny places though but never as a joke. A great
song is a great song. To me there is no difference from 2ne1
to BLACK OAK ARKANSAS, Beatles, Stones,Ty Segall, Bigbang ,
GD and Top or Sonic Youth. I don't believe in "It's so bad
it's good". Every work of real art has a soul and sometimes
it's hiding in a strange package. I've always been pretty
Why haven’t you covered Cheap Trick? Their album
“Next Position Please” is legendary power-pop!
Only at band practice. You can compete with
Robin Zander's voice.
Who exactly are your inspirations?
I'm inspired by everything. I could write
pages on the subject. I can only list a few examples
:Beatles, Rolling Stones, John Waters, Russ Meyer and Bob
Dylan to name a very reduced basic few.
Who are your favorite bands?
I love Ty Segall, 2ne1, Peaches and the
Reigning Sound just to name a tiny few.
You in a sense have a punk upbringing but not
necessarily a punk sound; would you say that’s correct?
Yes. It was the early California version of
punk that really motivated us to realize that we could do it
too. Groups like the Mutants, Avengers, Go-Go's, Screamers,
Black Flag and the Germs.
You’re albums do cover different forms of power-
pop, what album do you find the best representation of you?
They all do on many levels. We've only made
the record that represents where we were at that moment. That
is our formula. We've never tried to fit in or stay out for
that matter. We've never once tried to be somebody else. Our
new album 'Researching The Blues' was made with that exact
same mind set.
What were you trying to represent?
Our brand of everything we love at any given
Are you trying to still represent that?
Yes, very much so. I think it's important for
Rock n Roll lifers to always contribute if you still have it
in you. Rock is the great American contribution to world
culture and it's a simple formula that few do well so if you
have another show in you or a song or two it's your duty to
Can you tell us about the other projects you’ve
I've been in loads of movies both dramatic as
well as comedic. I've also worked with others as a producer
or writer. Now I'm co writing and co producing my 17 year old
daughter, Astrid's first record.
Why hasn’t “Teen Babes From Monsanto” been
released on CD?
I've seen very expensive boots of it on Ebay.
I guess it's covered but I would like to do a proper re-
release. When the cassette version came out it had Saturday
Night (Bay City Rollers Song) listed on it, which was a
misprint. We had talked about doing it but never got around
to it. I'm not sure why it was listed and it took a couple of
years to even notice it was there so I know we would do it
for sure if that record comes out again.
You have a gig coming up with Hoodoo Gurus, can
we expect a tour to follow?
With the release of the new record
"Researching The Blues" in August we plan on doing dates.
Why did you ditch the original title of “Black
I spoke too soon and when that happens we
always jinx a concept. Neurotica was originally announced as
a rock opera called "The Shrould of Laurie Bono Christ" on
the inner sleeve of Teen Babes from Monsanto.
What can we expect?
Everything. I'm not being Paul Stanley by
saying this, but it's our best record by far. I know nobody
really trust that veteran rock acts can make exciting records
late in their careers, but we did it. You'll love it. I
Thanks so much for the time, Jeff. Any advice you
can give the readers out there?
THANK YOU. If it moves you buy it.