REDD KROSS at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, April 11), 8:30 pm. $15. RT, SS. See listings.
Almost a year ago, during a tour with his band, OFF!, bassist Steven McDonald was cautiously optimistic about the release of a new album by his other band, Redd Kross.
Fifteen years had passed since their last, but no matter. Turns out the band that formed when the McDonald brothers, Steve and singer/guitarist Jeff, were barely in their teens, was about to release the best album of their career, Researching The Blues (Merge).
"It's hugely rewarding to hear that people are digging the new record," McDonald says while on the road to Philadelphia. "It's my favourite piece of music I've worked on to date, and when I hear other people reacting positively, it feels like I've done something right."
One of those affirmations was having the single Stay Away From Downtown chosen as the "coolest song in the world this week" on Sirius Radio show Little Steven's Underground Garage.
Show host and E Street Band guitar player Little Steven Van Zandt had never heard of Redd Kross prior to this album, despite a number of moderate hits in the 90s, including Jimmy's Fantasy and a glittery cover of the Carpenters' Yesterday Once More.
While the audience may be primarily comprised of older fans who will be excited to know that the band has been encoring with the entire first EP, the crowd at tonight's Horseshoe show will likely find a new generation of power-pop fans digging the scene.
"I've met people in the past year who've told me the new album turned them on to Redd Kross, which of course is really exciting to us," he enthuses, citing new label Merge as one reason for that attention.
In the spring, McDonald doubted that Redd Kross would become a full-time concern again, but there's been a constant stream of activity, and upcoming plans include a performance at Jack White's Third Man store in Nashville to celebrate Record Store Day. The cautious optimism, however, holds steady.
"The tour is going great. Jeff seems really inspired about writing, so hopefully we'll start making records on a more regular basis. But it's us, so you never know."