Redd Kross are one of the longest-running bands Los Angeles has spawned in its history, with a career that launched in the city’s late 1970s punk scene (when its brother founders, Jeff and Steve McDonald, were aged 15 and 11, respectively), carried into the power-pop era of the 1980s, then into the alt-rock boom of the ‘90s and straight into the present — the band released a new album just last month.
While Redd Kross never quite broke through — make that haven’t yet broken through — in as big a way as many thought they deserved, the band has a formidable discography, they’ve always put on enormously entertaining live shows, and the brothers are some of the funniest, most gossip-spewing interviewees one could ever hope for. Equally influenced by punk, Kiss, the Partridge Family and pop culture — their first single was called “Linda Blair” — the group reveled in a self-deprecating kitsch and level of humor that flew in the face of nearly every contemporary who took themselves too seriously: As punk became more violent and self-serious during the mid-1980s, Redd Kross grew their hair down to their waists and began wearing the most ludicrous 1970s outfits they could find, specializing in elephant flares, paisley vests and Mary Tyler Moore-style hats.
In short, they’re long overdue for a documentary, and the filmmakers behind “Born Innocent: The Redd Kross Story recently shared a trailer of the documentary that coincides with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to help finish the film.
“There’s a case to be made that Redd Kross is the seminal Los Angeles band of the last 40 years,” the tagline reads. “And ‘BORN INNOCENT’ is gonna make it.
Link to the Kickstarter campaign: Reddkrossfilm.com
As the trailer indicates, the group has spent much of its career in the unusual position of being an influence and a participant in many of the above music scenes. Their first gig, in 1978, was opening for punk legends Black Flag. Their 1987 “Neurotica” album — felt by many fans to be their best — merged power chords with pop melodies and was a deep influence on the nascent grunge scene and the group’s show in Tacoma that year was attended by the future members of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. The ensuing albums, including “Third Eye,” “Phaseshifter” and “Show World,” found the band developing its harmony-heavy power pop sound even further.
The film is directed by Andrew Reich an Emmy Award-winning television comedy writer/showrunner, best known as an Executive Producer on Friends. He has written and produced television pilots featuring stars such as Zac Efron, Candice Bergen, and Zachary Levi. Born Innocent is produced by Julian Cautherley an Emmy-Award winning filmmaker whose projects have participated at Sundance, Berlin, South By Southwest, and TriBeca Film Festivals and have twice been shortlisted for an Academy Award.
The documentary has already filmed interviews with Jeff and Steve and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover (The Melvins) and original Red Cross member Greg Hetson (Bad Religion, Circle Jerks), with many more lined up for later.