Redd Kross

Redd Kross RK

I was not planning to add another post today.

But, a friend requested to keep ’em coming.

So, okay, one more.

Redd Kross is an American alternative rock band from Hawthorne, California, who had their roots in 1978 in a band called The Tourists, which was begun by brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald while they were still in middle school. With the addition of friends Greg Hetson and John Stielow on drums, the band’s first gig was opening for Black Flag.

With deep connections to influential groups like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, Off! (and even the White Stripes), Redd Kross are a band that I can relate to for a couple of reasons:

  • They began very young (11 and 15), performing in a hardcore punk scene full of adults.
  • They’ve had a thousand different drummers and lead guitarists.
  • They embrace campiness and 1970’s pop culture.
  • They are not afraid of change, trying new musical styles.
  • They wrote a song titled “Notes and Chords Mean Nothing To Me”.
  • They are punks with long hair, like moi.
  • They are still at it, decades later, with little or no recognition to show for it.

Overall, I dig their pop catchiness and the colorful retro presentation that they usually bring.

Chameleonesque Polystylism

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To me, rock & roll is like a musical Rosetta Stone. It has co-opted everything in its path, blurring the distinction between genres and cultures. There are fewer degrees of separation between musical artists than Hollywood actors and Kevin Bacon.

Because I like so much different music and want to play it ALL, I have always relied on other musicians to filter it, molding it into whatever style we were going to perform together. Also, other musicians may be more skilled at performing different styles than I am.

Frank Zappa set such a high standard for people to join his band that he, himself, admitted that he couldn’t pass the audition. I never had such a luxury. I just had to work with whoever would work with me and try to make the most of their talents.

Writing music by myself, I have more freedom to work without having that filter.

But, the limits of the technology available is still a factor.

Having only one performer (me) is a factor.

The skills that I possess (or the lack thereof) is a factor.

So, will it really sound the way I want it to?

I don’t know.


Maybe not.

All I can do at this point is continue to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

From Wikipedia:

Polystylism is the use of multiple styles or techniques in literature, art, film, or, especially, music, and is a postmodern characteristic.
Some prominent contemporary polystylist composers include Peter Maxwell Davies, Michael Colgrass, Lera Auerbach, Sofia Gubaidulina, George Rochberg, Alfred Schnittke, Django Bates, Alexander Zhurbin, Lev Zhurbin and John Zorn. However, Gubaidulina, among others, has rejected the term as not applicable to her work. Polystylist composers from earlier in the twentieth century include Charles Ives and Eric Satie. Among literary figures, James Joyce has been referred to as a polystylist.
Though perhaps not the original source of the term, the first important discussion of the subject is Alfred Schnittke’s essay “Polystylistic Tendencies in Modern Music (1971)”. The composers cited by Schnittke as those who make use of polystylism are Alban Berg, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Edison Denisov, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Jan Klusák, György Ligeti, Carl Orff, Arvo Pärt, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henri Pousseur, Rodion Shchedrin, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Slonimsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Igor Stravinsky, Boris Tishchenko, Anton Webern, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann.