Chloe Chaidez, who fronts the hot new alt-rock combo Kitten, is just 17, so she has only a few regrets.
Among them is the fact that she never witnessed a gig by Thee Undertakers. The black-suit-and-rosary-clad East L.A. punk band anchored by her dad, drummer Mike Chaidez, broke up in 1982, long before she was born.
“But he took me to a lot of shows, though,” says the singer, who brings her band to The City this week, premiering “Cut It Out,” her new EP. “My first concert was the Go-Go’s at the Greek Theatre, with The Bangles opening. I was seriously only 5, and I remember being on my parents’ shoulders the whole time, thinking, ‘whooooa!’”
Chaidez is grateful for her father’s career-shaping influence and encouragement, which led to her forming her first band at age 10.
Soon she had an all-teen cover group, Wild Youth, named for a classic Generation X chestnut.
By then, her taste was already set in new wave stone, courtesy of the family record collection and vintage discoveries such as The Motels and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
“Even ’Til Tuesday and the Eurythmics — I loved all that old stuff, and those were the only girl musicians who I respected,” she says.
The kid also acted, appearing alongside Dougray Scott in the TV series “The Heist.”
“But that’s not me anymore,” says Chaidez, who has given up auditioning. Nor is she still a state-champion gymnast — she chose music instead, moving her mother to tears.
But each hourlong drive to Covina gym practice with her dad proved enlightening. “We used to play CMJ Magazine’s monthly new-music CD on the way, and we’d listen to every song and say, ‘That’s a dud’ or ‘That’s going to be a hit.’ That’s how Wild Youth found some of our covers.”
Wild Youth lasted four years. Then Chaidez immediately jumped into writing her own 1980s-retro Kitten material with collaborator Chad Anderson.
She knows her way around a hook, too. “Chinatown” from the debut EP “Sunday School” clangs like prime Chameleons, while “Christina” and “Japanese Eyes” on “Cut It Out” reach operatic crescendos of Siouxsie Sioux herself.
With photogenic looks, a sharp fashion sense and an arena-huge voice, Chaidez is a rock lioness, waiting to roar. And to accommodate her busy schedule, she employed a tutor for her GED.
“They say I’ve lived a fast life, but I just think I have a better perspective from being around so many adults,” she says. Now, she’s amused to watch former classmates posting prom pictures on Facebook: “I’m like, ‘Duh, it’s high school — like it even matters!’”
IF YOU GO
Opening for The Life and Times
Where: Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday
Contact: (415) 626-4455, www.bottomofthehill.com