New Year’s Eve will be unusual for Jeff McDonald from the campy Los Angeles rock combo Redd Kross. The band – which includes his brother Steven – plays The City with old chums The Melvins and Frightwig, backing their latest riff-fest, “Researching the Blues.” But it’s not exactly McDonad’s preference. Most holidays, he and his wife Charlotte Caffey (of Go Go’s renown) watch “Rocking New Year’s Eve” on TV. He says, “New Year’s is a holiday that I’ve basically given up on, because people have these really high expectations for good times and it’s basically a hooligan’s paradise.”
What was your coolest Christmas gift, ever?
I know something that wasn’t cool that I got. I always wanted record albums when I was a little kid, and my grandmother gave me a record by a group called Legs Diamond. I remember being humiliated when I opened it up – it was this bad, pre-glam, really rotten L.A. bar band, and it was like “Why would you think I would like this?” So I got the receipt and traded it for a Black Sabbath record. But as far as good gifts? I think maybe my first acoustic guitar that I got for Christmas, because I really had to argue for it with my parents. I wanted an electric guitar, but my dad said, “You’ll just make a bunch of noise and then get bored!” But I was determined to prove him wrong, so he compromised and gave me an acoustic guitar, which was really hard to play. But it was great, because Steve got a bass that year, and that’s basically when we started writing songs.
And not one of those banana-seat Huffy-type bikes, like you rode in that David Cassidy film “Spirit of ‘76”?
Everyone, of course, wanted Schwinn. Huffies were the cheap bikes – in L.A. you would be embarrassed to have a Huffy. But actually my favorite bicycle I ever owned was a Huffy – I bought it at a garage sale for $10, and it was a full-size woman’s bike, with no crossbar, like one of those beach cruisers. It was so light and 20 times more fun to ride than those high-end Schwinns.
Will your families be joining you in San Francisco?
Well, the Go Go’s are playing a mini-tour, so Charlotte won’t be there. But my daughter Astrid might be with me – she sometimes performs with us. She’s 18, we’ve already done a couple of recordings and she’s got a great voice. She just played with us last night, and I think she’s ready to go again!
– Tom Lanham
IF YOU GO
The Melvins, Redd Kross and Frightwig
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday
Contact: (415) 885-0750 ;www.slimspresents.com