Redd Kross Adds Bass To White Stripes Groove
If you, like us, have been contemplating what the White Stripes' bare-boned, bass-less blues-rock would sound like if they had a bass player in the group, wonder no more. Former Redd Kross leader Steven McDonald not only wondered, he decided to find out and to share what he learned with the world via his Web site.
McDonald has been recording bass parts for the White Stripes' songs and, with the Detroit duo's approval, posting them as MP3s on his Web site, www.reddkross.com.
"It's the coolest thing in the world ... I'm playing bass in the White Stripes ... I am Steven White ... that is unless they kick me out," McDonald wrote online in the project's first installment.
Calling it a performance-art piece, McDonald named the project Redd Blood Cells a twist on the White Stripes' latest, popularity-garnering album, White Blood Cells (and a nod to the former duo's signature colors: red and white). He plans to add his bass parts to each of the 16 songs on White Blood Cells, the White Stripes' third full-length.
If all goes as anticipated, McDonald will post two songs per week, and the current pair posted will only be available for download within its respective week. So far, McDonald has posted recordings of "Expecting," "Little Room," "I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentlemen," "The Union Forever," "The Same Boy You've Always Known" and the group's hit, "Fell in Love With a Girl." Beginning Monday, July 1, "We're Going to Be Friends" and "Offend in Every Way" will be available, according to the site.
Mapped out to be an eight-part series, the project features diary entries, various links and our favorite a picture of the White Blood Cells album cover manipulated to include a picture of McDonald, clad in a red shirt and white pants, standing alongside Jack and Meg White, posing with shades for the paparazzi.
With a history of creative parody, it's hard to tell when McDonald is being serious and when he's pulling our legs. For instance, he claims to have purchased two Hofner vintage bass guitars off eBay for use on the project; one just happens to be red while the other, of course, is white. He comes across as (pick one) a diehard fan or an underground activist digging the irony. Whatever the case, McDonald seizes such an opportunity as his chance to live inside the White Stripes' world and "to conform to an other's identity," as he wrote on the site.
McDonald told Entertainment Weekly that he instigated the project 'cause "I really wanted to go to the sold-out White Stripes show... And it worked. They put me on the guest list!" He also told the magazine that Stripes guitarist/singer Jack White "thought it was cool."
McDonald led the notoriously wild, frequently retro Redd Kross with his brother Jeff McDonald (that group's primary songwriter). Still working with his brother, he currently sings, plays bass and keyboards for the Steve McDonald Group, a grunge-tinged rock quintet. He also heads a pop-rock side project called Ze Malibu Kids with his girlfriend Anna Waronker, Jeff, and Jeff's wife, Go-Go's singer/guitarist Charlotte Caffey. Jenny Tatone [Tuesday, June 25, 2002]