I rarely ever do music posts here, but every now and again I’ll throw something up that really means something to me. Well today I wanted to share a few videos that recently surfaced from one of my all time favorite nearly forgotten bands, Canada’s own DOUGHBOYS. The Doughboys, who formed in ’86 have been a staple in my teen years right up to today. My best description of them would probably be to call them Canada’s answer to HUSKER DU (except with more focus on vocal harmonies) another of my all time faves. Blending their punk roots with crunchy power pop before the likes of Blink 182 was everyone’s go to idea of what pop punk is. I’d even go as far to say that in the early 90’s they were kinda like what the the classic early Foo Fighters would eventually become.
They also were one of the most entertaining & energetic live bands I’ve ever seen, I often felt bad for any band who had to follow them on a bill and the sheer amount of hair this band had collectively would leave any metal band envious. If you like the sound of what I’m laying out here I recommend checking out their 5 albums, you won’t be disappointed. So back in 1996 these guys released their last album ‘Turn Me On’ and it was one of their best. My old band, Ben Grim, even opened for them once in Green Bay, Wisconsin at the iconic ‘Concert Cafe’ during this period, ah those were the days.
Ok so the one thing that was exciting about this era of the Doughboys was that they replaced their longtime lead guitarist. Normally I’d have been upset by the news, but they chose Darren “Wiz” Brown (RIP), the singer/guitarist of one of my other all time favorite bands, Mega City Four, to keep the band in tact. Mega City Four is basically the British counterpart to bands like Husker DU and the Doughboys & Wiz even co wrote songs with the band. So hearing he’d joined made me and my friends most excited for what they might come up with for their next album. However that sadly was not the case, the Doughboys career didn’t last much longer and to my knowledge they only recorded one song with the Wiz in the line up (unless of course they did some demos?!). Still, he was clearly a Doughboy and was pictured on the album and also in the videos that ‘Turn Me On’ produced.
Yeah there were a couple videos back then that never saw the light of day here in the USA, but now 25 years later they of course surface on Youtube! The damn wonders of the internet, I tell you. So hopefully this post might be seen by other fans of the band. who like me. missed out on them decades ago, it was a big deal for Mega City Four and the Doughboys to merge back in the mid 90’s. For a few minutes upon watching these videos I felt the pressures of the modern day vanish into simpler sweeter times of alternative 90’s rock. Check out ‘I Never Liked You’ one of the band’s best songs from ‘Turn Me On’ that also features the late great Wiz on guitar…
….and another great one ‘Everything and After’ from the same album:
Also some footage I posted from the same era:
I had to take a quick minute here to mention my favorite album of 2012, Researching the Blues by Redd Kross is on heavy rotation this summer for me and I don’t see it moving far from my turntable anytime soon. After a 15 year hiatus from the studio they finally return with a brand spanking new album that has trimmed the fat and delivers ten infectiously catchy tracks of power pop. Released earlier this month on Merge records, home to bands like The Magnetic Fields, Bob Mould, Superchunk and Portland’s own Wild Flag, these punk pioneers show the kids half their age how to rock once again.
If you’re new to Redd Kross then let me give you a quick tutorial. The name Redd Kross was inspired by the “cross masturbation scene” in The Exorcist & they even have a song dedicated to Linda Blair, the first track on their 1982 lp Born Innocent. The band formed back in 1978 by Jeff & Steven McDonald, the two bothers were only fifteen and eleven years old when they played their first gig opening for Black Flag. However by 1984 they were straying away from the hardcore sound and delving into harder edged pop, proclaiming themselves the Osmonds of punk rock covering songs by the likes of KISS, The Carpenters and The Partridge Family. Redd Kross later released Neurotica in 1987 a hard rock psych glam punk album that influenced the likes of Nirvana and Sonic Youth and is considered by most Kross fans their best work. This same line up went on to record the latest album which I personally believe is their best album to date.
Redd Kross were and still are obsessed with pop culture mainly of the 70’s and referenced it in their music and imagery any chance they could get. Whether it was Sigmund the Sea Monster, Gary Coleman or songs about Planet of the Apes, Linda Blair or the writer of tv’s ALF’s drug addiction they always knew how to incorporate these themes into their music in some way. They were always a step ahead of the game, but by being ahead of their time it also hindered their success. Redd Kross should have been superstars. I mean how many other bands do you know feature Sofia Coppola nude on their album cover? Their album Third Eye from 1990 did just that. However by 1998 they called it quits and it was unlikely we’d ever see the band play live again.
So today seeing them reuniting is a truly a treat, not only are they back but they released on of the best rock and roll albums of the last decade a feat most bands doing the reunion circuit can’t claim. So the record rules but do they deliver live? I just saw them in July here in Pdx and they deliver what you’d hope for, they’ve have the enthusiasm of a newly formed band. Live they’ll rock you like you’re at an arena show. So yeah these guys are back, do yourself a favor this summer get their new album and keep the sun shining all the way through winter, you won’t regret it.