Hey it can be hard to find good things to watch after all of the festivities of the 4th of July right? Let’s face it after drinking a case of beer at the cookout you’re probably ready to watch something stupid and I’ve got a good one for ya! ‘The Spirit of 76’ is an almost entirely forgotten ridiculous scifi comedy from 1990. It features David Cassidy, pop icon, known for hisoh so sweet musical career in the Partridge Family, as he goes way back in time to the 1970s on mission to save planet Earth!
But wait, you also get to see not one but TWO slightly past their prime but still totally dreamy, former teen 70s heart throbs, cuz this bad boy also features Leif Garrett too! One of my favorite parts of the movie though, it also stars Jeff and Steve McDonald of one of my favorite iconic punk rock power pop bands bands REDD KROSS! The 2 brothers are channeling some serious “Bill and Ted” vibes and add some serious cred and charm this little wacked out adventure.
So In the year 2176, determined time travelers including Cassidy and the stunningly beautiful Olivia d’Abo (OMG so crushed!) are sent back in time, in a tin can style space ship to the year 1776 in order to save our planet. However a computer glitch transports them instead to 1976 by mistake!! Things get idiotic real quick as of course they’re being chased by a sinister force trailing not far behind.
However we get a pretty entertaining “fish out of water” storyline going here where Cassidy (who should be in his natural habitat in the real world) and Co have some serious adjusting to do when they encounter things like platform shoes, polyester suits, mood rings and untamed 1970’s babes galore!
Their guides, Jeff and Steve from Redd Kross help them through this glamorous era and avoid certain danger among the disco era. The whole thing is a riot and also features even more familiar faces, the likes of Tommy Chong, Devo, Moon Zappa, Rob Reiner and Downtown Julie Brown!
There’s Kung Fu fighting, disco dancing, stupid looking spaceships and the whole damn thing takes place on the 4th of July folks! Get down!!
There’s a lot of pretty sharp comedy in this and tons of red, white and blue check out this little long forgotten scifi comedy, cult classic down if you want something a bit off the beaten path this 4th!! Here’s Redd Kross with the theme song ‘1976’ for the movie! One of my favorite tracks from their 1990 album ‘Third Eye’!!
Even better here is the entire movie, only 81 minutes long for your 4th of July viewing right on YouTube for free!!
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.