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naked raygun

This scarey and potentially lethal formation of guys in the scene of Chicago occured in 1980 under the moniker of NEGRO COMMAND. A few well-attended loft parties were the start of the band. Soon, members changed as did the direction and name; thus the child called NAKED RAYGUN appeared.

At this time, several other legendary "punk" bands formed or came out of hiding. These included the EFFIGIES, STRIKE UNDER, DA!, and SUBVERTS, who played packed bars and empty clubs...but always played. When asked how he feels about being the lone survivor of the "old days", Jeff Pezzati (lead singer) stated, "It's getting lonely. All those bands had talent; maybe they lost interest. Some (of the members) are in good bands now." When the question of scenes, then and now, came up, Jeff said, "It's a lot better from the Oz (club) days, more people. There are a lot of people active in the scene here now. But there are bands that are copying what's already been done." John Haggerty (guitar / sax) follows up more on the Chicago scene today, with, "There aren't many bands here, good or bad. Especially compared to the West Coast, where there are a ton of bands, and 95% of them stink!"

Line-up wise, the RAYGUN personnel has varied in every case, except with the singer, Jeff, who founded the unit. Currently, NAKED RAYGUN are: John (guitar), Eric Spicer (drums), Camilo Gonzalez (bass), and Jeff (vocals). When asked if there will be more line-up changes, Jeff smiles, "Our motto is, if you quit, you die."

Next on the agenda was the question of touring and tours. It took them nearly 3 years to strike out on the tour path; but since then, they have toured twice in 1984! The '83 tour was a 10-day romp to the East Coast, where they turned a few heads. Best show was the DC show with MISSION OF BURMA at the 9:30 Club. The summer ('84) tour of Texas, Iowa, Missouri and other heartland states was good, but it had its problems, i.e. money, turnouts, cancellations. The recent fall tour to California was a great success. We asked them if it was worth the trip? Eric said, "Definitely, but I was disappointed. I was expecting so much more." Jeff was next, "It was worth it. I never drank so much in my life. People are slightly jaded, but they do have a lot of music. Too many nediocre bands." John adds, "They should pass strict laws in California about purchasing musical instruments!"

The next logical step was to ask the members to compare the trek east with the journey west. Eric (their new drummer), quite interestingly, adds this tidbit, "Personally speaking, I have no idea." Jeff takes off from this point with, "We didn't have any records out when we toured out east. As far as the punk scene goes in New York, I've heard that it's more screwed up than the West." John notes, "That's hard to imagine." Jeff continues, "So far, the places that have a smaller scene seem to be much more organized. Like Kansas City, Bakersfield, and Sacramento. Fresno would have been a good place if the cops didn't shut it down."

Since we were on comparisons, we turned to the "new, modern" NAKED RAYGUN and asked what is different from 2 years ago. Jeff seems the one to grab this question by the horns. "The old line-up didn't have a common, long term goal. We just had practices, we just played some songs we had in our heads. We never really talked about touring or even becoming bigger anywhere! We never talked about records, we played any show in Chicago we could get. Never a master plan. Now it seems like we have a direction we are headed in, long term goals. As far as personnel and talent goes, I'd say this line-up is far more dedicated."

The future holds much in store for NAKED RAYGUN. With a 13-song album on Homestead label, out in late November, entitled Throb, Throb. More touring is in the plans as is a 12" record in 1985. It's been great having them in this scene: nice people and great performers. I have a hunch these boys will do bigger and better things, none too soon for the lads either. Oh yeah, one last thing. The guys want to say to all mankind...

"Live life like Gomez Addams." Bye!

naked raygun

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