Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezzati: A Chicago music icon (Car Con Carne)

Naked Raygun is simply one of the greatest bands to emerge from Chicago. They helped define the Chicago punk sound in the 1980s with a handful of timeless albums and legendary live shows.

Proving there is still justice to be found in the world, Raygun’s legend is still being discovered and the band’s catalog is finding its way into a new generation’s streaming playlists. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that one of the band’s most high-profile evangelists is Dave Grohl, who frequently shares the story of seeing Naked Raygun back in the 1980s at the Cubby Bear in Chicago.

In the present day, an against-the-odds, resilient Naked Raygun is ready to teach a punk rock master class. Along with Smoking Popes, Raygun will be opening for Jawbreaker on 11/4/18 at the Aragon in Chicago.

 

Frontman Jeff Pezzati joined me at Hollywood Grill (1601 W. North) in Wicker Park. Over brunch, we chatted about:

  • Dave Grohl’s unabashed affection for Naked Raygun: “Dave Grohl can’t set foot in Chicago without mentioning Naked Raygun.”
  • The Chicago scene of the 80s: “You knew everybody… it was a very close-knit community. You didn’t like everybody, but it was close-knit.”
  • The Wrigleyville of today is waaay different from the Wrigleyville of the 1980s.
  • Josh Caterer of Smoking Popes has “the voice of an angel.”
  • The draw of a rural, simpler life.
  • What Naked Raygun has in common with the Velvet Underground (apologies to Brian Eno).
  • The thought process when Raygun reunited for Riot Fest in 2006.
  • Raygun has new music recorded, but there’s no urgency to get it out.
  • Does Jeff consider his legacy?
  • Easiest way to get to the main floor at the Riviera? Jump from the balcony.
  • A harrowing moment Jeff had at the old Exit location on Wells.
  • Now that Jeff’s no longer the “angry young punk,” what inspires his songwriting?
  • The sensual and erotic world of the Amish.
  • Jeff has a solo album waiting to happen!
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