I’m sure I’ve written about Naked Raygun in the past. I don’t remember who first turned me on to them, but I heard them at a point where I was very into The Who, and it was like the torch had been passed. Similar energy, similar disdain for the man, and skilled players, shredding.
In retrospect, I don’t think I was at the Cubby Bear show that Dave Grohl talks about, but I did see The Didjits open for Naked Raygun at the Riviera. I’d pit that against any concert ever in the history of music. Everything that’s good about live rock and roll lived at it’s maximum in that room that night.
Another notable show happened in January in DeKalb, IL, and it was as cold I can remember around here. I had a ridiculous leather bomber jacket and not much else to protect me, and there was a line out front of the Eagles Club, where the locals put up with a punk rock show every once in a while. Inside, it was hot as hell, and with the stage about 2 feet off the ground, it was a sweaty, communal experience with the band. To get this close to Naked Raygun was an absolute dream come true.
Along with the Defoliants absolutely smashing the place to the ground in the opening slot, Naked Raygun at arm’s length was phenomenal. Then, some dope decided to become part of the band and jumped on stage. Dude didn’t jump off, and after banging Pierre’s hand off his bass a couple times, Mr. Kezdy finally grabbed the dolt—guitar sandwiched between them— and slammed him to the ground. A throng of folks swarmed on the guy and grabbed him, opened the door to a great whoosh of steaming, frozen air, and jettisoned him.
Now, I hope the guy didn’t get pneumonia, and I understand his enthusiasm. I wouldn’t have any actual idea what he looked like, but he’s indelibly etched in my memory, along with the slow burn and situation management skills of one Pierre Kezdy.
Kezdy was a pretty great bass player, and a big part of my musical lexicon. Not only the bass riffs, but also the combo with Eric Spicer that crushed everything in its path. How they communicated, musically, was influential. Considering he’s not much older than me, it’s pretty surprising and sad to hear that he’s gone.
Here’s another track that featured his hammerhead approach to the bass guitar: