Naked Raygun was one of the first, one of the longest running and one of the best Chicago punk bands. They are considered by a large majority to be the most important band in the history of Chicago punk.
- Santiago Durango - Guitar (1980-1983)
- Marko Pezzati - Bass (1980-1981)
- Jeff Pezzati - Vocals (1980-1992)
- Jim Colao - Drums (1980-1984)
- Camilo Gonzalez - Bass (1981-1985)
- John Haggerty - Guitar (1983-1990)
- Eric Spicer - Drums (1984-1992)
- Pierre Kezdy - Bass (1985-1992)
- Bill Stephens - Guitar (1990-1992)
Short Term Members
- Basement Screams EP (1983, Ruthless Records)
- Flammable Solid 7" (1983, Ruthless Records)
- Throb Throb LP (1985, Homestead Records)
- MXV's breakdown of the different pressings of the album
- All Rise LP (1986, Homestead Records)
- Vanilla Blue 7" (1987, Sandpounder Records)
- Jettison LP (1988, Caroline Records)
- Treason 12" (1989, Caroline Records)
- Understand? LP (1989, Caroline Records)
- Home 7" (1990, Caroline Records)
- Raygun...Naked Raygun LP (1990, Caroline Records)
- Last of the Demohicans CD (1997, Dyslexic Records)
- Free Shit (Live) CD/LP (2001, Haunted Town Records)
- Busted at Oz (Autumn Records, March 1981) - Bomb Shelter, When the Screaming Stops, Paranoia, Libido
- The Middle of America Compilation (H.I.D., 1984) - I Don't Know, Stupid
- Sub Pop 100 (Sub Pop, 1986) - Bananacuda
- The Wailing Ultimate (Homestead, 1987) - I Remember
- Rat Music For Rat People Vol. III (1987) - Rocks of Sweden
- Beautiful Happiness (Happy, 1988) - Vanilla Blue
- Something's Gone Wrong Again, The Buzzcocks Covers Compilation (Caroline, 1992) - Love Battery, Running Free
- Faster & Louder: Hardcore Punk, vol. 2 (Rhino, 1993) - Rat Patrol
Naked Raygun began in February of 1980 when Marko Pezzati and Santiago Durango decided to form a band. Jim Colao joined the band briefly, but left almost immediately after joining. Jeff Pezzati started practing with Marko and Santiago at 222 S. Morgan St., playing their first gig shortly thereafter in June. At this point they used the name Negro Commando. Shortly thereafter Bobby Strange signed up on drums and they recorded a demo, which would eventually be included on the Basement Screams CD reissue. The band's first gig as Naked Raygun was in August at the original Oz. In October, they played their third gig in Detroit, where the audience walked out on them. Strange left in December, and the band tried out various replacements. One short-term replacement was John Lundin, who quickly switched over to keyboards. For their New Years Eve gig at Oz, Jim Colao rejoined as the full-time drummer.
Although many believed that the band's name was a play on "Ronald Reagan", this is apparently not the case--the name was picked more or less at random.
With a stable lineup in place, Naked Raygun began to play regularly in Chicago. In March of 1981, Raygun recorded live tracks for the Busted at Oz comp - the first time Raygun appeared on vinyl. Marko Pezzati left the band in 1981 (likely April/May, from CR 13&14) and was replaced by original Silver Abuse member Camilo Gonzalez. John Lundin left April/May 1981. Because he was not replaced, Naked Raygun ditched the keyboards and became a four piece.
In this period, Raygun's music was very experimental and quite different from the more straight-ahead Buzzcocks-influenced punk sound that would later bring them fame. Durango, in particular, would frequently experiment with his guitar sound, changing nearly from gig to gig. In a 1992 interview, Steve Albini raved "I mean, they were so weird back then. Totally left field. Going to see them live at that time was totally invigorating because they were so damn weird. It was like a space age rockabilly band. With this bizarre jungle drumming going on. And periodically they would take too much drugs or whatever, and Santiago would come out with this completely underwater guitar sound. It would just flatten everybody." Albini later wrote an extended paean to the early Raygun incarnation in the liner notes for Basement Screams. Frustratingly, very little recorded output exists from this period, save for the 222 S. Morgan St. demo, four songs on Busted at Oz, a few poor-quality demo tracks on the posthumous Last of the Demohicans CD, and Basement Screams.
The band recorded and released the Basement Screams EP. In March 1983, the band embarked on their first tour, a 10-day East Coast swing in March including a show opening for Mission of Burma in Washington DC. This tour actually took place before Basement Screams had been released. After the tour, John Haggerty, who would occasionally join Raygun on stage to perform Swingo on sax, joined up on guitar. This two-guitar lineup only played a few gigs, including the Basement Screams record release show at the Cubby Bear. These gigs were apparently incredible, but it is not known if this lineup was ever recorded. Durango left Raygun to join Big Black in late 1983, although ironically, Jeff Pezzati was still playing bass in Big Black at the time.
During this time, Durango and both Pezzati brothers lived in a coach house at 1129 West Drummond in the Lincoln Park neighborhood (according to the liner notes of Last of the Demohicans). Steve Albini described the "Naked Raygun house" as a central part of the Chicago punk scene during this time. It was at this house where Big Black's lineup formed, when Durango was distracted from watching a football game by the sounds of Pezzati and Albini practicing in the basement, and asked if he could play along with them.
With Haggerty on lead guitar, the band recorded Throb Throb, which because of funding would not get released until 1985. The album was preceded by the Flammable Solid 7-inch. Though Colao played on both those records, he left the band at some point in 1984 under less than amicable circumstances. He was replaced by former DV8 drummer Eric Spicer. In a posting on his MySpace page, Spicer joked that he wound up joining the band solely because "I just made sure I never missed a practice." Despite changing drummers and encountering delays in releasing Throb Throb, Raygun steadily gained popularity and toured the Midwest (in the summer) and the West Coast (in September/October.) An audience recording of the September 28, 1984 show at the Anti-Club in Los Angeles shows that the band were already playing many of the songs that would make up their next LP, All Rise. As the band gained wider acclaim, Jeff Pezzati eventually decided to leave Big Black in late 1984 to focus on Raygun.
- Coolest Retard #13, 1981
- MRR #19, 1984
- Flipside #46, 1985
- Bum Leg #2, 1985
- Ink Disease #14, 1988
- THIS fanzine, 1989
- Ink Disease #17, 1990
- Tour story about a broken van
- Petdance NR pages, top notch
- Petdance Discography - main reference for this page
- Kill From The Heart Raygun page - band history and discography
- TrouserPress reviews the NR albums
- Naked Raygun allmusic page
- NR page on Touch and Go
- Watch the video for Vanilla Blue
- Chicago Sun-Times article on Chicago punk in 1985
-  Steve Albini interview discussing early Naked Raygun (among many other things)
-  Eric Spicer's MySpace page