Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Pete. Growing up in Chicago in the 80's Naked Raygun was a BIG part of my musical upbringing. So, I have to ask what is it like playing with the legendary Raygun?
Pete Mittler: It's very surreal. I grew up in Chicago in the 80s as well and I attended more Raygun shows than I can remember. They have always been, in my opinion, the best band ever from Chicago and in my mind actually represent this city. When I think of Naked Raygun I think of Chicago so it's an honor for sure.
CM: You've been playing with the band since Pierre Kezdy's stroke last year. Is this a permanent gig or will Pierre be back?
PM: As excited and thrilled as I am to be playing with them, I know that it's a very sad and unfortunate circumstance that brought this about and I sincerely hope that he makes a full recovery so he can reclaim his rightful position as Naked Raygun's bass player.
CM: Did you play on the latest Raygun 7" (single #3)?
PM: No. I didn't. I believe it was recorded right before Pierre's stroke but I'm not positive.
CM: In recent years you played with Jeff Pezzati in The Bomb. Is the band still around?
PM: Yes. The Bomb are still a band. We've just been kinda on hold due to other stuff that every one in the band has going on. We are playing The Fest in Gainesville, FL this year and we have a new E.P. coming out soon on No Idea Records.
CM: You also play in Explode And Make Up with Denis Buckley and Jeff Dean. What's going on with the band? Any new material in the works?
PM: Yeah. Finally! EAMU have 4 new songs that we're recording. I should probably start learning those!!
CM: Now, I have to ask you about the Methadones. You were literally there with the band from jump! Was it hard when the band decided to call it quits after so many years together?
PM: Not to make things complicated but Yes and no. That band taught me quite a bit about many different things. I had many good and bad experiences but at the end we were all in agreement that the band had run it's course. Of course it was a bit sad but I'm still friends with those guys and I wish them nothing but the best with their new band.
CM: You've played with so many Chicago punk legends. Have you ever been star struck playing with Pezzati, Vapid or Buckley?
PM: I was never star struck but I have certainly been a bit intimidated by both Jeff and Dan musically because I respect them so much as songwriters and musicians so for me it always made it hard for me to bring songs to the table. I just never thought that anything I wrote could ever compare to what they were capable of. With Denis I never felt that. Possibly because I've known Denis for so long. I knew him before he was in a band at all. And also because I'm older than Denis so I didn't really grow up listening to any of his bands. I was a fan of Dan's songs before he even joined Screeching Weasel and he was in Generation Waste. So that made it different.
CM: Besides the bands previously mentioned, are you working with any other bands at the moment?
PM: Yes. I'm in a band called Neutron Bombs that I really dig. Its very much like late 70s/early 80s, very straight forward, PUNK ROCK. Our singer/songwriter/guitar player is Ken Ortman. He's been around this scene at least as long as I have and has been in some pretty notable bands such as Battalion Of Saints, Beer Goggles, and was even in the Methadones for a bit. I really like his singing. It's very snotty and even kinda British sounding. Our drummer is Colin Tahi who was in a pop punk band called Boys On Trial. Colin is great. He's an amazing drummer and he's funny as hell. We have a 7" that's probably coming out right about now on Lucky Gator Records.
CM: With all the bands you've played with, what is your biggest personal accomplishment musically?
PM: Recording a BBC session with the Bomb in one of the same studios that the Beatles recorded in was pretty amazing. But I hope that my biggest musical accomplishment is yet to come. I'd hate to think that its already passed. You never know.
CM: Are there any links to prior or current bands you're playing in where we can get news on upcoming shows, releases and merch?
PM: Last FM
CM: Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass, Pete. It's always great to see you play live and hear you on record. And I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing you again. Thanks man.
PM: Thanks to you. The pleasure was all mine.