Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview With Naked Raygun Part 1

To mark the 6 month anniversary of Critical Mass I was granted an exclusive sit down interview with the one and only, Naked Raygun, at the band's rehearsal space in Chicago. Being a fan of the band going back to the 80's, this was not only a once in a lifetime interview for me, but an honor to be among some of the greatest guys I could have ever asked to interview. It was such a thrill to interview Raygun members, past and present, Jeff Pezzati, Eric Spicer, Pierre Kezdy, Bill Stephens and Pete Mittler. So, without further ado here is part 1 of my interview with Chicago legends, Naked Raygun!

Critical Mass: Thank you guy's for talking with Critical Mass. This being the six month anniversary of this blog, I really do appreciate this. You guys really played the Metro a lot in the 80s up to your initial split in the early 90's. It was almost like your second home when you played here. Does the Metro hold a special place in your heart than say the HOB or Congress Theater, where you've played more since getting back together?

Eric Spicer: I would say probably in a way, yeah.

Bill Stephens: Well, you know I thought recently that, y'know beyond this band, I've been coming to the Metro now for 30 years. So, that's a lot of money that Joe Shanahan has banked. And a lot of bad shows I saw there. So, essentially as far as being special, it's just there. It's always been there.

CM: I just remember always seeing you there. And seeing you play anywhere other than the Metro just seemed weird.

Jeff Pezzati: I've only been going to the Metro for about 3 years.

Pierre Kezdy: Then who was showing up all those other years? Your twin brother?

ES: Yeah we want him back. Ditch you and get that other guy. (Laughter)

CM:The upcoming gig at Metro is just a solid line-up of bands. This is like the be all end all of shows this year. How did you guys get all these bands on the bill?

ES: We had nothing to do with that.

BS: I have no idea.

CM: Really? It just happened?

Pete Mittler: I did suggest Dan Vapid.

BS: Who's on the bill again?

CM: The Falcon, Dan Vapid & The Cheats, My Big Beautiful. It's a pretty solid line up of bands.

BS: Yeah, well if you’re in this band no one listens to you.

PK: What's that? Who's talking over there?

BS: Exactly. Especially our management. So, I would have to say that us, Pete and I, suggesting Dan Vapid had NOTHING to do with getting Dan Vapid.

JP: I wanted only 1 thing for this shows warm up, was 3 bands total. 2 bands warming up. So, I didn't get that.

CM: Did (Steev) Custer (from My Big Beautiful) kinda smuggle his way in there?

ES: Yeah he did. He petitioned his way in.

JP: He was in first.

CM: Was he really?

JP: I'll give him credit for being in first. He would call me. I have voice mails from him before it even happened.

PM: I remember getting an e-mail from somebody saying "who do you want on the bill?"

BS: I know, it was Lou (Raygun's merch guy) and then he passed it down.

JP: I wanted 4 shows, 2 albums a night.

CM: Well you could always cut out the other bands and play 4 albums.

BS: Yeah, but whose 4 albums? That's the question. Not ours!

PK: There was some really crappy songs on some of those records. Songs that we would NEVER play.

CM: Like what?

JP: Pierre and I wrote some real stinkers.

CM: Not to sound like an ass kisser, but I can't think of a bad song you guys did.

JP: That does sound like an ass kisser. (Laughter)

BS: So, you wanna hear "Ghetto Mechanic"?

PM: That came up on my iPod the other day and I thought "I should suggest this."

CM: That's a great song. Are you kidding me?

CM: You guys played Riot Fest East in Philly this year. How come you didn't play Chicago?

ES: We didn't get invited.

CM: Really?

BS: We didn't. We weren't invited.

PK: You should ask our manager.

CM: I would rather have seen you guy's over Danzig.

JP: They had better catering in Philadelphia.

BS: They did have good catering.

CM: Cheese steak?

BS: No they had these really great sub sandwiches with, y'know that hot pepper saucy stuff, like a giardiniera blended. It was all blendered up. You know, it was fantastic.

JP: We were promised to meet the band Descendents too. Well, they played here too...

CM: Yeah, Descendents did. I didn't go to any of the shows outside of Teenage Bottlerocket playing Cobra Lounge, and Weezer, Urge Overkill and Bottle rocket playing Congress.

JP: I showed up for the (Weezer’s) "Blue album" only. And I showed up just in time.

PM: Were they (Weezer) playing them by album?

JP: I don't know what they played before hand. But they played the "Blue album" at the end and that's when I got there. And I noticed a lot of people with haircuts.

CM: Oh yeah, it was horrible. A lot of trendy kids.

PK: Yeah before I was in Raygun even we played back up bands, y'know we backed up The Damned.

CM: Oh nice!

PK: Yeah it's nice until you meet The Damned and you find out there a bunch of fucking assholes.

JP: Captain Sensible was a nice guy.

PK: Well, not to us he wasn't! And I've never bought a Damned record after that. 

CM: Pete, you've played with some Chicago legends like Dan Schafer in the Methadones, Denis Buckley in Explode and Make Up, and The Bomb w/Jeff among others. And when I interviewed you for CM in August you said that playing with Raygun "is surreal." Do you still have to pinch yourself every now and again and say "Oh my god I'm playing with these guy's"? Or is it more comfortable?

BS: You know there's many ways to look at surreal.

JP: For example having Bill answer your question for you. (Laughter)

PK: Well, like a direct kinda surreal?

PM: Well, when I said surreal I meant like it's just strange cuz it's y'know I grew up watching...I'm sorry that I'm 40 and I grew up watching you.

ES: He said it's surreal drag! (Laughter)

PM: I saw the band all the time at Metro and places like that, and then this just doesn't seem like anything you would think it would be beforehand. When Lou (Raygun's merch guy) called me and said you know "do you wanna play that show" back in February, my first response was "I can't do that...I can't do that". And then the other part of me kicked me in the ass and said "what the fucks wrong with you?" So, to answer your question I do enjoy doing it. But I would enjoy more seeing him (points at Pierre) being able to do this again.  

CM: Bill, what's it like not being the "new guy" anymore after 20+ years?

BS: Well, I've been in this band now for 4 decades, 2 millennia, 2, if that's, I know sure...It seems, it actually seems much longer. 

Stay tuned!!! Part 2 coming soon!!!

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent interview. Very informative and well written. Great,CM!!


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