Album Premiere: Naked Raygun – ‘Godspeed… A Tribute to Pierre Kezdy’

American punk rock band Naked Raygun met with unfortunate events as their bassist, the late Pierre Kezdy, passed away from cancer in October of 2020. With the passing of the crucial band mate, Put It Here Productions and Big Minnow Records have come forward to keep the legacy of Naked Raygun and the late Pierre Kezdy alive.

A tribute album out this week consist of various artists who not only love Naked Raygun, but were also influenced by them. Hot Water Music, Face To Face, Swingin’ Utters, J. Robbins (Jawbox), Josh Caterer (Smoking Popes), The Bollweevils, The Methadones, Pegboy, The Brokedowns, The Usuals, Grey Trash Aliens, Death And Memphis, The Turdles, and Stress Dreams, all recorded one of their favorite songs, paying homage to the band and a legend gone too soon.

Listen to the album here:

According to the press release:

“Godspeed… A Tribute to Pierre Kezdy will be released digitally and on vinyl on Friday, July 28. One hundred percent of profits from record sales will be donated directly to the Kezdy family to honor Pierre’s legacy and inspiration that he gave to the world of punk music.

Track Listing:

1. Hot Water Music – Wonder Beer
2. The Usuals – Soldiers Requiem
3. J. Robbins – Got Hurt
4. Pegboy – Vanilla Blue
5. Swingin’ Utters – Gear
6. Death and Memphis – Treason
7. The Methadones – Surf Combat
8. Face To Face – I Don’t Know
9. Grey Trash Aliens – Fever Island
10. The Bollweevils – I Remember
11. The Turdles – Rat Patrol
12. Josh Caterer – Knock Me Down
13. Stress Dreams – Home of the Brave
14. The Brokedowns – Walk in Cold

Chris Wollard from Hot Water Music shares his thoughts:

“Naked Raygun are one of the few bands that became a permanent landmark in how we, as a band, see and approach the music we play.”

J. Robbins shares his thoughts:

“Naked Raygun was a formative influence on my concept of punk music from the first time I heard ‘Surf Combat’ back in the mid-1980s (back when you really had to go digging to find the weird music that made life worth living).

“When I played bass in the D.C. hardcore band Government Issue, it blew my mind to find out that NR were fans of our band just as we were fans of theirs, and I’m grateful to have gone forward with members and former members of this band from hero worship at a distance to actual friendship. Covering NR is difficult because I regard the original versions of their songs as essentially perfect and I didn’t want to just do a pale imitation. I picked “Got Hurt” because it was kind of a forgotten gem from their weirdest early “Basement Screams” days, and it never got properly recorded or released except as a recently unearthed bonus track—therefore ripe for a little reinterpretation. Thanks to Jeff Pezzati for encouragement and help digging out the lyrics In this recording”

Trever Keith from Face To Face shares his thoughts:

“All the good songs were taken already (haha just kidding). I like the message about telling parents to act like the people they want their kids to grow up like. I also like how it’s a message coming from youngsters (at the time). It’s a very kind of “Face to Face” type of lyric. Plus the music is cool and it has a great breakdown at the end.”

He adds:

“Naked Raygun’s album ‘Raygun, Naked Raygun’ was one of my earliest and most profound introductions to punk rock. Their unique brand of songwriting and melody makes them an unmistakable standout in a crowded field of 1980s punk rock bands. We jumped at the opportunity to pay tribute to NR and to be a part of helping Pierre’s family and his legacy.”

Pegboy share their thoughts:

“Us doing this would make Pierre very happy. We owe him that much at least; Pierre was a perfect band mate and dear friend”

Josh Caterer from Smoking Popes shares his thoughts:

“Naked Raygun is one of the bands that shaped our concept of what a punk band could be, not just raw energy and angst and cool riffs, but well-crafted songs with real wit and intelligence. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but Knock Me Down has always stood out to me, so it’s fun to try and put a different spin on the arrangement, kind of like looking at a diamond from a different angle.”

Dan Vapid from The Methadones shares his thoughts:

“The first time I heard Naked Raygun, I distinctly remember hearing the line ‘Muscle Beach is now Pork Chop Hill’ and it being funny yet infectious. Soon after, I bought Throb Throb, and they became one of my all-time favorite bands.”

Darius Koski from Swingin’ Utters shares his thoughts:

“Naked Raygun’s a great band, and we were fortunate to get to know them (and watch their set every night!) when we went on a small run with them several years ago. We got on well immediately, and we’ve all kept in touch through the years. There were plenty of songs we could’ve covered, but Gear was our favorite of the one’s that hadn’t been chosen yet by other bands!”

Dr. Daryl Wilson The Bollweevils shares his thoughts:

“Without Naked Raygun, there would be no Bollweevils. They epitomized what we aspired to be as a Chicago band. They went from being idols to good friends, and Pierre became one of our closest friends. We miss him every day, and being a part of this compilation means the world to us. We love him and his family, and the kids in The Bollweevils who have all grown up, just wanted to do something for him and the band that made us who we are today.”

Death And Memphis share their thoughts:

“Death and Memphis participated in this project out of love and respect for the inspiration and friendship given to us by Pierre Kezdy. May his many accomplishments continue to inspire others”

Kris Megyery from The Brokedowns shares his thoughts:

”Raygun are such an inspiring band in every way. They’ve obviously been hugely influential to so many but no one sounds like them. Timeless, catchy and weird in all of the right ways… When I was a kid I thought every punk band looked like the dude on the bus in Star Trek IV but they look like hvac installers… They’re still the coolest.”

Tony Kovacs from Stress Dreams shares his thoughts:

“Man, ‘Home of the Brave.’ That rising whoa-oh chorus has the power to absolutely ignite an audience. Of the many qualities that can be described as quintessentially Raygun, there is no finer example of the band’s Huge Bigness. The casual listener hears a rousing rally-cry of American pride. However, akin to the genius of Woody Gutherie’s ‘This Land is Your Land’ and CCR’s ‘Fortunate Son,’ what first presents as American patriotism is in truth a powerful display of American dissent. Few artists can pull off a song of such size, simplicity and lyrical stealth. And hell, if there’s a greater ‘fuck-this-place-I’m-out’ song in existence, I have yet to hear it.”

The Usuals  share their thoughts:

“We were lucky to have Jeff Pezzati join us on stage in 2019 for ‘Soldier’s Requiem,’ so covering that song for this tribute felt like a no-brainer. Naked Raygun has been such a huge influence on us, and we have been honored to call them friends. Pierre’s passing was a tragic loss to us and the Chicagoland punk community. We are stoked to honor such an influential person and band alongside some really incredible artists. It really feels like everyone in our band did justice to the song, with their individual sounds intact.”

Josh Holbrook from The Turdles shares his thoughts:

“We are stoked to be involved in such a cool project to raise some cash to help out Pierre’s family. He will always be a Chicago Legend (cancer sucks). I chose ‘Rat Patrol’ because it’s such a cool song that I have always loved.”

Adam Spizziri from Grey Trash Aliens shares his thoughts:

“The first time I heard Naked Raygun, I was blown away by their hooky punk songs. It was a sound that caught my attention like the first time I heard The Ramones or the Sex Pistols. Back in ‘88, after being captivated by the cover art of ‘Jettison’ I bought the cassette using some graduation money, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I’m so happy to be doing a song on this compilation and supporting a good cause.”

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Photo courtesy of Naked Raygun

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