I first heard Naked Raygun in my friend Curt's parent's car. I remember him slaloming around the curves on Riverview Boulevard as he played "Throb Throb." I can't remember if it was the end of high school or early college, but I do remember being blown away by the tape. We both had extensive punk music collections, but Raygun were something different. A super catchy band with a singer who could actually, you know, sing, with songs that stayed away from the simplistic politics most of our favorites were screaming about, instead focusing on post-apocalyptic comic book ...stuff with a sense of humor.
Naked Raygun were never that big, and when you found another fan, you generally found a friend. This was music for wise-ass nerds, people who were willing to dig just a little deeper, and who generally shared your same outlook and interests. I'm sure they had meathead fans as well, but living in Florida we never ran into them.
Curt and I remained Naked Raygun fans throughout the years, finally getting to see them about 4 years ago at a reunion show in Chicago. It was awesome. I figured that was the pinnacle of our Raygun experience.
Then in Gainesville this weekend (don't worry, I'll have a full story soon), I saw The Bomb, singer Jeff Pezatti's post-Raygun band bust out "Soldier's Requiem," one of my favorite songs of all time and one they didn't play at the reunion. That was pretty awesome.
And then Jeff Pezatti walked into the bar where I was with a big group of my friends. A lot of them have met him before (hell, he stays at my friend Shane's house when he's in Gainesville), but this was a first for me. He was super nice, even after having to hear loud drunken explanations of his own songs. They say you should never meet your heroes, but you know, maybe most people have shitty heroes.
Then he started prank calling his friends. Naked Raygun members, Steve Albini, I can't remember who all right now, but they all got a rendition of a group of us singing "Vanilla Blue" to them.
If you had told me in 1988 that I would be in a bar singing "Vanilla Blue" with the singer of Naked Raygun to his friends, I probably would have been able to get through some of my shitty years easier. "Just a few more years," I'd think. "Then I'll be singing Naked Raygun songs with Jeff Pezatti in a bar on a futuristic telephone machine with a bunch of drunks I haven't met yet."
Speaking of telephone machines, I had a SIM card replaced on mine a week ago. Since I didn't save all my addresses and numbers to the card, a lot of people got wiped out and I was only left with their email address, something I didn't discover until this weekend. This is the only downside to the whole experience, because through the whole thing, all I was thinking was, "I have to let Curt hear this."
So Curt, I'm sorry technology beat me again. I promise to save your info on the card ASAP, just in case I run into someone else famous.
Here's some proof. I call this one "Three Men and a Little Lady." And no, my neck is not that fat in real life.