Pierre Kezdy, the bassist of Chicago punk band Naked Raygun, has died aged 58.
His death was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, who said Kezdy died today (October 9) at a hospice in Glenview, Illinois, after years of having cancer.
Kezdy began his musical career in the short-lived band Strike Under, after talking his way into the group. “He didn’t even know how to play an instrument,” Naked Raygun manager Lou Lombardo said. “He basically lied and said he knew how to play and taught himself to play.” The band’s sole release was 1981’s ‘Immediate Action’ EP.
He joined Naked Raygun – whose name was a riff on the Sex Pistols – in 1985, performing on ‘All Rise’ (1986), ‘Jettison’ (1988), ‘Understand’ (1989), and ‘Raygun…Naked Raygun’ (1990), before the band’s initial breakup in 1992. They got back together in 2009.
In between the breakup and the band’s reunion in the 2000s, Kezdy performed in Pegboy with fellow Naked Raygun member John Haggerty. He was also was a member of the bands Arsenal and Trial by Fire at different points.
“I went to this club called the Cubby Bear – it’s right across the street from the baseball stadium [Wrigley Field] – and a band called Naked Raygun were playing, and they’re this legendary Chicago punk rock band,” Grohl told NPR in 2011.
“But I’d never seen live music. So my introduction to rock’n’roll was in a club that held about 150 people that was half full and I was belly up against the stage watching this incredible live band, like, sweat and spit and bleed in front of me.”
Naked Raygun would later open up for the Foos at a number of shows. Grohl spotlighted them on his documentary series Sonic Highways.
A number of tributes have begun to pour in online – you can see some of them below.
My heart goes out to anyone that has ever turned up a @NakedRaygun album to 10 and felt like they were part of the best kept secret in the world. Rest in peace Pierre Kezdy.
— Joe Sowinski (@GrandpaBroseph) October 9, 2020
RIP Pierre Kezdy, bassist & co-composer of this masterpiece LP from '88 pic.twitter.com/2v1Gna3yRt
— Glenn Donaldson (@GlennDonaldson) October 9, 2020
I can’t even. Pierre Kezdy was a such a huge part of my youth, seeing him with Naked Raygun. Such a huge loss for Chicago and the music world. My heart goes out to his family today. https://t.co/rryRjNtNfb
— Dan “Wear A Mask” Grzeca (@jetsah) October 9, 2020
RIP Pierre Kezdy, bassist in Naked Raygun. Couldn’t help but love them living in Chicago. And nothing is more Chicagoan than playing in the city’s historically most popular punk group while maintaining a full time career as a plumber. Respect.
— Ryan Weinstein (@CoffinPrick) October 9, 2020
One of my favorite covers of a song: Western Addiction's version of "Rat Patrol" by Naked Raygun. RIP Pierre Kezdy.https://t.co/oTNxWtrAkB
— Spooky Ghoul and Stuff (@supercoolnstuff) October 9, 2020
Chicago lost a musical stalwart and icon. Rest in peace, Pierre Kezdy. pic.twitter.com/I9Dem1sjWN
— Rik Villanueva (@CadBanesBounty) October 9, 2020
Rest in peace Pierre Kezdy.
My dream of having the opportunity to see you play live some day will never come true now, but your music made life feel great.
— Erikoisdance (@Erikoisdance) October 9, 2020
We were the lucky ones to discover Naked Raygun in HS and actually see them play. If you are a fan, help the next generation discover the Raygun if you can! Rock on, Pierre Kezdy.https://t.co/sAcxlbbJ9A
— Jack McFadden (@tigermountainbk) October 9, 2020