Pierre Kezdy, former bassist of the Chicago punk bands Naked Raygun and Pegboy, has died of cancer, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He was 58 years old.
Raygun first started performing as a teenager with Chicago’s Strike Under. The band only recorded one EP, 1981’s Immediate Action, before breaking up a year later. “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.” In 1985, Kezdy joined Naked Raygun, replacing then bassist Camilo Gonzalez, and performed on All Rise (1986), Jettison (1988), Understand (1989), and Raygun…Naked Raygun (1990) before the band’s initial dissolution in 1992.
Naked Raygun were incredibly influential in the Chicago punk scene and beyond. Famously, they were the first band Dave Grohl ever saw live. “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.”
After Naked Raygun broke up and until their reunion in the 2000s, Kezdy performed in Pegboy alongside fellow Naked Raygun member John Haggerty. In the 2010s, Naked Raygun opened for Foo Fighters at a number of shows. Grohl spotlighted them on his HBO documentary series Sonic Highways.