Pierre Kezdy, Bassist for Celebrated Chicago Punks Naked Raygun, Dead at 58

Pierre Kezdy, the bassist for the influential Chicago punk band Naked Raygun, died Friday, the Chicago Sun Times reports. He was 58.

The cause of death was cancer, and Kezdy reportedly died at a hospice in Glenview, Illinois. In September, Kezdy’s family and friend/Naked Raygun manager Lou Lombardo, launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover Kezdy’s rising medical expenses.

Along with his tenure in Naked Raygun, Kezdy played with an array of other punk and hardcore bands, including Pegboy, Strike Under, Arsenal and Trial By Fire

Naked Raygun formed in the early Eighties, though Kezdy didn’t join the band until 1985. He first played on the group’s second album of that year, All Rise, and stayed with them until they split in 1992. Naked Raygun reunited for a one-off show in 1997, then got together again in 2006 for the annual Chicago punk festival, Riot Fest. They released a series of seven-inch singles the following year.

In 2011, Kezdy suffered a stroke that forced him to leave the group, but he was able to rejoin them a few years later. When he was well enough to take the stage, he frequently played a special bass guitar called a “buitar,” created by his friends, that was lighter, smaller and easier to play.

Over the years, Naked Raygun developed a devoted following in the Chicago punk scene and beyond. In the “Chicago” episode of the Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways TV series, Dave Grohl professed his love for the group after seeing them as a 13-year-old (the Foo Fighters also tapped Naked Raygun to open for them at Wrigley Field in 2015). In that same Sonic Highways episode, Steve Albini — who played with Naked Raygun’s Santiago Durango and Jeff Pezzati in Big Black — called the group “by far my favorite band” from Eighties Chicago. Fall Out Boy and Blink-182/Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba have also professed their love for the group.

In a 2015 interview with The Chicago Ambassador, Kezdy summed up the influence of Naked Raygun, saying “We can look back and say, ‘We were the the guys out there with machetes, blazing a path through the jungle, while other people were able to follow and bring their wagons through easily.’ And what did we get out of it? Sore arms.”