Chicago's Naked Raygun blazed the trail many Punk, Post Punk and Alternative Rock groups that followed, but they never got much more than a pat on the back after other artists took influence from them and road it to the top of the charts. Billie Joe Armstrong has given NR props, and Dave Grohl says his very first concert was a Naked Raygun one (Grohl told NPR this year that seeing NR in Chicago was his "introduction to Rock & Roll"). Naked Raygun lasted a decade (1981-1991), effectively providing the Chicago Punk scene with a blueprint still used to this day. (Naked Raygun has gotten to experience their since-grown fan base via reunion shows over the past few years.)
Jeff Pezzati's intensely melodic vocals were one of Raygun's signature attributes and, in 1999, Pezzati (also the early bassist for another Windy City institution, Big Black) decided to lend his voice to a new project, the fiery, heavy Post Punk/Post Hardcore crew The Bomb, alongside guitarist Jeff Dean. Working with underground icons like Steve Albini (a longtime friend of Pezzati's) and Jawbox's J Robbins on production, The Bomb has sporadically released EPs and long-players over the past decade-plus, with each album seeming to draw greater praise than the last. The 2009 full-length, Speed Is Everything, was favorably compared to Jawbreaker, Husker Du and, of course, Naked Raygun.
A new eight-song "11-inch" (on colored vinyl) titled The Challenger is set for release this week and reviews of live shows suggest The Bomb is as incendiary as ever, despite reports that Pezzati shows signs of some sort of illness during performances (rumors that he has Parkinson's Disease have been circulating for the past few years, though Pezzati has never spoken about it publicly).
THE BOMB plays the Southgate House Wednesday, Oct. 26 with THE MAGNIFICENT, KNIFE THE SYMPHONY AND NEW THIRD WORLDS.