We lost a punk rock super hero today. Pierre Kezdy of Naked Raygun lost his battle to cancer and passed away at the far too young age of 58. The influence Pierre left on this city from all the bands he played in, but especially in Naked Raygun, will be felt for years to come. Pierre not only was in Naked Raygun but also did time in other legendary Chicago punk bands such as Strike Under, Trial By Fire, Pegboy, and Arsenal.
Despite the countless times I’ve seen Naked Raygun over the past 35 years, and the numerous times I shot photos of the band, my personal interactions with Pierre can be counted on one hand. The first time I actually got to speak to him was at a mutual friend’s party and when I introduced myself to him, he knew who I was and proceeded to talk to me for quite a bit like we’d known each other for a long time. I was really taken aback (in the best way) by how genuinely nice of a person he was and it was the common love of punk rock music that was all that was needed to have a kinship. The other times I saw him were no different, he was always wonderful to talk to and so incredibly nice. The man wrote one of the best punk songs in history, “Vanilla Blue” and so many other great ones. He was legitimately a super hero to me (as was the entire band). Naked Raygun’s music was such a massive part of my teenage punk rock upbringing that I looked up to these guys as larger than life super heroes. They always warn you not to meet your heroes because you’ll likely end up disappointed. In this case it merely reinforced to me that Pierre Kezdy was in fact a real life super hero, and one I will forever be honored that I got to meet.
Thank you Pierre Kezdy for being the hero I needed with your music when I was growing up, and still need as an adult. And thank you for being the kind of man worthy of being called a hero. You will be incredibly missed by so many people and my deepest condolences go out to your family and friends.