Along with Husker Du, Naked Raygun was one of the first U.S. post-punk bands of the early '80s that merged melodic influences with punk/hardcore. Formed during 1981 in Chicago, IL (and largely influenced by such art-punkers as Wire and Gang of Four), the group contained several different members during its ten-year career, including leaders Jeff Pezzati (vocals), Marko Pezzati (bass), Eric Spicer (drums), and, early on, future Big Black member Santiago Durango (guitar).
Naked Raygun made it clear early on that they were unafraid to speak their minds (especially when it came to their personal political views, which were often from a strong and "macho" point of view), as proven by such confrontational compositions as "Tojo" and "Potential Rapist" off their 1983 debut Basement Screams. 1985's Throb Throb saw the group hone their sound even further (adding more melody, in addition to a more meatier and metallic guitar sound), as evidenced by the album's single "Surf Combat." By this time, Naked Raygun had carved a niche for themselves with the college rock crowd and began spawning imitators back in their hometown of Chicago.
Undeterred, the group stuck to their guns and refused to follow any set musical formula while releasing 1986's All Rise, 1988's Jettison, and 1989's Understand?, before Haggerty left the group. Naked Raygun managed to soldier on for one more release, 1990's Raygun...Naked Raygun, before calling it quits a year later. After the group's split, Haggerty reappeared as a member of Pegboy (which also included former members of Bloodsport, the Effigies, and Bhopal Stiffs) and issued three releases during the '90s, while Pezzati appeared to have disappeared from the planet, before suddenly popping up again in the late '90s with a punk trio called The Bomb.
Because of the public demand for Naked Raygun material, 1999 saw the indie label Touch And Go/Quarterstick reissue all of Naked Raygun's albums with bonus tracks, as well as the compilation Naked Raygun: Huge Bigness -- Selected Tracks From the Collected Works, 1980-1992.
Furthermore, Chicago successful mainstream acts such as Alkaline Trio, Mest, Lucky Boys Confusion, Rise Against and Fall Out Boy have all cited Naked Raygun as one of their primary influences and all these bands have paid homage, alongside critics and fans alike, to what people consider to be the most important band to come out of Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2006, Naked Raygun reformed to headline Chicago's annual punk festival, Riot Fest. After the success of the show, which saw a sell-out crowd of 4,000 people, Naked Raygun decided to carry on with new releases, a Blue-Ray HD DVD documentary of their Riot Fest show and several one-off shows in different markets across the United States. Although what the future holds for the beloved sons of Chicago remains shrouded with some mystery, one thing is for certain: Naked Raygun is back and the U.S. punk scene could not be more appreciative.