NAKED RAYGUN – Vanilla Blue 7″
Label: Sandpounder Records
Words by Damo.
I first discovered Naked Raygun sometime in the very early 90s when I had borrowed a video tape from a friend and the promo for Vanilla Blue was sandwiched between videos of D.I. and Bad Religion. I was intrigued by the band’s name and watching that video, an immediate love for the Chicago quartet was formed. I kept rewinding the tape and listening again. Vanilla Blue quickly became one of my favourite songs of all time and I needed to own it. With this being before the days of jumping on the internet and scouring eBay or Discogs to find a copy, my trips to record stores were always coming up empty handed.
Thankfully, one day shopping in Adelaide record store, Thrash Grind Grunge, I found a UK compilation LP called Beautiful Happiness that amongst the likes of Iowa Beef Experience, Drunks With Guns and Bullet Lavolta sat Naked Raygun’s Vanilla Blue. I didn’t care how good (or bad) the other songs were, I threw down my $8 and bought it. As far as I was concerned, Vanilla Blue would be worth the price of admission alone. I raced home, cranked up the stereo and span that song over and over and it just got better and better. Fast forward many years later and I am in Amoeba Records in Hollywood and while flicking through the many boxes of 45s, there it was for the measly price of $2.99, a nice copy of Vanilla Blue on 7” was now in my little hands. Without hesitation I grabbed it, bought it, and brought it home with me. It was one of the first singles I played and let me tell you now, 24 years later and the song still sounds as amazing now as it did back then when I first heard it.
The song itself has this nice mix of melody and raw power that combined with Jeff Pezzati’s harmonious vocals during the anthemic chorus as he cries out “Lost control again today!” – Vanilla Blue just resonated right through me. This song is punk rock perfection and I’m sure I’m not the first to say it.
On the flipside is the song Slim; a country punk song where the only lyrics are dialogue taken from various Slim Pickens’ movies. A complete contrast to the A-Side and if you never hear it, it wouldn’t matter because the true gold here is ultimately Vanilla Blue. One of the greatest punk songs I have ever heard and still to this day it’s a song that gets regular spins both at home and on the Long Gone Loser podcast. And why not?
Over time I have acquired copies of Naked Raygun’s full length LPs (they’re all great, go buy them) and it’s all thanks to that one VHS tape I borrowed way back 25 years ago that featured this classic tune. I would love to see them live sometime.