Along with Hüsker Dü, 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), John Haggerty (guitar), Marko Pezzati (bass), Jim Colao (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. Without their founder present, 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. 1999 saw the indie label 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.