Chapter Two


8-Eyed Spy Live: Pat Irwin, George Scott, Lydia Lunch

Constantly involved in projects, George Scott didn’t waste any time piecing together a new band. Scott had wanted to form a band with Lydia Lunch for some time, and with the Contortions behind him and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks behind her, they finally decided to form 8-Eyed Spy in the spring of 1979. Jim Sclavunos (also of Teenage Jesus) was brought in on drums, and Michael Paumgarden and Pat Irwin were both recruited by Scott to round out the line-up. Although centering around vocalist Lydia Lunch, the primal rhythms generated by 8-Eyed Spy would eventually evolve into the instrumental sound Scott and Irwin both longed to pursue.

“The Raybeats grew out of our love for instrumental music and the desire not to deal with singers,” Christensen stated. The slew of prima donna vocalists they had all worked with had motivated them all to pursue another, less vocal, musical endeavor. By the fall of 1979, James White had an all-new Contortions line-up, and Scott seized the opportunity to reconnect with his former band mates.

“George was working in a record store when he got the idea to put the band together,” Pat Irwin recalled.

At that point in time, twelve-inch dance singles were all the rage, and many of them had instrumental remixes of the A-side (or plug side) on the B-side of the disc. One of the songs that particularly fascinated Scott was Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band’s cover of “Apache,” originally a hit for the Shadows. The song became popular in the late 1970s when used as samplings by the likes of Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash.

Pat Irwin and George Scott, live 1980

“Rap and hip-hop was in its infancy,” Irwin continued. “DJ’s were scratching and cutting up the twelve-inch singles and people were starting to rap over them. I think this really inspired George and he thought that it would be a great time to start an instrumental rock and roll band. It didn’t have anything to do with hip-hop but it had everything to do with the instrumental side of it. George called me up as excited as I’ve ever heard him be: ‘Let’s form an instrumental band!’”

Before calling Irwin, Scott initially got together with Don Christensen and they spent a few days “getting some cool grooves going.” Then they brought Jody Harris into the fold. After one rehearsal with Jody, they contacted Pat and asked him to join. “It all happened in a short period of time,” Christensen said, “maybe a couple of weeks.”

All four members were instrumental fans: the Ventures, the Meters, the Shadows, Booker T. & the M. G.’s, et al. But, according to Irwin, “George knew more about instrumentals than any of us. He had the most amazing collection of 45’s that I’d ever seen. I think he had every Link Wray 45 ever made. He turned me on to a lot of great music. One minute it would be ‘The Lonely Surfer’ [by Jack Nitzsche] and the next it would be a Bootsy Collins’ record.”

The four musicians hit it off well professionally and personally, and when they “weren’t playing music, we were hanging out,” Irwin said. “It was a great feeling and felt like a band.”

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