Chapter Three


Things fell into place pretty quickly: “Big Black Sneakers,” “Tight Turn,” “Tone Zone, “Searching” and “Piranha Salad” were songs they wrote early on, balancing their repertoire with carefully selected cover tunes. As their songbook kept growing, they realized they would have to have a name if they wanted to play live.

George Scott and Jody Harris, live, 1980

Although it’s natural to assume their name was a play on the word “rabies,” that wasn’t the case. They were paying homage to Link Wray and His Raymen, as well as the fact that (according to Irwin) “George’s girlfriend at the time had a collection of ‘Rayguns,’ so that had something to do with it. . . . and there were obviously a couple of great bands with ‘beats’ in the name.”

“I can’t remember who actually said it, but when I heard ‘Raybeats,’ I couldn’t stop laughing,” Christensen recollected. “It just sounded so corny.”

But corny, in a way, was what they were after.

“We wanted to distance ourselves from a lot of what was going on,” Christensen said. “It wasn’t cool to play instrumentals or to wear suits.”

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