In support of the album, the group did a big tour during the spring of 1984, covering much of the continental United States, with Bobby Albertson handling bass duties. Christensen, in particular, liked the sound the band had with Albertson and he was looking forward to developing it further, but another pitfall was around the corner, and it proved to be the band’s undoing.

Frustrations set in . . .

“We submitted some new songs to Shanachie for a possible follow-up album to It’s Only A Movie!, and they didn’t like the material,” Christensen said in reference to some songs they had recorded with Philip Glass, who had agreed to produce the album. “That hurt. We talked things over and decided we could either continue to beat the band into the ground and end up hating each others’ guts, or we could pack it in, move onto other projects and still be friends – and that’s pretty much what we did.” 


. . . the party ends . . .

In November 1985, an interview with Jody Harris and Pat Irwin appeared in Guitar Player magazine; ironically, by that time, the Raybeats were already a part of the past: Jody Harris was already working with the Golden Palominos, a band led by Anton Fier that was starting to make some serious noise; Don Christensen and pal Philip Glass founded a recording studio called The Living Room; and Pat Irwin produced Romeo Void lead singer Debora Iyall’s solo debut (Strange Language) and Love Tractor’s This Ain’t No Outerspace Ship.

. . . and the Raybeats go their separate ways.

Christensen, Harris and Irwin regrouped for one more gig with Jared Michael Nickerson (formerly of Human Switchboard and currently with Burnt Sugar) on bass, an anniversary show for the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1990. Iggy Pop, Philip Glass and other musical luminaries were in attendance. After the concert, someone suggested that they give it another full-time go as the Raybeats. They decided unanimously (and immediately) that that would be a bad idea; by that time, they all had established other interests for themselves, and the legacy of the Raybeats, they felt, was best left to the past. 

In the mid-1990s, Danny Amis’ band, Los Straitjackets, made a big splash, revitalizing interest in instrumental music and the surf era. But, somewhere between the ‘50s raunchiness of Link Wray and the ‘60s crispness of the Ventures, and the second coming of surf in the final decade of the 20th century, the Raybeats filled the void in their quest to take instrumental music to “that next level.” 

<- Chapter 13      

UPDATE: The Raybeats have “reunited,” in a sense. In August 2010, original members Don Christensen, Jody Harris and Pat Irwin (billed as the Raybeats) backed Adele Bertei for two performances in New York City. Gail Ann Dorsey (who has worked with David Bowie) joined the group on bass. In June 2011, Christensen, Harris and Irwin, along with bassist Steve Almaas, played a benefit show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey, to help raise money for Danny Amis’s medical expenses. Check out our News page for additional information and video clips.

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