Introduction

“AMERICA’S MOST POPULAR COMBO”

The Raybeats original line-up, l-r: Pat Irwin, George Scott, Don Christensen, Jody Harris, live 1980

In the fall of 1979, an instrumental rock ‘n’ roll combo called the Raybeats burst forth on the New York scene. The quartet was comprised of four transplanted Midwesterners: drummer Don Christensen (Nebraska), guitarist Jody Harris (Kansas), guitarist/saxophonist/organist Pat Irwin (Iowa), and bassist George Scott (also from Iowa). It was during the height of the New Wave era — Blondie was racking up one hit single after another, the Talking Heads were starting to make some noise, and the Ramones hit the silver screen with Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. In 1977, in an act of retaliation, the No Wave scene sprang up, spearheaded by the likes of Mars, DNA, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and the Contortions. Two years later, in another act of retaliation, the Raybeats, out of their love for instrumental music and a desire to not work with another moody lead singer, decided to let their instruments do the talking.

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