Costa wrote the first version of Raygun while watching footage of Ronald Reagan's funeral. George W. Bush had been president at that time while the United States was embroiled in controversial military conflicts and the economy was heading toward major upheaval.
We listened to several of Reagan's speeches, including A Time For Choosing in which Reagan tells the story of Americans proclaiming, after hearing a Cuban refugee's story of escaping Castro, "We don't know how lucky we are." Lucky because of the American "idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people." Reagan went on to use said idea to argue that the government does nothing better than the private sector. Basically that government services should be privatized. While we both believed in the idea that government is beholden to the people but were not convinced that private interests were beholden to the people. We got to talking about how, for the first time, the highest office in the country was held by a celebrity whose background was not in public service. Then we discussed whether trickle-down economics had worked.
To take a break from all of that thinking, we watched Bedtime for Bonzo starring the hunky young mega-star Ronald Reagan and his side-kick chimpanzee. Bonzo was the best monkey actor. *nods to Bear of BJ & The Bear* ..I realize this leaves out Clyde who was technically an orangutan.
In Bedtime for Bonzo, Ronald plays Professor Peter Boyd who brings a lab chimp home to test a "nature versus nurture" theory that "even a monkey brought up in the right surroundings can learn the meaning of decency and honesty." The premise of Bedtime For Bonzo came from a real-life study by Robert Yerkes, a Yale psychology professor, who specialized in the development of primates. Yerkes also, funny story, became the "Expert Eugenic Agent" to The House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. Please look him up along with his intelligence testing.
After all was said and done, we decided to dedicate Raygun to the beholden manual of the people, the Constitution.
For the recording, we knew we wanted to have a lush wall of voices singing great big harmonies representing the voices of the people. But all I could hear were the same vocal formants so we brought in two Columbus favorites to add texture to the partsfrontman Lizard McGee from Earwig, and frontwoman Nikki Wonder from the Bloodthirsty Virgins.