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Cool Rays


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Cool Rays (not The Cool Rays) was a rock band formed by five Evergreen State College (Olympia, Washington, USA) students in late 1980. The band is especially notable as Calvin Johnson’s first ensemble and one of the earlier expressions of the Olympia music scene that developed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Johnson wrote most of the band’s songs, with assistance on lyrics from Ed. The entire band worked together to set Johnson’s lyrics to music. Cool Rays played at least one cover song: Jonathan Richman’s “Modern World.” The songwriting characteristics associated with Johnson’s later work (simple stories, childlike sensibilities, use of catchy phrases from American vernacular, quirky juxtaposition of words and ideas, etc.) are present in their earliest form in his Cool Rays compositions.

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