NEM#188: Pat Irwin (Raybeats, B-52s, SUSS) Writes for TV (and Himself)

Pat played saxophone and guitar with Lydia Lunch’s group 8-Eyed Spy in 1979, and then moved on to The Raybeats, a “neo-surf rock combo,” which recorded four albums through 1984. He wrote for stage shows and eventually joined the B-52s as a second guitarist/keyboardist in support of their Cosmic Thing album in 1989. In 1992 he had his first musical director role for TV with Rocco’s Modern Life. (The intro for this episode is the theme song featuring the B-52s plus “Rocco Needs More Time.”)

Since then he’s recorded soundtracks for various cartoons, indie films, documentaries, and prestige TV shows (including Nurse Jackie). We discuss “New Blood (Suite, pt. 3)” (built from Daniel Licht’s themes from the original show) and “The Letter” from his Dexter: New Blood soundtrack (2022), then “In Another Time” from Duets for Electric Guitar and Piano (2018) (another great version of the tune we discuss is a duet with trombonist J. Walter Hawkes from Wide Open Sky (2019); a clip from this serves as this episode’s outro), “Framed” from the Bored to Death soundtrack (2011), “Hoodlum Priest” by The Raybeats from Glass: The Lost Philip Glass Sessions (recorded 1982), and finally listen to “Winter Was Hard” (2022) by his band SUSS, an “ambient country” instrumental unit he’s now recorded four albums with.

For more, see and Also, check out his two soundcloud pages here and here for more soundtrack audio and for his New Songs from the Lost and Found series of personal instrumentals.

Watch Pat and J. Walter Hawkes play “In Another Time” for the Tiny Desk Concert. Here he is doing a live guitar solo improv in 2020. Here are a couple of videos from SUUS: “Heat Haze” (an earlier tune) and “Winter Light” (more recent), as well as one for “Winter Was Hard.” Watch the band live in 2018

Watch The Raybeats live in 1980. Watch a video from one of their tracks, “Jack the Ripper.” I can’t actually find the version of that with Philip Glass playing online, so if you want to hear that, buy the album. Listen to 8-Eyed Spy. Here they are live with Pat on saxophone. This interview with Room Tone gives much more detail on Pat’s band history.

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