HISTORY Formed in the winemaking town of Stellenbosch, South Africa, the Nude Girls burst onto the indie music scene in the late-90’s championing an eclectic approach to rock music that instantly struck a chord with the University crowd around their hometown. People were soon packing themselves into taverna-like bars to catch the Nudies’ over-the-top performances. Within months, national radio had caught onto the band’s self-released single ‘Bubblegum On My Boots’– it’s since become a national classic.
The inevitable major label deal was quick in the coming. With Sony as their new parent label, the band recorded some of South Africa’s best-loved singles. No other African rock group can claim to be the soundtrack to so many people’s lives. On the performance front, the Nude Girls reputation as SA’s dominant live act was driven home with stadium shows alongside Lenny Kravitz, Smashing Pumpkins, INXS, Portishead, Beastie Boys, Goo Goo Dolls and The Cult. Their popularity extended to the shores of Britain many times.Taking an extended hiatus in 2001, the individual members went on to explore other paths. Some temporarily movingaway from music, whilst others, like Arno Carstens and Theo Crous, moved onto flourishing solo careers in their own rights. Carstens, as the country’s premier singer-songwriter and Crous as South Africa’s most in-demand rockproducer. In fact, some of the group’s most popular tracks were self-produced, the only outside ‘knob-fiddler’ allowed near the mixing-desk was the legendary Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley, who had previously worked with Silverchair, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Soul Asylum, The Black Crowes and The Darkness.
"The Nude Girls are of the same calibre as bands like Silverchair, the Stone Temple Pilots, or even a Pearl Jam" Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley, Producer
Reformed in 2006, due to popular demand, and with all five original members in tact – the Nude Girls are taking on the world-at-large. Spearheading this drive is the group’s first studio album in five years – Peace Breaker – released March 2007 along with numerous local and international tour dates. 2010 saw them return for Rocking the Daisies and Rocking the Gardens two of South Africa’s premier rock festivals. They went on to perform as the opening act for U2 in Cape Town and Johannesburg during their South African tour in February 2011, as well as perform a sold out show at Shepherds Bush Empire in London and an explosive show at The Isle of Wight Fesival in the UK in June 2011.
THE MUSIC Whilst the music that the Nude Girls create certainly gravitates towards the balls-to-the-wall ‘school of rock’, coming from such a culturally diverse country, it’s inevitable that the many micro-niches of South African musical taste have crept onto the bands palate since their inception. Standing seamlessly, shoulder to shoulder in the Nudies’ music, one can hear excitable snatches of punk, reggae, scat,metal (and not “hair-metal”, REAL METAL), funk, jazz and psychedelica. All played with some real African-esque punch. Although, traditionally, scatting ‘whities’ are greeted by critics about as warmly a swift kick in the nuts – in this instance vocalist Arno Carstens’s fizzing calamity of rapid pidgin-English and an array of surreal vocal effects (think of him as aTom Morello of the microphone) make for a enthralling sight live, and exhilarating listening on record.
“…this band do not bore, due mostly to Carstens’s multi-layered voice. Live they are louder still” Rolling Stone
Making unabashed use of vintage keyboard effects and liberally blasting out funked-up trumpet hooks (both courtesy of multi-instrumentalist Adriaan Brand) has imbued the bands sound with some real, unmistakable character – which means whether they’re playing tongue-in-cheek reggae-dub or thrashing out an all-out rocker, it’s always unmistakeably the Nude Girls. The backbone of any great band is a solid rhythm section, and drummer Francious Kruger and bassist Arno Blumer more than oblige. Their in-the-pocket grooves have kept the Nudies bringing down the house wherever they play since the band first confused punters by simply not being the expected procession of scantily clad strippers! Serving as the Nudies’ sonic anchor is SA’s own guitar hero Theo Crous. His killer hooks and ‘like daggers’ sound have ensured that the band have continually enticed, yet defied the custodian gate-keepers of radio play-lists…
THE BAND Arno Carstens - Vocals Theo Crous - Guitar & Backing Vocals Adriaan Brand - Trumpet & Keyboards Arno Blumer - Bass Franscious Kruger – Drums
“This band kicks ass!” Michael Hutchence, INXS, 29th May 1997