The Nude Party
Despite rock’n’roll’s rapidly waning role in mainstream culture, thousands upon thousands of rock groups currently occupy our nightclubs, bandwidth, and brainspace with their performance, recording, and Bandcamping. And while the ubiquity of these projects crowd 2018’s musical landscape, from Highland Park to Bushwick and all points in between, the authentic rock’n’roll band is an endangered species. While any musician with wifi can actualize a rock group in a matter of minutes, a band, in the words of one of our great contemporary philosophers Ian Svenonius, is “about an ideology, a way of life, an aesthetic.”
The Nude Party is one of the last of these aggregations — an inseparable gang of blood brothers bonded by a musical mission indistinguishable from their friendship. The band’s psychic and effortless musical communication comes from learning how to play their instruments together since their teens, rooming together in house after house for six years, and developing their sound and aesthetic through literal nude partying together.
The members came together in the freshman dormitories of Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina in 2012. Patton Magee (lead vocals, guitar), and later Austin Brose (percussion, vocals), linked up with childhood friends Connor Mikita (drums) and Alec Castillo (bass guitar, vocals), and stepbrothers Shaun Couture (lead guitar, vocals) and Don Merrill (organ/piano, vocals). The following summer, with the shimmer of The Kinks, Velvet Underground, and other still-unsurpassed classic rock masterpieces as their soundtrack, the young men moved into a lake house outside of town, began acquiring and learning to play instruments, and jamming on rudimentary riffs. Friends came by the lake house to swim and canoe and party and soon ritual nudity was a part of the festivities.
When the fall semester came around the friends moved into a house in Boone and the jamming continued in the basement on a nightly basis. During this time the Dionysian Adamite sextet began developing a following as the house band at a notorious Boone party palace referred to as the 505 House. The bare honesty of their performances was contagious and their audience also started partying au naturel. While these traditions may appear risqué to the casual observer, the band explains, “These weren’t orgies, they weren’t sexual even. It was just kind of a wild exhibitionism that we felt gave us freedom.”
As the informal aggregation of musicians became a defined unit, and were offered gigs outside of the 505 House, they had now become a proper band and thus needed a name. Best known around the campus as “the naked party band,” they chose to call their group simply “The Nude Party.” Ironically, since playing in their birthday suits was illegal in the bars and clubs of this next step of their career, The Nude Party began playing clothed as soon as they were christened.
By 2014, living in a bigger more isolated house, known as “The Nude Ranch” by townies, the band met Black Lips’ Oakley Munson at a Night Beats show in Charlotte and before long the drummer became their mentor. He recorded the band’s “Hot Tub” EP and the band began honing their craft as incessant road warriors in the national market.
2018 finds the band living with Munson in the Catskills. Their prolific performance schedule has built a substantial following Brooklyn and beyond and they’ve just completed their first proper LP — the culmination of six years of experimentation and refinement of material. When the band’s much-anticipated self-titled debut drops July 6 on New West Records, there will be no more war or famine or social injustice and the entire planet will join together in one big Nude Party.