Photos by Alec Castillo (bassist for The Nude Party)
Disclaimer: some “facts” in the following article are non-factual.
Meet The Nude Party, a traveling band of merrymakers who met on a Carnival “no, no it was a Royal Caribbean” cruise line. The boys possess a diverse collection of essential non-musical talents, which I imagine are most useful on the road. Aboard the ship, they were each notorious for their respective specialties. Shaun could weave a shoulder length of hair into cornrows in under 6 minutes (complete with Rasta beads). Austin Brose, a sharp-eyed fellow, could find a cat in under 30 seconds. Upon finding a cat, Brose would shoot the cat off board like shotgun, to the avail of the ship’s management who were dealing with a rampant stray cat problem. Alec, also an animal lover aboard the ship, worked training dolphins or “jumpies” as he calls them. At the ship’s convent, Connor Mikita served as a Father, but everyone just called him “daddy.” As I’m sure you’re aware, the silk trade was at its peak during that summer of 2013. Unsurprisingly, our very own Don pretty much ran it – the silk railroad. One fateful day, Brose’s keen eyes spotted a naked human floating in the ocean bundled up much like baby Jesus in the nativity scene. At his side was Connor, who was obviously jazzed at the idea of the second coming of Lord Jesus under his Fathership. The two boys solicited the help of Alec, Don, Shaun, and Brose to gently raise the bundle out of the water and that is how who we now know to be The Nude Party found their brother Patton. At that moment, now a complete brotherhood, the boys decided to abandon ship (literally) to start a band. The theme of nudity has been retained.
Patton, Brose and Shaun had all come from musical backgrounds. Shaun played guitar in a handful of bands as a kid. “I’ve been to twenty-six 311 concerts and shotgunned a Corona with Peanut, their bass player, once,” he told me. Alec was also a creative soul growing up. He was captain of a prestigious neighborhood dance squad called Team Wiggletooth. At the ripe young age of 7, he coordinated squad outfits and choreographed gravity defying dance moves. “We’d film synchronized videos that were actually up to 5 minutes long.” However, he, Connor and Don only began playing instruments with the post-nautical inception of The Nude Party. In his earlier days, Connor was actually slated to become a sports star – escaping this destiny only by running away to join the cruise’s convent. When the band formed, Connor’s actual father didn’t want him to play drums – so Shaun bought him his first drum set. Now, Connor’s father is their biggest fan.
Fresh off their 2016 tour supporting Insane Clown Posse and Slipknot, I met up with the boys in Brooklyn where they were stopping on their own 30+ date tour. It was during this visit that I learned of the group’s unconventional origin. During their short appearance in New York, we played “How Long Does it Take to Get Six Boys Down the Block?” (roughly 30 minutes) as well has “How Long Does it Take to Get Six Boys Into the Van?” (roughly 2.5 hours and 1 complete sun rise). At the time, the boys were mentally and physically preparing for Nude Fest, a festival that they host and organize in July at their ranch in Boone, North Carolina. Friends’ bands from the East coast come to play, party on the roof, and drink – a lot. An aerial shot of the debauchery demonstrates a large back yard filled with guests and the tents where they camped out. An estimated 200 people came to the pre-Nude Fest show at a bar venue in downtown Boone the night before the festival. An estimated 300 came and went over the course of Nude Fest the next day.
A long four months passed before I would see the nude dudes again. This time, we reunited at Meltasia – a 3-day camping festival held in the abandoned Game Farm in Catskill, NY. There, The Nude Party shared festival billing with the likes of Shannon & The Clams, Pentagram, Natural Child, The Mystery Lights, Vockah Redu and many others. Surely, I thought, if this wonderful opportunity had not gone straight to their heads – maybe their recent 5-night stint at Madison Square Garden, quadruple platinum double LP and headline tour supported by (Alec’s favorite) Ricky Martin might have.
Thankfully, I discovered that nothing had changed with this crew. At the festival we rendezvoused, occasionally tastefully nude, as is tradition. True lovers of all kinds of music, I spotted the nudes getting particularly down at Kool Keith’s set – exhibiting dance moves far beyond all comprehension. A night or two later, they were going absolutely buck wild for Fat White Family. Mid losing touch with reality on more than one occasion, I looked up to find myself surrounded by 6 of the most lively, amusing, and dashingly handsome men it has been my great pleasure to meet.
The Nude Party embodies what life is all about. As seen on their Instagram they make the effort to stop and enjoy each great part of the nation on tour, taking advantage of what is otherwise the exhausting lifestyle of a touring musician. Alec, being a talented photographer, captures these visceral, enchanting experiences with more emotion than your average lens-wielding bass player. The band members, it seems, never tire of each other – despite sharing a home, numerous creative projects, and a van for weeks at a time. They’re carefree – they will (and did) scan all 6 of their weiners in a copy machine for a festival poster, irrelevant of comparable size or shape. They don’t give a fuck. After all, life is beautiful and fun. You entered it nude, why not celebrate it with The Nude Party?