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THE BIZ : Well, 'Nirvana' Was Already Taken

September 05, 1993|Judy Raphael

The first time Live Nude Girls played a rock club on the Sunset Strip, a busload of Japanese tourists disembarked with cameras, thinking they were going to see a Hollywood strip show.

That was only one brush the seven-piece band--three women and four guys--has had with with controversy and confusion.

It's not becaue of their music, a theatrical pop-rock with a schizy, paranoid edge, sort of like Tom Waits meets Bertolt Brecht.

And it isn't the social statements in songs like "Livin' with a Narc," a slam at kids who snitch, or "T-4," a fight-for-life song inspired by a friend's HIV-positive state, or even "(I Like) Big Girls," although that one had irate feminists, who apparently misunderstood the song's everyone's-sexy message, screaming "Sexist dog pig!" at one show.

It's the name. Band founder and songwriter Robert Lusson says that some overly PC DJs won't even listen to the band's demo tapes. "They never got past the name," he says. "It's a joke," he insists, a tweak at chauvinists.

Eccentricity is nothing new in the world of rock 'n' roll, but Live Nude Girls still manages to get just a little more . . . out there. The band's regular members (lead vocalist Lusson, drummer Marc Glassman, bassist Rana Ross, lead guitarist D.B. Tressler, percussionist Eric Hall and singer Carla Archambeault) are sometimes joined by Mindy Brown, possibly the first-ever rock 'n' roll sign-language performance artist, who interprets the songs while moving like a go-go dancer on speed.

The band, which formed in 1989 and has played in clubs around town ever since, is still seeking a record contract. Lusson has a message for people--DJ, record company exec or anyone else--put off by the band's name: "If you're going to chew on my bones, dig a little deeper! At least have some bullets in your gun!"

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