Springbok Nude Girls
A band that captured the imagination of a South African generation
Through a series of serendipitous events in the early 90’s in the small wine making town of Stellenbosch, Arno Carstens, Theo Crous, Adriaan Brand, Arno Blumer and Francois Kruger became The Springbok Nude Girls.
Little did they know that they would go on to become one of the most loved rock bands South Africa has ever seen, known for their high energy stage antics and unique musical sound which combines Punk, Reggae, Scat, Metal, Funk and Jazz.
They played their first gig in September 1994 in a small bar in Stellenbosch. Since then, the platinum selling, award winning band have gone on to record albums that contain some of our countries most beloved anthems. They have headlined every major South African music festival, and performed at some of the most auspicious international festivals in Europe.
In 2015, Thinking Owl Films, in association with Sony Music Entertainment Africa, released an exciting documentary film which tells the story of the band’s early beginnings, touching on the crippling censorship of that time, and then the liberation of 1994 and how, for these kids, there was finally freedom in music.
The Springbok Nude Girls continue to perform live shows annually, both locally and internationally and are set to record and tour a new album in 2017.
September 1994: Crous, Carstens, Kruger, and Blumer form the Springbok Nude Girls. Play their first gig at a local venue in Stellenbosch, successfully drawing and entertaining a full house. Adriaan Brand joins them in April 1995. In 1994 and 1995 The Springbok Nude Girls play at a large number of venues in Cape Town and surrounding areas and build up a considerable following.
June 1995: Grahamstown Arts Festival. Draw considerable attention from the country’s music critics. Described as a musical highlight and one of the most promising bands in the country.
“The fivesome offer something for all rock lovers with their combination of proficiency and fine songwriting. There has been alot of hype around SNG – believe it all.” (Sunday Times, 20 August)
August 1995: Release Neanderthal 1, an independently produced CD on their own label. The ten track CD, recorded in three days, enjoys extensive radio play.
Includes the hit singles “Bubblegum On My Boots”, “Stay”, “Managing Mula”, “I Am Your Friend “ and “I Know What I Want”. The latter reaches number 1 on Barney Simon’s 5FM Modern Rock Charts.
“Young and energetic, the group met, they merged, they jammed and they recorded. The result is a slick independently produced limited edition CD which has been a sell-out success. The Springbok Nude Girls signal a new wave of brave young independents in the local music scene” (Cosmopolitan, November 1995)
After the release of Neanderthal 1, the Springbok Nude Girls receive much attention from the SA media, appearing in all the major newspapers and such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Student Life, Get the Funk Out, Music Africa, Top 40, Style, Elle and Personality, as well as doing a variety of radio and television interviews.
They also record their first music video which is flighted on South African Television.
“Metro rock critic Gavin Elder, who is also a freelance TV producer and director, has been nominated for an Artes Award for his work on, inter alia, the Springbok Nude Girls video for ‘Managing Mula’. Shot on a ‘minimalist budget’ in an Hermanus garage, the video has the Boland boppers going wild in what Gavin describes as ‘a high speed collage of trippy, energetic imagery’.” (Sunday Times, 12 May 1996)
In 1996 the band builds up an extensive following throughout South Africa in a series of tours.
December 1995/January 1996: The Martell “Goddank vir Klank” Tour.
“SNG exposed audiences along the Southeast Coast between Cape Town and Durban to their violently entertaining performances and uncompromising originality” (Jasser Nattergat in “Die Skurk”, 10 January 1996)
“In live performances, Springbok Nude Girls reek of sexiness, an erotic effluvium of raw power and edgy madness.” (Student Life, February 1996)
“SNG have few pretences and no umbrellas in their drinks. Molotov cocktails are the drink of choice. Sorry, 007.” (Sunday Times, 11 February 1996)
February/March 1996: The Missing Fling Tour. Gauteng and surrounding areas. Gigs include “Wings Beat Bar” (where they establish a record attendance at the door) and “Tandoor”, both in Johannesburg.
March 1996: River Club Bandslam. Observatory, Cape Town. Join four of SA’s top rock bands for a concert sponsored by Benson and Hedges.
Introduced by 5FM’s Barney Simon as “the most wanted band in this country.”
April 1996: The Third Tour. Includes a performance at Rustlers Valley.
“The Nude Girls are an amazing phenomenon. One moment they’re a sleek monster stalking your half-awake dreams, teeth grazing the air, leaving the faintest trace of sulphur; the next moment they’re a Matric Dance band, bursting with laughter and sincerity, having an insanely good time… They bounce from no-compromise adrenaline-crazed metal to loping, rolling pop-rock and then bounce back to sweetly seductive ballads It was a pity they had to dash off the next morning to keep a date in East London” (Student Life, June 1996)
Release an “official bootleg” cassette compilation. “The Missing Fling”. Live recordings from the River Club Bandslam and The Missing Fling Tour.
Sign to Epic (Sony Music Entertainment South Africa).
June 1996: Join the National Benson and Hedges Bandslam Tour. A result of the success of the River Club Bandslam. The tour takes in six major cities and reaches 10 000 people.
“The 14th June 1996 was an auspicious day for rock and roll: it marked the first date in a nation-wide tour by South Africa’s finest rock bands; and it also marked the first time that a corporate sponsor had ever had the balls to get involved with this genre of music. To say that it worked would be understating it grossly; Mega Music has never been that full… It would be unfair to pick out one of the bands; although judging by the Springbok Nude Girls performance there must be a lot of people at Sony anticipating huge things from their latest signing.” (Top 40, July 1996)
“The Springbok Nude Girls have progressed from a garage band, who were only to play one gig, to one of South Africa’s hottest acts”. (The Star and SA Times International, 26 June 1996)
“The Springbok Nude Girls are electrifying and clearly the popular favourite.” (The Mail and Guardian, 21-27 June 1996)
July 1996:Grahamstown Arts Festival. Multimedia Concert
“Nude Girls steal the show.” (Cue Magazine, July 1996)
August 1996: Oppikoppi Festival of Rock. North Western Transvaal. Played with 40 other invited bands.
“…hulle was die sensasie van die fees” (“…they were the sensation of the festival”) (Beeld, 12 July 1996)
September/October 1996: The Tense tour. A sell-out, turned people away at the Roxy Rhythm Bar in Melville, Johannesburg.
“The fact is nobody can deny that Nude Girl fever has spread far beyond its points of origination in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. Anybody still battling to comprehend why this is so must surely have a mental block when it comes to the Nude Girls’ ability to come up with memorably offbeat, timeously eclectic songs and their much-travelled, impressively deranged stage show.” (Get the Funk Out, October 1996).
“Dubbed ..the most wanted band in the country’, the Springbok Nude Girls have taken South Africa by storm with their ass-kicking, footstomping, brash rock and roll. ” (Pretoria News, October 1996)
26 October 1996:5FM Birthday Bash at Kyalami. Perform with, amongst others, Tracy Chapman, The Mission, The Spindoctors, Youssou N’Dour, Johnny Clegg and QCumba Zoo.
November 1996: Release IT BECAME A WEAPON, a five track EP. Featuring the number 1 single, “Genie”.
“NUDE GIRLS PUT THE RIFF IN TER-RIFF-IC… The band have embarked on a daring path that pushes the boundaries.”(Sunday Times, 24 November 1996)
“This EP contains some of the most astonishingly brilliant music ever conceived by a South African band. The Springbok Nude Girls …have a rare gift of combining punk’s raw, serrated anti-aesthetic edge with flawlessly divine pop melodies, an angry, contradictory genius also inherent in the music of Nirvana and Pavement.” (Personality, 10 January 1997)
December 1996: The Virgin Rights Tour Taking in fourteen venues along the Southeast coast between Cape Town and Durban (November/December 1996/January 1997).
“This band that causes chaos, energy and an extreme form of fun, disappeared to encounter over and over for the coming summer weeks too many people in too small a place.” (Sunday Tribune, December 1996)
“Featuring a rare combination of hard-nosed punk rock, postmodern polish and home-grown grittiness that takes in everything from jazz to boere to ethnic to pop, the Springbok Nude Girls are that rarity – a truly progressive South African rock band.” (Personality, 10 January 1997)
2 February 1997:Number 1 on the Top 40. Genie Reaches number 1 on the 5FM/Coca Cola Top 40 Charts.
February 1997: The Torque Tour. Play 8 venues nationwide, including the Wingerdstok Music Festival in Stellenbosch on 22 February 1997. Top 40 Reader’s Poll: Voted best South African band of 1996. Release two new songs on the Wingerdrock 1 compilation of Stellenbosch bands. One of the songs features Nico Carstens as guest artist.
March 1997: Release firstname.lastname@example.org, a five track EP. Featuring the single “I Love You”.
“Some critics are going to call this EP indulgent. It’s not, it’s music from a band good enough to fuck around with their own image and sound.” (Student Life, May 1997).
Play Kaktus op die Vlaktes (the music festival of the Klein Karoo Art Festival) with, amongst others, Miriam Makeba, Battery 9, Johannes Kerkorrel and Juluka. 29 March 1997.
Receive FNB SAMA Award: Best Rock Performance 1996 for It Became A Weapon.
April/May 1997: Tour Gauteng and Namibia.
May 1997:Release AFTERLIFESATISFACTION, an 18 track album. Including the singles “Genie” and “I Love You”. CD launch comprising a multimedia concert on 27 May 1997.
“This is one of the most important albums of the year and its effects will be felt for generations to come”.(The Star, 2 June 1997).
May/June 1997:Nationwide tour with INXS.
“INXS kindly agree to close for the Springbok Nude Girls.”(The Big Picture, May 1997).
“If The Nude Girls had a free swing, they would have knocked out INXS”.(The Sunday Independent, 8 June 1997).
“This band kicks ass!” (Michael Hutchence, INXS, 29th May 1997)
June 1997:Nationwide AFTERLIFESATISFACTION TOUR.
July 1997: Grahamstown Arts Festival.
“The Grahamstown Festival this year proved two things to each and every SA music supporter. Number one: Just Jinger are huge and hot. Number two: The Nude Girls are huger and hotter.” [Top Forty Magazine, August 1997].
August 1997: Oppikoppi Music festival and tour to Gauteng. [Acoustic Nightmare tour].
“They perform the most energetic, aggressive and visually stimulating set in the history of South African rock ‘n roll”. [Blush, 29 August 1997].
September 1997: Ghosted Tour: Bloemfontein, Gauteng and Cape Town.
“…the Nude girls have graduated to the rarefied atmosphere of the big leagues in style. They seem to have it all. Energetic, brain-scrambling live shows, material with the ability to leap instantly from searing to soothing frequently in the same song – and, in Arno Carstens, a frontman so sexy that he could cause both men and women to spontaneously combust.” [Sunday Times magazine, 21 September 1997].
October 1997: 6 gigs in London. Play to capacity audiences. Mean Fiddler, Walkabout Inn, The Borderline, The Springbok Bar [Covent Garden], The Orange and The Underworld. The borderline gig is a showcase for Sony UK. The venue has hosted such artists as Mick Jagger, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, Oasis and Jane’s Addiction.
“Over the past months, west London’s tired airwaves have been given a proverbial kick up the rear by the likes of Jono Coleman, the Springbok Nude Girls and Deni Hines.” [TNT UK, November 1997].
November/December 1997: Tour to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Includes AIDS Awareness Concert in Milnerton Cape Town. Springbok Nude Girls receive Student Life Magazine’s award for Best Live Act, Best Single [for Genie and I Love You] and Best Male Vocalist.
February 1998: OMNISOFA TOUR. Nationwide. Precedes release of 5 track EP Omnisofa. Tour includes a gig in Pretoria attended by an audience of 16 000.
28 March 1998:Play at Wingerdstock 1998 Music Festival
4 April 1998: A very interesting high profile gig at the Rand Easter Show involving stage diving acrobatics from Arno Carstens.
18 April 1998:The release of the five track EP “Omnisofa” sees the admission of the first single “Blue Eyes” to the 5 FM playlist and the beginning of a seventeen week run, for the single, on 5 FM.
May 1998 : The band tour Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
16 June 1998: See’s the State Of The Nation concert at the Standard Bank Arena, and a highly successful performance from the band, rumoured to be the best and most popular on the line up of South Africa’s top bands.
July/August 1998: The Springbok Nude Girls embark on a full national tour, covering virtually the entire country, the tour culminates with peak billing at the highly successful Oppikoppi Festival and a nationally broadcast (on 5 FM) gig on the main stage at the festival in front of well over 10 000 people.
“Blue Eyes” peaks at 2 on the 5 FM Top 40(South African youth national radio station) and establishes itself as one of the bands greatest hits to date. The second single from the “Omnisofa” EP “Lonely” is submitted to 5 FM and goes onto the playlist immediately.
August/ September 1998:Springbok Nude Girls accepted an invitation to perform at Pukkelpop, one of Belgium’s biggest rock festival. The band performed, to crowds of over 10 000 people, with bands like Portishead, Soul Coughing and the Beastie Boys. The band continued on to London where they performed at The Walkabout Inn and the Black Boy.
October 1998: Saw the band in studio for their forthcoming release “Opti Mum”, an EP and video designed for the ultimate SNG fan! Opti Mum will be available in store as of 16th November 1998. The band will be on tour to promote the new release over the festive season.
March / April 1999 : The Springbok Nude Girls arrive at BOP Studio’s (Mmabatho) to join Kevin Shirley (producer for Aerosmith, Silverchair and the Black Crowes) to begin work on their new album scheduled for release in early July 1999.
End April 1999: Arno Carstens and Theo Crous travel to New York to join Kevin Shirley in order to mix and finalise the new album. Two masters are generated; a new South African album composed of entirely new songs for the local market, and an international album with reworked versions of “Genie”, “I Love You” and “Supergirl” designed specifically for internationally pitching the band.
May/ June 1999 :The Nude Girls feverishly work on conceptualising the new album. The title is to be “surpass the powers”.
June 25 1999: “Surpass The Powers” is released to be instore by the 1st of July. Later the same year SNG also release “UN-EZ.“
June / July 1999: Springbok Nude girls embark on the “surpass the powers” tour begining with 2 gigs at the Walkabout Inn in London, and continuing nationally in South Africa in the latter half of 1999.
“The Springbok Nude Girls are of the same calibre as bands like Silverchair, the Stone Temple Pilots, or even a Pearl Jam” – Kevin Shirley.
“Whatever the tempo and textures, the combination of a big name international producer like Kevin Shirley and the Springbok Nude Girls’ always adventurous attitude to their music, adds up to one of the most anticipated releases of 1999.” – Dianne Coetzer – Sunday Times Magazine May 1999.
“What impresses most with “surpass the powers” is not the production or mixing – which is still good, mind you – but the strength of the songs, and even more so the depth. This is not just an album that carries the best rock song to have come out of this country in “Blue Eyes” – each song in one way or another, can stand on its own in true rock glory………………. “surpass the powers” has surpassed all my expectations – the album of the year by a long way.” – Peter Townshend – Good Weekend July 1999
November 1999: Springbok Nude Girls travel to Hamburg, Germany on a promotional trip for Sony Music Germany, to launch the release of “surpass the powers” in Europe. For 4 days the band undergo a substantial promotional schedule, doing interviews with German press, and phoner interviews with press from the other European Territories that have committed to release “surpass the powers” through Epic Records. (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic)
November 18 1999 : Springbok Nude Girls support Sevendust (U.S. alternative rock band and fellow Epic stablemate) at a venue called Grunspan in Hamburg, Germany. The gig is a showcase displaying both bands to German media and promoters.
December 1999 : Rolling Stone Germany release “New Voices 32” as a value added CD compilation inside their December 1999 issue and include the track “Shot” from “surpass the powers” on the album. Aside from Springbok Nude Girls, the compilation also features Korn, L7, Chuck Prophet and Folk Implosion. (Rolling Stone Germany readership – 250 000). Rolling Stone gives “surpass the powers” 3 stars from a possible 5. (Rage Against The Machine – “The Battle Of Los Angeles” gets 2 ½ stars in the same issue)
“…….this quintet produce’s good music. The South Africans certainly looked a lot towards a Seattle sound, and borrowed elements from U.S.- crossover, but do not bore, due mostly to Arno Carstens’ multi-layered voice – live they are still louder.” -Rolling Stone Magazine December 1999
March 17, 19 and 21, 2000 : Springbok Nude Girls join Lenny Kravitz , Goo Goo Dolls, The Cult and Fetish on a “Big Nite Out” playing 3 sold out stadium concerts on the Peter Styvesant Music spectacular in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
March 30, 2000 :Springbok Nude Girls – “surpass the powers” wins Best Rock Album at the 2000 FNB South African Music Awards (SAMA’s).
June 7 – 17, 2000: Springbok Nude Girls embark on a 5 gig nationwide tour, covering Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Durban.
June 8, 2000 : Springbok Nude Girls are voted the most popular rock band in South Africa, and accumulate more than double the votes of the second placed band. This nationwide vote guarantee’s the band headline status at the “State Of The Nation” rock festival concerts to be held in Johannesburg and Cape Town on the 1st and 7th of July.
July / August, 2000 : Springbok Nude Girls arrive in Johannesburg and begin work on their new album, to be released in time for Xmas 2000/2001.
August 26 – September 5, 2000 : Arno Carstens, Theo Crous & Adriaan Brand leave for New York City, to meet Kevin Shirley who has volunteered to mix the new 15 track album (album title “relaxzor”) at the Hit Factory Studio’s in Manhattan.
September 8 and 9, 2000 : Springbok Nude Girls gather in London to play two major ‘South African’ events at the Shepherds Bush Empire, London. The evenings are arranged by Amabala Productions, and are themed as South African cultural evenings, showcasing the best of South African rock band culture to a mixed South African and British audience. Other acts on the bill include : Sugardrive, Just Jinger and Henryate.
September 12 – 15, 2000 : Springbok Nude Girls return to South Africa and announce the release of their new 15 track album “Relaxzor”, the album has an instore release date of 1 November, 2000.
Barney Simon debuts the first single from “relaxzor” on 5fm, it is a ballad called “Unworldly Beauty” – the track is admitted straight on to 5fm’s playlist.
January 2001 : “Unworldly Beauty” peaks at number 2 on 5fm’s International Top 40, “Smiley Skull Of Faith” the 2nd single from “Relaxzor” is immediately admitted onto 5fm’s playlist.
March 2001 :‘Relaxzor’ wins Best Rock Album at the South African Music Awards 2001, this is the 2nd year in a row the band has won this award.
April 2001 : “Smiley Skull Of Faith” peaks at number 4 on 5fm’s International Top 40. The track is licensed for the platinum selling ‘Hits 6’ compilation. In 2001 the band announced an indefinite hiatus and did a nationwide tour called “The Fat Lady Sings” which was run in co-operation with 5fm. “The Fat Lady Sings” tour ran from September to October 2001 and encompassed South Africa and London.
October 22 2001: Sony Music releases “The Fat Lady Sings – Best Of The Springbok Nude Girls 1995 – 2001”, a definitive collection of the bands most popular radio and live songs. The album also contains two new songs called “J-59” and “Dimmer”, and both songs receive extensive South African radio play.
2004: Nationwide Ten Year Anniversary Tour. “Godank vir Klank/ The Fat Lady Sings“ is released to co-incide with the tour, and features B-Sides and Rarities recorded over the last decade but never released.
2006:a blog entry on drummer Francois Kruger’s site informally announced their reunion. Their reunion coincided with the return of trumpeter Adriaan Brand from abroad.
March 2007: Their first studio album in four years, “Peace Breaker,” was released. The band continue to play shows at least once a year when all of their personal projects allow the time.
The band also released their first LIVE DVD – “Springbok Nude Girls LIVE AT THE ASTORIA“ in October 2007 which was filmed in London earlier the same year.
DISCOGRAPHY – Springbok Nude Girls 1994 – present
Neanderthal 1 (1995) (initially on Bluegum records, Epic Records)
It Became A Weapon (1996) (Epic)
email@example.com (1997) (Epic)
I Love You EP (1997)
Omnisofa (1998) (Epic)
OPTI MUM (1998) (Epic)
Surpass the Powers (1999) (Epic)
Un-E.Z. (1999) (Epic)
Relaxzor ( 2000) (Epic)
The Fat Lady Sings – Best of the Springbok Nude Girls 1995-2001 (2001) (Epic)
Goddank Vir Klank 1994 – 2004 (2004) (Sony Music)
Nude Girls (Exclusive UK release) (2006) (Golden Fairy Records/SonyBMG)
Peace Breaker (2007) (Sony/BMG)
Live at The Astoria DVD (2007) (Sony/BMG)
Apes with Shades (2011) (Sony Music)