What do you get when you combine musically inclined sisters who have an interest in zombies, stalkers and video production with a mandatory shelter-in-place order? The answer is Nadine The Band.
Typically performing as a three-piece group with a penchant for solid bass lines, captivating harmonies and dynamic drumming thanks to members Heather Strong, Julie Strong and David Duenas, Nadine The Band has traded in stage shows for YouTube uploads during this three-month quarantine with the Strong sisters taking the lead.
“There are no rules in quarantine,” Julie said. “I don’t know if anybody sees (the videos), but it’s kind of keeping us sane at the moment since all of our shows were canceled.”
With the sisters hunkered down in their home together away from their drummer and with no live shows on the horizon, Nadine The Band’s music has taken a new, acoustic form online in videos that showcase both the musicality and comedic chemistry of the Strong sisters as they perform original songs such as “Tribal Mechanics” and “Baby Come Home” as well as covers from artists like Lana Del Rey and Adele.
To date, Nadine The Band has released seven original songs during the quarantine.
“Hopefully when this quarantine is over, we can get back to it and play some venues. We don’t have anything that we’re officially recording right now, but we have over an album’s worth of new songs,” Heather said.
Although plans to perform live were put on hold in February, living together and making music is nothing new for Heather and Julie who have played under the Nadine The Band banner for the better part of 17 years. With a background in band, choir and musical theatre stretching back to elementary school and with musicians as parents, Heather and Julie were seemingly destined to rock together.
That sense of destiny was solidified by their dad one Christmas morning with a gift for Heather.
“I wanted to play the drums…but then for Christmas my dad got me a bass guitar and made the choice for me, so now I’m a bass player,” Heather said with a laugh.
“It’s like he knew something we didn’t. It’s like he knew a band needed a bass guitar player,” Julie, the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist, said.
By 2003 the band, not yet backed by Duenas on drums, was playing for live audiences and by 2006 they were performing at venues in Los Angeles to Modesto and everywhere in between.
“We’ve played basically every town in the Valley that we can,” Heather said.
Initially inspired by classic rock bands like Queen, The Eagles, Heart and Fleetwood Mac, as well as the punk/emo scene of the early 2000s, Nadine The Band’s current catalog of songs have embraced a more Pop sound. Something its members were less than willing to admit in earlier years.
“The songs that we write now, I feel like they’re just all over the board,” Julie said.
Though they may have embraced the Pop in their music, Nadine The Band’s songs are anything but conventional. Instead, they are quirky with a tongue-in-cheek humor perfectly fit for an online audience.
“I got so sick of writing songs about boys — writing love songs and breakup songs — I was like, ‘I’m just going to start writing songs about zombies.’” Julie said.
One such song is the aforementioned “Tribal Mechanics” where Julie, backed by Heather’s harmonies, belts out the lyrics:
“Just know that you can’t stop me now.
You can’t fight back when you’re broken down.
Just know that it’s all over now.
And all you can do is…
Be afraid, love. It’s too late to be brave.
Be afraid love, be afraid.
Be afraid, love. Digging your,
digging your grave.”
The result is a bass-driven earworm of a song.
“I write the songs, so I write the main melody, and that’s the only way it can happen because I cannot harmonize to save my life. Heather’s so good at it,” Julie said.
“We get along really well and I think there’s some kind of telepathic connection, too. So that helps with the music,” Heather said.
Although their hometown of Atwater has recently made headlines declaring itself a sanctuary city from California’s shutdown orders, there are no clear plans for any upcoming public performances by the band. Still, getting back on stage and in front of a live audience sits atop Nadine The Band’s wish list.
Until that happens, however, fans of the female-fronted group can enjoy their songs and antics via the internet by subscribing to their YouTube channel where they have been uploading new videos at least once a week.