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Making it in a rock band has never been easy. But right now, it’s maybe never been harder. Gig venues are closing by the day.

Music, old and new, is available to stream through countless apps and websites. There’s more to compete with, and less money to be made. Chucking in a steady 9-5 for a life on stage is riskier than ever. But Naked Giants don’t care. They’re doing it for themselves.

“We’re here to make as much noise and get as sweaty as we can. And if that resonates with people, that’s who we want to play for.”

“Music has always been there: through the darkest days and the best ones. It keeps you going regardless of what happens in life.”

They know it won’t be easy. Long tours. Little job security. And no guarantee of success. But Gianni Aiello, Grant Mullen and Henry LaVallee are willing to stick it all on the line, partly to follow their passion, and partly because they believe the world needs a new era of rock music right now.

Heralding from Seattle, the birthplace of grunge, they’re highly aware of the chequered history of guitar music, and want to do their bit to put it right. Naked Giants’ live shows are renowned, not just for the band’s explosive energy, but also the overriding feeling of security and inclusivity.

Frontman Grant Mullen has been known to stop mosh pits that have gotten out of hand, and frequently checks-in to ensure everyone in the crowd is comfortable. The band are environmentally conscious and do their best to minimise the ecological downsides of touring.

"Rock history is full of violence, racism, exploitation, misogyny... the list goes on way too long. We’re fortunate to be in an era where young bands are taking it upon themselves to be more than just entertainment — a force for good."

Naked Giants know they can’t “unlearn and undo” the past on their own. But they’re spearheading a wave of bands who are looking inward: challenging themselves to be more conscious, self-aware and contemporary. It won’t happen overnight. But bit by bit, gig by gig, they’re working to re-tune rock for a new generation.

“Positive change comes very slowly and is cyclical at that… the most we can do is to take every opportunity for positive movement and help others see they can do the same.”


In six decades, the definition of tough has changed.
We asked Naked Giants what it means to be tough in 2020.