Central Valley

Naked Brothers, well, not really, set to play at fair

TURLOCK -- Fairgoers unfamiliar with the Nickelodeon channel show "The Naked Brothers Band" likely will have one question on their mind about tonight's main act on the Budweiser Variety Free Stage: What's with the name?

The answer is simple: Yes, they are brothers; and, no, they will not be naked. (The fair is family-friendly entertainment, after all.)

And, to be precise, the act is billed as Nat and Alex Wolff, though fans automatically think "Naked Brothers," just as Miley Cyrus fans immediately connect her with "Hannah Montana."

The Wolff brothers, stars of the Nickelodeon mockumentary -- a zany show about a children's rock band touring the country -- have dropped the "Naked Brothers" label for their Summer Road Trip Tour '09, which makes an appearance today as part of Kids' Free Night at the Stanislaus County Fair.

The pair will perform many of the songs they wrote and recorded for the TV show, adding some new songs and a cover song or two. While the Wolff brothers are not touring as The Naked Brothers, they aren't trying to avoid the connection. Even their tour bus looks like the one on the show.

"It's kind of like life imitating art," Nat said in a phone interview while taking a break from the tour to visit their grandparents in New York.

The Wolffs hail from Los Angeles and were born to perform. The boys -- Nat is 14 and Alex is 11 -- are the sons of Michael Wolff, a musician and former bandleader for "The Arsenio Hall Show," and Polly Draper, one of the stars of the hit 1980s show "Thirtysomething."

Draper wrote and directed "The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie" as a pilot and the show was picked up by Nickelodeon in 2007. The boys wrote and performed all of the songs on the show, which ran three seasons. As for the Naked Brothers name -- when the boys were young, they once jumped out of the bathtub shouting, "We're the naked brothers band!"

The two are serious musicians -- Nat is the lead singer, plays keyboards and guitar, and is a songwriter; Alex sings some and is the band's drummer.

Nat claims The Beatles, Nirvana and James Taylor as some of his songwriting influences. "I like good clear melodies, well-crafted songs," he said. "That's the thing I work hardest on."

Tonight's free concert is another aimed at young fair- goers. Last year, the fair booked Disney Channel regular Raven-Symoné, who packed the amphitheater with mostly screaming youngsters.

"Last year, we started looking at kids entertainment for our kids night, and booked Raven-Symoné," fair spokeswoman Pennie Rorex said. "We got such wonderful feedback from parents and our young guests saying how nice it was. It was such a tremendous success, we knew we had to do it again."

The Wolff brothers promise that everyone, kids and adults alike, will find something to like about tonight's show, which is scheduled to start at 8:30.

"People have a ton of fun at the shows," Alex said. "We like to make them feel like they're part of our band.

"Adults do go, ... I don't think wanting to go -- but they come out very happy. It's not just for little kids; anyone at any age will have fun."

On the Net:

For more on the Wolff brothers, visit www.natnalex.com.

Bee staff writer Jim Silva can be reached at jsilva@modbee.com or 578-2279.

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