The History section of this web site is very sparse, especially the pages from 1980, onward. With time, these pages will be flushed out with lots of photos, and the sparse text will be replaced with, ah, well - it'll be replaced. The text following 1980 comes directly from Joe Nolte. Hopefully someone out there will be "encouraged" to write me with alternate ideas about the events described...




The Last started to take shape in 1976, when Joe Nolte, Dave Harbison, and Vic Pizarro performed in a band called The Power (named after a song by Mike Nolte). The Power haunted bars in Santa Monica and Torrance from June to September - starting with the latest disco hits to songs by The Modern Lovers, and Iggy and the Stooges.

David Nolte: "I grew up watching Joe and Mike play music and what later became the Last started when Joe and Vitus formed a high school prog-rock band in the early '70's. Playing under names like Twyce at high school assemblies, the band would cover things like 'Cruel Sister' by Pentangle in the same set as 'Pushin' Too Hard' by the Seeds. The band's originals sounded like Frank Zappa writing for Jethro Tull, very strange. Mike, on the other hand, was very into David Bowie and Elton John and spent a lot of time singing and playing piano and developing his '70's alter-ego Lonnie Loy."

In October, the first original lineup of The Last had taken place, with Joe Nolte on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Nolte on backup vocals, Dave Harbison on bass, Danny Winter on guitar, Sean Doherty on keyboards, and Mike Clarke on drums. Vitus Mataré was, as Joe puts it, "there to record the mess." Sean left after the first session. Vitus sat in occasionally on flute, and David Nolte frequently played percussion, as shown in the photo below. The name of the band came from a long list of possible names, and was thought up by Mike Nolte.

The Last in 1976

Left to right: Vitus Mataré, David Nolte, Mike Clarke, Joe Nolte (1976)


In November, the band recorded a demo tape which Joe gave to the staff of a fairly new magazine called Back Door Man - a magazine Joe admired since they had decent articles on cool bands, such as The Ramones. Unfortunately, Joe gave them the only copy of that demo tape, and it was lost in what Phast Phreddie calls, the "virtual Bermuda Triangle" that was D.D. Faye's bedroom. The staff at Back Door Man liked the tape very much, however. You can read Phast Phreddie's glowing review here.