Back side of She Don't Know...

This photo was used for the back cover of The Last's debut single, She Don't Know Why I'm Here .b/w Bombing of London. From left to right are: Mike Clarke (drums), Danny Winter (guitar), Mike Nolte (vocals), Vitus Mataré (keyboards), David Nolte (percussion), Joe Nolte (lead vocals/guitar), Dave Harbison (bass). The photo was cropped for the single, omitting Clarke and Winter, who were no longer in the band at the time of the single's release.



While David Nolte devoted most of his time to forming The Descendants with school friend, Frank Navetta, The Last continued practicing in whatever garage they could find. In April, the band got together for the above photo shoot for their planned first single, Go Away Girl .b/w L.A. Explosion. After the photo shoot, they went to Vitus' house to practice...
Dave Harbison  Instead, Dave Harbison and Mike Clarke (pictured l-r, respectively) left the band, due to, as Joe puts it, "my insistence on actually getting somewhere at practices." The band was effectively disbanded, though they did get together in May to record a few songs, including the version of Go Away Girl which was to be the band's first single and which Swedish band Sator will hopefully release a version of soon. The single was not released, since the band didn't really exist anymore. Mike Clarke

David Nolte: "Joe was the original record geek and worked at Platterpuss Records forever...his collection was a gold mine for me when I could get to it. I guess through the record store, Joe caught wind of Patti Smith and the Ramones when they first started happening because he was there at the Ramones first club appearance in L.A. which changed his The Last, before breaking updirection forever. At this point, Joe was the only band member into punk rock and was watching all of his friends from his prog years drop off like flies when they heard the music he was writing. It was very weird watching this happen because I was way into the stuff Joe was doing and thought his friends were idiots for not getting it. The first few songs he came up with after being exposed to this stuff still had a bit of the prog thing he'd been doing for years...in fact, when the Last debuted at the Masque they still had this song that broke down in the middle to just some quiet noodling and Joe chanting "This is...art" It was kinda funny. By the next show, I was playing bass and the prog was gone forever."


Dave Harbison found himself in a local Grateful Dead cover band, featuring drummer Jack Reynolds, who hit his skins so hard, he needed to place a large boulder inside his bass drum to keep it somewhat immobile. Jack embarrases JoeDave thought Jack would be perfect for The Last, who needed a drummer to replace Clarke. Dave rejoined the band in June, bringing Jack along with him. The band was alive again, though without Danny Winter...

<----- (Jack gooses Joe backstage at the Troubadour in 1979.)

<----- (Joe hates this picture.)

David Nolte: "Jack Reynolds was a large English guy who loved the Kinks and was a big contrast in style to Mike Clarke. The band started rehearsing in the Valley with Vitus on piano. The set they worked up that summer was the true beginning of the band. The Golden Earring and Bowie covers were replaced by punk versions of 60's British Invasion classics. Joe was writing new stuff all the time...the original "long" version of the song 'L.A. Explosion' was a standout, 'Don't Care' from their 1987 SST album was another. The sound of the band was the perfect blend of the Ramones and the original mid-sixties garage punk bands. I was 14 years old and really inspired by the whole process. I knew I had to be involved and I made Joe show me how to play the guitar."


Vitus Mataré


By August, Joe had convinced Vitus Mataré (pictured) to officially join The Last on keyboards. They recorded their first single, She Don't Know Why I'm Here, in September and released it themselves in November, under the name Backlash Records. For more information on this single, as well as all of The Last's releases, head on over to the Discography / Sound section!


The First single