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...
|| 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.
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 direction 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. Dave 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."
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
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!