The year started with a bang. Well, okay, it was 4 months into the new year, but it sounded exciting to start the paragraph that way. Joe and longtime girlfriend Missy Buettner split-up in June of 2002. It's a long, involved, and personal story, but to sum it all up, by April 2004, both bassist Missy Buettner and drummer Robbie Rist are no longer in the Last (more or less a mutual parting of the ways).

A couple of months later, it was announced that Decendents/All figureheads Bill Stevenson (pictured below) and Karl Alvarez (pictured further below) had joined the band. Joe and Bill had been talking about playing in the same band for decades, and now the timing just seemed right.

Mike, Joe & Bill @ the Surfside Bar, Colorado


Joe and Mike travelled to Colorado to record a 6-song demo with Bill & Karl, consisting of the songs "I Know," "Go Away Sunday," "When That I Am Dead," "Unreal Love," "I'm Not Crazy" and "Faces in Your Eyes." Joe describes the demo as "a surreal blend of OG Black Flag/Descendents/Alleycats hardcore colliding with swirling keyboards, 12 string phantoms and maddened screams from hell giving way to pop harmonies, all driven into your skull by a pretty damned powerful rhythm section."

Here is a Real Video clip of the demo sessions. [48 Kbps] [269 Kbps]

While in Colorado, Joe, Mike and Karl performed an impromtu acoustic set at a local bar, near the Blasting Room (where the recording was done).

In November, Joe and Mike flew back to Ft Collins, CO, to record the next Last album—a replacement of the ill-fated "Shank" project which never was completed. The majority of the recording was done at the Blasting Room until Joe lost his voice after the Starlight gig (the remaining vocals were done in Hermosa Beach on Dec 3rd and later in January of 2005). Plans were to get the album released in the Spring of 2005, followed by a tour in the Summer. That didn't happen...

The Starlight gig was videotaped, but the audio was too distorted for use, unfortunately. Joe noticed someone else filming that night, so perhaps we'll eventually find out who that was and get a copy of that gig to rotate on the Video Page.

Mike, Karl & Joe perform at Lucky Joe's in Colorado

Here are the 2004 performances by The Last:

November 20, 2004 - The Starlight, Ft Collins, CO
Joe Nolte, Mike Nolte, Karl Alvarez, Bill Stevenson