REVIEWS 1978

KUCR Radio Interview | LA Herald Examiner | LA Beat | Flipside | New York Rocker 1
Bomp 1 | New York Rocker 2 | La Vista | Bomp 2 | Back Door Man 1 | Lobotomy
LA Times 1 | Slash 1 | Back Door Man 2 | LA Times 2 | Suzan Substitute
Biff Bang Pow | Slash 2 | Tom | BAM | New York Rocker 3 | Melody Maker

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from: KUCR Radio (University of California, Riverside) Suzan Substitute
Either Spring of Fall — exact date unknown

[The Real Audio clip (above) features the Last as special guests in the studio of a local college radio show, and also includes the songs "Bombing of London" (by The Last) and "The Wanker Song" (definitely NOT The Last). Any stupid comments anyone makes during the interview is most likely due to their age at the time. The band used to be a lot younger years ago...

This clip is all I have of this show. It might be all that was ever recorded — I don't know. —Dan]

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from: Los Angeles Herald Examiner
January 24

Whisky Punk: The Good, The Bad and The Fast

There were those at the Whisky Friday night commenting that the music played between sets was better than that being performed live. The Fast, the Last, the Tremors and the Nerves were being showcased by a company called Bomp which runs a record company and a retail store in North Hollywood and publishes a punk magazine. Yet none of the four bands record with Bomp, a predominantly punk or new wave label.

Led by Paul Zone, a solid rock 'n' roll ringer with powerful stage presence and some of the most bizarre concepts for theatrics this side of Soupy Sales, the Fast, a New York power pop band, made the agony of enduring the three other bands worthwhile...

—Andrew Epstein

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from: LA Beat
#1 — February

The Last — "She Don't Know Why I'm Here"

Even if this band doesn't look like much on the sleeve, listen to this record and you'll find a local band that has penned a totally convincing and energetic 45, echoing the exciting reverberated sounds of the classic "real punk" bands of the 60's: The Standells, Shadows of Knight, Electric Prunes, etc. Not particularly a 'big bucks' production (they even wrote the song titles on each one!) don't expect to find it at just any record store. But do look!

—S. Z.

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from: Flipside
#6 — February

THE LAST (WITH F-WORD, DILS, AVENGERS) jan. 7 — masque

at last the last, these guys have a single out and greg shaw raves about them — and they are pretty good. They do a sixties sounding fast heavy metalish pop set with good songs that emphasize a dominant vocal role. They came across really well but a long set for an opening act.

—al

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from: New York Rocker

The Last's "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" also suffers from indifferent production, sounding as if it could have come out of any garage in 1966 with its cheesy organ, slightly off-base guitars and crude vocals. But it's got the power to sustain by the hour, and is a terrific anachronism. I'm reminded of Don Waller's trenchant complaint about the New Wave, which goes something like "the midsixties garage bands were trying as hard as they could — under crappy conditions — to make good records, while a lot of modern bands sound like they're trying to make purposely bad records." The Last's record sounds as if economics put them in a position where this is the best record they could make. If so, they've made a beauty, and I'd like to hear them recorded well.

—Ken Barnes

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from: Bomp! Magazine
March

"Where The Action Is" column

The real beauty of New Wave is that it can produce such completely unexpected, unprecedented, off-the-wall records as "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" by The Last, a single that arrived in our office with a plain label inscribed only with 'Pure Pop for Greg Shaw.' Thus intrigued, we put it on and heard the most amazing blast of energetic noise since ... no, we'd never heard anything quite like it. There were shades of the Leaves, Knickerbockers, Lollipop Shoppe, Friend & Lover ... it was the sound of 1965 LA folk rock run through the seive of '77 punk, recorded in a garage and sounding like it, yet with such power, such an outpouring of pure life-energy that it didn't matter that it would never get on the radio — it was a clearcut classic.

Suffice it to say we tracked down The Last. They are: Joe Nolte (singer, guitarist, songwriter, etc), Vitus Matare (keyboards, flute, electronics), Dave Harrison (bass), Jack Reynolds (drums) and Mike Nolte (backing vocals and percussion). They started in LA in the summer of '76 with this philosophy: "Dedicated to the abolishment of regressive and boring musical trends, and the revival of those musical forms that made life in the '60s so exciting, in the belief that one has to go backward in order to go forward."

After their share of being thrown out of disco bars for playing "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "Pablo Picasso", they've confined performances to parties and an occasional "New Wave Weekend" at the Whisky. By October '77, "Our heads were hurtin' like crazy from bein' banged against brick walls, and we didn't even have a record out fer Christs sake. So we put one out." They only pressed 250 copies and couldn't afford labels, although they made up picture sleeves. Naturally, they've all been sold, but a repressing (possibly on BOMP) is in the works and should be available by the time you read this.

(written anonymously by Greg Shaw)

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from:
New York Rocker
(Spring '78)

Rockin' Out the South Bays!

Every large city's got a "South Bay" — only it's not always called that, especially if it's in a town like St. Louis or Denver or Omaha. You've got to have an ocean, or at least a Great Lake, to call it a South Bay. But, in fact, a South Bay by any other name is still gonna be a "South Bay": a part of the urban sprawl — or urban blight — that grows up around all our major cities. They're kind of like suburbs, but they're satellite cities, too — all mixed together.

In L.A., the South Bay translates as that area south of L.A. and west of Long Beach. Unlike the Valley or Orange County, the South Bay was settled by people who simply liked the weather and the proximity to L.A. — not because they were deathly afraid of black people. Haphazard development led to the creation of areas like Carson Street where in 15 minutes' worth of driving you'll pass aerospace factories, oil refineries, tree-lined suburban streets with a motor home in every garage, and projects full of greaser gangs who still carve each other up on Friday nights to the strains of "Angel Baby." (Hovering over all this, a hedonistic beach city ambience.)

Growing up in L.A.'s South Bay, you look at things a little differently than the spoiled Valley kids whose only contact with the world outside suburbia comes out of a TV tube, or the Hollywood hand-out hang-on artistes desperate for their 15 minutes of fame. No wonder the South Bay bands are different. They don't even resemble one another. The only quality they share (besides their origin) is their singular lack of pretense. And that doesn't mean it's all just for fun either.

The Last But Not Least

The Last, led by guitarist/singer songwriter extraordinaire Joe Nolte, and featuring his younger brothers, Mike (second lead vocals) and David (bass / vocals), plus neighborhood pals Vitus Matare (keyboards) and Jack Reynolds (drums), wail from Hermosa Beach, a surf, sex and partyin' hangout in the grand tradition.

"She Don't Know Why I'm Here" b/w "Bombing of London" is their single (on Bomp). "She..." is their masterpiece. Abysmally produced (they did it themselves and didn't have a whole lot of money), it's a modern punkadelic classic with shaded of the Lollipop Shoppe, Love and the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Flashin' back to 1966. A gold nugget 'cause you dug it, indeed.

Although recent live performances have revealed the Last to be under-rehearsed and under-funded, they're always immensely enjoyable. Mostly because Joe writes songs with more hooks than a meat-packing plant. A certifiable talent, this dude can sing like Arthur Lee, play guitar like (early) Dave Davies and looks like Joe Strummer to boot.

Give these guys about 3 years and they're gonna be a definite commercial force. You gotta remember Brian Wilson and his brothers came from Hawthorne — about 5 miles up the street from Hermosa — and we all know how that story ends. This time it could be the Last.

—Don Waller and Howie Klein

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from: Mira Costa High School "La Vista"
March 17

DAVID NOLTE EXPANDS 'PUNK ROCK' INTERESTS

In his familiar uniform of blue jeans, a t-shirt labeled "ramones", and a skinny black tie, Sophomore David Nolte displays his dedication to a new wave of music called "Punk Rock".

At the age of fifteen, David will be traveling with the "The Last" rock group to England where they will be playing in night clubs. His group plays a mixture of Punk Rock and music of the 60's.

The group has played in various night clubs in Southern California, but has only had a long engagement at "The Whisky" in Hollywood. This is because most night clubs want bands that play disco music.

They made their first single which features their song "She Don't Know Why I'm Here." It was re-released last week on Bomp Records.

They will also be recording a three-sided record during Easter Vacation. It will include "L.A. Explosion," "Go Away Girl," and "Obliteration." This record will be released in June.

Included in the band are David's two brothers, Mike and Joe, and two other members, Vitus Matare and Jack Reynolds. David plays bass mainly, but he also plays rhythm guitar and percussion.

David's hobbies are tied to music and basically to Punk Rock. He spends most of his free time practicing, going to concerts, and supporting the local Punk Rock scene.

He feels that the myth of gross and ugly people throwing-up on old ladies surrounding Punk Rock is totally wrong and exaggerated by the media.

"People should give Punk Rock and its followers a chance and listen to it before they go out and start calling us freaks," states David.

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from:
Bomp! Magazine
#18 — March

JUKE BOX JURY

Meanwhile the local efforts are getting better all the time. Check out the sense of life and energy in "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" by the Last (Backlash), an LA record that, despite (or maybe because of) its grungy, 1964 garage sound, puts me in mind of the Lollipop Shoppe, the Leaves, the Knickerbockers ... it's a record that could only have been made in LA; hearing this the same month I saw Nervus Rex is enough to make me wonder if folk-rock isn't yet another coming trend...

—Greg Shaw

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from:
Back Door Man
#14 — March/April

Kingdoms of the Radio column

When an EP of obscure Chocolate Watch Band material (which is obscure, in its own right) is bootlegged (Mutt records — "Mysty Lane," "She Weaves a Tender Trap", "Sweet Young Thing", and "I Don't Need Your Lovin'" — an absolute MUST!) and sells a respective quantity, there can only be one conclusion: A New Age of Psychedelia is at hand. An Age that this journalist has been waiting for since, well, the last one. In 1984, an aging Lenny Kaye will conspire with a major record company and compile a two-record set entitled Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era — 1977 - ? which will feature, no doubt, "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" by the Blue Oyster Cult, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" by Pere Ubu, "Venus" by Television, Richard Hell's version of "Walking on Water", Roky Erickson's incredible "Two-Headed Dog" and an excerpt from Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.

Other contenders for inclusion on this LP will have to be "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" by the Last, "Aliens in Our Midst" by the Twinkeyz, "Fly-in" by the Human Switchboard, "Shirley" by the Mirrors, "Wild Dub (Version)" by Generation X, and "Wading Through a Ventilator" by the Soft Boys. Each of these "nuggets" is loaded with obvious influences of mind expanding drugs and/or total insanity.

Of these contenders, the Last's "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" is by far the best. It has a distinct Sixties punkadelic sound as if it were made by a "supergroup" with members from the Leaves, Love and the Lollipop Shoppe. The Last recently made their debut performance at the Masque — L.A.'s hippest teen night club — where they proved to be quite an exciting band. For some people it may be just another little record, but for me it's one giant step out of Mr. Peabody's Way-Back Machine into 1966 Sunset strip. Hand me down my paisley shirt.

—Phast Phreddie

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from:
Lobotomy
Issue #5 (spring '78)

bags — the last — the weirdos — march 31 — whiskey

the last — last words ... just time killers; i'd rather hear a tape on the p.a......

—r. mcgeddon

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from:
Los Angeles Times
April 2

L.A. Singles: A Potent Home Brew

"Beat on the brat", "Pretty vacant", "No future", "I wanna be your dog" — these punk lyrics have become slogans of the new wave scene. But the movement's most important maxim may be: Do It Yourself.

The recent burgeoning of privately produced and released singles hasn't dented the $3 billion-a-year music industry, but some feel that its impact will be profound.

Says Greg Shaw, whose Bomp Records is a major distributor of do-it-yourself singles: "The most significant aspect of the new scene is the creation of this market. The reason we haven't been able to listen to the music we like for 10 years is strictly economic, and now we're creating a system that can support that music. The fans are taking control of the music they want to hear.

I don't think the industry has realized the implications of what's going on, but they'll have to change their policies, their ways of discovering talent, their relations with local groups and scenes. They won't be able to sit on Mt. Olympus waiting for Bob Ezrin to deliver the next Kiss."

The average cost of recording and pressing a single is about $1,000. Distributors like Bomp and the far larger JEM can place 5,000 copies in about 100 stores nationwide. While artists can expect a small return on their investments, profit isn't the motive.

"If you get some reviews and airplay," says Shaw, "you're in a position of power an unknown band in a garage doesn't have. It's a stepping-stone, and it gives you leverage when you try to get signed or get better bookings.

Because these records circulate in a tightly knit network, promotional costs are low, and the music can dare to be different. Shaw: "It's pretty much limited to real fans, and they make it their business to find out what's available. It's not for groups who try to copy what's on the charts. Eventually the audience will be broad enough to support any kind of esoterica."

The output in Southern California alone suggests that that time has come. Punk predominates the alternative marketplace, but the current crop yields an amazingly diverse range of styles: heavy metal, powerpop, mainstream hard rock, novelty, rockabilly.

The Last: "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" with "Bombing of London" (Backlash): Powerpop from a young Hermosa Beach group, "She Don't Know" recalls the '60s garage-band sound, with all its advantages (a raw, driving spirit) and drawbacks (low fidelity, marginal presence). The song itself is first-rate pop, featuring a nice buildup of controlled furiosity.

—Richard Cromelin

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from:
Slash Magazine
Volume 1 Numer 9 — April

Local Shit column

The Dreva/Gronk "Art Meets Punk" (meets Vatos meets Glitter meets Blacks meets Voyeurs, etc.) was, to say the least, unique. The Last & The Bags played to a huge crowd of drunken rowdies fighting & writhing in a sea of beer & wine... In the aftermath, Dreva was quoted: "The Art was stolen, the place completely trashed... A complete success!"

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from:
Back Door Man

1966. What a year! Bobby Fuller died. Little Willie John was sent to prison for stabbing a man to death in a barroom brawl. Richard Speck stood trial for killing some student nurses. The Rolling Stones sold out a concert at the Hollywood Bowl that earned them $100,000. A '66 Mustang cost $2,123. Sandy Koufax pitched for the Dodgers. And in July, "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful was the number one record in the country. There is a new Rock 'n' Roll band in Los Angeles that sounds just like all that. They are The Last. Where did they come from and why are they here?

Not too long ago, a girl we remember, one D.D. Faye, worked in a kinda sqare-ish record store in Torrance. A guy named Joe Nolte also worked there. He was sort of odd looking with wild hair, a wirey Insert scary picture of Joe here!goatee and mystically beady eyes that always looked as if they were laughing at you, knowing something that you didn't. To be quite frank, he kinda gave me the creeps, but he seemed cool enough. I remember a party that the Zippers threw about six months ago and I was asked to be official disk spinner. Joe was there and whenever the Seeds, Standells, or Electric Prunes were played, he'd get up from a drunken stupor and dance around the living room by himself. D.D. had mentioned to me that Joe was in a band and she even got a tape of the band, but I was never able to hear it 'cause it somehow got lost in her room — a virtual Bermuda Triangle of sorts.

Then their single, "She Don't Know Why I'm Here," came out. After that I never stopped listening to The Last. "She Don't Know" is the kind of song that buzzes around in your head for the rest of your life. There's no escape from it (as if one would want to). I can be doing anything — watching TV, driving around, or playing baseball — and still I'd hear the song in my head:

 
      This one's for you —
          you modified petrified hypocrites
      God! To raise your children like goldfish
      In plastic naugahyde cells.

 

I mean, Jeez, what lines. What brilliant lines. And that's just the ending. Great stuff, man.

Their first live gig was at the Masque in early January of this year. They proved that "She Don't Know" was not their only good song. In fact, the band was so good that I was left in tears. I was totally floored. Joe had shaven his goatee by this time, by the way.

As you may have guessed, Joe is not the only caricature in The Last. Vitus Matare plays a Farfisa organ. Jack Reynolds plays the drums. Joe has two bro's who help out, as well. Mike beats a tambourine and occasionally adds back-up vocals and 15 year old David plays bass. Joe is the guitarist and lead singer as well as songwriter for the band.

The Last sound is directly out of 1966. Joe is extremely fond of ten year old punk records and incorporates similar sounds but with a more contemporary attack. I mean, picture Johnny Rotten singing for The Seeds, or something. The Last have been favorably compared to The Seeds, The Knickerbockers, The Lollipop Shoppe and Arthur Lee's Love, but actually they are quite unique in that their sound only reminds you of 1966, but you can't put your finger on a certain one band that they sound like. You really gotta hear them.

Although "She Don't Know" is indubitably the finest song yet to spew forth from Joe's pen, there are others that give cose competition. They include the spiteful "Go Away Girl," "The Power" is about submitting to an inevitable doom; "Obliteration" is about drug crazed girls; the plight of the working class is the subject matter of "Mr. Slavedriver;" "It's Time" is an anthem of a new generation taking over ("Their world is almost gone/ And our has just begun"); "Bombing of London" concerns the German blitzkrieg raids on England during World War II (the disturbing end reads "Swear I'm going to see it through/ In yeas to come I'll settle down/ But I won't forget"); a Reggae intro is used in "Walk Like Me," a tune involving a revolution in a third world nation; in "L.A. Explosion," The Last actually flash back to 1966.

 
       You can talk you can joke
           'bout the days of old
       When the kids would run in thousands
       To the Whisky, the Trip
           on the Sunset Strip
       Though the cops would swarm around us

 

And it sounds sorta like the Buffalo Springfield (their "For What It's Worth" was about the riots on the Strip in those fabulous days).

It is this Last sound — transporting Last beliefs — that is capturing the minds and emotions of avid Tenny-boppers, super cool cats, and the average listen-to-what's-on-the-radio-man kids. Obviously the Last is something special, something conveyed only by a precious few. And Joe Nolte still has mystically beady eyes.

—Phast Phreddie

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from:
Los Angeles Times
May 30, 1978

New Punk Bands: From Zeros to Last

Every few weeks, Larchmont Hall becomes a noisy pogo pocket in the middle of the Wilshire District's sleepy Larchmont Village. The room's unglamorous, down-to-earth atmosphere is an ideal setting for the new crop of Southland bands, and last weekend's four-group show was typical of these budding punk productions — a bit disorganized and grueling, but musically rewarding.

The music began nearly two hours after the scheduled 8 p.m. starting time, and ended in a confusing complex of blackouts and a closing curtain call by L.A.'s finest.

. . . .

The Last went first, and the Hermosa Beach group brought an increasing tightness and power to its previously noted attributes: a youthful urgency, an intriguing cross between '60s rock and modern punk, a good songwriting knack and a tenacious if still a bit awkward and formative delivery. The Last will also appear with the Zippers and Furys Friday at the Elks Building near MacArthur Park.

—Richard Cromelin

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from:
(unknown San Diego magazine)
(August '78)

ZIPPERS / PENETRATORS / LAST at Abbey Road, 3 July

New wave nightlife returns after a prolonged (one month) absence, another Monday nite at Abbey Road and this one is sponsored by Sub, so you know it's going to be fun.

The Last play rough, but you can obviously tell there's a youthful energy here and, though not quite as apparent, a musical tradition — late '60s "punk" bands, American suburbia garageland types. OK, so it takes a little homework to really get into the Last — like listening to their new single ("She Don't Know Why I'm Here") three or four or 17 times — but it's worth the effort.

—Suzan Substitute

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from:
Biff Bang Pow
September

The Last — Every Summer Day / Hitler's Brother. Backlash.

And Joe, you're bitchen! Joe Nolte writes most of the Last's material and he's one of the only American rockers worth paying attention to and for his trouble he's been given quite a hard time (say no more) that's the reason this 45 is a so-called limited edition fan club single. The last Last single 'She Don't Know Why I'm Here' was an unexpected favorite of '77 and 'Every Summer Day' is a concise bit of sentiment toward the essence of summer. They're about the only band that can shine through production this murky (blame it on the engineer!) I hope they sort out their problems and deluge America with their visionary 60s-70s pop.

—written anonymously (I believe) by (I believe) Lisa Fancher

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from:
Slash Magazine
September 1978

Records From Points Closer to Home

Now that their first, extra-fab 45 has been re-released ("She Don't Know Why I'm Here" on BOMP!), the Last have released their second single on their own Backlash Records. It takes a few plays to get thru the grunge of the production, but it's worth it. "Every Summer Day" easily enters the California Summer Song Hall of Fame! If Sky Saxon was "alive" today, he'd sure appreciate the "Seeds meet Jan & Dean in a garage" quality of this record. The Last have genuine talent and Joe Nolte can really write songs. It's a shame that they are probably L.A.'s best-kept secret. The limited availability of the new 45 (only 150 made) will do little to change that.

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from:
(unknown San Diego magazine)
(October '78)

AVENGERS / LAST/ CRAWDADDYS at Abbey Road, 4 September

Not much can be said about the Last. They played good rock and roll with Seeds / Standells / Music Machine overtones and were for the most part ignored. That's okay though, 'cause bands like the Last will be around long after the trendies are gone.

—Tom

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from:
BAM (Bay Area Music)
October 20

...with hippies dropping like flies anyway, do we really need this call to arms?

It's a different story with The Last. "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" b/w "Bombing of London" is a certified punk classic, recalling as it does the finest tradition of the Blues Magoos, Count Five, and the Electric Prunes. From the opening note of "She Don't Know", this writer experienced his first acid flashback in years. Psychedelia lives, so stand up and be counted. If you're into strobe light pogoing, this is the record for you. On Bomp Records.

—Davin Seay

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from:
New York Rocker
Fall, 1978

Stranger in Town

A couple of records in the latest Bomp crop are of interest, notably the reissue of the Last's 60's time-warp rocker "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" (they're considered by many L.A.'s top potential new rock band, and it would be great to hear them under decent production conditions).

—Ken Barnes

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from:
Melody Maker
#33 — Fall '78

20/20 "Giving It All"/The Last "She Don't Know"/The Dodgers "Don't Let Me Be Wrong"

However inaccurate it might be, small labels acquire identities — ponder on Stiff, Radar, Chiswick and so on. Greg Shaw's West Coast Bomp strike force is no exception. Moored in the British beat boom, it frequently serves up bright-eyed pop with a hint of rebellion. Here are another couple of examples. Blend Greg Kihn's looks and melodic base with a tough Rubinoos and some outrageously borrowed Beatles harmonies and you'll find 20/20. The Last are rougher (and better), soaring through some fine pop bluster with double-decker harmonies reminiscent of the first Move album...