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The Last (band)

The Last is an American, Los Angeles-based power pop band, formed in the 1970s around three brothers: Joe (guitar, vocals), Mike (vocals), and David Nolte (bass guitar). They released several albums on SST Records and Bomp! Records.

The Last
OriginLos Angeles, United States
GenresPower pop, rock, surf rock
LabelsBomp!, SST, End Sounds
Associated actsDescendents
Trotsky Icepick
Wednesday Week
Chemical People
Past membersJoe Nolte
Mike Nolte
David Nolte
Dave Harbison
Danny Winter
Sean Doherty
Mike Clarke
Vitus Mataré
Jack Reynolds
Luke Lohnes
Missy Buettner
Robbie Rist
John Frank
Dave Nazworthy
Larry P. Manke
Ed Urlik
Steve Andrews
John Rosewall
Karl Alvarez
Bill Stevenson



The Nolte brothers formed the band in 1976, and the band's sound was influenced by garage rock, surf rock, folk rock and psychedelic rock.[1][2] The first settled line-up also included Vitus Mataré (keyboards, flute) and Jack Reynolds (drums).[1] After three self-financed singles, the band was signed by Bomp! Records, who issued the debut album L.A. Explosion! in 1979 (described by Trouser Press as "a near-perfect debut").[2] It was also issued in the UK by London Records.[1] They reverted to their own Backlash label for second album Look Again (1980), and split up in the mid-1980s with David Nolte joining Wednesday Week and later Lucky, and Mataré forming Trotsky Icepick.[1] The band was considered a major influence on the psychedelia-influenced LA bands of the mid-1980s, including The Bangles and The Three O'Clock.[3]

A collection of tracks from the band's demos and singles was issued by French label Lolita in 1985 under the title Painting Smiles On A Dead Man. The band was reformed in 1988 by Joe and Mike Nolte along with Luke Lohnes (guitar, vocals), Larry P. Manke (bass guitar), and Dave Nazworthy (of Chemical People) (drums).[1] The new line-up signed to SST Records, releasing two albums in 1988 and 1989. The band went on hiatus in 1990, with Joe Nolte feeling "sort of disheartened" after the band's first national US tour (they had previously only played in California).[4] Joe reformed the band in 1994 and another album, Gin & Innuendoes, was released in 1996, with Robbie Rist replacing Nazworthy and Missy Buettner replacing Manke shortly after the album's release.[1][5] The early '80s lineup of the band, featuring Vitus Mataré and John Frank, still performs occasionally in Southern California. The Last are working on a new album for the label End Sounds. The bassist and drummer for the sessions were Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson, respectively. Alvarez and Stevenson form the rhythm sections for the bands ALL and the Descendents as well.

Joe and Mike Nolte have also recorded an acoustic album, Joe 'n' Mike.

David Nolte has worked as a touring bassist, working with Dave Davies of the Kinks, David Gray, The Wondermints and many others.

Mataré went on to become a successful architect and record producer.[2]



  • L.A. Explosion! (1979), Bomp!
  • Look Again (1980), Backlash
  • Painting Smiles on a Dead Man (1985), Lolita
  • Confession (1988), SST
  • Awakening (1989), SST
  • Gin & Innuendoes (1996), SST
  • Danger (2013), End Sounds[6]


  • "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" (1978), Backlash
  • "Every Summer Day" (1978), Backlash
  • "L.A. Explosion" (1978), Backlash
  • "Every Summer Day" (1979), Bomp!
  • "This Kind of Feeling" (1979), Line
  • Fade to Black EP (1982), Bomp!
  • "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (1982), Bomp!
  • "Up in the Air" (1982), Warf Rat


  1. ^ a b c d e f Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Last", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 89
  2. ^ a b c Lamey, Charles P.; Robbins, Ira; & Rabid, Jack "The Last", Trouser Press, retrieved 2010-09-21
  3. ^ Whalen, Kathi (1989) "The Last and the Cynics", Washington Post, August 21, 1989, p. B7
  4. ^ Morris, Chris (1996) "Declarations of Independents: NAIL Is One Sharp Wholesale Operation; The Last Is Back With 1st Set In 7 Years", Billboard, August 3, 1996, retrieved 2010-09-21
  5. ^ Kemper, Nick "The Last Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-09-21
  6. ^ "Streams: The Last: "I Know"". Retrieved 2014-06-13.

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