The Boys Next Door (later changed to The Birthday Party) were an Australian post-punk band, active from 1978 to 1983. Despite limited commercial success their influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called "one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early 80's." The group's "bleak and noisy soundscapes" which drew irreverently on blues, free jazz and rockabilly, provided the setting for vocalist Nick Cave's disturbing tales of violence and perversion.
The nucleus of the band first met at the private boys school Caulfield Grammar in suburban Melbourne, in the early seventies. A rock group was formed in 1973, with Nick Cave (vocals), Mick Harvey (guitar), and Phill Calvert (drums), with other students John Cocivera, Brett Purcell and Chris Coyne (on guitar, bass and saxophone respectively). The band played under various names at parties and school functions with a mixed repertoire of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, Alice Cooper and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, among others.
After their final school year in 1975 the band decided to continue as a four-piece group, with friend Tracy Pew picking up the bass. Greatly affected by the punk explosion of 1976, The Boys Next Door, as they were now called, began performing punk and proto-punk cover versions, such as "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Gloria", and a few original songs. The Boys' second guitarist, Rowland S. Howard, joined in 1978, and about this time, the group's sound changed dramatically. The addition of Howard's guitar was certainly a catalyst.
The Boys Next Door's best known song, "Shivers", written by Howard, and first performed and recorded by his band The Young Charlatans, was banned by radio stations because of a reference to suicide. Their first album Door, Door was released in 1979.
After recordings and moderate success in Australia (including hundreds of live shows) they headed for London in 1980, changed their name to The Birthday Party and launched into a period of innovative and aggressive music-making.
See also: http://www.punkjourney.com/boys-next-door.php
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