The Birthday Party, an Australian post-punk band, began under various names in Melbourne in 1973; formed by vocalist Nick Cave, guitarist Mick Harvey, drummer Phill Calvert, guitarist John Cocivera, bassist Brett Purcell, and saxophonist Chris Coyne —all of whom were students at Caulfield Grammar School. By 1978, following several membership changes, the band consisted of Cave, Harvey and Calvert with bassist Tracy Pew and guitarist Rowland S Howard. Under the name The Boys Next Door, the band released several singles and two studio albums, Door, Door in 1979 on Mushroom Records and The Birthday Party in 1980 on Missing Link Records.
Despite moderate success in Australia, The Boys Next Door relocated to London, England in 1980 and changed their name to The Birthday Party. In London, the band experienced underground critical success with a series of singles and two further studio albums, Prayers on Fire (1981) and Junkyard (1982); Junkyard was also a minor commercial success, peaking at number 72 on the UK Albums Chart upon its release.