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Boys Next Door, The

Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Tracy Pew and Phil Calvert were attending Caulfield Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia, when they formed The Boys Next Door in 1975.

Initial inspiration came from 1960s R&B/pop (The Who, Them) and 1970s glam rock (Bowie, Roxy Music) plus a few American icons (Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, The Ramones). By 1978, the group were part of a thriving alternative new wave music scene centred on the Crystal Ballroom in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of St Kilda.

The Boys Next Door issued a version of the Nancy Sinatra classic These Boots Are Made For Walking in April 1978 and appeared on the Lethal Weapons compilation from Suicide Records before Rowland S. Howard joined in December 1978.


Their album Door Door was released on Mushroom Records in April 1979, accompanied by the single Shivers, composed by Howard.

Later that year, the band signed with the local Missing Link label and released the 12-inch EP Hee Haw – a sign of things to come.

The band had moved into more abstract pastures with the simple song arrangements offset by lots of jagged edges and Howard’s abrasive guitar noise. The influence of bands like The Fall and Gang of Four had also started to take hold.

Intent on destroying the remnants of their new wave past, The Boys Next Door relocated to London in February 1980, rebranding themselves as The Birthday Party en route.

Nick Cave
Mick Harvey
Tracy Pew
Phil Calvert
Rowland S Howard