The Last Drive

The Last Drive

The Last Drive is a Greek garage revival rock group which formed in 1983 and broke up in 1995. In January 2007, the band announced on their website that they got together again for some gigs.

Their story

1983-1986: The beginnings

They started playing under the name "Last Drive" in late 1983 and their first performance was at the "Rodeo club" on December 27, 1983. They adopted the name "Last Drive" after noticing a cocktail by that name at a bar menu. During 1984, Yiorgos Karanikolas was added on lead guitar. The group was basically playing garage rock mixed with rockabilly and surf rock . They started playing in underground joints of that time, while some band members played with Blue Light (group) at their first live performance at Pegasus club. In 1985 they released their first record, the 7" single "Midnite Hop", which now is the most sought-after record by collectors in Greece. They also participated with a song in a compilation tape by Dikaioma Diavasis records, "Live at the Kyttaro club".

1986-1990: Success in Europe

In 1986 they released their full-length LP album, called "Underworld Shakedown", which caused a sensation both for its content and the quality of production (by the Drive themselves) which was unusually high for the standards of the independent scene of that time. The LP contained covers of garage standards like Misirlou and Night of the phantom, as well as their own material. They continued to appear live in Athens and many other cities in Greece, and in the Spring of 1987 they toured abroad for the first time, in Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands. They performed alongside the Fuzztones, the Creeps, the Stomachmouths, the Dizzy Satellites and others. In 1988, having replaced Nick "Pop Mind" with Panos Kasiaris on rhythm guitar, they released "Heatwave", which was produced by Peter Zaremba of the Fleshtones. That was the album that established their name in Europe, where it was re-released (with a new cover) by Music Maniac Records, a German label specializing in garage-rock releases. Their success brought them to Germany, where they participated in the "Berlin Independence Days" festival and also recorded the "Time" EP.

By this time the sound of the group had started to somewhat change, becoming harder and speedier and moving towards stoner rock and neo-psychedelia, without however burning the bridges with its garage past. The band also caught the eye of Paul Cutler, of Dream Syndicate fame, who would produce their next two records.

1990-1995

Their LP "Blood Nirvana", which was released in 1990, marked the change in their sound, a fact that let down some of their hardcore garage fans and ended their cooperation with Music Maniac. At this time they were considered a part of the "explosion" of the hard rock/indie Greek scene that took part during the early 90's. Thus, they started becoming widely popular among rock fans in Greece, and on the same year they were voted "band of the year" by the readers of the leading music magazine, "Pop & Rock". They played as a support act for the Wipers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Gun Club, and toured Germany with Dead Moon. In 1992 they released the "F*head Entropy" album, which is their most mature work. Following a tour in Spain, the Last Drive celebrated their 10th anniversary with a live performance (pie fight included) at the "West Club" on December 23, 1993. In 1994, their contract with their long-time company, "Hitch Hyke Records", ended. They signed for the multinational "BMG Hellas" and released "Subliminal", an album in which songs followed a somewhat slower tempo than before, and also was to be their last release. In 1995, Karanikolas left the band and moved to the States. Some months later the Last Drive disbanded, after twelve years on the road, having created a dedicated following in Greece and abroad, an explosive live act, and a legend that most bands in Greece still envy.

After the Last Drive

Yiorgos Karanikolas created the band Blackmail, who generally picked up from where the Drive had stopped, but with a greater emphasis on neo-psychedelia, and became quite popular at the time.

Alex Kalofolias and Thanos Amorginos created The Earthbound in 1998, a band with a completely different orientation around ethnic/Latin/desert rock. There have been rare instances in which The Earthbound were joined on stage by former Drive members. Kalofolias and Karanikolas also co-wrote the music for Stratos Tzortzis' film Sose me "(Save me)". Amorginos also writes music for theatrical plays, while Kalofolias' main profession is now literature translation.

Chris Michalatos played for a while with "The Speedballs", a rockabilly act.

Reunion

In early 2007, the band announced on their official website their reunion for some gigs. They performed live in Athens on May 11th, 12th and 13th -all three dates being sold out- in Thessaloniki on the 19th and in Larissa on June 2nd.

Their first record ("Midnite Hop") is re-released by Greek DIY label Blind Bastard Records. They also played at the "Open Air Festival" in Athens on July 6. Finally, they were the headliners on the first day of the "Indie Rocket Festival 2007" (along with the Devastations, Acid Cobra and The Cesarians) that took place in Pescara, Italy on June 22nd . In May 2008 the band did another Greek tour while a live CD-DVD covering their reunion shows in Athens was just released Blind Bastard Records. The band is currently active composing and performing new songs.

Members

*Alexis Kalofolias (Alex K.) - ripper bass, vocals
*Yiorgos Karanikolas (B.George Bop) - lead guitar, vocals
*Christos Michalatos (Chris B.I.) - drums
*Nick "Pop Mind" - guitar
*Panos Kasiaris (P.PEP) - guitar
*Thanos Amorginos (T.H. Lime) - guitar

Discography

In Greece

Singles/EPs
*Midnite Hop (7", Art Nouveau 1985)
*I Was A Teenage Zombie (with the Fleshtones as "The Pleasure Hustlers") (Time Bomb: The Fleshtones present the Big Bang Theory, Hitch Hyke 1989)
*Time (12" EP, Hitch Hyke 1989)
*Overloaded (7" single sided promo, Hitch Hyke 1991)

LPs
*Underworld Shakedown (Hitch Hyke 1986)
*Heatwave (Hitch Hyke 1988)
*Blood Nirvana (Hitch Hyke 1990)
*F*Head Entropy (Hitch Hyke 1992)
*Subliminal (BMG 1994)
* The Bad Roads | The Best Of The Last Drive (Columbia 2007)

Contribs
*("Live sto Kyttaro", Dikaioma Diavasis 1985)
*May This Bullet ("The Thing From Another World Volume 1", The Thing magazine 1995)
*Chain Train; Gone Gone Gone ("Rock Fm - Rodon:Live", Music Box 1991 (LP)/2000 (CD))
*Jailbird; Outlaw ("Local Heroes '95 Comp.", Pop & Rock mag.)

Abroad

Singles/EPs
*Blue Moon / Every Night / Sidewalk Stroll (7", Voxx 1987)

LPs
*Heatwave (LP, Music Maniac 1988)
*Their Story So Far (Underworld Shakedown + Heatwave) (CD, Music Maniac 1989)
*Blood Nirvana (Romilar D 1991)
*Blood Nirvana (LP/CD, Music Maniac 1991)
*Blood Nirvana (CD, Restless 1992, bonus "Time Has Come Today" alternative mix)
*Time Is Not Important (Live DVD-CD [shot and recorded at their 2007 reunion shows @ Athens] , Blind Bastard Records 2008 )

Contribs
*Every Night ("Battle of the Garages Vol. 4", Voxx 1986)
*Valley of Death ("The sounds of now", Dionysus 1986)
*I love Cindy ("The secret team", Voxx 1988)
*Hell to pay ("Music Maniac Gimmick Comp.", 1989)
*Black Limo ("The monster dance hall favorites vol. 3", Munster 1990)
*Overloaded ("It's a Restless World", Restless 1991)
*The End Inc. ("Larsen/Zine Comp." 1993)
*Outlaw ("Enclosed Please Find... Your Invitation To Suicide: A Tribute to the Songs of Martin Rev & Alan Vega Double" LP, Munster 1994)

External links

* [http://www.last-drive.net Last Drive official website]
* [http://www.myspace.com/theofficiallastdrive Last Drive on Myspace]
* [http://www.lastdrive.tk Unofficial fan site of The Last Drive]
* [http://www.myspace.com/theelastdrive Myspace fan club of The Last Drive]
* [http://www.rimpo.de/lastdrive.htm Mini site at Music Maniac Records]
* [http://fuzz.artinoi.gr/links.htm Two audio interviews] for a radio station in Arta, Greece (Greek).
* [http://dimitrisdimitrakas.gr/journalism/article12-big.jpgArticle by Dimitris Dimitrakas] at In Rock fanzine (Greek).
* [http://mic.gr/Interview.asp?id=13361 Their first online review, after their comeback] at mic.gr (Greek)

References

* [http://www.ypokoultoura.gr/music/lastdrive/ Article at ypokoultoura site] photos and an interview from 1986 gr icon "
*"The Thing" fanzine vol. 8, 1994 (discography)
*"Pop & Rock" magazine # 195 (1995), # 190
* "ΟΖ musical newspaper", issues 1993-1994


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