The nucleus of the band first met at the private boys school Caulfield Grammar School (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 on guitar, bass and saxophone. Most were also members of the school choir. The band played under various names at parties and school functions with a mixed pre-punk 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 with friend Tracy Pew picking up the bass. Greatly affected by the punk explosion of 1976 which saw Australian bands The Saints and Radio Birdman making their first recordings and tours, The Boys Next Door, as they were now called, began performing fast original New Wave material in 1977.
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 (his later use of audio feedback being a hallmark of the group) but there were other changes, as well: their sound drew upon punk, rockabilly, free jazz and the rawest blues, but transcended concise categorisation. Many songs were driven by prominent, repetitive basslines and drumwork that sounded like an angry Gene Krupa. Though the band was tightly rehearsed, the instrumentalists often sounded as if they were on the verge of collapse, this quality only emphasising the newfound mania of Cave's singing, and his expressionist lyrics. In producer/engineer Tony Cohen they found a willing accomplice to their experimentation and their refusal to repeat themselves; and in manager Keith Glass they found an enthusiastic financial backer. Glass' label Missing Link Records released all of the early Birthday Party records.
Door, Door, was the debut album by Post Punk band The Birthday Party, released under the name "The Boys Next Door" in 1979. The Album was recorded before the band left Australia for London in 1980, at which point they changed their name to The Birthday Party and created the body of work for which they are most recognized. Likewise, the album is somewhat different stylistically from their later work, being less dark and slightly more poppy.