Renata

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Before signing to a major label and changing their name, the Last Goodnight were Renata, a group that found its beginning at a house party in Enfield, CT, when Kurtis John Henneberry saw Mike Nadeau playing…
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Before signing to a major label and changing their name, the Last Goodnight were Renata, a group that found its beginning at a house party in Enfield, CT, when Kurtis John Henneberry saw Mike Nadeau playing the guitar. They traded off playing songs, trying to impress girls, and had enough fun doing it that they decided to start a band. Calling themselves Haze and with Henneberry on vocals, they enlisted fellow classmates Leif Christensen on bass and John Oleary on drums, bringing in friend Anton Yurack on harmonica (and then as a second guitarist and background vocalist) after he joined them spontaneously during an early show. Eventually they changed their name to Renata, after a waitress who had served them frequently when they were first practicing, and began to tour the Northeast, putting out two self-released full-lengths, She Walked with Kings and The Other Side of Earth, in 2000 and 2003, respectively. Their Counting Crows/Coldplay-esque sound helped make them popular with the college crowd, and earned Renata local accolades, and in 2004 the bandmembers decided to head west to try their luck there. After playing a gig in L.A., former RCA producer/A&R man Jeff Blue contacted them on their way back to Connecticut, impressed with their energy but believing they needed to improve their sound. He worked with them for the next year or so on finalizing a demo tape, helping them polish their songs and guiding them in the direction toward artists like Maroon 5, Rob Thomas, and Train. It apparently worked, because in 2006 the group, now calling itself the Last Goodnight, signed to Virgin/Capitol Records and soon began work on its major-label debut. At this point, Henneberry decided to drop his last name, pianist and keyboardist Ely Rise was added in, and drummer Oleary left and was replaced by Larone "Skeeter" McMillan. These changes in place, the Last Goodnight released Poison Kiss (heralded by the single "Pictures of You") in August of 2007.