Friday, December 30, 2005

The Stems
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

The Stems

The Stems were considered by many to be the most seminal rock band of the 1980`s to emerge from Australia. They were formed in Perth in 1983 by Dom Mariani and Richard Lane, with a musical (and sartorial) style initially influenced by sixties garage punk and later by power pop.

Playing such local legendary (and now long-gone) venues as The Wizbah, The Old Melbourne and The Shenton Park Hotel on a regular basis, the group built up a substantial following in Perth.

In mid 1985 a trip to Sydney to meet up with their new label Citadel and to promote their first single Make You Mine b/w She’s A Monster was perfectly timed with the Sydney inner city scene rediscovering 60's music and fashion.

The Stems completed several Australian tours and were perhaps one of the first bands to gain national success while remaining in Perth, and despite never having toured internationally (until their reunion) they are held in high esteem in Europe and the US amongst fans of classic 1960's inspired rock 'n' roll.

The Stems released a total of 5 singles, an E.P. and a full length album, and set an impressive record with each release reaching No 1 on the Australian alternative charts. It was their debut album though, "At First Sight … Violets Are Blue" released in 1987 that received national and international critical acclaim and would be one of the best selling Australian albums of that year, despite the lack of commercial airplay in the corporate FM dominated 1980's. The album has been named in the top 100 Australian albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. The Stems also appeared on one of the last episodes of Countdown.

Unfortunately their success was short lived when at the height of their powers and on the eve of a 6 week European tour they mysteriously disbanded.

The Stems epitomised 80's indie rock and are one of only a handful of bands, including the Hoodoo Gurus (half of the original line-up of the Hoodoo Guru's also came from Perth) and The Sunnyboys that cracked the mainsteam Australian charts with an indie approach in the 1980's.

The Stems reunited for a tour in early 2003 and played a number of very well received gigs and they are still gigging today, including playing festivals such as Little Steven's Underground Garage Festival.

The Stems have a new album due in 2006.

Dom Mariani has also performed solo as well as in such acclaimed bands as The Someloves, DM3, Dom Mariani & the Majestic Kelp and The Stoneage Hearts, amongst others.

The Stems - Can't Forget That Girl [Original Demo]

The Stems - At First Sight

Watch the video for Tears Me In Two:-

The Stems - Tears Me In Two (Video)


Blogger Django West said...

I just heard this band for the first time while listening to my Children Of Nuggets boxed set. What a great band. Thanks for the history lesson.

Mon Jan 09, 10:53:00 am  
Blogger MAB said...

hey Django

glad you like the Stems, check out any of their recorded product or Dom Mariani's other projects

and check out some of the other Perth bands i'll be posting - there was an abundance of great power/paisley pop bands in Perth in the 1980's



Mon Jan 16, 06:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Tefo said...

Thanks for the link Sunnyboys. I was really looking for something about the guys! They made my mind in the 801s while i was surfing with a bunch of good firends. If you have other sites where i can find something else, write it!

Wed Mar 15, 09:49:00 am  
Blogger kirbs said...

Have a (very) old tape of Dom's first band (correct me if I am wrong) The Go Starts, who were very raw and sounded nothing like The Stems. Used to see them play at The Cat, an original venue back in the late 70's early 80's, it was in Beaufort St Mt Lawley.

Saw plenty of bands there where some artists went onto bigger and sometimes better things.

The Helicopter (Tony Thewlis to The Scientists), Triffids, Nobodies (Matt DE La Hunty Tall Tales & True), Photoplay (Suze De Marchi), just to name a few.

Sat Apr 19, 01:26:00 pm  
Blogger George said...

How about LOADED DICE from 1979. Great power pop album finally reissued onto CD. You can find it at

Tue Oct 13, 08:29:00 pm  

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