1983-1987, 2003-2009, 2013-present
The Stems, formed in late 1983 with members including Dom Mariani, Gary Chambers, Richard Lane, and Julian Matthews, gained popularity in the Australian music scene with their power pop sound influenced by Mariani's 1960s pop/R&B/garage band style. Their debut gig in March 1984 marked the beginning of a successful journey, and they developed a significant local following. The band's first single, "Make You Mine/ She’s a Monster," written by Mariani, topped independent charts and became the second-highest selling independent single in Australia for 1985.
The Stems continued their success with subsequent singles, including "Tears Me in Two" and the EP "Love Will Grow." In 1986, David Shaw replaced Gary Chambers on drums, and the band toured extensively in Australia. They signed with Mushroom Records' White Records label and released their debut studio album, "At First Sight, Violets Are Blue," in May 1987, which became the third-highest selling independent album in Australia that year.
Despite their success, The Stems played their last gig on August 31, 1987, and a planned European tour in October of the same year was canceled, leading to the band's disbandment.
The band reunited in February 1997, to perform a reunion show in their beloved hometown of Perth. A 6 year hiatus followed until they returned to the live scene in 2003 touring Australia, Europe (2004) and the USA (2005) which included appearance at “THE UNDERGROUND GARAGE FESTIVAL” at the invitation of Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist Little Steven where they would share the stage with The Stooges, Bo Diddley, Big Star, The New York Dolls, Nancy Sinatra..., and 60’s underground bands The Chocolate Watchband, The Pretty Things, The Creation and the Electric Prunes who were all an influence on their sound in their early days.
In 2006 the band made plans to record an album of new material ultimately titled HEADS UP – released on Shock Records in late 2007. Recorded in Perth and mixed in Cincinnati by producer John Curley (White Stripes, Afghan Wigs, Greenhornes and Ronnie Spector) the album was released to rave reviews and sold solidly around the world.
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On the release of HEADS UP in late 2007 THE STEMS were invited on the “CLASH OF THE TITANS” tour with Radio Birdman and the Hoodoo Gurus as well as successful tours of Australia, Europe, Japan and Austin Texas’s “SOUTH BY SOUTH WEST” Festival soon followed until they disbanded once again in 2009.
A new line-up in 2013 that included Ashley Naylor Even/Paul Kelly on guitar and vocals replacing keyboardist Richard Lane reemerged to play selective shows including, supports for the SUNNYBOYS and the “DIG IT UP” Festival.
In 2017 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of their classic debut album “At First Sight Violets are Blue” original members Dom Mariani, Julian Matthews and Dave Shaw were joined by Ashley Naylor (Even/ Paul Kelly) and Davey Lane (You Am I) undertook an Australian tour to perform the album in full.
Following on from the very successful “At First Sight Violets are Blue” tour the band hit the road again in the early part of 2018 for more Australian shows and a successful European tour playing to packed audiences in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom.
In the later part of 2019, the band reissued their second album “HEADS UP” and toured the east coast with RADIO BIRDMAN. This was followed by another successful European tour.
“MUSHROOM SOUP” (a definitive collection of their early work) was reissued on vinyl. A live album recorded during their 30th anniversary “At First Sight Violets are Blue” tour is planned for a 2024 release.
Members past and present:
Dom Mariani, Richard Lane, Gary Chambers, John Shuttleworth, Julian Matthews, David Shaw, Ashley Naylor, Davey Lane