Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Stems.

                                                                      The Stems.

The Stems were an alternative rock band formed in Perth, Western Australia in late 1983. They were led by Richard Lane on keyboards, guitar and vocals; and Dom Mariani (ex-The Go-Starts) on lead vocals and guitar. They were heavily influenced by 1960s garage rockand 1970s power pop.[1] They broke up in 1987, reformed in 2003, and released a new album in 2007. The group disbanded again, in October 2009.


The Stems formed in late 1983 when vocalist/guitarist Dom Mariani, formerly in the Go-Starts, was introduced to Richard Lane. Lane had seen Mariani in the final few gigs of the Go-Starts and had asked him for guitar lessons which developed into jams, and then writing songs. Finally, the decision was made to form The Stems. A friend, Gary Chambers, was recruited to join on drums, and bass guitarist John Shuttleworth was poached from the Pink Armadillos.  In March 1984, the band had their debut gig at the Old Civic Theater in Perth, which was in support of The Saints and The Triffids.[1] Their sound was influenced by 1960s garage acts ranging from the Electric Prunes, The Standells, and The Chocolate Watch Band to The Easybeats. A local Saturday night residency at the Wizbah venue saw throwback covers with a growing list of original songs which developed a cult following for the band. Shuttleworth decided to leave, so a final gig for the band was arranged which drew a large crowd. The success of this gig and freshly written songs caused the band to recruit a new bass player, school friend Julian Matthews.

The Stems played at local venues such as The Wizbah, The Old Melbourne and The Shenton Park Hotel on a regular basis, the group built up a substantial following in Perth, at a time otherwise dominated by cover bands.

Love Will Grow - Rosebud Volume 1

Late in 1984, they recorded three songs at Shelter Studios in Perth: "She's A Monster", "Make You Mine" and a version of "Tears Me in Two." The original plan was for this to be a self-released single with one track as the A-side and the other two as B-sides. A friend of the band who wanted to help manage them told them he would take the tapes to the east coast and shop them around to the independent labels there. There was quite a bit of interest expressed by a number of labels, but The Stems chose Citadel Records because of the high quality of their releases at the time. In mid-1985, the band went to Sydney to meet up with their new label and promote their first single, "Make You Mine"/"She's A Monster." The Stems first Sydney show was a sold out show with the Painters and Dockers at the Trade Union Club. The tour was perfectly timed with the Sydney inner city scene rediscovering 1960s music and fashion. The group met with an enthusiastic response, which culminated in a full house at the legendary Trade Union Club for their final show. The single reached the top of the independent charts,  and also sold 500 copies in England. The single was the second highest selling independent single for Australia in 1985, behind Hoodoo Gurus' "Like Wow - Wipeout!."  During this period, they recorded the single "Tears Me in Two" and the Love Will Grow - Rosebud Volume 1 EP, both produced by Rob Younger of the Radio Birdman.[1] The EP reached No. 72 in the national charts, and the band played triumphant shows on their return to Perth.