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Australian Garage Rock legends THE STEMS are set to tour nationally for 40th Anniversary

| 26 March 2024 | Reply

Australian Garage Rock legends THE STEMS are set to tour nationally for 40th Anniversary

West Australian garage rock legends The Stems are making a triumphant return to the live stage for a series of dates in August 2024. Having last toured in 2019, original members, Dom Mariani, Julian Matthews, and Dave Shaw are set to be joined by acclaimed guitarist Ashley Naylor (Even/Paul Kelly/The Church). Together, they will celebrate four decades since their inaugural live performance in 1984 at the Old Civic Theatre in Inglewood, Western Australia, where they marked their auspicious debut supporting iconic Australian bands, The Saints and The Triffids.

The Stems attained their own legendary status in the Australian and International music scene – roaring out of Perth with a sound and style that definitively captured the spirit and enthusiasm of sixties garage music – lurching fuzz-tone guitars, brooding organ, solid gold garage-punk, and primo power pop! The Stems not only created a distinctive sonic identity but also penned unforgettable songs while delivering electrifying live performances.

In the late ’80s, The Stems achieved acclaim with a series of singles and EPs and the timeless ‘At First Sight – Violet are Blue’ LP in 1987. The group disbanded in late 1987 and made a significant comeback in 2003, playing to sold-out crowds nationwide. Since then, they have continued to tour regularly in front of audiences across Australia, Europe, Japan, and the United States.

2023 saw The Stems release some out-of-print tracks on a Vinyl album, “Mushroom Soup”, which promptly rocketed to number 3 on the national ARIA charts!

To commemorate the tour The Stems will be releasing a brand new single, and a Live LP, captured during an incendiary concert from the last tour.

Join The Stems on this historic occasion as they bring their iconic sound and energy back to the stage, marking 40 years of garage rock glory.



THE STEMS epitomized 80’s indie rock, giving it a wider currency. They are one of only a handful of bands (among them the Hoodoo Gurus and The Sunnyboys) that cracked the mainstream charts with an indie approach in the 80’s.

Making their debut in March 1984 playing alongside The Triffids and The Saints, The Stems released a series of independent records on Sydney’s Citadel Records with each release reaching #1 on the Australian alternative charts. But it was their debut album, released on Mushroom records, AT FIRST SIGHT VIOLETS ARE BLUE in 1987 that received national and international acclaim becoming one of the best-selling Australian albums of that year despite an almost total lack of commercial airplay in the corporate FM dominated 80’s.

Rolling Stone named their album “At First Sight” one of the top 100 releases of all time. It eventually attained Gold status, selling over 35000 copies. The album was re-mastered and reissued on vinyl and digital formats as part of their 30th anniversary celebration tour of Australia and Europe.

Appearances on Countdown, magazine covers, sold out shows – the world seemed at The Stems feet. However, due to the pressures of non-stop touring and the usual “personality differences” the Stems mysteriously imploded on the eve of a massive European tour in late 1987…


Rising from the ashes of their 1980’s breakup, The Stems reformed in 1997 to perform a reunion show in their beloved hometown of Perth to an enthusiastic response. This event would see them return to the live scene in 2003. It is fair to say they were all surprised – even amazed – how popular they still were. They toured Australia, Europe and the USA including an incredible one-off show at the invitation of Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist (and Sopranos, Lillehammer TV star) Little Steven, who lists himself as one of the Stems biggest fans. At this show they shared the stage with The Stooges, Bo Diddley, Big Star, Nancy Sinatra…, and 60’s underground bands The Chocolate Watchband, The Pretty Things, Creation and the Electric Prunes who were an influence on their sound in their early days.

Things seemed to gain momentum. At the urging of Little Steven and a host of others 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 on all analogue equipment 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.

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.

Successful tours of Australia, Europe, Japan and Austin Texas’s SOUTH BY SOUTH-WEST Festival soon followed to much acclaim. The band went off the road again in 2009 before reforming with a new line-up in 2013 that included Ashley Naylor Even/Paul Kelly on guitar and vocals replacing keyboardist Richard Lane.

The band continued to play selective shows in in 2014, 2015 and 2016 including opening for the legendary 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/ The Church/ RockWiz Orchestra) 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 later part of 2019, the band reissued their second album ‘Heads Up’ and toured the east coast with the legendary RADIO BIRDMAN. This was followed by another successful European tour. These would be the last shows for some time for the Stems until recently when they were asked to open for Hunters Collectors.

In 2023 the band released MUSHROOM SOUP a definitive collection of their early work on vinyl through Cheersquad Records.


Category: Aussie Tour News

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