THE BLOG
03/15/2011 08:00 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dom Mariani: Garage Rock's Wizard of Oz

In 1983, Dom Mariani and Richard Lane formed the Stems, one of the most tuneful and tasty garage rock bands of the era. Avid fans of pop, R&B, and 60's garage punk, their predilection translated to great punchy songs for the band. The Stems hooked up with Radio Birdman's Rob Younger in 1985, who produced their EP Love Will Grow as well as a single, "Tears Me in Two." Based in Perth -- which is clear across the country from Sydney -- they gained national success throughout Australia and their work eventually attracted the international garage rock audience it deserved. In 1987, At First Sight Violets Are Blue became one of the best selling Australian albums of the year -- without any commercial airplay -- and was later included in Rolling Stone's top 100 Australian albums of all time. In fact, the Stems were one of only a very few Australian indie rock bands to make a dent in the mainstream charts in their home country.

After the Stems disbanded in 1987, Mariani, who had been their main singer/songwriter, went on to become a mainstay of the international power pop scene with various other bands. The Someloves were a shortlived but phenomenally fantastic studio collaboration with Darryl Mather of the Lime Spiders in 1990 resulting in one album, the critically acclaimed Something or Other.

DM3 followed in 1992, their first album One Time Two Times Three Red Light mixed by legendary American producer Mitch Easter in 1993. The album's release was followed by European tours in 1994 and 1995. DM3 can arguably be called the best power pop band ever to come out of Australia, and left in their wake several more highly lauded albums and singles. Goldmine dubbed Mariani "one of the top 5 pop titans of the past decade or so" after the release of Road to Rome in 1996. The band split up in 1999.

There have been other projects over the years for Mariani including a Stems reunion a few years ago, his own solo records, and the cool surf guitar/postmodern lounge instrumental project the Majestic Kelp. For 2011, he has reprised DM3 to play SXSW dates all week including tonight at Austin's ND Club. They'll also hit the stage at Maxwell's in Hoboken this coming Sunday March 20 along with fellow power pop Aussies the Chevelles and New Jersey's own Insomniacs. After that they take off for Spain, for a six show tour in one of the most fervent rock and roll nations that exists on the planet ("it's kept me going for years" Dom says of Spain). Like most garage rock gods, Mariani has a day job (he has his own architectural firm in Perth). "That allows me the flexibility to do this music," he states. "I still love it and I'm still writing a lot and recording."

Later this year, in fact, Mariani plans to release a new record with the DomNicks, a band he put together with Nick Shepherd (formerly of the Clash and the Cortinas), Howard Shawcross and Marz Frisina. They've been playing locally for the past few years and headlined Sydney's Strummerville, the Joe Strummer Tribute Charity Event. The DomNicks describe themselves as one part Memphis Stew, one part Stones and Faces inspired, and one part Aussie garage guitar rock. There's now a new website also, DomMariani.com, which once and for all ties together the many musical strands of Mariani's career. "The idea is to put all the projects on one site so people can come and see all the things that I'm involved in."

Mariani self-released a DM3 compilation (One Time Two Times Three Times More), and also has a recent "acoustic, stripped back" solo record available through his website called Rewind and Play. A third Majestic Kelp record is also in the works down the line. Because Dom Mariani's not stopping anytime soon, that's for sure. And if you're anywhere near where he's playing I can guarantee you a great show.

March 2011 SXSW, US, Spanish Tour Dates

1 Time, 2 Times Devastated (DM3)

Foolish (DM3)

Sunshine's Glove (Someloves)

At First Sight (The Stems)

Shop Link for Dom Mariani's Music