The Stems

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23 Aug
Theatre Royal

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The Stems 40th Anniversary Tour

It’s not long to go before our favourite garage rockers, The Stems, hit the road to celebrate 40 years. The WA outfit’s 60’s/70’s infused garage power-pop anthems have been ingrained in many a music fan’s memories, and influenced plenty of musicians along the way, thanks to their standout debut album At First Sight, Violets Are Blue plus following releases & phenomenal live shows_._

Now the band are set to take to the road to celebrate their 40-year milestone, including a new extra show just announced in Castlemaine VIC & a venue change in Brisbane. Joining The Stems along the way will be the following special guests in each state:

Power-pop rockers The Prize will kick off the national run as support for both VIC shows, whilst Adelaide can expect the dark folk-pop of Romana Ashton & The Reeds as support. Acclaimed indie-pop rock outfit Ups And Downs are set for the *Brisbane leg of the tour, and Sydney is in for a treat with legendary garage rockers The New Christs & DJ Frank Cotterell. Bringing it home to WA, Rinehearts will deliver their own infectious power-pop, as well as Freo alt-rock fourpiece Vancool.

*Note venue change for Brisbane - The Stems are now performing at The Mansfield Tavern.

STEMS BIO – A brief History

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.

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