Performer Scene: Dom Mariani

How did you get into playing the guitar?

I was attracted to guitar from a very young age and I have my parents to thank for encouraging me to pursue music. I got my first guitar when I was eight and started lessons with the son of one of my Dad’s friends. That lasted about a year and I’m not sure why that ended but my folks then enrolled me into Harry Baker’s Fremantle Music School. The Fremantle Music School taught classical guitar. It really wasn’t my thing and I wasn’t much into practice either, so the novelty wore off pretty quick. I quit my lessons and went back to playing football and cricket with my mates. I did pick up on a few things the 12 bar blues and the odd Beatles tune,…things that I could relate to. I just wanted to sing and play guitar and not look at the dots. It wasn’t until I was about 13 that things started to click. I’d found another teacher, Wally Harland who ran the Fremantle Modern Guitar Studio. When he showed me how to play the intro chords to Proud Mary I knew from that moment on there was nothing else I wanted to do.

What was your first good guitar and how did you get it? (Do you still have it?)

My first decent guitar was a brand new sunburst Fender Mustang that my Dad brought for in ’75. I wish I still had it.

What were your early musical influences?

My earliest influence and still to this day would be The Beatles. I also liked The Shadows and instrumental guitar, but the golden period of discovery for me was with Creedence Clearwater Revival and Cat Stevens who were big in my early to mid-teens. This then progressed on to an appreciation for heavier sounds like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Sabbath, which in-turn led to me to all the blues greats.

Favourite piece of gear?

A ’73 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Deluxe.

What gear that you still use today has been with you the longest?

I have a ‘72 Marshall JMP50 which is still in use and still sounds great.

What are your top 3 guitar albums (or songs)?

That’s a very hard one to answer cause there are many.

These are 3 of my favourite guitar albums.

Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced – any of his albums really

ZZ Top – Tres Hombres – Billy Gibbons – great groove, tone and feel

Fleetwood Mac – Live in Boston – Peter Green and a band at the top of their game.

Songs

All Along the Watchtower Jimi Hendrix is just an amazing track – I never get sick of hearing it. I love the way the psychedelic guitar solo builds.

La Grange – the best boogie you’ll ever hear.

Whole Lotta Love – the guitar solo is the just greatest rock solo in my humble opinion.

What’s your latest release/recording?

With my current band Datura4 we recently released our 4th album ‘West Coast Highway Cosmic’ and we’ve just started work on our 5th album.

Any upcoming live/streaming gigs?

The Covid thing has put a halt to touring for a while, so it’s local shows for the time being. Here in Perth we still have venues putting on live shows and have a few coming up in October. We have Mojos Bar on the 3rd, Settlers Tavern on the 9th, an R&B festival at the Charles on the 24th

What’s YOUR scene?

Family, Music, Nature, Art, Architecture, Food and Sport.

Dom Mariani – A Brief History

Emerging from the port city of Fremantle in Western Australia, Dom Mariani is a rock and roll stylist whose career has been an impressive one in achievement and creatively.

Recorded 17 albums over a 30+ year career to date with various bands and projects – he has travelled a songwriting road that has taken many twists and turns and has never wavered from excellence. He is also a West Australian Hall of Fame inductee.

With a serious interest and love of underground 60’s garage rock, hard and classic rock, power pop, soul and R&B, Dom would form one of Australia’s most loved and respected bands of the mid to late 80’s THE STEMS. From their formation in the early summer of late 1983 to the end of 1987 THE STEMS with Dom at the helm as singer, songwriter and lead guitarist steadily infiltrated Australian radio, press and alternative charts, winning the hearts of critics and a legion of loyal fans. A succession of classic singles and a chart- topping LP “At First Sight-Violets are Blue” stirred interest as far a field as Europe and the US. But foremost it was his ability to write great songs and the bands electric live shows that made them stand out from the rest. The album would go on to achieve gold status selling over 35,000 copies.

After the demise of the THE STEMS Dom would eventually return in 1990 with the THE SOMELOVES, a studio collaboration with friend Darryl Mather (Lime Spiders, Orange Humble Band) who’s first and only LP of guitar driven pop “Something or Other”, is considered as a minor pop masterpiece by critics and fans alike. The album went on to win seven “WAMI’s” (Western Australian Music Industry Awards) in 1990, with Dom also collecting the most outstanding songwriter award.

However, the promise of the Someloves was short lived and contractual problems would not see a new release from Dom for another 3 years. A return to live gigging during this time would play a big part in Dom’s resurgence in the music scene in the 90’s. Having finally secured a release from his record deal at the end of ‘92, the beginning of ‘93 would see the start of a new era for Dom and his new band DM3 as one Australia’s greatest exponents of guitar driven pop (referred to by aficionados as Power Pop). The debut single “FOOLISH” was released in April ’93 and heralded his return with another loud, tight, electric rock‘n‘roll outfit. The song would also take out the most outstanding single of that year at the WAMI awards and would also see Dom being inducted into the Western Australian Music Hall of Fame (WAM).

DM3’s first LP “ONE TIME TWO TIMES THREE RED LIGHT”(1993) mixed by legendary Americanproducer MITCH EASTER (REM, PAVEMENT, SON VOLT, LETS ACTIVE, VELVET CRUSH) received widespread critical acclaim and sold throughout Australia, Europe and the US and was followed by European tours in ‘94 and ’95.

It would be another 3 years before DM3 were to release their second LP “ROAD TO ROME” (also mixed by Mitch Easter). Praised by critics of guitar driven pop in Australia, Europe and the US as one of the best albums for ’96 of it’s genre. Their fusion of melodic pop hooks, cool vocals and high energy rock’n’roll guitar earned them high praise and many new fans. In the same year they embarked on another successful European tour playing to packed houses across Spain, France and Scandinavia.

1998 would see the release of “RIPPLED SOUL”, the 3 rd album from DM3. A more diversely structured album, the album was also well received by fans and critics alike in Australia, Europe and US. DM3 would eventually split in at end of ’99 after touring Spain, France and Germany to return briefly for a short tour of Italy in March of 2001.

He released his first solo album “Homespun Blues and Greens” in 2004

In 2005 Citadel records released the double CD retrospective “Popsided Guitar”, an overview of Dom’s various bands and projects up to that date.

He has toured Europe, Japan and US where he continues to be a popular draw card with the Stems, DM3 and as a solo artist.

THE INSTRUMENTAL SIDE

Dom has been a long-time fan and dabbler of instrumental music, and during his career has hinted at something more than just a passing interest. The Stonefish “From 20.000 Fathoms”

This brings us to THE MAJESTIC KELP.

An idea that’s been around for some time finally came to life with the release of the album UNDERWATER CASINO in June2003. Having stockpiled a bag of tunes for what Dom had envisaged would be a simple surf guitar record, the jam sessions would take on a deeper and more diverse instrumental direction. With a nod to influences such as The Ventures, the Shadows, Link Wray, Ennio Morricone and Exotica, Dom would take a left turn from the Pop World.

The band have released 4 albums to date;
“Music to Chase Cars By” in 2006.
“Turn Up the Sun” in 2013 and the critically acclaimed “Hi Seas” in 2018.

THE STEMS

Reforming in 2003 for a series of reunion tours The Stems would go on to release the critically acclaimed “HEADS UP” album in 2007 and tour the globe in 2008 to enthusiastic audiences playing concerts in the US (including the SXSW Festival in Austin Texas), United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia.

October 2009 would see The Stems play shows across Australia and tour Europe in 2010 playing shows in
Spain, Italy and Greece.

A new line-up consisting of Ashley Naylor (Even, Paul Kelly and the RockWiz Orchestra) has seen the band return to with appearances at 2013 Dig it Up Festival and to support the reformed Sunnyboys in 2014.

The band reissued their classic “At First Sight the Violets Are Blue” in 2017 and toured nationally in November of that year with guitarists Ashley Naylor (Even, Paul Kelly and the RockWiz Orchestra) and
Davey Lane (You Am I)

A successful tour of Europe was undertaken in April/May 2018.

In November 2018 The Stems were inducted into the West Australian Music Hall of Fame (WAM). The band will reissue their 2007 album “HEADS UP” and will toured nationally with Radio Birdman in early November 2019 and back to Europe in November/ December.

DM3,…reform!
In 2011 Dom performed at South by South West and toured Spain with a reunited DM3. Subsequent tours of the east coast, Europe (Spain, France and Italy) and most recently Japan to promote a DM3 best of “One Time, Two Times, Three Times More” (Citadel Records), “West of Anywhere” (Bomp Alive Records) and a live set “Live at Roskilde” have seen DM3 return to the live scene. In 2015 the band toured Japan for the first time and have supported also The Sunnyboys.

DATURA4
Since forming in 2009 DATURA4 has been Dom’s main band. In 2015 DATURA4 released their debut album “Demon Blues” to critical acclaim. A second album “Hairy Mountain” was released in October 2016 and their 3 rd album “Blessed is the Boogie” to worldwide acclaim and toured Europe in October 2019. a 4th album ‘West Coast highway Cosmic’ was released in April 2020.

About Martin Cilia 62 Articles
Martin is an Australian guitarist and vintage guitar collector. Apart from his solo work he is a member of The Atlantics, Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs and is currently guitarist in Mental As Anything.

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