Dom Mariani is one of the most amazingly talented musicians that you’ve never heard of. He is a singer, a guitarist, and, dare I say it, a songwriting genius. His name should be well-known by every rock music fan. Well, maybe it is, in Perth, Australia, where he’s from.
Domenic “Dom” Mariani (born 1958) was a founding member, with Richard Lane, of the seminal Australian garage rock band The Stems, whose album At First Sight, Violets Are Blue (1987) is a bona fide Australian classic. The Stems broke up shortly after its release. But, in 1986, Dom Mariani formed, with Darryl Mather (ex-The Lime Spiders), the lovely power pop band The Someloves, whose one and only album Something Or Other (1989) is also highly praised. The Someloves disbanded in 1990. But, in 1992, Dom Mariani formed the brawnier power pop trio DM3, who released 3 excellent albums and 2 awesome B-side compilations. DM3 called it quits in 1999, but, Mariani has been in countless other bands, while still making a living as an architectural designer! But, I dig DM3 the most, so let’s talk about that band!
DM3 was Dom Mariani on vocals/guitar, Tony Italiano (ex-The Someloves) on bass, and Pasacal Bartolone (ex-The Summer Suns) on drums. Their biggest influences were the big three of early ’70s power pop: Badfinger, The Raspberries, and the greatest unknown band ever, Big Star. But, those bands, of course, were inspired by The Beatles, and so, too, was a teenage Dom Mariani. And, thus, DM3‘s sound is characterized by big guitar riffs, pounding backbeats, perfect harmonies, and, hooks that will drive you insane!
DM3‘s 1st album, One Time Two Times Three Red Light (1993), produced by Mitch Easter, includes two standout tracks: their debut single “Foolish” and the punky “One Time Two Times Devastated”. Both are DM3 gems, but, other jewels include “Like This”, “Far From Here”, “Up In The Air”, “Fall To Bits”, “180º”, the Raspberries-ish “Be Yourself Tonight”, and, the Beatles-esque “Take It All”. But, “Blue Thing” is also one of my favorites! However, only “I Don’t Need You” and the instrumental “Bob” remain. They’re good, too!
DM3‘s 2nd album, Road to Rome (1996), also produced by Mitch Easter, includes four standout tracks: “Can’t Get What You Want”, “Second Floor”, “Show You” and the Zombies-esque “Something Heavy”. Put “Second Floor” on when you’re with friends who’ve never heard of DM3, and, I’ll guarantee that, before the song is over, someone will ask you who sings it. Works every time. Other jewels, here, include “Please Don’t Lie”, “I Thought That You Were Foolin'”, “Fairweather Friend”, “Pleaze You”, “T.V. Sound”, and “Speed Freak”. But, “Dead Stars” and “Soultop” are favorites, too [“All I wanna know is do you have a soul / Do you have a soul, yeah / I don’t really think so” – I love that!]. Yeah, that’s every track! It’s too damn hard to pick favorites!
“Can’t Get What You Want”, by the way, was co-written by Dom Mariani‘s ex-bandmate Darryl Mather who also recorded the song (titled “Can’t Get What You Want #1”) with his “super” group The Orange Humble Band on their phenomenal debut album Assorted Creams (1997). The singer in that band was American Ken Stringfellow from Seattle power poppers The Posies.
Dig It the Most (1997) was a compilation of the first two albums released by Bomp! Records in the U.S., and, it was actually my introduction to DM3. I was impressed with “Show You” which I heard on the power pop compilation Yellow Pills, Vol. 4 (1997), and, so I ordered Dig It the Most, which was the only DM3 CD available in the U.S. I sat in absolute awe listening to that disc, but, when “Second Floor” (track 7) began, it was, like, a revelation! And, when that amazing riff begins the song again, after the bridge, into the lead, my heart exploded! I immediately went online and started looking for Australian import CDs!
Listen to the amazing “Second Floor” here:
Garage Sale (1997) was DM3‘s first compilation of B-sides, out-takes and re-mixes. “Hold On” is a great non-album track, and “The Creeper” is a groovy cool instrumental, but, the covers are pretty awesome, too, like “Making Time” (The Creation), “Zero Hour” (The Plimsouls), “Sweet Hitch-hiker” (Creedence Clearwater Revival), and Dom Mariani‘s own “Little Town Crier” (The Someloves).
DM3‘s 3rd and final album, Rippled Soul (1998), isn’t as outright brilliant as the band’s first two, but, it’s still pretty amazing. “Everything That You Told Me” is definitely the standout track, but “Spend Some Time Alone With You”, “Dial 04 Josephine”, “Falling For You”, and, the darker ballad “Big Bad World” are cool, too. Oh, and, the instrumental title track is super groovy!
Italian Style! Garage Sale Vol. 2 (2001) was, obviously, DM3‘s second compilation of B-sides, out-takes and rarities. The excellent non-album single “Just Like Nancy (Girl In Boots)” and its B-side, “How Ya Feelin'”, are included here. “Second Floor”, stunningly re-mixed by Jeff Murphy of the power band band Shoes, is also included. But there’s more good covers, too, like “Rock and Roll Ghost” (The Replacements) and live versions of “Now You Know” (The Someloves) and “Never Be Friends” (The Stems). But, my favorite track is the live acoustic cut “Priest” [“I am not your priest / I don’t wanna know what you did before”]. Dom Mariani recorded that song, with a full band, for his solo album Homespun Blues and Greens (2004).
Dom Mariani‘s current band is called The DomNicks with Nick Shepherd, who played with English punk legends The Clash in the ’80s. The DomNicks debut album Super Real was released in 2012. But, Mariani also released his 3rd album, Turn Up the Sun, with his instrumental band Dom Mariani and The Majestic Kelp, in 2013.
Sure, Australia gave us the great AC/DC, but, I’ll take DM3 over them any day!