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Dom Mariani - Popsided Guitar 1984-2004:

Perth's premiere pop musician Dom Mariani didn't just grab a guitar and leap onstage wholly formed. Like all musicians, he's on some levels the product of his influences, and part of the fun of being a Mariani spotter is trying to detect the myriad strands of his musical heroes' DNA that have seeped into the man's own genetic makeup over the years.

But like all great musicians, Mariani's true gift lies in his ability to alchemize those influences to such a degree that every song bears his unique stamp. Just as one can identify, say, a classic Big Star or Dwight Twilley song within the first 15 seconds or so, cue up back-to-back Mariani numbers, whether from his 80s band the Stems, his brief-but-memorable tenure as one-half of the Someloves, his run in the '90s with DM3 or his more recent solo work, and you'll recognize them all as a product of the same pen.

Dom Mariani, the son of Italian immigrants who settled in the port city of Fremantle, Western Australia, in the mid 50s recalls being smitten as a kid by Top 40 radio, subsequently developing a pop fixation that he'd put to good use upon receiving his first guitar at the age of nine. By high school he'd formed his first band, which enthusiastically went about covering the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Bee Gees, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Dom now admits that, compared to many of his peers, his musical tastes "were very unhip. My classmates were already listening to Slade and Led Zeppelin."

All along, however, the aforementioned DNA was working its magic so it comes as no surprise to learn that when listing his all-time favorite songwriters, Dom nowadays is unequivocal: "Lennon and McCartney, of course! Jagger and Richards, Jeff Barry and Elie Greenwich, Boyce and Hart, Vanda and Young, Brian Wilson, Chuck Berry and John Fogerty."

En route to finding his own songwriting voice, Dom did manage to get in step, if only momentarily, with his more hard-rocking classmates fronting as the rather, er, heavy moniker of his senior high school outfit Gypsy attests. "After high school I took a few years out to study and improve on my guitar playing. Jimi Hendrix was always a hero and I started going back and discovering all these cool blues records. I'd go into 78's on my days off from college, 78's was the hippest record store in town and they had the best selection."

A few years later Dom swapped in his denims for skinny ties, fronting a '60s-in.uenced new wave combo called the Gostarts from 1981-83. While never documented on vinyl the combo amassed a small but enthusiastic following on the Perth scene due in part, as Dom notes "We played lots of gigs and gained some invaluable experience even though it didn't go anywhere."