After a massive year of world tours and scoring Album of the Year for their self-titled debut from Goldmine Magazine, Perth party starters The Stanleys are back in town playing two shows with Sydney’s Front End Loader. You can catch their infectious brand of power pop on Friday, May 11 at the Bassendean Hotel and on Saturday, May 12 at the Boston. Despite the adventures and accolades it’s also been a time for a fresh take on their live shows, bringing in new members for this run of shows. BRAYDEN EDWARDS spoke to frontman Mark DiRenzo about the highlights of their world tours, new music in the pipeline and keeping the party going into 2018.
You’re back in Perth after a massive run of shows across the US and Europe. What was the highlight of that for you guys?
There were so many fun shows and so many highlights so that’s a tough one to answer. We played in Italy for the first ever time and we actually rehearsed there in Modena. We had an Italian guitarist, Dario “Dazza” La Porta in the live line up for both the Europe and US shows. It was awesome to finally play in Italy. Both my parents were born there, everyone was super friendly and I overdosed on pasta, pizza and gelato.
It seems your style of power pop translates really well to a lot of places across the world. But were there any times you rocked up and were surprised by the reception you got?
The first time we played China was very cool. We were playing sweaty clubs to Uni students moshing, slam dancing and stage diving. Plus we were interviewed for a TV show called “House of the Kick Ass People” (English translation).
Another example was on the Kids Gonna Rock Tour a couple of years back when we played the festival circuit in the Baltics – that was crazy. We mostly played on smaller stages at big festivals and then at one festival in Lithuania, I remember saying to the agent “I guess we’re on the small stage over there” and she said “No” and pointed to a big stage. Next thing you know we’re banging out Always in front of 7,000 odd people. Their English is quite limited in Lithuania and I remember all these people with their fists in the air yelling out “Yes Concert! Yes Concert!” Then at the end of the set I got given flowers from Miss Lithuania. It was great day!
You recorded your album with Ken Stringfellow (The Posies) who has also worked with, basically, some of the greatest alt-rock names of all time from REM to Big Star. Was it intimidating or empowering knowing you had the guidance but also the expectations of someone like that?
It was actually super relaxed working with Ken. He invited me to come stay at his place in the Bastille district of Paris. His wife and daughter were away so it was a boys night every night making music in his home studio! Knowing that I was presenting the beds of the songs and our ideas to Ken definitely gave me some extra incentive to make them as good as they could possibly be. The other unexpected bonus was that I saw another side of Paris from a local resident who loves living there. I wasn’t a big fan of Paris before that but I found that Ken’s friends and neighbours made me feel very welcome. I’ve also never seen so many people carry French sticks over their shoulder!
There definitely seems to be a really positive vibe about your music and your shows always seem to be a good, fun time. Is there anything other live bands can learn from the Stanleys?
I think the ethos is very simple. Enjoy it! You’re travelling the world playing rock and roll with some mates doing what you love, how can you possibly not have a good time? And if you’re having a good time, the energy and vibe will flow straight to the punters and next thing you know it’s a party!
Have you dipped your toe in the water of potential new music just yet, or are you just stoked riding out the current album for now?
There’s been a couple of ideas floating around but to be honest we’ve been too busy. I’m the only member of the studio band in the live line up these days – Jamie has recently had his second child and Tomas quit playing live after all the years of touring with Turbonegro. He’s working on another solo album back in Norway at the moment which will be one to definitely listen out for later in the year.
With everybody’s family and day job commitments we’ve had a fluid live line up in recent years. We’ve got a new live line up for the Everybody Dance Tour with my brother John on guitars (long time Stanleys live member) and two newbies Clayton Scott also on guitars and Sandro Donatelli on drums. Sandro and John played together years ago in a glam rock band and there has been photographic evidence of this published on our social media page. Clayton has also recently played some guitar’s on Kav Temperley’s (Eskimo Joe) upcoming EP release.
It’s been a little while since your last show in Perth. What’s there to look forward to at these upcoming shows at the Basso and Boston and who else can we catch on the night?
We’re playing alongside Sydney’s Front End Loader who haven’t visited Perth for a long time and have recently released a long awaited new album. Perth gets to see the new Stanleys live line up first before overseas audiences do for a change. We have also learned some tunes from my previous band Gigantic (mainly for the Spanish audience who remember Gigantic) so we might bust one or two of those oldies out. Probably quite fitting as I’m sure Front End Loader will be playing out a couple of older tunes too. It’s going to be a great way to start the tour – I can’t wait!