|Origin||Ballarat, Victoria, Australia|
(Reunions: 2013, 2014, 2018)
|Associated acts||Beki and the Bullets, Video Video, The Blow Waves|
The Mavis's are an Australian rock band formed in Ballarat, Victoria in 1987. Founding mainstays are Becky Thomas (a.k.a. Beki Thomas, Beki Colada) on vocals and keyboards, her brother Matt Thomas on guitar and vocals (a.k.a. Matt Doll) and Andrea Vendy on drums. They were joined by Nick Gill (a.k.a. Nik Daniel) on guitar in 1990, and Josh Alexander on bass guitar in 1994. They released three studio album: Venus Returning (July 1996), Pink Pills (April 1998) – which reached No. 12 on the ARIA Albums Chart – and Rapture (March 2003). Their synth-driven single, "Cry" (January 1998), peaked at No. 13 on the ARIA Singles Charts and was listed on the Triple J Hottest 100 for 1998. The band also performed the song on Hey Hey It's Saturday. They disbanded in December 2001 after a farewell tour of Australia.
The Mavis's were formed as a four-piece post-punk, rock band in Ballarat in 1987 by Katherine McNulty on bass guitar; Becky Thomas (a.k.a. Beki Thomas, Beki Colada) on lead vocals, keyboards, Farfisa, percussion and melodica; her brother, Matt Thomas (a.k.a. Matt Doll) on guitar, vocals, sitar, Indian banjo, Farfisa, Harmonium, percussion, keyboards and sound FX; and Andrea Vendy on drums, percussion, bells and djembe. Andrew Craw soon joined on guitar for live performances. Matt described forming the band as "a way to get away from Ballarat". They were named after a cat, Mavis, that they saw while jamming in a friend's basement. Their first gig was in a church hall with a four-song set list.
In 1990 the band relocated to Melbourne and Craw was replaced on guitar by Nick Gill (a.k.a. Nik Daniel). They released their debut single, a 7" double A-side of "Rollercoaster" and "Witch Hunt", in the following year on the Giggle label. .
In early 1993 they released their first extended play, Spindrift, via the Slipped Discs label and Mushroom Distribution Service (MDS). Its five tracks were recorded by Dave Nelson and mixed and produced by Nelson with Paul Barker. Cameron Adams of Beat Magazine described it in February 1993 as "Recorded live at The Empress – and sounding all the better for it – The Mavis's make pop which is edgy and ace fun. From the rollicking 'Spinning Top' to the very cool 'Bless My Soul' it is a fine EP. Best of all is the opener 'Juggernaut', all harmony and melody."
A second EP, Poseidon, was released in May 1994, on MDS. The six-track work was recorded by the line up of Becky and Matt Thomas, Gill, Urquhart and Vendy; with Laurence Maddy producing. Jeff Jenkins of In Press Magazine described it, "This is pop that also rocks. It's dreamy, but it also knows when to poke you in the chest. These guys are great." X-Press Magazine's Lucy Morris felt that it "contains six refreshingly exciting, highly addictive, punchy pop songs which should at least earn them the tag of 'a band to look out for'. This is simply one of the best Australian releases for ages. It's the perfect marriage of post punk artiness and classic pop melodies with bucket-loads of energy to boot." By the time the EP appeared, Josh Alexander had joined on bass guitar.
Their popularity grew and they signed with Mushroom Records' White Records label in 1995, which issued their second single, "Moon Drone Gold", in December. The Mavis's released their debut album, Venus Returning, in May 1996, which was produced by Kalju Tonuma (Nick Barker). Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, described how it "highlighted the band's brash sound, which mixed the Thomas siblings' idiosyncratic, imperfect vocal blend, crashing guitars, sugar-frosted melodies, goofy keyboard embellishments and odd instrumentation (sitar, Tibetan bells and Indian banjo)." It provided three singles, "Thunder" (March 1996), "Box" (August) and "Lost" (November). "Thunder" was listed on the national youth radio Triple J audience poll, Hottest 100 of 1996, at No. 92. They toured with Sydney-based pop group, Def FX.
The band's next single, "Naughty Boy", was released in August 1997, which McFarlane felt was "raunchy" and an "aggressive rock" effort. It was listed on the Triple J Hottest 100, 1997 at No. 37 – their highest ever placement. It was used in a Just Jeans ad. In April 1998 they released their second studio album, Pink Pills, which reached No. 12 on the ARIA Albums Chart. It was also produced by Tonuma for White Records. McFarlane declared that the album was "critically acclaimed" and "was a more diverse and ambitious release than the debut."
The second single from the album, "Cry" (January 1998), reached No. 13 on the ARIA Singles Chart. McFarlane opined that it was "infectious... glistening synth-pop... ABBA meets ELO." The track was listed at No. 61 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 1998. They performed the song live on Hey Hey It's Saturday. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1998 the Mavis's received four nominations: Best Pop Release for Pink Pills and Best Cover Art for Dominic O'Brien, Matt Thomas, Rachel Boyce and Alison Smith work, Single of the Year and Song of the Year for "Cry". At the 1999 awards ceremony, their single "Puberty Song" (November 1998) earned Tonuma a nomination for Engineer of the Year – together with his work on 28 Days' album Kid Indestructible and Felicity Hunter's "Hardcore Adore".
After the album's release, the band toured in support of Kylie Minogue, and later that year they backed United States group, Green Day, on their Australian tour. The band contributed a cover version of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song, "Walk on By", for the various Australian artists' tribute album, To Hal and Bacharach (April 1998), on WEA. This was followed by a cover of the Duran Duran song, "Planet Earth", which was featured on another tribute album, Undone: The Songs of Duran Duran in October 1999. In 2000 they contributed a cover of the ABBA song "Bang-A-Boomerang" to the soundtrack to the comedy film, The Wog Boy.
In February 2000, they released the single, "Happiness", which appeared on a television advertisement for Australian Hyundai Motor Company. The company's original slogan was "Hyundai is happiness". The Mavis's also provided music for a Coca-Cola ad. This was followed in May by another cover, this time of Jim Keays' "The Boy from the Stars", which was included in the soundtrack to the film, Sample People (2000).
They recorded material for a third album, Rapture, with Tonuma producing, but it was not released until March 2003 because of problems between the group and their label. The second single from the album, "Coming Home", was released in May. From July to August 2001 the group provided a farewell tour of Australia and performed tracks from the album, before disbanding in December. They issued a compilation album, Throwing Little Stones, in October 2002.
After their split, Becky Thomas, Nick Gill and Josh Alexander formed Junkatique, and later, Beki and the Bullets with Beki Thomas and Nick Gill. Matt Thomas performed as Matt Doll and fronted electro-pop bands, The Blow Waves and Video Video, with Byron St John and Matthew Sigley. In February 2013 siblings, Beki and Matt re-united to perform some material by the Mavis's, and to record a six-track EP, Searching for Zero (March 2013). On 27 December 2014 the Mavis's reformed, with original members Beki, Matt and Nik joined by additional musicians, for a one-off show in Melbourne. Alexander and Vendy were unavailable.
In 2018, the band reunited once again to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Pink Pills. The Thomas siblings and Gill are performing the album in its entirety for this tour.
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions|
|Throwing Little Stones||
|Kids in the Basement: Volume One||
|1990||"Rollercoaster"/"Witch Hunt"||—||Non-album single|
|1992||"Juggernaut – Live"||—||Spindrift|
|1995||"Moon Drone Gold"||—||Venus Returning|
|1997||"Naughty Boy"||83||Pink Pills|
- "Walk On By", song contributed to 1998 tribute album, To Hal and Bacharach, later appearing on the Mavis's compilation album Throwing Little Stones (2002)
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'The Mavisis'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 15 June 2004.
- Holmgren, Magnus. "The Mavis's". hem.passagen.se. Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- "The Mavis's - tv spot & interview". YouTube. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- "The Mavis's - Interview for COMING HOME". YouTube. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- "'Rollercoaster' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 30 October 2016. Note: User may have to click "Search again" and provide details at "Enter a title:" e.g. Rollercoaster; or at "Performer:" Maviss
- Mavis's (1992), Spindrift – Live, Slipped Discs, retrieved 30 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia
- "Releases :: Spindrift – Live". Australian Music Online. Archived from the original on 22 November 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- Adams, Cameron (24 February 1993). "The Mavis's – Spindrift". Beat Magazine. Archived from the original on 31 August 2001. Retrieved 30 October 2016 – via The Mavis's Official Website.
- Swift, Brendan. "Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- "Releases :: Poseidon". Australian Music Online. Archived from the original on 22 November 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- Jenkins, Jeff (13 April 1994). "The Mavis's – Poseidon". In Press Magazine. Archived from the original on 31 August 2001. Retrieved 30 October 2016 – via The Mavis's Official Website.
- Morris, Lucy (June 1994). "The Mavis's – Poseidon". X-Press Magazine. Archived from the original on 2001-08-31. Retrieved 30 October 2016 – via The Mavis's Official Website.
- "New Releases – Product Available from: 20/5/96 (from The ARIA Report No. 326)". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- "Hottest 100 Archive: Mavis's". Triple J (Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)). Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
- Top 50 peaks: Hung, Steffen. "Discography The Mavis's". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Top 100 peaks to December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 180.
- "Search Results for 'Mavis's'". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- "Winners by Year 1998". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- "Winners by Year 1999". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Holmgren, Magnus. "To Hal and Bacharach". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Holmgren, Magnus. "Undone: The Songs of Duran Duran". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Holmgren, Magnus. "Sample People (soundtrack)". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Atlee, Matt (24 June 2001). "Music News". Australian Music Scrapbook. Archived from the original on 6 March 2002. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Eliezer, Christie (26 June 2001). "The Mavis's Take It to the Road". Music & Media Business News. Archived from the original on 1 February 2002. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Mann, Tom (1 February 2013). "Unlikely comebacks: The Mavis's, Sodastream, Something With Numbers". FasterLouder. Junkee Media. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Hodgson, Peter (December 2014). "The Mavis's". Beat Magazine. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- "Beaches (Demos)". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 5 February 2017.