Alongside Hot City Bump Band, Johnny Rocco Band, Skylight and Australia, Stylus was one of the few local groups of the mid-1970s playing in a white-funk style. Unlike the limited success afforded Hot City Bump Band, however, Stylus scored a number of hit singles and became very popular on the Australian pub and concert circuit.
Stylus grew out of the ashes of Melbourne band Mason's Cure, formed by keyboardist Ian Mason (ex-Kush). Mason's Cure issued one single on Astor in early 1975, `Let Me Love You Right'/`Back to Reality', before Mason left the group. He joined The Bootleg Band, and went on to issue a solo single, `Gotta Lotta Love'/`Keep It Up' (August 1978), and album, Nobody Takes Me Seriously (Oz/EMI, 1978). Singer Peter Cupples had been the focal point of Mason's Cure, so with Mason's departure, the band recruited Sam McNally on keyboards and became Stylus. The band toured as support to Focus, Ike and Tina Turner and Sherbet, scored a deal with WEA (Atlantic) and issued the single Seals and Crofts' `Summer Breeze'/`Feelin' Blue' (July 1975). The single reached #31 in Melbourne during August. The band's second single, `World of Make Believe'/`Just Began' (October) reached #27.
In November 1975, WEA issued the Stylus debut album Where in the World? (#19 in Melbourne during December). The album produced a third single, `I'm Going Home'/`Where in the World?' (April 1976), but by that stage Stylus had left WEA. The band issued one single, `So Much Love'/`We All Need One Another' (#30 in August 1976), on Crystal Clear, before signing a new deal with Ross Wilson and Glenn Wheatley's Oz label (through EMI). The album For the Love of Music produced the singles `I Just Don't Wanna Fall in Love Right Now'/`Funky Fig' (October 1976) and `Kissin'/`For the Love of Music' (June 1977). By that stage, Peter Lee had been replaced by Trevor Courtney (ex-Vibrants, Skylight) initially, and then by Joe Tattersalls (ex-Ayers Rock) by the end of the year.
Courtney played on the band's third album, The Best Kept Secret (April 1978), which produced the singles `Work Out Fine'/`Natural Feeling' (March), `Look at Me'/`You Can't Get It Out of Your Head' (July) and `Got to Say Goodbye'/`Discover Your Life' (November). The prestigious American label Motown distributed the album in the USA (under the title Stylus) via the Prodigal imprint. In late 1978, Peter Roberts (ex-Ride Band) joined Stylus as co-lead vocalist. Not long after that, Mark Meyer (ex-Sailor) replaced Tattersalls on drums, and the band supported visiting American jazz guitarist George Benson on his Australian tour. The band's fourth album, Part of It All (August 1979), and its single, `If You Believe in Me'/`Byron Bay' (August), were not successful and the members of Stylus parted.
Cupples went solo, forming the first version of his Peter Cupples Band in 1980 with Virgil Donati (drums; ex-Taste), Ross Ingliss (guitar), Robert Little (bass) and David Hirschfelder (keyboards). Cupples' debut album, Fear of Thunder (October 1981), yielded the singles `Fear of Thunder'/`I'm into You' (September) and `Blame It on the Weather'/`Dryin' Time' (December 1981). Fear of Thunder sold well in Melbourne where it peaked at #21 in March 1982. Cupples recorded a second pop album and four more singles, `You Never Know'/`Sweet Summer Nights' (April 1982), `All in a Day's Work'/`I Remember' (August 1982), `Party Lights'/`In the Pits' (November 1983) and `Love of Another World'/`On the Run' (March 1984). Cupples concentrated on becoming an all-round entertainer. He became popular on television variety shows, and on the club/cabaret circuit, but got out of the music business in the late 1980s. He returned to the studio for the 1995 album Changes, which included the CD singles `Indecision' and `The Power of Change'.
In 1980, keyboardist Sam McNally joined the John Farnham Band alongside Tommy Emmanuel (guitar; ex-Southern Star Band), Barry Sullivan (bass; ex-Chain) and David Jones (drums). McNally also issued a solo album, First Chance (February 1982, EMI), and a single, `First Chance Romance'/ `The Dance of the Funky Rabbits', `Wonderland' (April). After that, he toured with a number of bands, including Vitabeats, the Tommy Emmanuel Band and the Guy Le Claire Band. McNally mostly concentrated on session work, appearing on an enormous number of albums by the likes of Swanee, Peter Cupples, The Monitors, Tim Finn, Eurogliders, Flaming Hands, QED, SPK, Renée Geyer, the Street Hero soundtrack, Tommy Emmanuel and The Party Boys among many others.