Stellar* Profile

Mark Roach
19 Jun 2015

With their string of massive radio hits, conspicuous flame-haired singer and major label backing, Stellar exploded into national consciousness seemingly overnight. But like the maxim says, overnight success takes a long time to achieve, and Stellar were no exception.

The roots of the band lay in mid-to-late-80s Christchurch, where drummer Andrew Maclaren was introduced to Boh Runga as a potential vocalist for his band Amez Amez. Maclaren was initially reticent to include her in the band because, he says, “she was too good!” However, the pair hit it off and subsequently started writing music together. By 1992 Runga and Maclaren, stymied by the lack of opportunities in their home city, decided to head to the epicentre of the music industry in Auckland.

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Stellar* backstage at the 1999 New Zealand Music Awards
Auckland Viaduct, February 2000
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - All It Takes (from Magic Line)
Stellar* at Auckland's Viaduct, February 2000
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Boh Runga and Kurt Shanks at Stellar*'s last show, Sale Street, Auckland, October 2010
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Star, 2002
Kurt Shanks, Boh Runga, Andrew Maclaren and Chris van de Geer
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
A photographers polaroid from a 2000 publicity shoot, previously unseen: Chris van de Geer, Andrew Maclaren, Boh Runga and Kurt Shanks
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Kurt Shanks at the 2012 reunion at Auckland's Backbeat Bar
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Mix hits No.1 
Stellar* at Auckland's Powerstation, 2000
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - the making of Taken
Stellar* in Sydney, 2001: Andrew Maclaren, Boh Runga, Kurt Shanks and Chris van de Geer
For A While, 2006
The second sleeve for the Mix album. It replaced the original cover in February 2000. The album was certified 5 x platinum.
Stellar* - Taken (from Magic Line)
Stellar*, 2006: Kurt Shanks, Boh Runga, Chris van de Geer and Andrew Maclaren
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - behind the scenes/ electronic press kit for Mix
Stellar* - Happy Gun (1996)
Mix publicity shot, 1999: clockwise from left Chris van de Geer, Kurt Shanks, Boh Runga and Andrew Maclaren
The cover of the first release of Mix in August 1999. The album would sell some 30,000 copies with this sleeve before being reissued with a new sleeve in early 2000.
Stellar* - What You Do (Bastard)
An August 2000 publicity shot: Chris van de Geer, Boh Runga, Kurt Shanks and Andrew Maclaren
Whiplash, 2006
Stellar* - So Alive - features footage from the final concert in October 2010 at Sale St, Auckland, with clips from 10 years of home movies.
Andrew Maclaren at the 2012 reunion at Auckland's Backbeat Bar
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - Violent (1999)
The September 1999 New Zealand tour
Stellar* play their final show, Sale Street, Auckland 2010
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - Whiplash
Stellar*, 2000
Taken, 2002
Stellar* - Part Of Me (1999)
Kurt Shanks
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - Star
The Stellar* frontline at the 2012 reunion at Auckland's Backbeat Bar
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Chris van de Geer at the 2012 reunion at Auckland's Backbeat Bar
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - One More Day
Boh Runga with her 1999 award for Most Promising Female vocalist
Bic and Boh Runga at the 2000 New Zealand Music Awards. Bic has the International Achievement award and Boh has Best Female vocalist.
Magic Line, the second album from Stellar*, 2001
Andrew Maclaren
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Part Of Me, 1999
Boh's 1999 Big Day Out backstage pass
Stellar*: Andrew Maclaren, Chris van de Geer, Boh Runga and Kurt Shanks
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar*, 2006: Kurt Shanks, Boh Runga, Andrew Maclaren and Chris van de Geer
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Chris van de Geer
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* at Piha: Boh Runga, Andrew Maclaren, Chris van de Geer and Kurt Shanks
Stellar*: Kurt Shanks, Boh Runga, Andrew Maclaren and Chris van de Geer
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* feat. Andy Lovegrove - For A While (2006)
Stellar* - Every Girl (From Mix)
Kurt Shanks, Boh Runga, Chris van de Geer and Andrew Maclaren
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Andrew Maclaren and Boh Runga at the 2012 reunion at Auckland's Backbeat Bar
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Undone, 1999
Stellar* - Undone
Bastard (What You Do), 1998
Kurt Shanks, Boh Runga, Andrew Maclaren and Chris van de Geer, 2006
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - 2001 interview on Nightline, TV3 ahead of the Magic Line release
*Every Girl, 1999
Boh Runga at the 2012 reunion at Auckland's Backbeat Bar
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
All It Takes, from 2001
Happy Gun, the debut single by Stellar*, issued on Papa Pacific Records in 1996
Boh Runga and Andrew Maclaren at the Bastard (What You Do) video shoot, 1998
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Violent, 1999
Something Like Strangers, the third album from 2006
Chris van de Geer at Auckland's Powerstation
1999 Stellar* press shot: Boh Runga, Andrew Maclaren, Kurt Shanks, Chris van de Geer
The Best of Stellar*, 2010
Chris van de Geer at the final Stellar* show, Sale Street, Auckland 2010
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Stellar* - Ride (early version)
Labels:

Papa Pacific


Epic

Members:

Boh Runga - vocals, guitar

Andrew Maclaren - drums

Kurt Shanks - bass, vocals

Chris van de Geer - guitar, vocals

Riqi Harawira - guitar

Derek Solomon - guitar

Simon McCormack - guitar

Trivia:

The band secretly reformed to play at Andrew Maclaren's birthday in 2012

Boh’s younger sister Pearl is married to Andrew’s older brother Justin. All four used to play in corporate covers band Automatic 80s.

The front cover of the ‘Part Of Me’ single features a drill bit as the song’s original title was ‘Trepanning’ – the process of drilling into the skull to relieve pressure.

First manager Barry Blackler is also an accomplished drummer, once filling the drum stool for The Jesus & Mary Chain during the Automatic-era.