Tadpole were at the forefront of a breakthrough in NZ pop rock around the turn of the millennium. Drawing from the heavy end of alternative rock and fusing it with elements of electronica, their first two albums were top ten hits but their third was released as a goodbye; they had already decided to disband.

The first line-up of Tadpole was nothing like the band they would become. The band was started in 1994 by guitarist Taisia Huckle and drummer Mareea Paterson while the pair were still students at Carmel College (though Paterson quickly moved to bass). Huckle was stunned when they scored a slot at the Big Day Out the following year. "Playing at BDO within the first year of Tadpole forming was a fantastic experience. We were floored when we got the gig and totally stoked of course! We were a bit more alternative in those days compared to the music Tadpole would go on to play.”

An early 2000s publicity shot
Just Not Rock'n'Roll (features footage from East Timor)
Dean Lawton at The Big Day Out, 2001
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
Boh Runga and Chris Yong with NZ On Air's Brendan Smyth smiling behind. NZ on Air's support played a big part in the success of both Stellar* and Tadpole.
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
Renee Brennan and Paul Matthews
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
It's been a hard day's signing ... taking a break from signing CDs in 2001
In the Marlborough Sounds on yet another tour
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
Tadpole on the cover of New Zealand Musician, January/February 2002
Tadpole's final line-up with (l to r) Dean Lawton, Henry Penny, Renee Brennan and Ollie Gordon in the mid-2000s
The Buddhafinger was one of the biggest selling New Zealand albums of the early 21st Century. Produced by Malcolm Welsford at York Street Studios, it benefited from massive radio and video play and would sell double platinum.
Tadpole - Blind
Chris Yong and Renee Brennan signing CDs
Renee Brennan and Paul Matthews
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
DJ Kritikl (Kevin May)
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
Renee Brennan signing The Buddhafinger CDs
Renee Brennan at a New Years Eve gig at Paihia
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
Tadpole with Antenna's Trevor Reekie and Tim Moon, with gold discs for The Buddhafinger, October 2000
Tadpole 2002: Dean Lawton, Chris Yong, Shannon Brown and Renee Brennan
Renee Brennan and Chris Yong, Big Day Out 2001
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
The Medusa was Tadpole's second album, released in 2002
Dean Lawton
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
Nothing New (2002)
Big Day Out 2001
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
A 2002 Tadpole publicity shot
Too Hard (2005)
Tadpole - For Me (2000)
Chris Yong, Shannon Brown, Renee Brennan and Dean Lawton, 2002
Tadpole publicity shot for The Medusa, 2002: Chris Yong, Shannon Brown, Dean Lawton, Renee Brennan
Renee Brennan and Chris Yong
Photo credit: Chris Yong collection
After the show ....
Tadpole - Backdoor

Lawton's covers group The Dozen also features Garrett MacRae from hard rock group Savant and solo artist Josh Leys.

Brennan also worked as an actor and appeared on Shortland St during the height of the group's fame. She also did a lot of work as a voiceover artist for TV ads and later became a DJ on Kiwi FM.

In 2014, Chris Yong was a candidate for the Internet Mana Party (in the Te Atatu electorate).

Tadpole's original bass player Mareea Paterson went on to a long career in music. Initially she played in local indie group Delta before moving overseas and joining alternative rock act Veruca Salt. Since then she has also played with Tim Finn, Jordan Luck, Bic Runga, Gin Wigmore, and Australian acts End Of Fashion and Alex Lloyd.

The version of ‘Blind’ that appears on the Keen As compilation actually features two members of another group, Mossflower, who were in the studio to record their own track – Paul Barrett played guitar and Jared Kahi played bass.


Antenna Recordings

Benthouse Records


Renee Brennan - vocals

Dean Lawton - drums

Chris Yong - guitar

Paul Matthews - bass

Kevin May - turntables

Shannon Brown - bass

Louis Mason - guitar

Kevin Webb - guitar

Ollie Gordon - bass

Henry Penny - guitar

Cath Deeney - vocals

Taisia Huckle - guitar

Mareea Paterson - bass

Andre Smith - guitar

Greg Baker - drums

David Bradley - guitar

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