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