Starlight, starbright: Stellastar* shoots at North Star bar

Two hours of traffic and a wrong number later, I was finally able to speak with Amanda Tannen, bassist for Stellastarr*.

“Shaun, Arthur and I met at art school and we were in different bands and broke up [from each respective band] when school ended. Then one day we all ran into each other in the street and decided to start a new band,” Tannen said.

“Michael was Arthur’s old roommate who decided to come to a rehearsal to see if it was what he wanted to do.”

Tannen explained how starting a band seemed to be the answer to her life’s ambitions. “I fell into it. When I was in third grade I started playing classical cello and then upright bass. Then I stopped playing for a while until 1994 when I decided to start playing electric bass. After art school I started working at a diner, not happy with the “nine to five” life because it wasn’t creative enough for me,” she said.

“I wasn’t proud with what I was doing and it seemed like the band was exactly what I needed. Now, I’m doing something that I love.”

After seven years together and two full length albums behind them, they have started writing and recording their third album, “Harmonies for the Haunted.”

“When we recorded [the album] we left no stone unturned and wanted to be very creative in what we wrote and the music we made. With this new CD, we’re halfway done writing it and we are going at our own pace. We are not trying to be pressured by outside sources or when is the best time to release it because of what marketing thinks is best. We don’t care,” Tannen said. “Everyday we rehearse and write for hours, and this tour is to kind of expose the new material we’ve been working on.”

Taking a break from the writing process for their upcoming album, Stellastarr* decided to do a short two and a half week tour that started on the West Coast on Feb. 5. The group Monsters in Waiting is scheduled to provide main support for this tour, but won’t be participating in East Coast shows.

“On a tour we did a couple of years ago, [Monsters in Waiting] opened for a lot of the West Coast tours, and they are all real cool guys and we had a lot of fun with them,” Tennen said. Instead, Stellastarr* will play after the Bucks County band Illinois, who are scheduled to open for Stellastarr* at their Feb.15 show at the North Star Bar.

“For this tour, we’re playing it in thirds. One third is the new material, another third is the material from “Harmonies for the Haunted” and the last third is material from the other recordings we have.”

Kyle Marino can be reached at

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