After over 35 years, iconic Aussie country rock band Stars are back on the road with their original line-up of Mick Pealing on vocals and guitar, Mal Eastick on guitar and Roger McLachlan on bass. Stars also features Nick Charles on guitar and Erik Chess on drums. Celebrating the release of their long awaited new album, Boundary Rider, this killer line-up of legendary Australian musicians can’t wait to return to where it all started to showcase their new original songs. The new material on the self-produced Boundary Rider album has been co-written by Mick Pealing and Nick Charles. Mick Pealing speaks to Hi Fi Way ahead of their show at The Gov.

Must be a bit of a huge buzz having the original line-up together for the show coming up?
Sure, the buzz has sort of worn off a little because it’s been together now for a year or so, but it’s a good thing don’t get me wrong.

The press release describes this show as a massive home homecoming of sorts. Is that how it feels a lot especially playing at The Gov?
For sure. It’s been forty years, absolutely, it’s where it all started. It’s where we wrote those original songs. Yeah, it is indeed a homecoming.

How do you cram a whole career’s worth of music in to a couple of hours and then trying to fit in the new stuff as well?
It is a problem. It virtually comes down to what to use and what not to use. I think you sort of get a bit of a handle on it as to people’s reactions. Obviously, we have to do the well-known songs but then again, obviously for our own enjoyment we want to do the new ones to and I guess in a way educate people to the new stuff.

Even now do you still get nervous going on stage?
You’re always going to get those butterflies before we go on. I think that’s a great thing. If it was just clock on, clock off, well what’s the point? That’s all part of the enjoyment of it, just that adrenaline rush for sure.

Was it a feeling of relief and thank God the new album is finished or was it more a labour of love?
Definitely a labour of love. It wasn’t a struggle at all. Nick Charles and I started writing when the idea of putting the original band back together began what, we started writing straight away. Nick had some ideas and I threw some ideas at Nick and it all gelled. We knew what we wanted it to sound like because the template was already there. It was how Nick and I remember saying Nick, before I even met him, I saw him at a show and I made a mental note to myself saying, Stars got back together, this guy would be perfect to do Andy’s parts.

What was the catalyst to get the original band together?
The big anniversary was approaching, and I was dabbling with the Stars material using other players and it was just basically a Mick Pealing presents the songs of Andy Durant and Stars. I’d done that a few times and realised that there was a potential audience there for new material. So I initially rang Mal Eastick, the lead guitarist who lives up north now. I asked him if he was interested in putting it back together and he was, so everybody else sort of followed suit after that.

How important has it been to keep being creative rather than keep banking on the back catalogue?
It is strange times, isn’t it? From what you said, I think it’s very important to keep creating. As we speak Nick and I working on the songs for the next album, so it’s definitely not a one off kind of thing. We’re going to continue.

Do you feel like this album tested the band?
For sure. The players were used to the style and it’s not a big change from the Stars. Everything just fitted in nicely and it was like putting on an old coat or something.

What do you put longevity down to?
It all depends on what they have in mind. Do they want to keep doing it or are they just there play an anniversary how or something like that and just leave it there? Just keep listening to what other people are doing and enjoy each other’s company. Find something new in music all the time.

What’s next on the horizon for Stars?
We’ve started work on new songs and we’ve pretty much got an album’s worth of songs ready to go. So, what we’re going to do is get in the studio a little this year and hopefully have something ready before the end of this year. That’s the next step and just keep doing gigs and keep reminding people we’re in it for the long haul. We haven’t got that many years left, but, it all still feels pretty good that’s all I can say.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch STARS at The Gov this Friday 5 July, tickets through Oz Tix

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