Shihad are a rock band from New Zealand, formed in 1988. The band consists of Jon Toogood (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Phil Knight (lead guitar, synthesiser, backing vocals), Karl Kippenberger (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Tom Larkin (drums, backing vocals, samplers). During their recording career, Shihad have produced five number-one studio albums, holding the title for most number one records for any New Zealand artist, alongside Hayley Westenra, and three top-ten singles in New Zealand.
At the release time of their ninth studio album FVEY, Shihad had the most Top 40 New Zealand chart singles for any New Zealand artist, with 25. Of these singles, "Home Again", "Pacifier" and "Bitter" are listed at numbers 30, 60 and 83, respectively, in the Nature's Best compilation, an official collection of New Zealand's top 100 songs. The band was known as Pacifier between 2001 and 2004.
Shihad live in concert
|Also known as||Pacifier (2001-2004)|
|Origin||Wellington, New Zealand|
|Past members||Hamish Laing
Shihad was formed by Jon Toogood and Tom Larkin in 1988. The band's musical style was originally indebted to San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal bands, such as Metallica and Megadeth; although, the band found wider popularity over the following decade playing a mixture of modern rock, post-grunge and pop rock that gained the band opening slots with professional United States rock acts, as well as favourable reviews.
In 1990, Gerald Dwyer, former frontman of local punk band Flesh-D-Vice and manager of local band Head Like a Hole, became Shihad's manager. However, Dwyer died of a drug overdose before Shihad's performance at the 1996 Big Day Out in Auckland.
Shihad opened their Love Is the New Hate album tour with a free concert in Auckland's Aotea Square, and an extensive tour of Australia and New Zealand, including a spot on the main stage at Byron Bay, Australia's Splendour In The Grass, in front of an audience of approximately 20,000—the album was released in 2005. The band also toured with Cog, the Datsuns, and opened for Evanescence on part of their 2006/2007 world tour.
During February and March 2008, the band completed an Australian east coast tour entitled "One Will Hear The Tour", playing a total of 30 shows. Shihad played at Big Day Out 2008 in Auckland, New Zealand and also headlined the rock stage of the Vodafone Homegrown event on 26 April 2008 at the Wellington waterfront.
In the second half of 2008, Shihad toured New Zealand on the "Beautiful Machine Tour", supporting the album of the same name, playing medium-size venues such as the Wellington Town Hall, with support from The Mint Chicks and Luger Boa. Shihad also toured with Gyroscope around Australia for Gyroscope's "Australia Tour" during the same year. For New Year's Eve 2008/2009, Shihad performed in Gisborne, New Zealand, followed by shows at the Coroglen Tavern and the Lake Hāwea Motor Inn, also in New Zealand.
Shihad supported AC/DC for the New Zealand leg of AC/DC's Black Ice World Tour in January and February 2010. In January 2010, Shihad's new single "Cold Heart" was added to the Homegrown festival website for free streaming, and was followed by the release of the single "Sleepeater" in April 2010 and "Lead or Follow" in July 2010. The series of single releases from early 2010 were in anticipation of Shihad's eighth album, Ignite. It was released on 24 September 2010 and debuted at number one on the New Zealand music charts, eventually achieving gold sales there.
Shihad confirmed the release of a greatest hits compilation called The Meanest Hits in October 2011, which was released in two formats: a 20-song standard edition and a deluxe 38-song, two-disc edition. Also in October 2011, the band re-released their 1990 EP Devolve, their first 12 single releases for the first time in digital form on iTunes, and their entire singles and B-sides back catalogue, also on iTunes. On the second disc of the Australian release of The Meanest Hits, "Down Dance" was replaced with "Right Outta Nowhere"—this song does not appear on the New Zealand version of the album.
For the production of their ninth studio album, Shihad worked with Jaz Coleman, of English post-punk band Killing Joke. Coleman produced Shihad's debut album, Churn, but a disagreement with the band occurred after the release of the album. Following a 15-year period in which Coleman and Shihad did not communicate, Coleman made amends with the band members at a London, UK awards ceremony. Toogood explained in June 2014:
Three years ago we were at the Metal Hammer awards. I hadn't talked to Jaz for ages. We'd had a falling out, I just didn't have time for him. Tom [Larkin] went and chatted to him and was like, "come over and talk to him". I was like, "Fuck that guy". But he was softer—he doesn't drink alcohol anymore. He's still gnarly and idealistic and brutal but minus the alcohol that makes him this focused machine. It was just the perfect meeting of what we wanted to do and having the right guy to do it with.
Prior to the recording process, Coleman informed the band, "I'm going to work you until you've made a great record". Toogood explained that the entirety of the ninth album was recorded live, while Coleman conducted, and the band members were forced to focus entirely on each song as they were recorded, without outside distractions, such as mobile phones.
After the completion of a two-month recording period, Toogood referred to the band's time with Coleman as a "bootcamp"; however, Toogood further explained that the band "needed someone to crack the whip" and he felt "purged" afterward, concluding, "It's great to hang around guys you've been hanging around with since you were 18."
Titled FVEY, the band's ninth album was released on 8 August 2014 on the Warner Music New Zealand label and Toogood has referred to FVEY as Shihad's best album in 15 years. The first single "Think You're So Free" was described by Australia's Double J radio station as sounding "more furious now than they ever have" and the music video for the song was published on YouTube on 5 July 2014. Prior to the release of the album, Toogood explained that anger towards social injustice was a primary motivation during the songwriting process, stating: "I don't have any answers but just as a concerned citizen, I'm going, 'This is bullshit'. The music's how we feel about that. It's fucking frustrating." Musically, the band chose a heavier sound, signifying a return to the first album, which the band found most enjoyable to play during their greatest hits tour.
The name Shihad was chosen after members of the band saw David Lynch's 1984 film, Dune, based on Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel of the same name, which uses the term "Jihad", in an approximation of the term used by Muslims which roughly translates to "the struggle", or as a reference to the "Holy War".
Tom Larkin: Well, see that's the biggest cock-up out. When we were 15 we were all into this sci-fi movie Dune. See, Dune uses all these Arabic words throughout the movie and the end battle is a Jihad. We were stupid and thought it'd be a great name for a band so we called ourselves Shihad cause we couldn't even spell it.
Following the September 11 attacks, the band decided to change their name due to the similarity between the band's name Shihad and the Arabic word jihad. At the 2002 Big Day Out music festival in Auckland, New Zealand they released T-shirts with 'Shihad' on them, and 'Remote' printed below, indicating that 'Remote' was to be the new name. However, due to this name being taken already, they settled on "Pacifier", which was a successful single from their album The General Electric. They released an album, Pacifier, under this name in 2002. The American release of the album featured a different track listing to the Australian and New Zealand release, and included the song My Mind's Sedate from The General Electric.
On 17 September 2004, the band announced to the world that they would change their name back to Shihad. To quote the band, "The events surrounding the name change and our choice to be known as Pacifier are well documented. As much as we believed in what we were doing, and the reasons for doing it at the time – the truth is we were wrong." On an appearance on the ABC TV show Spicks and Specks, Jon Toogood talked about how band members do not usually have to consider holy war when thinking of a band name.
I just wanted to get out of there. Beside the stage was a paintball gun alley where kids were lining up to shoot effigies of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and (French president) Jacques Chirac. That was the weirdest one. The amount of times I actually pointed out to Americans the fact that their Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French and they were supposed to be mates.
Alongside musical acts such as The Living End, Babyshambles and Journey, Shihad recorded a cover version of a Jimmy Barnes song for the 30:30 Hindsight compilation album, which is scheduled for release on 29 August 2014. Barnes recorded the song with the band for the 40-track album.