This episode of C4's music series Homegrown Profiles looks at the long career of New Zealand heavy rock's favourite sons Shihad. Singer Jon Toogood talks frankly about the band's highs and lows, from forming at Wellington High School to the release of Love is the New Hate in 2005 (when this was made). In a sometimes brutally honest self-appraisal, Toogood talks about the band's success in Australia being tempered with too much drug-taking and ego, their ill-fated name change, and the great American dream that didn't quite work out as planned.
Head Like A Hole (aka HLAH) were a clap of heavy metal thunder over the jangly chords of the early 90s New Zealand music scene. Known for unhinged, "apeshit" live shows and outrageous clothing-optional antics, their flame died out amidst drugs and acrimony before a 21st Century reformation. This all-access passion project from director Julian Boshier was a decade in the making, tagging along with Nigel 'Booga' Beazley (and partner Tamzin), Nigel Regan et al, as the still rocking members of this distinctive Kiwi rock’n’roll family enter middle age: spats, moshing n’all.
This segment of regional show Today Tonight covers the arrival at Wellington Airport of glam-rockers Kiss (with faces obscured), and the erection of 22 tonnes of equipment for their 1980 ‘Unmasked’ tour. Presented by Roger Gascoigne, the item shows playful sound bites from Simmons and co in full make-up, plus contest winner Scott Loveday after he gets to meet the band. Gene Simmons might have been made for loving you baby, but the "hottest rock show on earth" (tickets $12.50) battles against wind and rain at Athletic Park. The park is now the site of a retirement village.
Hamilton hard rockers Knightshade produced a run of sweaty, riff-heavy 80s anthems. This live performance of ‘Out for the Count’ comes from a 13 May 1987 show at The Galaxy in Auckland, which was recorded for both a 1987 album and a Radio with Pictures special. The other featured band was Stonehenge. Knightshade vocalist Wayne Elliott is joined by Gael Ludlow (then better-known as presenter of nature show Our World). The live album Out For The Night Live! made it to 37 on the Kiwi charts. ‘Out for the Count’ had previously got to number 26 on the singles charts in November 1986.
The Datsuns came roaring out of Cambridge in 2000 with a hybrid of heavy metal and garage rock that quickly earned them international attention, and a major label deal. For this single from their self-titled debut album, they acquired the services of English music video director Robert Hales (who had worked with Stone Temple Pilots and Nine Inch Nails). For this black and white, live performance video, Hales lets the band’s music and their swaggering energy do the talking (with plenty of slow motion shots to accentuate those long flowing locks).
If nothing else, Supergroove are evidence that in New Zealand, it’s not just our top sportspeople who wear all black. Luckily, they are a lot more than just that, as evidenced in this video for their guitar heavy hit You Freak Me. As the band rock out on stage, chaotic footage combines close ups, strange camera angles, and constant flashing lights amongst the haze of smoke machines and cigarettes. Not all heavy, the song features a brief funky interlude before a rare burst of hostility from the typically calm Che Fu.
Taken from Blindspott’s self-titled debut album, 'S.U.I.T.' is a prime example of the heavy nu-metal sound that made the band popular across New Zealand. Like a gig-as-fight-club, the group perform most of this energetic clip in a cage, to an agitated crowd; at times the images themselves appear to be coming loose on screen. The song is unusual for including rapped verses, an aspect of Blindspott's music that would be phased out by second album End the Silence. The lyrics include some coarse language. Blindspott broke up in 2007; most of the original members now perform as Blacklistt.
Hamilton hard rockers Knightshade emerged in the 1980s with sweaty, riff-heavy anthems like ‘Out for the Count’, ‘Sheila at the Wheel’ and 'The Physical You'. Led by Wayne Elliott, they spawned two EPs and a 1987 live album, and supported acts from Jimmy Barnes to Guns N’ Roses. They left Glyn Tucker Jnr's Reaction Records for Mushroom Australia, but directives from Mushroom to record ballads soured the deal. A (self-titled) studio album was released in 1995 on Hark Records, before touring pressures saw them disband. Knightshade reunited in 2011 and 2014. Elliott died in 2018 after a battle with cancer.
Black, white and red exuberance abound in this award-winning music video from Supergroove. The band's funk-heavy live performance is intercut with scenes of the band clowning around at the Otara Market, on a Three Kings volcano, and crowded into the back of an open-top VW. The hairstyle of vocalist and future Cambridge classics scholar Karl Steven — shaved, aside from an extended fringe arrangement at the front — is a relic from another era. An alternative video made for the same song revolves around the band doing everything backwards.
In April 1984 Billy Idol visited New Zealand to promote his second (and most successful) solo album Rebel Yell. Interviewed by Radio with Pictures legend Karyn Hay, he answers her call for a closing rebel yell, talks about the origins of his name and early hit 'White Wedding'; argues he appeals to the intelligence of his audience; criticises racism towards the United States, a country full of "ordinary people who struggle everyday"; and argues that confidence and "a pretty heavy attitude" are key to survival in a music industry that is more concerned with money than art.