Shihad have provided a guitar-driven soundtrack for a car-surfing, black jeans-garbed generation since 1988, without a single change in band membership. Led by Jon Toogood, Shihad's raw, no-holds-barred rock has produced hit albums The General Electric (1999), Pacifier (2002) and Beautiful Machine (2008), iconic singles (eg 'Home Again') and a committed Australasian fanbase. Evolutions into post-grunge and electro-punk, and a brief name-change (Pacifier) have not betrayed their metal roots, typified in legendary live performances. The band's story was told in 2012 documentary Shihad - Beautiful Machine.
This theatrically released documentary charts 23 years of highs and lows for one of NZ's most enduring rock bands — complete with personal dramas, early tragedy, adoring local audiences, album sales of 250,000, attempts to crack the United States, and that agonising name change. Seeking an audience beyond the faithful, award-winning director Sam Peacocke expanded the story's scope to feature the band's family and friends as much as the music. NZ Herald entertainment writer Scott Kara called the result "a cracker", and "a must-see for fans of the band".
'One Will Hear the Other’ offers all the trademarks of a Shihad classic — epic guitars, driving drums and a chorus tailor-made for joining in at one of the band’s legendary live shows. Directed by Australian Toby Angwin, and shot in Shihad’s then hometown of Melbourne, the video features performance footage of the group projected on to central city buildings, alongside a narrative implying this is the work of a group of guerilla street artists. The song was the lead single from 2008’s Beautiful Machine album, which debuted at number one on the New Zealand Top 40 chart.
The title track of Shihad’s seventh studio album sees the band moving beyond the harder edged rock of much of their previous work and embracing new technologies (with a decidedly electro introduction) while lyrically questioning the degree to which humanity has lived up to its potential. Director Sam Peacocke places the band in the wilderness of a damp, fog filled, tussock marsh of blacks, greys and dark greens while a man (an apple short of Margritte’s ‘Son of Man’) and woman rise up and run towards each other: irresistibly drawn to human connection.
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.
With this arresting mixture of performance video and monstrous insect imagery, arts show maestro Mark Albiston (The Living Room) shows he is an exponent of the wham bam approach to music videos. Short sharp shots capture Shihad's energy on a set that is painted red and black. The band footage is intercut with images of a hungry praying mantis, whose darkest secrets are revealed via digital effects. The song is taken from Love is the New Hate (2005), the first album after Shihad's ill-fated decision to change their name to Pacificer.
This slickly art-directed music video makes a big nod to cult movie A Clockwork Orange, with the band delivering great performances in the Korova Milk Bar and en route to mayhem. Lead singer Jon Toogood bears an uncanny likeness to psychopath Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell in the 1971 film) in the Jolyon Watkins-directed clip. An interesting piece of trivia for the Kiwi Clockwork connections' file: an artwork from NZ artist Ted Bullmore appeared on the wall of Mr Alexander's home in the inspirational film.
Reuben Sutherland directs a hair-raising tour through a wretched laboratory in this music video — his second Shihad clip in a row to take away the Best Video Award, at Aotearoa's yearly music award ceremonies. Frenetically paced and skillfully edited, the video adheres to the feverish temperament of the song, while layered graphics add a sinister and unsettling sci-fi edge. Singer Jon Toogood nails his performance as a demented pharmacist bent way out of shape. Aside from making videos and commercials, director Sutherland is also one half of sound plus visuals group Sculpture.
The video for Shihad’s 'Wait And See' has the band shot in sepia, and trapped in industrial landscapes. Caught in the confines of a factory, the band face tentacles growing out of the walls and a mystery typewriter that seems central to proceedings. Mimicking surveillance footage, the video is made up of fast cuts and shaky shots. The song features on their EP Blue Light Disco, and was later rerecorded for number one album The General Electric. In 2000 the clip won director Reuben Sutherland the first of two consecutive Best Music Video gongs, at the Coca-Cola NZ Music Awards.
This Shihad classic has a classic video to match. With primary colours accentuated and the energy levels of Shihad turned up to match, the band members perform and bustle about in a film studio in one extended shot, without any edits. The time and motion tomfoolery is surely handled; someone has had the bright idea of putting developing Polaroid photos at the bottom of the frame, in order to show that the whole video is unravelling in one continuous scene. Directed by Mark Hartley, Home Again was judged Best Video at the 1998 New Zealand Music Awards.
‘Deb’s Night Out’ was a single from Shihad’s breakout second album Killjoy (1995). Director Chris Mauger’s video bypasses a literal take on the lyrics’ relationship paranoia for a deadpan depiction of cross-generational spirit. A young, sullen Jon Toogood is stuck in his denim jacket in the backseat with a couple of wine-guzzling oldies, en route to a suburban hall shin-dig. There the band gets down for some country and limbo dancing, the family-fun visuals contrasting with the song’s grinding guitar. Mauger’s stylistic touches include a canapé-cam.
"There's just some things that I want to tell you" yells Jon Toogood on this track, as he addresses a bitter ex-lover he is very thankful to have got away from. The song is driven by drums, whose beats per minute are matched by the high speed editing of this video. The slices of live footage concentrate mostly on a long-haired Toogood, and a very large audience at the Big Day Out. A number of crowd surfers are among them. The single is from Shihad's second album Killjoy (1995) — their first to go gold in New Zealand.
From Shihad’s first album Churn, the video for 'Derail' is a dark and unsettling affair, recasting everyday Kiwi pursuits in a tense, almost disturbing manner. It’s directed by ex-Supergroover Joe Fisher (now known as Joe Lonie), who marries their dissonant riffs and twisted time signatures to black and white footage of horse racing and punters at the track. Added to the kiwiana gothic mix is some serious looking gumboot tossing, churches and religious imagery: cows and power pylons, golf, bumper boats, roller coasters and dodgems.