AFTER 22 years in the business and record number eight now under their well-worn belts, New Zealand rockers Shihad are still going strong.
Their time together hasn't been without hiccups and regret along the way, however.
Community recently spoke with laidback guitarist Phil Knight, who explained how a band name change after the September 11 tragedy still left a bad taste in the four members' mouths.
The guys were living in LA at the time of the attack, recording their fifth album, Pacifier.
“On the night of September 11, we'd gone out to a sushi restaurant and even that night, just hours after, we were starting to discuss: 'oh sh*t, we're called Shihad which is very close to Jihad (an Islamic term meaning struggle),'” Knight said.
“We got the name from David Lynch film, Dune, and at one point the character talked about Jihad, the holy war. We were 15 at the time and thought that's a cool name for a metal band and we just wrote down the letters 'shihad'. We didn't know anything about the Middle East, and it just stuck and we never got around to changing it.
“In LA, we had people from the record company talking to radio producers and DJs who were saying: 'we don't care how good the song is. If you guys have a band called Shihad, we're not playing it.' We were hearing this all through the six months we were recording the album.”
Feeling they had no choice, the guys changed their name to Pacifier for about two years.
“We saw the world from their (US citizens') eyes and it was a different reality to being in New Zealand or Melbourne. There was a lot of fear around. It was a mistake - we figured that out two years later,” Knight said.
“We did it begrudgingly. It's definitely a chapter for the book.”
After detailing the low point in the group's career, the 37-year-old rocker then focused on a high point - the time when the band formed in Wellington, when most members were just 14 years old.
“I put up an add at the local music shop - I was into Eddie Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne - and Tom (drummer) and Jon (vocals, guitar) saw my ad and called me up,” Knight said.
“I wanted to know if they were serious guys, so I got Jon to play a Metallica song on acoustic guitar down the phone line to me.”
This month, Shihad tour with their latest album, Ignite, which sees the guys return to their hard-rock best.
Shihad play the Rosemount Hotel, North Perth, on November 26; Indi Bar, Scarborough, on November 27; and Mojo's, North Fremantle, on November 28.