Shihad - Back and forth

If ever there was a band who have done the hard yards, its Shihad.


Four New Zealand blokes who still love their rock ‘n' roll as much as they did when they first started out back in 1988.


The Naked Dwarf's Louise Taylor caught up with drummer Tom Larkin to find out what they've been up to lately and how it feels to be Shihad once again.


Shihad have always been a very socially aware band. Their songs and style of music could quite easily be compared to bands such as System of a Down, but Larkin says there is one important difference.


"It's more personal," he explains but ads that he appreciates bands like SOD.


"Bands that are political like System [are important] because they make people aware of what's going on. It's important for people to know what is happening. Often people pretend something's not happening so it will go away. We shouldn't try to escape it," Larkin notes.


The band also went through a name change a few years back changing it to Pacifier, then back to Shihad. I asked Tom what it was like recording the latest album as Shihad and was there any pressure to make it something special to let people know they were back.


"We really put the pressure on ourselves. We recorded the whole album and then thought 'this is not something Pacifier would have made'. This is definitely a Shihad album."


Now they're back to their rock and roll roots they're taking in regional Australia. For a band that could sell out capital city venues – why bother?


"Because we like to play live and to heaps of different people," Larkin explains, "that's really important. Also people tend to get complacent and forget there are fans who live in remote parts. When you get to play in a regional area you are really spreading the culture and it gives you a really realistic view of things."


So are Shihad the type of band who like to play to thousands of punters at big festivals or do they rather the smaller pub gigs.


"We'll doing anything. Everything has its advantages. With the bigger festivals there's more of a rush and it's easier because everything's set up and you have more time to look around. But at the same time smaller gigs are just as good. You don't get as many people but you are able to play for longer and just have fun."


Speaking of getting back to roots, it's also no secret that Shihad are huge fans of AC/DC.


"Back in Black was the first AC/DC album I brought and it scared me. I felt like it took me into this forbidden place," Larking says.


The next month or so will be taken up by the Homeland Security Tour with Cog. Shihad have also just finished some New Zealand shows also with Cog and are really looking forward to the Australian ones. So what can fans expect to see from Shihad on this tour?


"Two of the best bands in Australia," Larkin laughs.

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