I got 25 minutes withJon Toogood during a lightning storm in Melbourne. During that 25 minutes Jon covered everything from existential life questions to working as part of a theatre to the food that he'd eat every day until the day he died ("I reckon you'd get sick of it by dinner" he said, only half mockingly) and just how readily available thermals are.
It was one of those conversations and where you can't help but listen. For 25 years he's been making music as the frontman of Shihad and even through countless interviews, he's still excited, genuinely, very excited. He was near giddy telling me all about the lightning storm and just how "booooring" he thinks fog is.
This a collection of the best shit he said in that 25 minutes right up until we warned there was only a minute left in our call (he doubled down and talked even faster!).
Get into it.
This is Jon Toogood on....superpowers, food, music and why Shihad (She-had, mum, not Shy-had) haven't and won't fade into oblivion.
NB: I've kept this as close to the way Jon talks as possible
Everyone needs to have a superpower, so what's yours?
I think the power of flight, obviously, it seems to be a bit of ah, quite a general one. Just because seriously, like living in Melbourne, the traffic sucks! So... and ecologically it's good, it makes sense, you're not using any fuel, apart from, I suppose, magical fuel, you're not burning fossil fuel and you can just go where ever you want and obviously on a cold day you have to put your thermals on, your thermal superpower uniform on, but that's okay, thermals are readily available. Pop down to one of your out doorsie type stores, pop on your thermals and go for a quick fly, y'know, it'll be the one for me.
Teleportation would save you the trouble of buying thermals and you wouldn't get wet when it rains...
Right! Exactly, exactly. Super human strength would be great but flight, especially if you can travel the world fast, you can get your playstation jollies in real life plus you can get to where you want to go fast. Yeah. And you wouldn't have any traffic jams on the way there.
So while you're flying across the world and you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ooh oooh that's a real tough one, let me just quickly think, let me just quickly think, ah, ah, I'd probably run with the Nasi Lemak from down the road from Madam Kwong's Kitchen because you can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it's just like rice and peanuts and I think dried anchovies wrapped in a banana leaf and it's just so yummy and tasty! You could have it lunch, breakfast and dinner, that'd be good... I'd probably get sick of it though, after a while, but that's what comes to mind at the moment.
I suppose it would be novel for a while?
Aww, I reckon you'd get sick of it by dinner [laughs, almost rapturously] but, but if I had to choose then that's what I'm choosing for this interview!
You guys have been around longer than most marriages, why haven't you had to split your stuff and fight over the kids?
I think the fact that we've never really hemmed ourselves into a corner and we've always given ourselves space to recreate who we are. We've always managed to just be outside of what's cool and do what we do and luckily early on we were exposed to some really good live acts so we wanted to do that changing mental thing that's like taking you to another place in time while your body's being bombarded by the sound and you felt...I'd hazard a guess at having a religious experience and once we saw that we wanted to be part of that magic and there's always something that you see or here each year where you think 'it'd be cool if we could do something like that'.
Songwriting is very personal, do you get used to people reading your journal, Jon?
Never, never, ever, ever and it takes [conviction] every time we go to write a record or I sit down to write what I'm feeling inside I go, 'aw I have to do this again...' It's a painful experience having to look yourself in the mirror and go 'what do you actually think, man? What do you actually feel? What are you going to do about it?' There's days where I wish I was completely doing a job where I just checked in at nine and checked out at five and I didn't have to think about it but I wake up in the middle of the night, still now, like I did when I was younger, with an idea and I have to get up and I have to write it down.
It's frightening when you actually do do it, it's so cathartic it's like you've purged yourself and you've got ridden of a disease of the heart, like you're cleaning yourself, like you're cleaning your insides every time you actually manage to articulate something that you're feeling or something that was worrying you or something you were feeling or something that was gnawing at your conscious or troubling your sense of morality and going, 'hey, this isn't right' when you get it out and articulate it it's like I feel lighter, I feel lighter, so when we finished this record I felt clean, I felt like lighter because I got to say all of the shit that was worrying me.
What would the world look like if we were all artists?
I think the world would be a complete fucking mess! [Cracks up laughing, like a snigger] because you wouldn't be able to get to where you were going unless you had super powers and you were able to fly. There wouldn't be people teaching your kids, there wouldn't be nurses looking after sick people and society would break down. In saying that, I think the role of art is still just as important as a nurses job or a policeman's job or a teachers, I've just realised that more and more as I've got older, fame is a complete illusion. The job I do is no more important than the job of the bus driver who got me to the show or the guy that put gas into my car. It's all the same, it's all the same, it's about what do you do with that job and how much passion do you put into it. What you do with your life. Everyone can make a change in other people's lives, you don't have to be the lead singer in a rock band, you don't have to be an actress or the prime minister of New Zealand, you can all affect change, it depends on how you look at it.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.
They immediately sold out Sydney and Melbourne dates earlier this year, and now LCD Soundsystem are returning to Australia and New Zealand for their biggest headline shows ever this summer – touring February 2018!