In a new ABC podcast, titled Days Like These, Shihad frontman, Jon Toogood reflects on the enduring rollercoaster effect that the band’s name – a misinterpretation of “jihad” he and bandmate Tom Larkin heard while watching David Lynch’s 1984 sci-fi classic, Dune – on both his professional and personal life over the years, as a knock on effect of events he never anticipated.
Riding high on the success of 1999s The General Electric, Shihad were on path for global success; until an epic, Earth-shaking catastrophe knocked them unavoidably off-course. They found themselves in America when two planes crashed into New York City’s World Trade Centre towers on 9/11.
“I remember Tom going, ‘turn on the television, World War Three’s started… Tom’s always good for pumping up a story… but I turned on the TV just as the second plane hit and thought ‘I want to get out of this country.’”
That shocking moment left them forced with an difficult decision about wether or not to change their band name, which was now intrinsically linked to the evolving political situation.
“We fought for 15 years to release a record in America. I’m not going to let that slip through my fingers because of a name we just chose one night watching Dune.”
They changed their name to Pacifier in 2001, before ultimately reclaiming Shihad in 2004, spurred on by fan-demand. But, for Jon Toogood, this was just the beginning. The connection would continue to shape his fate, spirituality and understanding when he fell in love with a Muslim woman who challenged his staunch atheist beliefs.
“From Wellington to Melbourne and Los Angeles and back, Jon charts his journey through an epic tale of love, identity, empathy and belief... plus a few things he could never have seen coming.”
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