Hard to tell what was lighting up Jon Toogood the most - writing tracks for a new Shihad album, recalling their godsend tour of Australasia this year with Black Sabbath, or playing with The Adults at his upcoming Masterton gig at King Street Live.
The 41-year-old Shihad co-founder was talking down the line yesterday from his sometime home of Melbourne, recharging after wrapping with his hometown Wellington band as openers for the Black Sabbath tour downunder.
"It was amazing - like out of this world."
Shihad, which last year celebrated 25 years as a band, had covered Black Sabbath tune The Wizard on their debut 1990 Devolve EP and the love was still strong.
"Growing up, Black Sabbath were huge for all the guys in Shihad. Everyone's been asking how was Ozzy to meet and he was great ... I really enjoyed meeting him. He was lovely and totally down to earth.
"But for me it was meeting bass player Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, who wrote all those riffs that are a blueprint to everything Shihad did when they were kids. He basically took rock and made it metal," Toogood said.
``Meeting the people who had such a massive influence on my life was like a bogan childhood dream come true.''
He said he had been also wandering the dreamtime in Melbourne, writing new songs for the ninth Shihad album.
Killing Joke founder Jaz Coleman, who was at the desk for their 1993 album Churn, had been called back as producer, Toogood said, and would be taking the boys to Egypt in September for pre-production before recording started on the album in Spain.
Shihad would then play European festival dates in the northern summer and was aiming to release a new single this year and the album early in 2014.
Talk of new songs and live shows leads Toogood to The Adults, his second solo project after SML in the mid-90s. In 2011 The Adults released a debut self-titled album and won reviews branding the unit a Kiwi supergroup.
Included on the album was Tiki Taane, Shayne Carter, Anika Moa, Nick Roughan, Redford Grenell, Ruban and Kody Nielson, Riki Gooch, Gary Sullivan and Ladi6.
Masterton musician Pip Brown - aka Ladyhawke - and King Street Live co-owner Warren Maxwell also were included in the original line-up, Toogood said, the former on bass in a previously unreleased song titled Never Be Mine and the latter as a co-writer of Up And Gone that appears on the album.
Never Be Mine also features Liam Finn and Hollie Smith and a download of the song is available free as a celebration of the tour at www.souncloud/jontoogood.
Toogood had worked on Up And Gone with Maxwell at his Stone Feather Studios in Featherston and said Wairarapa was a long-time refuge whenever he wanted to escape the capital.
"It's not that far from Wellington but just far enough - it's always a breath of fresh air for me."
He had visited King Street Live during its construction and ``the first thing I said to our booking agent was make sure you get that place as a tour date''.
He was also thoroughly impressed at the turnout for a "bitching" Shihad gig at the Horseshoe Bar in Masterton in 2010, had welcomed the Wairarapa performance of The Adults at Alana Estate in Martinborough this year, he said, and was champing at the bit to return to the region.
Toogood said he is bringing to Masterton the latest incarnation of The Adults that comprises guitarist Aaron Tokona of Cairo Knife Fight, ex-Fur Patrol singer Julia Deans and orchestral percussionist Steve Bremner.
Maxwell may also be invited to take the stage ``if he's around at soundcheck'', Toogood said.
``That boy has got the wisest voice in the whole of New Zealand. I always reckon he sounds like a really wise old tree, you know, something you can trust," he said.
"There's a reason The Adults is full of New Zealand artists. It's because there's something about us that is very unique and I love it."
The Adults will play at King Street Live in Masterton on June 27. Tickets cost $35 each.
For more information go to www.muchmoremusic.co.nz or www.kingstreetlive.co.nz