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Pacifier & Superheist: Weighting Game.

25 November 2002 | 1:00 am | Bob Gordon
Originally Appeared In

Heavy As She Goes.

Pacifier and Superheist play the Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay on Thursday, the Arena on Friday, the Sands Tavern, Marochydore on Saturday and the Troccadero, Surfers Paradise on Sunday.

Verily, you can smell the rock in the air. Pacifier's Jon Toogood and Superheist's Joey Biro sit in a grandstand within the backstage area of Perth's Rock-It Festival at the Joondalup Arena. As Bodyjar plug in and go off for the benefit of 15,000 people, the two vocalists are musing on their own worlds, and the way of the world in general.

It's appropriate that Pacifier and Superheist are joining forces for the Heavyweight Kings Of Rock tour taking on South East Queensland this weekend. Evolution has had its way with both bands and this tour is about going out and dealing with it.

"Human beings do not like change," says Toogood. "It's really good for you, but it hurts when you go through it. Ultimately, you can look back and say `I'm glad I changed that about myself or about my life'. At the time it just fuckin' hurts."

Neither are melodramatic about the changes their bands have undergone, but both are aware that perhaps, now more than ever, Pacifier and Superheist have to prove their rock-worthiness. Having joined the band in 2001 following the release of Superheist's debut LP, The Prize Recruit, and as a result of original singer Berger's departure, Biro is now focussed on touring behind the band's second album (his first with them) Identical Remote Controlled Reactions. Last year he was the new guy, this year he's simply the guy.

Biro: "Constructive criticism is cool, but when people are trying to offend you, saying `we want Berger back'... it used to piss me off but now I just laugh at it."

Has that been difficult?

Biro: "It was at the start. But I can understand where that kid's coming from. It could have been his favourite band for four years or something. I can sympathise with him, but don't come up to me and say `I want Berger back', because I'm here doing what I love, I'm passionate about it. I will not let one little kid get me down. I'd rather someone come up to me and say `dude, that was good but I miss Berger'. Cool man, but it's time to get over it."

Pacifier, meanwhile, have not only had to deal with a name change but being constantly asked about it. Consequently, to a degree, after 12 years together The Band Formerly Known As Shihad are now touring behind a debut album.

Toogood: "The whole name change... I've been asked so many times about it and in so many interviews, but before I bite their head off I have to remember that this is the first time they've asked the question. But after 150 times it's like... well…. I can relate to how people feel about our name change, 'cause it made me feel really fucking bad for ages. People have to see us for us to prove it all again."

Biro: "Oh, they'll see it dude (laughs)."

Toogood: "That's the thing. If I didn't believe that we were a better band, I would have knocked it on the head and fucked off. Maybe have kids and do all the other things I want to do apart from being in a band."

But while Toogood and Biro have to deal with such day-to-day frustrations in a band, they realise that if fans do get angry about name changes or new singers, it's only because they care deeply about each band's music.

Toogood: "I don't go to bed until I'm so exhausted that I have to fall asleep. Otherwise I lay in bed every fucking night thinking `I could do this better... I should have worked on that song more... what could I do better in the live shows? What can I improve about my communication skills with the people in the band?' My brain never fucking stops thinking about this band. I would have thought that as you get older and more mature that would change, but you're constantly striving to make it better."

Biro: "The guys in Superheist have worked their arses off for nine years. It's like I've got to start getting serious. I've got to start being professional. I've got to start doing things and getting rid of things that I used to do. It's like `you're here now, grow up. Do something about it'. If you've got the chance you may as well try and take it all the way. If every band member's switched on, you can't be stopped."

Meanwhile, the call of America has never been louder. Pacifier recorded their new album in Los Angeles and Superheist performed industry showcases there recently. As such, there's strong industry interest in the two bands.

Toogood: "It's weird, like I'm gonna be in New York in two week's time because we have to shoot a video for Arista. Both bands are going to America, and it's not as though it's the coolest place to go to, because the government is making it extremely uncool. With everything that's happening it's a weird time to go there and we've copped a lot of flak for even wanting to go. But it's still the home of rock'n'roll, man, no matter how geeky George W. Bush makes it look."

Well, you can't blame all of Australia for John Howard either.

Toogood: "No, but it's strange being a Kiwi living here. I'm not Australian and he even makes me fucking embarrassed!"