Knightshade is a New Zealand rock/hardrock group. They formed in Te
Puke in 1982. The band based themselves in Hamilton in the mid-1980s
when the lineup changed. The lineup then consisted of Wayne Elliott
(vocals), Alan Grady (drums), Rik Bernards (guitar), Jon Bell (bass),
Paul Martin (guitar). Paul left the band and Gavin Lind rejoined. This was
the lineup that performed and recorded the majority of their work. Craig
Pollock replaced Gavin Lind on guitar in 1991. They have had several
top 20 singles and have supported major touring acts including Deep
Purple, ZZ Top, Bon Jovi, Jimmy Barnes, The Angels, Iggy Pop and
Guns ‘N’ Roses. They have also released several EPs, a live album and
a ‘best of’ studio album in 1995. Knightshade are still based in Hamilton.
The band went their separate ways in 1997, but after a 14-year hiatus
they reunited in 2010 and released a new single, ‘Rough at the Top’, a
year later. At that stage the band consisted of Wayne Elliott, Alan Grady,
Rik Bernards & Craig Pollock. Alan left soon after and was replaced with
Scott Williams on drums. Neil McDonald joined on bass in about 2013 in
time for their anticipated reunion gig, So, on June 6, 2014, the band
finally returned to the public stage and gave a long-anticipated re-union
gig in Hamilton at the Altitude, with several further gigs the same year.
As for keyboardists, Knightshade has never been able to secure a
permanent one till now. In the last 6 years the band has gone through 3
different keyboardists, before they secured Kingsley Smith, who joined
at the end of 2014. Coming up 3 years now, Kingsley has been the
longest serving keyboardist in Knightshade. Back in the old days Wayne
used to play keys live on a few songs, including Out for the Count, Heart
of Stone, Living a life, and You Don’t need me.
2015 saw the band grow and plant their feet more firmly on the ground,
with the help from their latest line-up, including; Scott Williams on drums,
Neil McDonald on bass, and Kingsley Smith on Keyboards. Wayne, Rik,
and Craig remained the core original members of the band as the KS
machine gathered momentum from its Hamilton home base. That same
year they guested at Paul Martin’s Gemini Party alongside Devilskin.
The rest of 2015 saw the band working on new material and honing the
new line-up. On November 6, 2015, they performed at the Mount, at the
newly opened ‘Totara Street’ venue. This was their first gig in the Bay
area in almost 20 years. It was a kind of ‘coming home’ gig for Wayne
and Rik, who originally came from the Bay of Plenty area. (Wayne from
Te Puke and Rik from Whakatane).
Recording sessions started for the new material towards the end of 2015
and into 2016, but were stalled after a member returned for more chemo
treatment. Then, 3 or 4 months later when their health had temporarily
returned, the band decided to announce one final gig, scheduled for 6th
of August 2016 in Hamilton. The band rehearsed for nearly 3 months,
with Gael Ludlow joining them, to add her legendary vocals for songs
such as Out for the Count. The gig was a roaring success, with the
Altitude venue selling out to full capacity, and with people coming from
all over New Zealand for their last chance to experience the band live.
Some fans even flew across the Tasman Sea to see the gig. It was a
very special night with the band performing for over 2 hours. A camera
crew filmed the concert and have been slowly editing the footage for a
full length Live DVD. (hopefully due out at the end of 2017).
Since then the band returned to the studio to finish off 4 of their new
recordings, the latest of which, their single ‘U Say’, is due out Friday
October 29th. Another single is already in production and a live concert
DVD will follow later in the year, with samples from the show being
uploaded soon to our youtube channel.
There was some confusion that the band were breaking up after the big
gig last year, but it was in fact only mean’t to be the last ‘live’
performance from the band. And because live performance is a huge
part of what Knightshade are about, to some extent it kind of felt like
they were saying goodbye. The band always intended to continue in the
studio, health permitting. And who knows what the future may bring.
There’s always a chance the band will return for another live show down
the track, so stay tuned into the bands facebook page for the latest