Jon Toogood is a rock legend to many, but would-be musicians at his old school weren't too sure who the Shihad singer was.
"I don't listen to Shihad, but I thought Jon was cool when he said he liked David Bowie," Wellington High School student Asher Calvert, 14, said.
"I've heard maybe one Shihad song, so that helped," said Maja Samper, also 14, as Toogood mentored her seven-piece band on their rendition of the Beatles' Day Tripper.
But both agreed they had enjoyed the experience of working with the singer as part of the New Zealand Music Commission's Musicians Mentoring in Schools programme.
"It's a really great environment, it's not been scary at all," Maja said.
Kristine Twigley, head of music at Wellington High, said Toogood had been helping a group of year 10, 11 and 13 students this week at a three-day workshop.
He had also helped year 11s develop a guitar riff into a song, Runk Feggae.
‘They've been jamming that line for about a month, and it's been driving me bonkers," she said. "Now they've gone on to do something with it.
"Jon's definitely taken this song on a journey that it wasn't going on before."
The programme, organised with the Education Ministry, places a professional musician in a school to serve as a mentor and role model.
Among those helped in the past is pop singer Kimbra, who had her talents fostered at Hillcrest High School in Hamilton.
Stephanie Lees, Music Commission education manager, said schools applied to be part of the scheme, and were then matched with a mentor.
"Wellington High is Jon's old school, so it was the perfect tie-in."
Toogood said the experience had given him new respect for the teaching profession.
"The last three days have been awesome, but hard work. It's made me appreciate teachers: they get paid the worst, but they do the most work. It's so selfless."
He will mentor at Onslow College today and Upper Hutt College on Monday, before he leaves for a Shihad tour of Australia.
WHO IS JON TOOGOOD?
Born in Wellington, August 9, 1971
Frontman for rock band Shihad, which he formed in 1988 with fellow Wellingtonian Tom Larkin
Shihad changed their name to Pacifier after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 because of its resemblance to "jihad", but reverted to their original name in 2004
They have released eight studio albums, five of which have been certified gold in New Zealand. The General Electric (1999) and Pacifier (2002) were double-platinum
Toogood also performs in The Adults, a group that also includes Shayne Carter, Anika Moa, Julia Deans, Ladi6 and Tike Taane. They released their self-titled debut album in June 2011.
- © Fairfax NZ News