Skip to content



Formed in Te Puke in 1982 (initially as ‘Clearlite‘), hard rock group Knightshade took their name from the fairly innocuous gardening weed Deadly Nightshade.

A hard-working group that developed a strong following on the pub-rock circuit of the North Island in the mid 1980’s; setting up base in Hamilton and releasing material on the Reaction Records independent label.

Unfortunately the group got into a tricky situation when they were picked up by major label Mushroom records:

when they got their break and were signed to Mushroom Records Australia, the label insisted on big ballads.

Mushroom pressed them to relocate to Sydney and build an audience from scratch; Knightshade offered the label their back catalogue so they at least had product to tour. With neither party willing to budge, the band sat out the remainder of their five-year term relying on live work in New Zealand.

AudioCulture profile of Knightshade

After 5 years living off live gigs including a huge amount of high-profile international support gigs, the group finally released their self-titled album on Hark Records in 1995, and then broke up the following year. Since then there have been several reunion shows, and guitarist Paul Martin has go on to have a long career as a DJ with NZ Hard Rock radio station ‘The Rock’, eventually joining popular heavy metal group Devilskin.

Long-standing front-man Wayne Elliot passed away on 4 December 2018.

Despite Elliott’s dire diagnosis, the band reformed for what proved to be several “last hurrah” concerts in 2014. Reflecting his group’s hard-rocking attitude and sound, Elliott opted for an equally hardcore remedy – the contentious and infrequently-applied “hot chemo” technique to literally burn the cancer out of his body.

Knightshade packed away their gear for the last time after their final show in August 2016.

Critics, colleagues pay tribute to Knightshade lead singer and founder Wayne Elliott (


  • Gavin Lind (guitar)
  • John Bell (The Bronx, bass)
  • Kevin Taylor (bass)
  • Paul Martin (Blackjack, Devilskin, Tyrant, guitar)
  • Rik Bernards (The Rattler, The Bronx)
  • Wayne Elliott (vocals / keyboards)
  • Alan Grady (drums)
  • Craig Pollock (guitar)
  • Scott Williams (drums)
  • Neil McDonald (bass)
  • Kingsley Smith (keys)
  • Simon Garlick (guitar)
  • Laurie Goosens (guitar)


  • Out for the count EP (1986, Reaction Records, REACT042)
  • Out for the night – Live! (live recording 1987, Reaction Records, REAL049]
  • The physical you EP (1987 Reaction Records, REACT048)
  • ‘You don’t need me’ single (1988, Mushroom)
  • ‘Last night in the city’ single (1989, Mushroom)
  • Knightshade (1995, Hark Records, HKC27)
  • Rough at the Top CDr single (2011, self-released)


Leave a Reply