Ishtar is a band moniker for Transgendered Guitar Goddess Simone Whitlow’s musical outlet over the last decade. A Hard Rock group based out of Auckland, Ishtar is Musically cinematic, mixing stadium-esque riffs, big hooks and often disparate elements into their songwriting style. Ishtar’s music draws comparisons to bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Van Halen, Kansas, Styx, Iron Maiden, Nightwish and Dream Theater, to name a few.
Ishtar have had numerous highlights including playing to a packed out Aotea Square during New Years & releasing 2 EPs (South of Sanity (2006) and the internet only release Ambigram (2007). They scored airplay on numerous indie and student Rock stations across NZ, featured on a Tsunami charity CD 'Reconstruction' & filmed a yet to be released Video for their song 'South of Sanity'
The band has seen numerous incarnations. Mk 1, Featuring Simone (then Simon) on guitars also consisted of Angel & Johnny Walker (A Beautiful Chaos, vocals and drums) and Warren Keene on Bass. This incarnation was a proggy affair also with elements of Black Sabbath and hair metal. In Mk 3, Simone was joined by Mel Wright (vocals), Dave Cannon (drums) and Jamie Denton (bass) This version of the band forged the Ishtar sound and also recorded the bulk of Ishtar’s material. Collaborative and still heavy but a more commercial, rock orientated approach, the band crossed the line from Metal to Rock, while also indulging their musicality beyond that typical of Rock bands of the day. In 2007, just prior to folding Ishtar Mk3 (at this point Mel, Dave, Simone and bassist Matt Farley) filmed a video for their song ‘South Of Sanity’ since disregarded due to the fact Simone featured on it while still ‘Simon’.