If you haven’t heard Sunset Riot you are missing out. JP is one of the band’s two guitarists and we appreciate him giving us a moment of his precious time.
      What were some of your early experiences with music as a child in Australia?
     JP: Well music was always around me from as early as I can remember old blues, rock, Gospel and old church hymns where what my family listened too.
My Grandfather on my mum’s side played the ukulele and the organ and my grandmother and he would sing hymns together.
I spent a lot of time around them while I was young and the two things that really rubbed off them was their unshakable Faith and love for music.
I always loved music. It would just seem to evoke so many emotions in me and take me places! I would even at times just make up a story around the song and try to tell people that the song was about that!
They always told me it wasn’t what I claimed it to be hahah I remember trying to tell a family friend that this one Petra song was about a ninja defeating the bad guys but he only just one etc etc. It must have been so funny for them because I just believed it to be true!! 
          Did you play a musical instrument as a child?
    JP:  My parents always encouraged me to play an instrument but I never stuck at anything. While I was in primary school I think I started to learn the piano, clarinet and the trumpet.
I learnt the trumpet for a few years only because I was forced to. Most of the time I had no idea what I was doing and would look at the person next to me to see what they were playing and follow them.
Then I gave it up once I hit high school and skateboarding became my main focus. I wanted to be a Pro.

      What decade of music inspires you most?
     JP:  you know I don’t think there is anyone decade. I’m inspired but all genres and eras of music. I’m very eclectic.
I will say though lately I have been really enjoying stuff out of the 60’s and 70’s. There is just something about the music that comes from those eras!
Something so honest and I don’t hear it very often in today’s music. I often wonder if I will ever feel the feeling I got when I heard ACDC’s “TNT” for the first time, “Since I’ve been loving you” by Led Zeppelin, any number of Queen songs or “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix.
      What were the reasons for learning to play guitar?
     JP: I don’t think I have any real reason other than it was just something that I really felt I should do! I didn’t understand that feeling or really know where it would take me.
I just decided after Christmas with the family in 2004 I would get my mum’s old nylon string guitar from my Auntie’s house and I was going to be a guitar player.
 I can’t imagine my life without the guitar now it feels like such a huge part of who I am and what I’m doing with my life.

Were you self-taught or did you have formal lessons?
     JP:  For the most part I am self-taught.
I got one formal lesson from a music school when I was first starting out. He was a local guy that everyone raved about and he went to my church so I would see him play on Sunday mornings. I was pumped because he was good!
I got there and he kept trying to teach me “sweet home Alabama” and at that stage I wasn’t interested in learning that song. I wanted to learn acoustic style songs! So I flat-out told him “teach me something else”. That’s when I was introduced to the amazing song writer that is Paul Kelly and the song I learnt was “To Her Door”. That song is killer such a great story!

Since then I would learn off other people or artists that would pop into my life. If I liked something they were playing then I’d get them to teach me it or I would watch from a distance and try to learn it in my head then take it home to work on!

How do you go about writing music?
     JP: Well most of the time it starts with an emotion and I try to get out how I’m feeling through chords a riff or a lead line.  I will gradually put pieces of lyrics, chords, riffs and lead lines together and start to build a song.
There is no real structure sometimes all I get is a chorus and I sit on it for a long time till something triggers the rest of the song.
I try to be really honest and only work on the really good songs that I come up with. I refine them and try to make them the best possible song I can on my own. If I’m writing for Sunset Riot then I do the same thing but once we get in a room together the song really comes to life! There is a great writing chemistry within our band. Del is great to write lyrics with as well we connect with each other’s lyrics and feel things deeply so we collaborate well.
     If you could step in and do one performance with any band which would it be? And why that particular band?
      JP: I would love to play alongside Elvis! He had such a huge influence on me when I was a kid! So I would have to say Elvis!
I can see it now!! HAHAH I wish that could happen so badly!
     You have been fortunate to be in a touring band. What is the single most memorable moment you’ve had while touring?
     JP: I don’t know if I can put it down to one particular thing! It’s all so amazing! Just waking up every day and doing what you love to do and meeting so many amazing people and hearing so many different stories!
It’s not just about the big things it’s about all the little things. I never want to take any of this for granted and just enjoy every part of it the huge ups and the massive downers. Cause one day I may never be able to do this again (touch wood).
This is all I want to do with my life is play music and guitar for people and bring them some joy, hope, peace or something they can relate too in any part of their life and hearts.
     What music would people find surprising to find you listening to?
     JP: People are often surprised that I listen to Blues, folk and Gospel. But that’s what I was brought up on and I can’t escape my roots. Blues will always be a part of my life one way or another! There is just so much in it! 
      If you could give a lecture to young musicians, what would you tell them?
     JP: I would tell them the truth about the music industry and how hard and cut throat it can be! I would also tell them to stay away from drugs and the drink and not let those things become the focus.
It’s about the music, the songs and the fans! Stay in school and learn as much as you can because these days you have to be a business man. The industry has changed and it’s not all Sex Drugs and Rock n Roll.

What do you think of the music scene both at home and here in the US?

     JP:The Live music scene in Australia is in a really bad place! It used to be vibrant but now days seems to be considered “dead”. The Australian pub scene produced some of Australia’s biggest bands! Some of those venues that created the platform for those bands have now since shut down. To the people who come out and watch live music it’s still so alive but to the masses I think it’s a case of them “not knowing” what they are missing out on! There is a rock revival to happen around the world and it is time!! 
America is a fantastic scene! We have had the best tours over there!! You guys are really flying the flag high for live music!

America has really set the standard for me and the rest of the SR boys!
But to all the fans in every country we are so very thankful for all the support that you give us! We are completely independent and do it all on our own with no label support or management!
It’s the fans that keep the Sunset Riot machine going and we could not do it without you so thank you!!

Peace, Love and Rock n Roll
     Thanks for sharing JP! I know we will be hearing more from JP and Sunset Riot in the near future! I’m gonna leave with a couple of  live videos of “Trash VS. Class” and “Stir Crazy”:
video courtesy of Cakes Productions
the Hellion


  1. Sunset Riot is one of my favorite new bands and JP is an awesome guitar virtuoso! I can’t wait to see JP and the other SR boys again!

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