Sunshine Riot is a nationally touring indie band out of Boston whose sound might be most aptly described as Johnny Cash meets Kurt Cobain. With a relentless DIY attitude, the band has gained favorable press all over the country and established itself as one of the most electric live acts in the game today.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Mark Tetreault - little guitar boy
Jeff Sullivan - little bass boy
Jonny O. - little guitar boy number two / little singer boy
Steven Sheperd - little drummer boy
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Sunshine Riot? How long has the band been around?
I think we all bumped around in bad punk bands in our really early years, but the project that would become this band started 11 years ago.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
We were teenagers when we named Sunshine Riot. Truthfully, I don't recall what the hell it means. We must have liked it at the time - now we're stuck with it :)
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time? Whole band writes the music and Jonny writes virtually all of the lyrics. I think we write about a lot of subjects. Songs are great vehicles for story telling and they really represent their own unique brand of narrative. I think we’re a blues band at heart. Songs about struggle, stories about the fight that is life. That’s the stuff we’re interested in. These songs ain’t about wedding cake and champagne.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Steve Earle / Lucero / Nirvana / The Replacements / the barber shop quartet that Homer Simpson founded. It was called Baby on Board.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
When I (Jonny) was 6 years old I was riding in the back of my dad's beat up Ford Taurus and my brother put on "Unplugged in New York" by Nirvana. The moment I heard that I knew rock/roll was gonna be a thing I couldn't shake.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
I think everyone in the band probably has their own thing. We've been at this for a long time and played many hundreds of shows, so it's a fairly calm environment. Cold beer / cut a set list / find dinner.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
We've opened for some bands we love (Deer Tick, Young Dubliners) and have also opened for some folks we had no idea were so good (Everlast was a surprise). I think our biggest highlight is the fact that we get to do this on our terms - we put out records, we tour, we do the damn thing and we don't have to hold ourselves accountable to anyone other than, well, ourselves.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Anyone but the Eagles.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think lasagna is lazy, overrated, and a culinary false profit.