Joe got into music before he was born! His father was a drummer in a 70’s rock band called Seth (no affiliation to the current metal band). His parents were always at rock concerts, even when his mom was pregnant. They saw Queen and Rainbow just before he was born. He was exposed to music constantly and grew up listening to his father’s records, mostly Black Sabbath, Rush, Rainbow, MSG, Purple, Zeppelin, Yes, King Crimson, ELP and more. His mom listened to a lot of Motown and oldies and would often have the radio tuned to what was new at the time, so he has a soft spot for 80’s pop.
Black Sabbath was a first inspiration. When he was around 7 or 8 years old he recorded all his fathers Sabbath records onto cassette and would listen to them on a Walkman non stop. “I had no bias between Ozzy, Dio or even Gillian and Martin. My dad had everything up to ‘Headless Cross’; this was 1987 and that’s around the year I started recording all of his records onto tape. One of my first cassettes was by ‘Tyr’ which I bought a couple of years later. My dad didn’t have that one, so I continued where he left off.”
Joe plays electric guitar in the band but also plays acoustic guitar, bouzouki and provides background vocals. He met Frank Navarro at a college in the state of Maine. Frank was big into music, anything from rock to gypsy jazz and folk. And then there was Joe, the metal head. They naturally played off each other creating jazzy stuff. Although Frank doesn’t play in the band anymore, he still gets together with Joe, Dave and Ted and will write song parts here and there. He also does a lot of the illustration in the inside of the c.d. booklets.
Joe loves touring. “Playing our music live is such a great thrill. I love after having a successful show, meeting people afterwards and having a beer. I like to hear what they have to say and more so when they say things like “that song reminded me of this, and that other song is like that” and then talking about mutual bands we love. Especially in other countries, I love talking shop with people; it makes me feel like we are all connected by this rock and metal music.”
Joe says about being in Sunrunner “The whole thing has been a ride, every year, every album, every show and tour. It is like a tapestry woven together rather than a series of singular events. There has been more challenges and obstacles than I would like, but we overcome them one at a time. At the end of the day, the highlights continue on as one long journey.”
His favorite Sunruuner tracks are ‘The Temple’, ‘Gaiascope’, ‘Star Messenger’, ‘Prophecy Of the Red Skies’, ‘Palaver’ ‘Where is My Home’ ‘Dragonship’. “Usually, the ones that stand out to me just check all the boxes for me. From a musical flow of one part to the next, a really catchy chorus, the lyrics. I put 100% into every song, but this handful of songs seems to shine a little brighter for me.”
John Bonham is probably Ted’s favorite drummer. He began playing drums at the age of 4 years old. His brother played guitar and he always looked up to his brother and really I wanted to play guitar like he did. However his brother insisted he played drums instead. His brother gave him some “hand-me-down” CD’s which were bands he had outgrown but they became Teds favorites namely Motley Crue, and Kiss.
Ted continued studying drums through grade school and high school. He went on to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. “I have a great respect for music and I enjoy many different styles, bands, etc. I enjoy jazz, classical music, hip-hop, country music, heavy metal, classic rock, folk music, Latin music, reggae, and so on.”
Right now Ted is inspired by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, because it shows me that a band as amorphous as them, and also as heavy and weird as them, can “make it”. “I enjoy their playfulness and also how prolific they are, and how they don’t seem to be limited to one style of music but will put together whatever music they come up with, and those songs may or may not be in the expected style of the band. I think Sunrunner is similar to them in some way, so they appeal to me as a band like us who’s come upon great success.”
As a working musician Ted has played in several bands. “In addition to playing with Sunrunner, I play with a band called Workman Song, and in the past I’ve played with bands such as The Highway, Canet, and Alejandro Meola to name a few.” In addition to the drums he also plays guitar and keyboard.
Ted met Joe through their mutual friend Frank Navarro. “I grew up in Connecticut, and so did Frank, but he went off to college in Maine where he met Joe. I went up to visit Frank and he introduced me to Joe and we all started jamming in this house they were renting in China, Maine (yes, that’s a town in Maine). They had a demo recorded already, so I learnt those early songs and from there we started putting new songs together. Joe and Ted usually write music with two guitars and a spiral notebook! Before too long he was making the trek from Boston to Maine to work on music with the band every week.
He believes the fans make the music. “As artists, we create stuff and we’re listening to the little voice in our heads saying “this is good”, but having a loud voice coming from somebody else saying “that was good” hits home even harder. The fans and their reaction remind us when we’re away from the stage that this music is important. It’s easy to take things for granted, and not appreciate something for what it is, especially if it’s a part of you. You realize the fans care about the music – and there’s something magical happening.
As for touring, Ted leans the other way to Dave and Joe. “To be fair, touring is a lot of fun and I love playing music, traveling, and feeling like I’m doing something meaningful – touring checks off all of those boxes. But being away from family, getting little sleep, waiting around all day before that night’s performance, staying in strange hotels (at best!) make touring difficult on one’s body and mind. I always thought it would be cool to be up on stage and be adored by fans, be making the music that everyone is enjoying, and it is – but the reality of it is its hard work – and you can only party so much.” Although everyone in the audience can be having the time of their lives, the band have to stay on point, get enough sleep, not drink too much, and like athletes get “in the zone”, so to speak. “Touring should be the coolest thing ever but in order to put on the best show, you can’t treat it like a vacation, which is kind of a bummer because it is kind of like a vacation. But I do enjoy the time with my band mates, and I love to play music. I love to play for excited crowds and to meet new people too.”
His favorite Sunrunner track is ‘Technology’s Luster’. “It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s high energy and it has a few weird twists and turns that make it interesting. It’s a hard-driving sort of thrash metal song with a side of Sunrunner world-music-y what-have-you. I’m not sure what it is actually, but I’ll say that one is my favorite, but there are so many!” Ted really enjoyed recording with Marcus Jidell. He flew in from Sweden and stayed in Maine for a couple of weeks to track ‘Ancient Arts of Navigation.’ Ted says “He was a lot of fun to work with and we rocked our asses off in the studio!”
The name Sunrunner came about as a “Frankism” (coming from Frank Navarro, an honorary if not full-fledged member of the band). “I wasn’t there at the time, but he was describing a dog who wandered over to their backyard in China, Maine, and Frank described the dog as a Sunrunner. To me, Sunrunner describes all of us. We run on the sun – The sun makes the earth warm, it allows plants to grow, the plants feed animals, the animals feed us, we run around all day in life. That’s how I think of it; it’s like a metaphor for humanity.”
Dave got into music from a very early age. There was almost always music being played at home and in the car. He was exposed to a lot of the popular music of the late 70s and early 80’s. Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson but around the age of 7 years he found rap music and hardrock/metal. Rock music became his favorite genre and to this day bands like Gun’s and Roses and Metallica, Soundgarden, Kyuss and Faith No More are still some of his most loved.
Dave is a trained vocalist and has been playing Trombone and Bass since 7th grade. He plays bass in the band and also sings. He has performed with bands including Adum/Sexy Effort, Zesta, Calais, AOK Suicide Forest and Johnny Cremains.
His favorite Sunrunner track is “Stalking Wolf” off their ‘Ancient Arts of Survival’ album. He says “It’s an 18.5 minute long opus of heavy metal greatness. It has many different dimensions of heaviness and big singing.”
As for touring, Dave does enjoy it. “I love being immersed in other cultures, meeting new awesome people and exploring new lands. I also love performing in new venue locations. One of them is certainly the Belmor Boggie Festival we did in Archangel Russia. That was quite an experience and a very positive one.”