Born and bred in Melbourne, Australia, JP Hedigan (John Patrick, in case you were wondering) describes himself as a singer-songwriter, music therapist and lost cause coffee addict. He started singing, playing guitar and writing songs at age 13. His first song (written with childhood friend Tossi) is very rude and has cuss words in it. Tossi and JP’s first band was the Psychotic Onions. The Onions performed locally in Lower Plenty, in their parents’ kitchens, drumming on pots and pans with wooden spoons and covering artists like Kids in the Kitchen, Twisted Sister and Phil Collins. After driving their mothers nuts (and multiple banishments from the kitchen) the band broke up and reformed as Spastic Turnips, and sang songs about girls, mushrooms and toasters.
Once JP went solo at 14, he began to focus his attentions on learning to play the guitar. His teachers included Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Hedges and Kottke. As a teenager JP played guitar and listened to music, a lot, speaking to adults infrequently (unless it was about guitars).
In his 20’s while living in Fitzroy as a student of music, history and psychology, JP was in bands like Weird Harold, Phineas Gage and Omniverse.
In a genuine sliding doors moment, at 25 JP met Clare Bowditch at a festival (where they sang together for hours in a Chai tent) Little did JP and Clare know at the time, but this chance meeting would not only create great music but also 2 families with 5 children between them. Upon returning to Melbourne they promptly started the band Red Raku that played in the Fitzroy Collingwood area and made 2 albums in 3 years (Sweetly Sedated and Rodaleisis May) before Clare’s departure for further study in Vancouver.
After Red Raku disbanded, JP worked as a music therapist from 2001-2007 at drug and alcohol rehab Odyssey House. During this time JP and his partner Defah were raising a young family, and live performance was a rarity. After completing his Masters degree in music therapy research at Melbourne University, JP decided that he was missing performing enormously and flicked the switch. By 2008 he was back to performing and on the road with the indigenous band the Brolga Boys (playing lead guitar). Next, he joined the Paul Dempsey Band in 2009 as a touring Multi-instrumentalist playing guitar and keyboards, and singing backing vocals. This relationship continued for a number of years with JP being invited to play with Paul’s band Something For Kate. Many sold out tours and festival shows ensued, the band rocked and everybody had copious amounts of fun. Throughout this period JP continued his work in music therapy, leading programs at Austin Health in both Palliative Care, Oncology and Psychiatry. Since its opening in 2014, JP has been Senior Music Therapist at the ONJ Cancer Centre in Melbourne.
In 2015, JP received some life changing news and was diagnosed with inoperable stage IV brain cancer (GBM). After enduring 9 months of treatment (at the ONJ Cancer Centre) JP was left with a mild left side neurological impairment, mostly effecting his left hand and his ability to play the guitar. Since that time JP has worked very hard to regain some of his capacity to play the guitar, and in November 2015 was able to return to work in palliative care (predominantly using the alternate tuning DADGAD to simplify his approach to the fretboard – gotta love one finger chords!). The cancer has remained stable (not growing) since the completion of treatment.