Ross Wilson Headlines Inaugural Peninsula Music Festival

When checking out Ross Wilson’s extensive bio online, I wont deny I got a bit of a shock. We all know this guy is a well-respected musician and a big name in Australian music. Mr Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock still get around and people love him, but to see his achievements all in one page is IMPRESSIVE. Sing these songs in your head; State Of The Heart, Come Said the Boy, Eagle Rock and Come Back Again. But wait, there’s more. His songs have been done by Joe Cocker, Custard, Troy Cassar-Daley, You Am I and the Wiggles. Add to that the fact that Wilson convinced Mushroom to sign the Skyhooks before producing them in the studio. With the Australian icon still headlining festivals and absolutely wowing crowds, I thoroughly didn’t expect to be interrupting a dad dropping his kid off to school when I called an interview.

PEARL: You are playing the Peninsula Festival in January with your band. Who are ‘The Peaceniks’?
WILSON: Well it’s a good line up, probably the most well known being Eric McCusker on the guitar from Mondo Rock. He wrote Come Said the Boy and State of the Heart; big hits like that. The other guys I’ve been playing with for quite a while, and they’re all excellent players.

PEARL: How did you come up with the name?
WILSON: Well it came about because the most recent album I did which was called, I Come In Peace, and I thought to myself, “oh, there’s the name of a band.” I Come in Peace actually got picked up by Joe Cocker and was put on his last album, and that’s great. That’s sort of half the business I’m in! I remember when they told us John Farnham was gonna put Touch of Paradise on his album and I sorta went, “oh that’s nice.” No one knew it was going to be as big as it was. Afterwards I thought, “yeah! Good on ya, man!”

PEARL: In such a long career, how do you choose a set list for a festival like the Peninsula Music Festival?
WILSON: Well I quite like to keep people happy! So I play a lot of the hits, particularly from Daddy Cool. It’s amazing how people still relate to that music even though it was like forty years ago. People just go nuts and they all sing along. Then, of course, the Mondo rock era, which lasted a lot longer so had a few more hits. I like to throw them in, but I do like to squeeze in some new ones here and there to keep everyone on their toes.

PEARL: After having such a diverse career with recording, performing, writing for yourself and others, different bands, producing, etc. Is there any one thing you are particularly proud of?
WILSON: The thing I’m most proud of is my production for Skyhooks. Particularly ‘Living In the Seventies’. because that broke the ceiling in record sales. It was only 60,000 copies but that was huge as a gold record was 10,000 copies in those days. They had to change the rules.

PEARL: Have you ever been out and heard someone covering one of your songs?
WILSON: Ah yeah, but I’m never really able to go out and see other people play much. I’m always busy doing my own stuff! (laughs)

You can catch Ross Wilson at the Peninsula Music Festival at Morningstar Estate, Mt Eliza, on January 12, alongside Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes, Aleyce Simmonds, Coral Lee, the Weeping Willows, Raw Brit and more. For more information go to


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