• Genre
  • Reggae
  • Awards and Nominations
    • SAMMIES 2020 Nominee★ Reggae/Jam ★
    • SAMMIES 2018 Nominee★ Reggae/Jam ★
  • Musicians
    • Casey Fowler — drums
    • Jeffry Valerio — acoustic guitar, vocals
    • John Marshall — electric guitar
    • Ray Moore — bass
    • Scott Kennedy — electric guitar
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Q & A

All-time favorite song?


“Oceans” by Pearl Jam.

As a child growing up, music surrounds us. What type of music did you hear the most back then? How does it differ from what you listen to now?


My mother was the lead singer in a country band when I was a kid so I was around that genre a lot. Country in the '80s wasn’t even bad, lol. My parents listened to a lot of the '50s and '60s rock/pop and I really dug that. I didn’t listen to a lot of reggae, still don’t. It’s funny because Riotmaker has a huge reggae influence, but that came from bands like The Police, Clash etc. Nowadays, I listen to a lot of '20s, '30s and '40s big band music. Deftones (my all-time fave) and Passafire.

Do you have regular gigs around town?


We play at Ace and Holy Diver when national acts that we dig come through Sacto.

Favorite colors?


Black, gray, pink/

How do you describe your interviews to people?


We are a rock band and we incorporate reggae elements.

How do you feel about musical award competitions?


I personally do not like award competitions that see artists basically voting for themselves. Over the years, I have seen bands/artists win awards when they are terrible, have zero draw and clearly have voted for themselves. I’ll just leave it at that.

If your band was a movie, what movie would it be?


Boogie Nights

Is there a central theme to your band's music?


Heartbreak, love, redemption and sex.

Tell us about how the band formed.


Jeffry was the frontman for Shakedown from 1997-2004. After losing his position in the band because of drug and alcohol issues, Jeffry walked away from music. Almost five years later (2009), he got sober. A few weeks into sobriety, his fiance left him for another man. She even sent Jeffry pictures of her having sex with this new dude. Jeffry was crushed and nearly turned back to drugs and alcohol. A few days later, he met Mat Venable. Mat had an acoustic guitar with him and left it at Jeffry’s house. One night Jeffry was hurting so bad from his recent breakup he picked up the guitar and wrote a song called “Girl Around The Way”. Mat, who was a metalhead, dug the new poppy/reggae song that Jeffry wrote so the two of them recorded it. They were so stoked on it, they spent the next three years writing and recording demos. Jeffry and Mat were listening to a lot of TechN9ne at the time and adopted the song “Riot Maker” as an anthem for the music they were creating. Riotmaker was born, sort of. Jeffry and Mat had no intention of starting a band, only a recording project. Mat began bringing his BFF Scott Kennedey around who was also a musician and metalhead. Scott would jam and record little tidbits on the songs Jeffry and Mat were working on.

In 2012, the idea of forming a band for one show came up. Jeffry would play acoustic guitar and sing, Mat would be on electric ... they just needed bass and drums. Cristos Giotes was the drummer in Jeffry’s first band, Three in a Hand back in 1996. The two hadn’t seen each other since then but a chance encounter lead to Cristos becoming Riotmaker’s first drummer. Jeffry had always wanted to work with Lesdystics bass player, Mikey Atilano who joined right away. After a few practices, Riotmaker booked it’s first show. A week before the gig, Mikey had to bow out so Scott Kennedy, who was a guitar player offered to play bass just for this show. The venue marketed the show as “Riotmaker ft. Jeffry from Shakedown”. The show was packed with old Shakedown fans. Riotmaker was only planning on doing this one show but the phone started ringing. Since 2012, Riotmaker has toured and played hundreds of shows with bands like Rebelution, Tesla, The Expendables, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Rome from Sublime with Rome, Oleander, The Slackers, Passafire and many more. The fellas have released various albums, singles and EPs and has no plans of stopping. Scott moved over to electric guitar and the band landed a bass player. Cristos left the band to care for his son and Ben Lerch joined as the new drummer from 2013-2018 before leaving to join Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers. Riotmaker’s current lineup is: Jeffry Valerio (vocals, acoustic guitar), Scott Kennedy (electric guitar), John Marshall (electric guitar), Ray Moore (bass), Casey Fowler (drums).

What message do you hope to give with your music?


You are not alone ...

What was the first song you learned to play?


La Bamba.

What's a big musical inspiration that would most surprise your fans?



What's next for the band?


We are releasing a new EP Between Love & Light on Feb. 15, 2020.

What's next for you?


Jimboy’s Tacoburger ... if you haven't tried one yet, you haven’t lived.

What's something most of your friends don't know about you?


I have a 20% hearing loss.

What's the story behind the band name?


Homage to TechN9ne.

What's your favorite local artist/group?


Deftones, Filibuster.

What’s your favorite song to perform live right now?


“Mother” by Danzig.

Who first inspired you to play music?


My mom.

Who is your secret star crush?


Daisy Ridley. (Yes, please.)

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