Paul ‘PJ’ Johnstone is a New Zealand-born actor, voice-over, vocalist and drummer whose professional performing career began a few weeks after arriving in Sydney in 1972 when he joined the cast in the original Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar, a role which he says ‘opened doors both professionally and personally that are still swinging’.
Following seasons in Sydney and Melbourne with Superstar, Paul became general understudy in the cast of the original Australian production of The Rocky Horror Show, regularly playing the roles of Riff Raff, the dual-role of Eddie and Dr Scott, and the Narrator.
Paul’s other musical theatre credits through the 1970s included the original Australian production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Reg Livermore’s rock opera Ned Kelly, and the Australian Opera Company’s rock opera Hero. He also toured his home country New Zealand in the first-ever Kiwi production of The Rocky Horror Show, playing his favourite role of Eddie and Dr Scott, then an extended stint in the Australian cult classic rock musical comedy Boy’s Own McBeth, a production which demanded all of his disciplines – acting, singing, and drumming – with cast members doubling as the show’s band.
In between musical theatre gigs Paul’s talents as a drummer came to the fore, touring during the mid-to-late 1970s with Australian vocal icons Jeff St John and Ross Ryan, and as drummer/lead vocalist with his own bands, with residencies at some of Sydney’s hottest nightclubs of the ’80s and ’90s. He currently plays with Sydney funk/swamp/soul/rock n roll party band Straw Dogs.
(But) Paul is best known for his memorable role of Cundalini, the Lolita sunglasses-wearing outlaw biker, in George Miller’s 1979 classic Mad Max, a film which has grown in its cult status to be widely celebrated in 2019, the 40th Anniversary of its release.
Between his acting and musical engagements Paul has established himself as an in-demand voice-over and session vocalist for radio and television advertising. Very few Mad Max fans realise they’ve been hearing Cundalini’s voice on thousands of radio and television ads, that for many years he was the voice of ABC-TV, the voice of Today Tonight, and the voice of the Yogorilla.
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