At high school, iOTA took drama and music as electives, so he could "slack off for two hours"; he formed his first band, which was short-lived, at the age of 16.
iOTA moved out of home at age 17, into a caravan and lived for several years on the dole, while playing with a hard rock band called Loose Goose. He worked as a mechanic's apprentice before his career as an entertainer took off.
Loose Goose moved to Sydney, when iOTA was 23.
iOTA changed his name by deed poll when he was 26. iOTA has cited three reasons for this: wanting to begin a new identity as an entertainer, being openly gay, and being a recovering alcoholic.
iOTA's first album The Hip Bone Connection was released in 1999 and earned an ARIA nomination. Following the release of the album, iOTA was labelled as an acoustic/blues/roots musician, a label he does not like. His second, Big Grandfather, was considered less accessible, more atmospheric and was not as successful as his first. His third, La Caravana, "is about the nomadic life of a musician". His fourth and most recent is Beauty Queen of the Sea and uses a full electric band, moving towards rock and away from his previous roots label.
He appeared in George Miller's 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road (the fourth in the Mad Max series) as the Doof Warrior, a guitarist whose guitar is also a flamethrower. He has said he learned to act by necessity: "In the country, poofters are there to be bashed, or ridiculed. So I put on a mask, and became tough and rowdy: the long hair, the slouching, the spitting, lots of drinking piss."