SUPERJESUS LIMBER UP FOR SUMO
SARAH MCLEOD, FRONTWOMAN FOR THE BELOVED ’90S ROCK BAND, IS READY FOR AN AUSSIE TOUR TO CELEBRATE THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEMINAL ALBUM
THE 1990s were Australian rock music’s halcyon days. Building on the momentum of the 1980s, which put rock and roll firmly at the forefront of the public’s hearts and minds, the ’90s delivered one of the finest musical eras this country will ever know.
Powderfinger, Spiderbait, Regurgitator, Silverchair, Jebediah, Something For Kate, You Am I, Grinspoon.
In an era of musical giants, The Superjesus carved out their own slice of history.
Their debut album, Sumo, released in 1998, rode the crest of a wave of demand for indie rock which has not since been replicated.
The certified platinum album peaked at number two on the ARIA Chart and garnered the band a cult following.
So how do you celebrate the 20th anniversary of such an important piece of work?
A 20-city Australian tour, the band’s most intense touring schedule in 20 years, playing two hours a night, seemed the best way to celebrate the album for frontwoman Sarah McLeod.
“It’s daunting when you look at the tour dates and you think ‘wow, I have to do all that’,” she said.
“But once you start you sort of don’t really want to stop.”
The Superjesus had established themselves as festival favourites after their 1996 EP Eight Step Rail, but Sumo was the album which gave the band a career.
The 20th anniversary edition album will be re-released on vinyl as part of the commemorations.
But it’s the tour, the band’s biggest since 1998, that has McLeod and her bandmates full of adrenaline.
Preparation is in full swing for the tour, which kicks off with a sold-out show in Adelaide at the end of September and hits Townsville’s Dalrymple Hotel on November 16, before finishing at Darwin’s Skycity Casino at the end of November.
McLeod, a lover of jazz music and an accomplished solo artist, has swapped the beers for water, is getting fit and singing every day in preparation for the gruelling schedule which will take the band across seven states and territories.
At a recent gig with other giants of the 1990s rock scene, McLeod said it had been like a reunion of friends who all had kids at the same time and were now celebrating milestone birthdays of their seminal albums.
“I feel lucky that we got in just on the cusp (of the 1990s), before things got difficult,” she said.
The rise of social media and music streaming services has made life tough for artists.
McLeod lamented the loss of mystique and aura around musicians too, with the selfie phenomenon and intrusion of social media into the private lives of musicians.
“You can’t make money from selling records but you still have to spend quite a lot making them,” she said.
McLeod felt rock was also suffering from a bit of an identity crisis in Australia, as it battled for relevance as other genres enjoyed a resurgence.
But there were whispers being uttered around the music scene once again, giving hope that there may be a rock revival not too far away.
Regardless of the state of play, not much changes for The Superjesus, who are and always will be unashamedly rockers. “We are what we are,” McLeod said. “It’d be great if rock made a big resurgence.”
The energetic frontwoman is set to deliver some of her most captivating performances yet, having honed her craft further with a stint in theatre as part of an Australian adaptation of the Broadway hit musical American Idiot based on Green Day’s 2004 album of the same name.
“I f***ing loved it,” McLeod said. “It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”
McLeod is looking forward to some time in the tropics.
“It’s more rewarding for us (playing regional towns),” she said.
“They’re more ready to party up here than the southern states.” Tickets to The Superjesus’ November 16 show (18 years and older) at the Dalrymple Hotel can be purchased at oztix.com.au.
SARAH MCLEOD PICTURE: ZAK SIMMONDS