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

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - Feature - S C OT T S AWY E R

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

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