Q/A Sarah McLeod

Sarah McLeod from The Superjesus admits she has the uncanny ability to attract insurance sellers to her doorstep. She informs me she had one at the door only moments before I called for our phone interview – a call that came through at the same time she was mimicking talking to an interviewer, her very excuse to the hawker.

“I don’t think she believed me,” Sarah said.

I apologise for ruining her reputation.

“Oh don’t worry, there’ll be another insurance salesperson along, for sure.”

We’re chatting because The Superjesus are back with a massive national tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album Sumo.

I’m a huge fan of the ‘Jesus, and I kind of geeked out when I talked to Sarah. Not my finest hour, I will admit – especially when I regaled her with how I used to drive around in my 20s with Down Again booming from my car stereo.

Thankfully it proved to be the perfect segue into the re-release of their first album.  The tour will see Superjesus play Sumo in full, as well as some new tracks.

“It’s a spin out for us, for sure,” Sarah says of playing the album again in a live setting. “I only just dusted off a copy of Sumo.”

I mention that as a writer, if I ever revisit my old work, I want to rewrite it, make it better.  Is it the same with music?

“Definitely, going through Sumo again I was asking a lot like ‘what’s this bit?’ and ‘why is that here?’.  But an album is a moment in time.  Don’t rewrite history, McFly!”

It’s been two decades since Sumo and twenty years can be a lifetime for some, but for Sarah it’s more like three. No, four.

“I feel like my childhood was my first life, Superjesus was my second life, and I was doing music in New York as another life. So being back on tour with Superjesus is like my third life. No, the fourth one!”

The Sumo – 20th Anniversary Edition comes in a red vinyl version as well as CD, capturing one of Sarah’s great music loves.

“I don’t have a CD player or anything to play MP3s as home, I have an old 1950s record player that’s about the size of a room. I even listen to vinyl in the kitchen while I cook.”

The Superjesus are also bringing out a heavy as hell cover of Kylie Minogue’s Confide In Me.  It’s a radical departure from the original song – like Sarah says, the good covers always are.

“I hope she likes it. It’s so different from Kylie’s version.”

The track holds particular pertinence for Sarah, since it was the number one single on the ARIA Singles Chart in 1994, the same year and month in which The Superjesus formed. 

 “I have always been a Kylie fan and back in ‘96 we recorded a heavy as hell version of Confide In Me, just for our own amusement,” says Sarah.

“No one ever heard it, I can’t even find it to hear it now ... I went to the guys and reminded them of the recording, and went straight home to work up a demo.  Within a week we were playing it live on the festival stage.”

And as for what the fans can expect from the tour?

“We’re going to rock every show, in every venue, in every city,” Sarah says.

For The Superjesus, we’d expect nothing less.

The new release Sumo – 20th Anniversary Edition CD and a limited red vinyl pressing of the original album will be out Friday 17 August.

The Superjesus are hitting the road later this year to celebrate all things Sumo, with Sydney shows at Manning Bar, Tattersall’s in Penrith, and a NSW gig at Narrabeen RSL. Ticket info here.