Sarah McLeod is bringing the rock to International Women’s Day
27.02.2020

Sarah McLeod is bringing the rock to International Women’s Day

Words by Fergus Neal

Wyndham City Council are hosting a free all-ages event that will celebrate women both local and global through an eclectic list of performances from powerful women.

The event will also mark the launch of a new community publication The Windmill Journal, which aims to showcase women’s writing and creativity in the western suburbs.

Sarah McLeod, from ARIA award-winning rockers The Superjesus, is excited to headline the event as she reflects on 20 years in the music industry. Having released three studio albums with The Superjesus (Sumo, Jet Age, and Rock Music) and three studio albums as a solo artist (Beauty Was A Tiger, Madness and Rocky’s Diner) McLeod has proven herself to be one of Australia’s most diverse artists, experimenting with many different styles and genres.

McLeod’s eclectic solo performances have consistently been met with rave reviews. “I find that when I’m playing in The Superjesus, for me it’s more about playing the guitar,” says McLeod.

“It brings totally different things out of me. When I’m playing in The Superjesus it’s more of a wank off. I’m showing off, it’s a rock fest. I’m jumping off things, screaming, getting people to clap along, rocking around like a chicken with my head cut off. It’s all in the name of showmanship and entertainment and fun.

“But then when I play alone I’m just there to close my eyes and sing and feel the music, it has more of a soul feel to it. They’re both equally fun but very different mediums. I really love the peace in playing solo, to just enjoy the quiet and control the dynamics as I feel them flowing through me. It’s always very impromptu, I just move with the vibe of the room.”

The Superjesus started out from humble beginnings as a cover band. McLeod experimented with different styles and immersed herself in different cultures which formed a melting pot of ideas in her brain that bubbled to the surface when Superjesus entered fruition.

“The Superjesus morphed from my original cover band which I had in Adelaide. Which actually morphed from me going to Bali straight after school and temporarily joining a Balinese band. When I came back to Australia I thought, ‘This is amazing I’m gonna be a rock‘n’roller.’ After a year of us being in a cover band, several band members started writing songs and it eventually morphed into The Superjesus.”

Sarah McLeod is a creative force to be reckoned with. Over 20 years in the music industry has exposed McLeod to many different styles and genres. Throughout the journey, she’s collaborated with the likes of Jeff Martin from the Tea Party, Chris Cheney from The Living End, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, Electric Six and many more.

“Some of those names are bigger than others, some are more exciting collaborations than others, but the person I really enjoyed collaborating with the most and still enjoy being in the studio with, is Kavyen Temperley from Eskimo Joe.

“He and I have this great dynamic, we just wrote ‘Wild Fire’ together which is this song for the bushfires. I’m putting out a new single called ‘Killing Them Dead’ which Kav and I wrote together. It’s a really interesting partnership that’s got a lot of longevity.”

For McLeod, who has had success in music over a sustained period, amid busy tours, writing, and performing, she alludes to the fact that it can be hard to appreciate what is happening in the present. Being inducted into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame gave pause for reflection.

“You never really do grapple with it in the present. When there’s a lot going on it’s hard to appreciate it all at once because you’re always looking ahead like, ‘What are they going to throw at me next?’. When it’s non-stop it’s just really intense and exhausting. You don’t have time to go, ‘Wow, that was fun’.

“At that ceremony, it was really nice because they had made this movie reflection of our lives. We saw ourselves and I realised we were just kids when we started. We were just standing on stage with our medals in awe like, ‘This is your life’.” 

McLeod’s most recent release Rocky’s Diner was written in New York and shows a distinctive ‘50s soul influence that highlights her extraordinary vocals.

“I wrote Rocky’s Diner in New York. I gave myself a three-month deadline. I hired a house in Brooklyn. It was just after New Year’s Eve, it was snowing, and I sat in this house for three months and I wrote pretty much one song a week and I made the deadline. I wrote it all in one consolidated writing frenzy… which I have never done before.

“Usually, it’s a song here and a song there. But this one was like, ‘Finish the song, stop and eat, grab a beer. Next song’. And I did the whole record. I handed it into my record company and said, ‘That’s what I said was going to do and I did it’. Music is my life and I love it.”

Sarah McLeod will headline International Women’s Day at the Point Cook Pop Up Park on Friday March 6. The event is free – visit wyndham.vic.gov.au/IWD for more details.