"We choose to produce our songs as rock music because it's who we are."
For many of us millennials - AKA those of us between 27 and 42 years old, The Superjesus have been around for our entire lives. We've heard their hits, like Gravity, Down Again, and Now & Then, on the radio, TV and, of course, at the shows. We've witnessed varied lineups of The Superjesus grace stages, with singer and guitarist Sarah McLeod and bassist Stuart Rudd on board as mainstays.
Last year, The Superjesus opened for one of the biggest bands in the world: KISS, right in Adelaide. "It was weird being in an indoor stadium because we've played a lot of festivals where we were playing in huge putting ovals and stadium-like situations, but not indoors," McLeod says from her home. She notes that KISS drummer Eric Singer was lovely, and she heard the same about bassist and co-lead singer Gene Simmons but didn't spend too much time with him: "he terrifies me!"
It may or may not surprise readers to find out that Sarah McLeod is completely down-to-earth and passionate about her music career. "We're like the little engine that could," she comments about her band. "Even through the bad times, we're never ready to stop. We'll just keep going because, eventually, we'll find our feet again. The key to longevity is to just keep going.
"Even with the songwriting, not every song I write is great; they don't always start off right. If it's not good, just keep the faith, and you will get there." McLeod enlightens with her positive mindset, but we do wonder, how does she keep it up?
"My soul won't let me stop or give up," she shares. "Even if my brain is telling me that something is no good, my soul says that it is. Nothing is a waste of time. You know, music is a part of my DNA." McLeod has such a strong connection with music and with Stuard Rudd that when times are tough, they know they can't let each other down. Ruddy, as McLeod dubs him, has been by her side for many years, and they've built a beautiful support system for each other.
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"To have a musical partner in life, especially later as an adult, is quite rare," McLeod admits, thankful that Ruddy isn't going anywhere. "It's hard to keep bands together. "We've had a lot of lineup changes, but I've always got that guy next to me, and I can trust him. I love his musical tastes. When he speaks, I listen, and we respect each other. We're very lucky to have that."
Now that The Superjesus is the perfect iteration for McLeod and Ruddy - lead guitarist Cam Blokland and drummer Murray Sheridan complete the current lineup - the band is sounding raw and simply incredible all over again.
"I've learned so much over the years, and now we know what we're doing," McLeod laughs. Although she can't reveal anything about a new album, she does call new The Superjesus music "the strongest body of work we've ever done." She's confident in her skills, and so are her bandmates.
"We know how to craft a good pop song and make it into an energetic rock and roll song because we break every song down," she begins. The Superjesus can think up a dance beat with some keyboards, make a pop song with strong lyrics and melodies, and then flip it on its head. "We choose to produce our songs as rock music because it's who we are.
"But you know, a song's a song. And a good song can be played in any format, on any instrument, and the message and the feeling of the melody will get across. So I'm just mentioning this because we've been learning how to write with simplicity, as the simplest songs are the hardest to write, and the simplest songs are the best songs. You want it to be simple but not sound simple. But I think we think we're nailing that now. I'm really happy with the new songs." We also love the first new song so far, Money.
Money (We're Only In It For Love) arrived exactly two weeks before The Superjesus embarked on the Money tour in late January (the tour continues) with Dallas Crane.
Like the best Superjesus songs, Money (We're Only In It For Love) features belted, slightly raspy vocals from McLeod. Ruddy keeps a sweet rhythm for her, and new lead guitarist and drummer Blokland and Sheridan, respectively, came together for a brilliant pop-rock song.
In December, not long after revealing that they were in the studio recording their first album in 20 years, The Superjesus returned with a new band lineup and announced the imminent premiere of Money (We're Only In It For Love).
"We have had many lineup changes over the years in our quest to find the right “fit”. We’ve had it before, and when you know … you know," McLeod says about the band's new lineup. "Ruddy and I have been searching for that feeling ever since. We’ve continued to tour over the years but haven’t released any new albums because we knew the band wasn’t ready."
McLeod promises that the Money tour will be electric. Part of the power she displays on stage comes from her personality, which she describes as having a naturally high amount of energy on the daily. "I wake up, and I jump out of bed. I run around; I get 1,000 things done - I'm always doing 20 things at once.
"And I'm always running everywhere I go. I talk really quick. When I run into people in my apartment building, the elevator can go right past me while I'm talking. I've always been like this," she chuckles. Sarah McLeod certainly has the perfect attitude and energy to be in a rock band.
The Superjesus always sound powerful, but Sarah McLeod sounds particularly great on the 2016 EP, Love And Violence, especially on the track Come Back To Me. I ask her if she feels as powerful as she sounds in those songs. "Do I feel as powerful as those songs sound? Hmm, interesting," she wonders. "When I'm singing at home or in the studio, I don't know... I'm just standing there in shorts, looking at the guys.
"But when I'm standing up on stage, and I've got two feet planted firmly on the ground, and I've got the crowd singing back to me, and the band and a loud Marshall stack behind me, and I'm screaming at the top of my lungs... Yeah, okay, that's a powerful thing."
Witness The Superjesus in all their glory (and power) on the Money tour. There are only two shows left. Purchase tickets to an upcoming show here.
Friday, 17 Feb - The Gov, Adelaide SA
Friday, 3 Mar - The Corner, Richmond VIC