The Superjesus – Back To The Jet Age

The Superjesus – Back To The Jet Age


Sarah McLeod, vocalist and songwriter from ‘90s Triple J favourites The Superjesus, has a distinct memory of the writing process for the band’s 2000 album Jet Age. Driving her hulking green ‘70s BMW from Adelaide to Melbourne in the process of moving the band’s home base to Victoria, she managed to complete lyrics to one of her favourite songs on the album during the eight hour trip.

“I put a really cool stereo in this old BMW and everyone used to laugh at me, since it had a remote control so I didn’t have to lean over!” McLeod recalls. “I used to write a lot of songs while driving, so we’d record and instrumental and then I’d play it back in the car. “Second Sun”’s lyrics were written on the drive to Melbourne, so by the time I got there I had the whole song written without even putting pen to paper. I sang it, remembered it, rewound it, wrote the chorus, thought it was unreal, pulled over at the servo and sang it into a Dictaphone. Done.”


(Photo: Adam Davis-Powell)

The move from Adelaide to Melbourne proved successful, with McLeod remembering the recording of Jet Age as being a far more enjoyable experience than the recording of the band’s debut album Sumo.

Sumo was hard and gruelling, but Jet Age felt like freedom town. The clouds had lifted a little bit and we were allowed to enjoy ourselves in the studio. For Sumo we weren’t allowed to turn our amp up without asking someone who’d ask someone who’d ask someone who’d ask the producer.”

Moving to Melbourne to be geographically closer to their newly inducted guitarist Tim Henwood, hit single “Gravity” was the first song McLeod wrote with her new collaborator.

“Paul (Berryman, drums), Stuart (Rudd, bass) and I rented a house close to Tim. We arrived and were all ‘We’re here! We’re here to work with you!’ and the first song we worked on was “Gravity”. We worked on this guitar piece but it didn’t feel as dark and heavy as I was used to, so I took it home and sat up all night working on it. I recorded what I’d done on cassette and walked around to Tim’s house around the corner as the sun was rising and knocked on his window while he was still asleep. His girlfriend says, ‘What are you doing?!’ and I’m saying, ‘Get Tim! Get Tim! It’s really important – something great’s happened!’ I played it for him and it became our big hit.”

As part of the international Start Your Ear Off Right vinyl campaign, The Superjesus’ second album Jet Age has been released as a limited edition blue 2LP alongside fellow Aussie albums by Goanna, Machine Gun Fellatio and Motor Ace. Getting hold of a copy of the blue vinyl was a special moment for the energetic McLeod, who is currently in the midst of a run of Hotter Than Hell shows with The Superjesus.

“I was freaked out to see it – particularly over two colour records! I don’t even own a copy of Jet Age in any format, so I actually forgot what the artwork looked like, let alone hold it in my hands and open up the whole thing. I realised I’ve really missed that experience. When I was a kid I used to listen to albums from beginning to end and read the lyrics for every track, which is such a beautiful experience we rarely have anymore.”

“Gravity” might have been the album’s big hit, but it’s Jet Age’s last minute addition, originally written in the wake of the departure of original guitarist Chris Tennent, which remains the sneaky McLeod’s favourite song.

“My favourite on Jet Age is actually the hidden song, “Everybody Calls Me Lonely”. Chris had just left the band and I’d never written a song without him, so I went to a bookstore and bought a book called How To Write Hit Songs. I read three chapters and went, ‘That’ll do – I don’t need the rest’ and wrote “Everybody Calls Me Lonely”. I thought it was a fucking killer and I took it to the band. They were all like, ‘Yep, great’ but it never made it to the album. I was so upset that it didn’t make it that when they weren’t looking I snuck it on as a hidden track. Then it was voted the public’s favourite song from the record that year, so I was like, ‘See! I told you!’.”

Jet Age is available now as a limited blue 2LP here. The full Start Your Ear Off Right range is available here.

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