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Jet Age returns as Superjesus lands for 20th anniversary shows

Culture

Adelaide rock band The Superjesus reflect on their hit second album as they prepare to embark on the Queensland leg of their 20th anniversary tour, Jet Age into the 21st Century, with stops in Brisbane and Toowoomba.

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Jet Age was released in October 2000, hitting #5 in the album charts, eventually going platinum alongside The Superjesus’ 1998 debut album Sumo.

The band recall the second album that almost never was, with the departure of Chris Tennent, their co-writer and guitarist.

“He left the band in a bit of a whirlwind,” Sarah McLeod, the band’s front woman said.

“He and I were actually in a secret relationship together. I broke up with him and he quit and it was awful, because everyone was, like, ‘What happened to our band?’

“I thought, I need to learn how to write songs so that I never have to rely on anybody ever again. So I bought a book called How to Write Hit Songs,” she said.

“I read three chapters of it and went, ‘Okay, I know enough.’ I never even read the end and I started writing songs and I was really happy with what I was writing.”

Jet Age featured the popular singles Gravity, Secret Agent Man and Enough to Know and followed the band’s first release in 1998, Sumo, which had been recorded and toured in America.

“On paper it was the rise and rise. At that point it was pretty steep. A year and a bit after releasing our debut EP we were off to Atlanta. We got picked up by Warner Brothers which was fantastic for the band, we started getting national radio play at this point on Triple J,” said bass player Stuart Rudd.

“Seventy-two thousand miles in under six months across America. Now the original drummer Paul Berryman and myself are driving and playing the gig, packing up and start driving again.

“Hard yards but it was good fun. We were over there living in Los Angeles, three or four tours of America, driving round and around and around, and we would use that as a springboard across to the UK, Germany, Australia, do a run – every two tours, the second tour we could afford to get to Perth.

“We had started writing the songs [for Jet Age] while we were in LA, touring,” he said.

The album was produced by Ed Buller who had produced albums for Suede, The Psychedelic Furs, and Ben Lee.

“[Buller] was really quick to work with. He cut the fat off the songs – ‘Let’s make melody king,’ was his approach. He squeezed a different texture from the band where Sumo was more raucous, Ed tended to smooth the edges off a little bit and refined it, made it more about the songs,” said Rudd.

The band went on to release their third album Rock Music in 2003 before calling time on the project, eventually reforming and touring across the country in 2018 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Sumo.

McLeod said they are now writing their fourth album 18 years later.

“Once we got our drummer Travis Tragani we realised we’re actually a pretty good band and it would be a shame to only drag it out to play the old hits at festivals here and there, let’s actually focus on this legitimate act with legs – we’re more than just a relic band,” she said.

“We’ve got a lot of good songs in us, people seem to like us – we could be doing this for the rest of our lives. So we started writing again, and it’s really fun.”

The Superjesus are playing two Queensland dates on their Jet Age into 21st Century tour, Toowoomba’s Highfields on 22 October and Brisbane’s The Triffid on 23 October.  

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