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WARNING! This interview contains explicit content.

Brendan: Hey, everyone. Brendan the Blind Guy here. Today, I'm speaking to

the Queen of Australian rock, Miss Sarah McLeod. How are you,


Sarah McLeod: The Queen of Australian rock, eh?

Brendan: Yeah.

Sarah McLeod: Where'd I get that from? That's great. Thanks.

Brendan: Well, you've been around and done so many projects over the years that

I've read that people are referring to you as Australia's Queen of Rock,

so ... Yeah, good on you.

Sarah McLeod: I have done the hard yards, yes, I know. I've been around and around

and around, and I'm still going.

Brendan: And all for someone that's only 21.

Sarah McLeod: Can you believe it?

Brendan: I know.

Sarah McLeod: And I defy gravity.

Brendan: Wow. Nice.

Sarah McLeod: No, it's good. I feel like I learn something new every day, so I feel like

there's still so much more that I can do, musically, and in my life, and

it's exciting. I'm more inspired and I feel like I have more to offer now

than I did when I was 21, like way more.

Brendan: Aw wow! That's great.

Sarah McLeod: I'm super excited for what I'll be able to offer in another 20 years. So,

look out.

Brendan: Yeah oh wow we will. Right so you're about to go on tour for your third

album, if I'm correct. Third studio album, Rocky's Diner. So are you

geared and ready for that tour? How's all the rehearsals going?

Sarah McLeod: Really really fine, actually. Firstly, I'm not a rehearsing kind of person.

Every tour I've ever done, I kind of go maybe one or two days before, I'll

just sort of run with it and go, "Yep, off we go, it's going to be great."

But this particular show, because it's different to anything I've ever

done, like vastly different to anything I've ever done, we've actually

been in rehearsals pretty much all year to get it right. It's been so much

work to get it right.

Yeah so I'm playing with Mick Skelton, who's a drummer. He's in the Baby

Animals and he and I have been playing together on and off as an

acoustic duo for about 12 years, minus a five year hiatus where we had

a massive fight. We didn't talk to each other for five years. So he and I

are really in the pocket, groove-wise, with each other. And like 12 years

ago, we used to talk about doing an electric duo, and we wrote a whole

bunch of songs back then, but we never actually did it live.

So it's been a long time coming for us, and we've finally got to the point

where we're doing an electric duo that we've been talking about for so

long. And then I decided ... When we were talking about doing it, Mick

was like, "No, I just don't think that electric guitar is going to sound as

good with the drums. I think we should stick to acoustic, because

without a bass, it's just gonna sound shit."

And I was like, "Well, I've got an idea for that. What about I instal a bass

pickup in my guitar, and instal a second output, and see if I can make a

bass sound, as well?" So we did a lot of trial and error of the pedal chain

and what kind of bass pickup to get, and I finally worked it out of how

to make the bass sound come out as well, and be able to have individual

instruments operate completely independently of each other, but

coming out of the same guitar.

Brendan: Nice.

Sarah McLeod: But I had to relearn everything and like rewrite all the parts so that I

could have one finger playing the bass while the other fingers are still

holding down the rhythms and the riffs. So it's taken a lot of work. And

singing at the same time, and I'm dancing all over the pedal board.

I used to never even have pedals, too. I've never, ever had pedals. I

thought pedals were just things that you use if you're not a very good

player. But I now have so many pedals, and originally that freaked me

out, but I know what to do with them all now. So it's a lot of work, and

the show is quite ambitious, but I've realised that the only way to do it

comfortably was just sheer repetition, and blood, sweat and tears. So

I've just been practising and practising and practising .

So my playing is completely different league now to what it was six

months ago, and this band is like nothing that we've done before. And

even the tour that we did on the Giants tour, which was in August, the

warmup tour, the rehearsals that we've done since that tour, and the

new songs that we've put in from the record that we weren't playing,

and the way we've revamped some old songs, it's like a totally different

band again. So if anyone saw what we did on the Giants tour, it's like

that on steroids. So it's gonna be so cool. I'm really excited.

Brendan: Yeah wow! That sounds like you're taking multitasking to a whole new


Sarah McLeod: I absolutely am, yeah. I'm like that with everything. I'm a megalomaniac

who likes to do everything myself, seriously independent, and I'm always

doing 20 things at once. This morning, I just moved house this morning,

and I'm doing interviews while I just put the last of the stuff in storage

while I'm driving out to Revesby to pick up the t-shirts and merch while

I'm still doing it. I pull over, I do an interview. Drive here and I pull over

and do an interview, and go back and clean the house, ready to give the

keys back. And yeah...

Brendan: Wow, how the hell do you find all that energy? I mean I've moved around

so much in my lifetime, and it takes it out of me, so how do you still

end up powering on, being Superwoman?

Sarah McLeod: It's a state of mind. I just know I have to do it. I set myself goals that

are a little bit beyond what I should, and then I go, "Well, I have to,

because I've said that I would." So I just do it for whatever. And last

night, I rehearsed yesterday for like eight hours, so by the time I got

home ... And I knew the removal men were coming this morning, we

hadn't packed up my house. And Cha-Chi, she's my dog, she's sitting

there watching me. I'm like, "Okay, now we're gonna pack up this and

grab this." We drank a bottle of wine and we sang a few songs, and we

packed the furniture. Yeah, you know you just gotta do what you gotta


Brendan: So, before I talk about your beloved Cha-Chi, I wanna talk about your

new album, Rocky's Diner. I was listening to it, and it's like, "Yeah, this

really does make me feel like I'm sitting in a funky, cool, rock out back

diner." What's the stories and the influences behind it, and the making

of? Share a few stories from it.

Sarah McLeod: OK so I had this idea that I wanted it to be like set in Hell's Kitchen and

Little Italy in the '50s. So two separate places in New York. This is just

like a really rough vision I had before I even started. When I had the

idea for Rocky's Diner, it was actually the third song that I wrote. So I

went to New York and I wrote the album from scratch over there, in

three months. The first couple of songs that I wrote were the wrong

style, because I was finding my feet. I had just watched all of the Rocky

movies back to back, with my mum, at Christmas. So the first couple of

songs I had were a bit like Eye of the Tiger, which I just shelved. I mean,

shelved as in I put them to one side, not shoved them up my ass. That

would be weird.

Brendan: Just a little bit.

Sarah McLeod: So I put them aside, and then on the third one, I got the idea ...

because I had a bit of writer's block, so I went down to Little Italy to

have lunch. I was sitting in this restaurant and I was looking around, and

I had a red and white chequered tablecloth, and a beautiful old Italian

man who was like super attentive, and asking me so many questions and

finding out things about my life, and I ended up telling him my life

story. And I noticed he was doing it with everyone in the place.

And there was all photos on the walls, framed photos of him with

different celebrities throughout the last 20 years. There was a TV on the

wall that had a screenshot of Dean Martin on it, like it was just paused,

this smiling picture of Dean Martin, and they were playing Frank Sinatra

in there. I thought, "This is just brilliant." I loved the idea of it being

like a lonely hearts club. People go there and they're not there for the

food, they go there to talk. They go there to connect with other people.

Then I had this whole thing about how, as human beings, really our main

goal in life is just to find love and to connect with people. And that's

what we're trying to do, in all different ways. So it became about just

the simple things in life, like finding comfortability, a friend, finding

your comfortability within without actually having possessions, or the

idea of what society thinks that you should have.

You just finding your peace and your inner inspiration just from sitting,

eating a few peanuts and talking to a stranger. Or just sitting on the

side of the road playing cards with someone you don't know. Just really

simple, day to day level of just trying to connect.

Brendan: Yeah. Wow That's great.

Sarah McLeod: That's what the whole thing came from.

Brendan: Very thought-provoking. It made me go, "Wow, that's a really good


Sarah McLeod: Yeah, it's not about what we have or what we've done or where we're

going or who we know, it's about how we connect. That can be on just

so many levels, but I find that the beauty in that is when it's on the

simplest level.

Brendan: And so speaking of making connections, I've gotta bring up your beloved

Cha-Chi. I mean I noticed you're bringing him along on the upcoming

tour, and he's featured in your killer new video. What-

Sarah McLeod: She's a girl.

Brendan: My bad, my bad.

Sarah McLeod: She's got a boy's name. I've spent my life saying, "Cha-Chi's a girl, dude.

Cha-Chi's a girl, dude." Everyone asks her she's a boy, don't worry.

Brendan: I wanna kind of go into ... because I'm an animal lover, too. I've got my

guide dog, Rusty, who's probably howling, trying to get into the room at

the moment. But I wanna talk a bit about the bond you have with Cha-

Chi and the relationship you have with him ... her.

Sarah McLeod: Her, yeah. Cha-Chi is a very special soul. I'm not sure what it is, but I

have a feeling ... I've been trying to work out what it is ... Because she

feels ... we’re like Elliot and ET She feels my feelings and my emotions,

and sometimes she feels them before I feel them. It's very difficult to

explain, but say for example, her and I are in a room together, and I get

a phone call, and it's bad news.

Before I even say, "Oh, that ..." Before I even say anything, if I suddenly

feel different inside, she comes over to me and presses her cheek into

my face. That's her way of kissing me, because I taught her that I kiss

her on the cheek. She's not supposed to lick me. She comes over and

presses her cheek on me, to comfort me. It's really strange. She does it

all the time. She knows what I'm feeling before I feel it.

It’s obvious , if I'm stressed, she'll get stressed, that's normal, but it's

the compassion that she has, that I find is really weird. I often wonder if

she can see colours. I wonder if maybe a colour around my aura or

something changes while I'm on the phone and she can see it. I don't

know. I can't think of what else it could be.

Also, if I'm on the phone to someone and they go, "Great. Okay, cool.

See you in a second," she will hear the words, "See you in a second," and

she'll just jump you up and bark and go to the door. I think, "What, do

you speak English? What's going on?" She's really, really connected to

me, and it's really intense. I love it.

Brendan: That's fantastic. That really solidifies the saying that a dog is a man's

best friend ... well, a woman's best friend too. Yeah.

Sarah McLeod: Yeah totally. She's my little lady. She's 12 now. I've had her since she was

six weeks old. Except for a couple of tours here and there, we've pretty

much been together ever since. Every partner that I have always knows

their place in the food chain is second to her. I also make that very clear

at the beginning.

Brendan: Yep, That you're a package deal.

Sarah McLeod: Yeah, yeah. Dog comes first.

Brendan: Yeah, right so even though I could talk about animals and the love of

them all day, I wanna talk about your new video for Wild Hearts. That's

pretty amazing. Tell me about the making of that?

Sarah McLeod: Again, that was trying to bring out the beauty in the simple little things

in day to day life. People connecting in the street. People like making

music together just for fun, in the street. And I wanted Cha-Chi in the

video, because there's nothing that sort of depicts that more than the

simplicity of a connection with an animal. An animal doesn't look at

what you have, where you're going in life, if you're funny or if you're

ugly or pretty. An animal just thinks in the most simplest terms, and

loves you for who you are.

And so I wanted her in the video as well, because she really personified

that idea of the beauty in the simplicity. And then I thought, "We'll be

cruising around observing people in the street and how they're

connecting with each other. And I'll get a convertible, so that we can

see her." She'd never been in a convertible before, mind you, so she was

loving it. Although, she kept trying to fall asleep, so I had to take one

arm around her, which was holding her up. So it looks like she's sitting

up, but I was fully holding her and going, "Don't fall asleep. Look at the

camera. Don't fall asleep." Yeah, it was really cute.

Brendan: So, you've done some pretty amazing things through your musical

career. Started off in Bali with the band, and then you went on to form

your own band ... oh, God, what was it? The Fallen Monster?

Sarah McLeod: Yeah, Fallen Down Monster, was the name of that one.

Brendan: And then you, of course, formed the Superjesus, and then you've done

the solo stuff, you've lived in London, and you've also-

Sarah McLeod: Also a project called Screaming Bikini.

Brendan: That's right, that's right. God, there's too much to try and remember.

Sarah McLeod: I don't even try and remember it. I just forget. I just live in the now,

and I forget about everything I did yesterday. I'm notorious for that, but

what to do? I don't know. What I'm doing right now, that's what matters,

and what I'm doing tomorrow.

Brendan: And also, one achievement that really stood out to me, and I've

definitely gotta mention it because of the loss of the beloved Hugh

Hefner, you performed at the Playboy Mansion-

Sarah McLeod: Twice.

Brendan: What, sorry?

Sarah McLeod: Twice, I did.

Brendan: Oh wow. Because I'm gonna tie this into another question I was gonna

ask, but I love asking people what's their biggest kind of ...you know

that moment that really makes you burst out laughing and really makes

you go, "Ha, ha, ha. What the ..." you know, that funny eff word? So

c’mon is it... I'm starting to get the feeling that that story might be

connected with the Playboy Mansion.

Sarah McLeod: There was a few very bizarre moments at those parties, yeah. Really

bizarre moments. They're kinda sketchy, the details of that, because I

did my show and then partied a little bit, so I can't really remember

what happened, but I remember on the first gig, I was climbing the

scaffolding. The first gig that I did, I didn't have a guitar. It was more of

a club thing that I was doing. And the second gig, I did have a guitar,

and I had Mick on drums.

The first one, I was just singing, and it was raining. And I climbed the

scaffolding and I was dangling down into Hugh's cabana, with all these

ladies. I was like waving at him, and he was like, "I'm enjoying the

music," and I was like “Thanks man”. This is so weird. And then I forgot

what happened during the night. I woke up with Ron Jeremy's autograph

on my boobs. I don't know what happened to me.

And then at the party, the following year, and I shit you not, I woke up

with his autograph, again, on my boobs. I don't know if he does it to

everyone or what, I can't remember. Maybe I asked him to do it, and like

memory of the year before, I've no idea. But I woke up with ... "You're

kidding me, not again."

Brendan: That's when you know you're partying quite hard the night before.

Sarah McLeod: Yeah, totally. I'm not sure what happened to me that night, but I can't

really remember very much at all.

Brendan: Well, unfortunately, I've gotta speed things along a little bit, because I

mean we're both chatterboxes. Well yeah..

Sarah McLeod: Yeah. Fine.

Brendan: So what's been your kind of biggest, most defining experience and

achievement throughout your career, would you say?

Sarah McLeod: Well just on a personal level, I think the making of this album was

actually my biggest hurdle that I had to overcome, and I'm most proud

of this. I'm more proud of this than being like being inducted into the

Hall of Fame or winning ARIAs ... and that sort of stuff. I sound such a

wanker, but you know what I mean like as far as getting accolades,

which are nice and all, but this album was like difficult, as in a huge

challenge. I set myself this challenge that was just astronomical and

super ambitious, and I did it, and I love it. And to me, that's the most

satisfying career moment that I've ever had. I feel fantastic about it.

Brendan: Oh wow! That's great.

Sarah McLeod: Yeah I worked much harder on these songs than I have with any other

record. I pushed myself harder with all the lyrics. I love every song, I

connect with every word, and there's nothing in there that I think is

fluff. Whereas, stuff I've done in the past, you know, you sort of skip a

line here and there, you go, "That rhymes and fuck knows what it

means." This one, I was really on my case about, "Does that make sense

to the story?"

There's only a certain amount of lines that I can say in one song, so I

can't ... Every line is high class real estate. It's gotta mean something.

It's got to support the rest of the story. And I want someone who's not

me, who's never heard it before, to turn it on and be able to follow the

story and understand what I'm talking about. And I worked really hard at

that, way harder than normal. And now, it's in my soul. I love it, and I

think that's why.

Brendan: Yeah, you can really hear your heart and soul coming out in it. So yeah

you've done well. You've hit the mark on that one.

Sarah McLeod: Thanks, Brendan. Yeah I'm really mega proud about it. I'm really

satisfied that I worked hard and I achieved that. It doesn't matter if it

sells, or if it doesn't sell. It's not about that. It's about that I've made

that body of work and I love it. So for me, you know that's the success

and it's already there.

Brendan: Nice. Well I've got two more questions. So the first, what's kind of

happening behind the scenes, kind of brewing for after your big tour for

the album, and you know into the stars and beyond?

Sarah McLeod: Well the album tour keeps getting dates added to it, but at the moment

it's going right through until after Christmas into January. We haven't

announced the second lot yet. I'm just basically gonna keep playing this

show with Mick, which is so exciting, because we get better every night,

and I feel like I learn something every day. So every night, we're like

15% better than we were the night before, so I can't wait to see what

we're gonna be like by the end of this tour. And then after that, there's

some Superjesus plans, which I'm not allowed to divulge, as yet.

Brendan: Ooh, that is such a tease. Come on.

Sarah McLeod: No, I'm not allowed to talk about it yet. And I've written a book.

Brendan: Okay, fine. Well, finally, you've inspired so many people around the

country and have proved that rock will never die, and I thank God for

that. So what kind of message would you have to your fans and people

that have been inspired by you to kind of follow their inner rock star?

Sarah McLeod: Well you find what kind of music you like the best, and go for it with

reckless abandon. You know work really hard at your craft. If you wanna

play piano, then work really hard at being the best pianist you can. And

write songs and work hard at sculpting good songs. Don't put out inferior

work, and if it's not the best that you can do at that time, don't put it

out. You know in your heart of hearts if it's the best work that you can

possibly achieve at that point in your life.

So you've got to be your own worst critic, but also be gentle on yourself,

and have an open heart and an open mind and be patient, because all

the best ideas will come eventually. If you sit there long enough, it will

come to you. And a really good story actually that I saw once in an ABBA

documentary ... It was one of the guys, I don't know if it was Benny or

Bjorn ... and he said this one thing, and it changed my life in terms of

how I approach songwriting.

He said, "It's like you're sitting looking at a cupboard, and inside that

cupboard is a monster, and the door's shut. And you're sitting there

waiting for that monster to come out. But you're just gonna have to sit

there and wait and wait and wait. Because you know that the minute

you leave and go and make a cup of tea or give up for a bit, the

monster's gonna come out and go er er er er er, and then go straight

back in there."

So it's about absolute persistence. When I heard that, I went, "Oh, so it's

not just because he's a genius and we don't have that talent so we can't

write like him. It's not that. It's hard work." I start most of my songs

with a pretty shit idea, and if you sit there long enough and work on any

idea, it morphs into something else that morphs into something else

that morphs into something else. So if you keep working on it,

eventually it will be cool.

Brendan: So, that's exactly how you polish a turd.

Sarah McLeod: Yes. [laughs] Yep just Don't put that in a headline.

Brendan: Well, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you and I will catch you at

your Newcastle show on the 12th October, and I'm very, very keen for


Sarah McLeod: Unreal. Yep

Brendan: Thank you so much, Sarah.

Sarah McLeod: We'll be super cooking by then.

Brendan: Aw I can't wait. Thanks heaps, and have fun moving houses.

Sarah McLeod: Yeah thanks, Brendan. Okay, thanks a lot for your time.

Brendan: Thanks heaps. Bye.

Sarah McLeod: See you.