Sarah McLeod is wild at heart

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Sarah McLeod is wild at heart

From the moment Sarah McLeod phones in to chat about her first solo album in 12 years, Rocky’s Diner (out now), and her national tour that kicks off this week, I can tell the funny, talented, and charming singer-songwriter is raring to go. “Oh Shit! Sorry, I’m just moving things around in my studio and I stabbed my toe on my pedal board,” she apologises. “I’m trying to find a comfy spot to talk and my dog is on all of my shit – get out of the way!”

Those who have seen the beautifully shot black and white video for her latest single ‘Wild Hearts’ will be familiar with McLeod’s dog Chachi (the other star of the clip). “Chachi and I sat arm and arm together on the couch and watched the finished video clip. I had a big pep talk with her before we went in to record the video – of course she doesn’t understand a thing I say – but I told her that we were making a movie together and that she had to be a good actor and listen to the director’s instructions, and she did really well, I was very impressed,” McLeod recalls.

“In my backyard I had a little cabana set up and even since we did the clip I can’t get her to come and hang out with me any more. She’s all cool now, so she’s always in her cabana, like a movie star.”

However, Chachi won’t be able to laze in her cabana for too much longer, as McLeod explains when she hits the road this time they won’t be coming back. “There’s so many dates on this tour I’m actually moving out of my house and I’m going to put my stuff in storage and just live on the road for a while,” she says. “So not only am I rehearsing every day for the tour, I’ve got a week and a half to get out of my house. I’m packing everything up. It’s probably the most crazy time of my life ever, to be honest.”

That’s a big call considering that as the front-woman for Australia rock stalwarts The Superjesus, Mcleod took home three Aria Awards and has spent the better part of 20 years travelling the world. “I’ve lived in London, New York and LA doing what I call ‘knick-knack’ work. I played with a lot of different musicians, recorded a lot of random songs here and there, did a few gigs. I worked as a guitarist for hire playing half-time rock riffs for a bunch of rappers that I had never heard of,” McLeod laughs. “All sorts of weird stuff, just to keep being musical and to experience life. But I was always just mooching around doing just enough to get by.”

It wasn’t until she decided to take a leap of faith, pack up her life and move to the Big Apple for three months that she began to notice a change. She found an apartment on Craigslist in Brooklyn that looked perfect – the only catch was she had to look after the owners cats.

“I was really worried I’d paid my deposit to a fictitious person and I’d get there and it wouldn’t be an apartment at all, it would just be a Chinese restaurant or something,” she jokes. “But I went there on blind faith, with all my stuff in the cab after flying twenty hours from Sydney, typed in the pin number to open the box to retrieve the key and it fucking worked – and the cats loved me!”

“I have a theory that the universe rewards bravery and it was a really bold move to just pack up and do that. I put everything on the line, and that was the universe rewarding me to write good songs.”

Hear those songs up close and personal when Sarah McLeod rolls into town to play at Karova Lounge in Ballarat later this month. “I’ve put a lot of work into the live show. We’ve basically rewritten the songs from the new album in a more rockin’ format, and I designed and built a guitar that can also play bass at the same time. So it’s just me and Mick Skelton, the drummer from the Baby Animals, and maybe Chachi with headphones on, and my plant George, I didn’t want to leave him in storage.”

When & Where: Karova Lounge, Ballarat – October 27

Written by Natalie Rogers