Silverchair

Biography

Members: Daniel Johns, Chris Joannou, Ben Gillies

Active: 1994 - Present

HISTORY

had more top twenty hits during the last decade than any other local artist and they have sold over six million albums worldwide. Every album released by the band to date has spawned at least one top 3 single and reached the number 1 position on Australian charts. The band's frontman Daniel Johns has overcome depression and illness to contribute greatly to the bands attempt to continually better their past achievments.

EARLY DAYS

The members of Silverchair were all born in 1979 and grew up in the Newcastle surf suburb of Merewether. Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies started playing music together at primary school and schoolmate Chris Joannou later joined on bass. In the group's early days they were called Innocent Criminals and their repertoire consisted mainly of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath songs they had learned from their dads' old record collections.

The trio played many shows around the Hunter Valley region in their early teens. They got their big break in mid-1994 when they won a national demo competition called "Pick Me" (conducted by the SBS TV show "Nomad" and alternative radio station Triple J) with a song called "Tomorrow". Triple J recorded the song, while SBS filmed the video clip.

"Tomorrow" came to the attention of Michael Tunn who hosted a request show called the "Request Fest". It was the most requested song in the show's history, even though the band had no distribution deal. The popularity quickly landed them a recording contract with Sony Music after an intense bidding war between all of the major record companies in Australia. A rushed release of the Triple J demo version was in stores within days of the signing of the deal.

The song spent six weeks at #1 on the Australian singles charts and in 1995 a new version of the song and video was recorded for the U.S. release and it became the most played song of the year on U.S. modern rock radio.

"Tomorrow" was shown on an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head. The two mistook it for Boston's "More Than a Feeling".

FROGSTOMP, FREAKSHOW AND NEON BALLROOM

Silverchair's debut album Frogstomp, recorded in just nine days in early 1995, was a raw sounding slab of post-grunge alternative rock. A #1 hit in Australia and New Zealand the disc went on to become the first Australian album since INXS to hit the U.S. top 10, selling more than 2.5 million copies throughout the world. As Frogstomp and "Tomorrow" propelled Silverchair to music superstardom through 1996 the group juggled memorable performances on the roof of Radio City Music Hall and tours with Red Hot Chili Peppers alongside full time schooling commitments back home in Newcastle.

The trio also found time that year to record their sophomore album Freak Show which was released early in 1997. A more adventurous piece of work than Frogstomp, this disc yielded three top ten singles in Australia - "Freak", "Abuse Me" and "Cemetery". "Freak Show" went gold in the United States and global sales eventually exceeded 1.5 million copies in spite of the fact that the band had to juggle world tours while trying to finish their final year of high school.

After finally graduating from school the band was able to spend much more time creating their next album, Neon Ballroom which was released in March 1999. The group's songwriter, Daniel Johns had been battling personal demons as he attempted to adjust to Silverchair's sudden success and he poured these experiences into his new batch of songs. Determined to shake the constant musical comparisons to Nirvana which had previously dogged his band, Johns attempted to create a truly original sounding album. Fusing heavy rock, orchestral flourishes and synthetic touches with powerfully emotional lyrics, Neon Ballroom was held by some as a huge creative leap for Johns and his bandmates.

Silverchair toured extensively in support of the album propelling it to even stronger worldwide sales than they had achieved with "Freak Show". In Europe and South America it became the group's most successful album to date due to the Comet Award winning "Ana's Song" - a track about Daniel Johns' battles with an eating disorder. The album is also notable for contributions by renowned Australian pianist David Helfgott.

The band toured Europe and the U.S. throughout 1999 including appearances at leading festivals such as Reading and Bizarrefest and tours with bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and blink-182. After all this touring the band announced that they would be taking a 12 month break to recharge their batteries.

Having fulfilled their three album deal with Sony Music Australia the group was pursued by labels for much of their year off. At the end of 2000 they announced that they had signed new recording agreements with Atlantic Records for North and South America and their own indie label, Eleven: a music company in Australia and Asia. As a result of these new deals their former label rush released a compilation album without the band's involvement.

Silverchair's one and only gig in 2000 was a sold out appearance at Australia's Falls Festival on New Year's Eve. It was followed on January 21, 2001 by the biggest show of their lives - 250,000 people at Rock In Rio - a performance which the band describe as the highlight of their career to date.

DIORAMA

In June 2001 the band entered a studio in Sydney with producer David Bottrill (Tool, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) to start work on their fourth album, "Diorama", which means "a world within a world". This time Daniel Johns formally assumed the role of co-Producer and set out to extend the band further into unexplored musical territory.

A range of other musicians were drawn in to contribute to the disc, most notably the legendary Beach Boys and U2 collaborator, Van Dyke Parks who contributed orchestral arrangements to three tracks including a lush epic called "Luv Your Life". Also helping out again were "Neon Ballroom" sidemen Paul Mac and Jim Moginie.

Silverchair fans got their first taste of Diorama when a single called "The Greatest View" was released to all radio networks in Australia in early December 2001 (although the Triple J network was the first to debut the song) The single was then released January 28, 2002, to coincide with the band's appearance on the Big Day Out Tour the single also included another new unheard Diorama track "Too Much Of Not Enough". The track displayed a fresh new sound showing yet another creative leap for the band now rock veterans at the age of 22.

The enhanced melodic sensibility and newfound vocal confidence of "The Greatest View" attracted unprecedented radio support in Australia and drove the single to #1 on the alternative charts and #3 on the mainstream singles chart.

"No matter what people have got going on in their lives, hopefully when they play this album it will make them forget about everyday stuff. When music does that it's magical and, for me, that's what Diorama is about", said Silverchair's Daniel Johns.

The album sees the Newcastle trio embracing melody and combining it with brighter lyrics. The album also explores a vast array of instrumentation and musical styles.

The resulting piece of work literally covers the whole musical spectrum as its colourful cover suggest. It moves from edgy rockers "The Lever" and "One Way Mule" to sweeter tunes such as "After All These Years" and "World Upon Your Shoulders". There are also melodic rock songs like "Without You" and the fantasia-esque epics "Across The Night" and "Tuna In The Brine".

Diorama entered the Australian charts at #1 in April and has gone on to sell over 140,000 copies and be certified 2x Platinum so far. It has also yielded the top 10 single "Without You" and the top 20 hit "Luv Your Life".

The album's international performance has unfortunately been severely affected by the band's inability to tour or do promotional appearances due to Daniel Johns' ill health. The singer/guitarist spent 2002 battling a severely debilitating case of reactive arthritis from which he is now recovering. Nevertheless, even without any of the usual promotional support the album reached #12 in Germany and inside the top 40 in numerous other countries including Holland, Sweden and Brazil. This didn't stop the members of Silverchair considering 2002 one of the most frustrating in their careers due to their inability to tour.

This all began to change in October 2002 when the band's work on "Diorama" won them six ARIA Awards including "Best Group" and "Best Rock Album". In a last-minute surprise the trio returned to the stage to deliver a searing performance of "The Greatest View" which catapulted their album back into the national top 20. The ARIA triumph capped a roller coaster year for the band a year which in many ways traced the journey of "Diorama" itself from bleak times into a much happier new dawn. Silverchair embarked on a magical world wide tour, full of theatrics and dizzying lights.

"Our other albums have all been pretty black", explained Daniel Johns when asked to summarise Diorama. "This time around I wanted to try painting with lots of colours."

Silverchair announced an indefinite hiatus following the tour, but the tsunami appeal concert, WaveAid, saw them reform and hint at new work together.

FUTURE

After putting Silverchair in abeyance, Johns embarked on a successful collaboration with noted Australian electronica artist Paul Mac, as The Dissociatives, and the resulting LP, also called The Dissociatives, was supported by limited touring. Around this time Johns was interviewed by Andrew Denton on the TV show Enough Rope (where he stated that there will "definitely be another Silverchair album", although this wasn't included in the broadcast of the interview), as well as performed live with Mac. More recently he has worked with his wife, former soap opera actress turned pop singer Natalie Imbruglia on her Counting Down the Days album.

Drummer Ben Gillies has also decided to dive into a side project of his own called Tambalane, who enjoyed national success in Australia. They have been touring in support of their self titled debut CD, released in August of 2005.

Meanwhile, Chris Joannou has been working with other bands, producing Brisbane band The Mess Hall's debut album Notes From A Ceiling.

Following the Boxing Day Tsunami, Silverchair reformed for one show at the Wave Aid fundraising concert in Sydney, to raise funds for aid organizations working in disaster affected areas.

In November of 2005, Silverchair announced they were working on the music for their fifth studio album, Young Modern, planned for release in early 2007. They played a limited number of 'warm-up' concerts (with Paul Mac on keyboards, standing in for Julian Hamilton of The Presets) in March and April of 2006 to try-out the new material in front of a live audience.

On July 16, 2006, it was announced on the Silverchair's official website that the band has been recording 14 new songs in Sydney and Los Angeles for their upcoming fifth album, and they are planning to finish recordings for the new album in Europe, after which they plan to mix the album in the U.S. The new album will be released in Australia in early 2007. No overseas release dates have been set yet.

Bass player Chris Joannou wrote a short overview about how the recordings for Young Modern went, which was published on the band's website on July 27, 2006. He wrote that the band spent five weeks in Hunter Valley, not too far from Newcastle, in late 2005 to play some new tunes together. Prior to that Johns had been busy recording home demos on his own. Then the demos were recorded in a recording studio in Sydney and once the band had put it all together they headed for L.A. to start recording the songs as they would appear on the album. Nick Launay was hired to produce the album together with Johns and during the time in L.A., some more songs were written (and possibly recorded). Van Dyke Parks was hired to do some orchestral arrangements for three new songs and these orchestrations were recorded in three days in Prague. Johns is currently finalizing his last vocal parts and the band plans to start mixing in L.A. in January 2007. The album should be released in April/May 2007 in Australia and they will probably do some shows or a full scale tour around that date. It was also revealed that the band will play at Homebake on December 2, 2006 and the Queen's Wharf Brewery in Newcastle on New Year's Eve.

Silverchair performed a song titled "Don't Wanna Be The One" originally written by Midnight Oil at the 2006 ARIA Awards as part of Midnight Oil's induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, during the end of the performance Johns spray painted PG4PM (Peter Garret for Prime Minister) on a stage wall.

ALBUMS

1995 - Frogstomp
1997 - Freak Show
1999 - Neon Ballroom
2002 - Diorama
2007 - Young Modern

LIVE ALBUMS

2003 - Live from Faraway Stables

COMPILATIONS

2000 - The Best Of Vol.1
2002 - Rarities 1994 - 1999

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Submitted by OptimusPrime at Tue 14 Nov, 2006 6:37 am

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