silverchair 1995

Featuring: Good Charlotte, Seether, Nina Diaz, Powderfinger & more

March 1995: a record entitled Frogstomp was released by Murmur records. An initial recording of the lead single, “Tomorrow,” first hit Australian airwaves a few months prior and ended up spending six weeks at number one on the ARIA singles chart. Shortly after, an official single was made available to the U.S. market. Who was this group? What was this song? What would the reaction be? The answer — three 15-year-old amazing musicians from Newcastle, Australia who were schoolmates that decided to start a band. Oh, and did people like it? Just look at the facts. “Tomorrow” became the most played song on U.S. modern rock radio that year in addition to spending 20 weeks in the Australian top 10. In total, Frogstomp has sold over 2.5 million records worldwide, was certified double-platinum in the U.S. and multi-platinum in Australia.

You would think at 15 years old that was the very beginning of their journey. For Daniel Johns, Chris Joannou and Ben Gillies it had actually been on-going a few years already. Upon settling on a power rock trio initially billed as Innocent Criminals, they casually entered a national band competition. The rest is history. Astonishingly, they placed first in that competition and found themselves in high demand from record labels. Sony A&R manager John Watson, became their manager and away they went.

Over the next 16 years, Silverchair would release a very diverse mix of five albums which have sold over six million records worldwide. They are one of the most renowned and successful Australian bands of all time having won 21 ARIA Awards — (more than any other artist in history) and all five of their studio albums have made it to #1 in Australia, which remains a national record (Midnight Oil and Cold Chisel have had four #1 records, AC/DC, INXS and Crowded House have each had three). Not to mention Daniel Johns was the first person to ever win the prestigious APRA “Songwriter of the Year Award” on three separate occasions. Regardless of their tempo, their songs bleed with emotion and honesty. Anthems such “Tomorrow”, “Ana’s Song”, “Straight Lines”, and “The Greatest View” were in constant rotation amongst rock radio stations everywhere. Embedded in their catalog, however, you will find lyrically rich, vulnerable gems like “Shade,” “ Point of View,” “Miss You Love,” “ Across the Night”, “ Without You”, “ Emotion Sickness”, and “Asylum.”

March 2015 officially marked 20 years of Silverchair music. This is a time where the band finds themselves in what they call an indefinite hibernation with each of them plugging away at their own personal endeavors.

Along with business partners, Chris spent time in the brewery business and is now an owner of the recently opened Newcastle restaurant The Edwards.

Ben released a solo record entitled Diamond Days in late 2012 under the moniker BENTO. He can also occasionally be spotted on The Real Housewives of Melbourne, where his wife Jackie is one of the stars of the show.

Daniel is currently starting a new chapter in his musical career as a solo artist. Shortly after a surprise appearance at Triple J’s 40th birthday where he played a chilling piano rendition of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Daniel debuted a new soulful song entitled “Aerial Love” in late January 2015 on the Triple J radio station. The song is from a four-track EP that was released in March. A full-length studio album entitled Talk was released on May 22.

In the spirit of honoring and recognizing this incredibly worthy band, I reached out to various musicians, producers and touring partners to share their thoughts, experience and admiration for the one and only Silverchair.


Seether — lead singer and guitarist

Right after Frogstomp came out; I remember how the music blew my mind from a kid a few years younger than me. It was so pure and angry and perfectly fit my attitude to life at the time. I was fucking exhilarated! Between Silverchair and Nirvana, I had music that spoke to my angst and kept me alive. When Freak Show came out I was blown away. Daniel Johns is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. I wish they’d write a new album so I can feel that incredible intimate release when I hear new music from them! We still play Israel’s Son almost every time we soundcheck.

Favorite Silverchair song?


Hands down. Christ, listen to our song “Remedy” and tell me that I didn’t have that song in my subconscious. It’s a shameless tribute to Silverchair.

Favorite Silverchair record?

Freak Show or Neon Ballroom.

I think “Ana’s Song” is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created.

Most memorable Silverchair live experience?

I saw them in LA on the Young Modern tour and I actually got to meet them. I was completely star struck and I was mesmerized by how great Daniel sounded live. Such a fragile man with such a powerful voice. It’s one of my favorite memories of all time.


Australian electro-pop musician, singer-songwriter and producer. Played keyboards in Silverchair’s touring band. Founded the band The Dissociatives with Daniel Johns

I first met Daniel in the mid 90’s. He was a bit of a fan of my techno band Itch-E & Scratch-E and asked me to do a remix for the band. The first mix I did was for “Freak” (remix for US rejects). I always thought they were incredibly funky. They made me want to dance. Daniel Johns is one of the most amazing artists Australia has produced.

Favorite Silverchair song?

“Those Thieving Birds / Strange Behaviour”

Favorite Silverchair record?


Most memorable Silverchair live experience?

Playing keyboards on stage with the band at the Big Day Out wearing my Yoko Ono T-shirt and having a bottle of piss thrown at my head. Good times!


Famed producer of Silverchair’s debut record Frogstomp

I first heard Silverchair on the radio; it was when they were called The Innocent Criminals. I loved their sound straight away. I remember thinking they sounded like a good old school band; kind of 70’s meets the grunge of Seattle. I really thought they were a fantastic band, and I think they should have continued the power trio thing. I think the world was ready for that.

During the recording of Frogstomp you have to remember they were three 14-year-old boys, not exactly very experienced in the studio and so I had a lot to do and they had some downtime. At first they took to playing cricket in the hallways of Festival Studios and then they quietened down and discovered some Ron Jeremy pornography that had been left behind in the lounge. I went into the lounge to call them into the studio, and they needed a few minutes to get back.

Favorite Silverchair song?

“Israel’s Son”

I think that song is mighty. I get images about music, and that song always made me think of war in the desert — I guess the Middle East. I did tell Daniel that at a party sometime later on and he just looked at me kind of strangely. I had him add that scream during the recording because I could imagine a young soldier running out of a foxhole with a bayonet and rifle, charging the “enemy” but I’m actually not so sure what the song is about. I just loved it. I had them start with that tinny distorted bass riff and then added subharmonics to unsettle you from the first note!

Favorite Silverchair record?


Most memorable Silverchair live experience?

A couple actually. Ben used to make a cut in his bass drum and at the end of the show he would dive into the bass drum. At one show in Los Angeles he dived into the bass drum but they had forgotten to make the cut beforehand and he just bounced back and then he got up really dazed and confused. I guess he’s lucky he didn’t break his neck! Then there was a show at Rock in Rio 2000 which was fantastic and I heard the first songs for the next album, and I thought it was going to be a monster. Towards the end of the show, Daniel was totally exhausted. He finished and at the end of it fell on the floor in the dressing room.


The Whigs — lead singer and guitarist. Opened for Silverchair during their 2007 Young Modern US tour

I remember hearing Silverchair all the time on Atlanta’s 99x radio station in 1995. I was 13 years old and thinking that they were way further along in their careers than my band at the time. We then had an opening slot around the release of “Young Modern” years later. A few months after that The Whigs played Omaha, Nebraska and a couple of their fans gifted us a very rare and valuable Gibson guitar and Rickenbacker bass!


Powderfinger — lead guitarist. Co-headlined the Across the Great Divide tour with Silverchair in 2007

We both played at a festival gig in Tasmania (mid to late 90’s). The lads were still young but the excitement surrounding them was building and building. At first I was envious! That guys this young were making music this good. They just came out of the gates with all the great elements. Not at the top of their game yet, but you could hear all the right pieces in place. I remember sitting next to Daniel on the return flight from the festival gig, just chatting away and thinking….this guy is not how I may have preconceived. He was polite and incredibly funny, really joyous and light.

They are one of our great bands, always did what they felt was their artistic expression. They worked hard and are a great example to all aspiring artists out there.

Favorite Silverchair song?

“Emotion Sickness”

I love a song that takes you on a journey.

Favorite Silverchair record?

Neon Ballroom

Daniel is coming into his composer element here.

Most memorable Silverchair live experience?

Touring with them on the Across the Great Divide tour was fantastic. A great chance to spend some time with them all. I have a lot of respect for them, their work and their constant professionalism in live performance.

THE MADDEN BROTHERS — Benji & Joel Madden

Good Charlotte, The Madden Brothers

I first heard Silverchair when a bunch of kids came back from the Red Hot Chili Peppers show in high school talking about this cool Australian band that we had heard on 99.1 WHFS in DC. A girl I knew was wearing theFrogstomp album cover T-shirt with the tour dates on the back- I thought it was really cool. After first hearing their music, the thing I remember the most was thinking- wow these guys are the same age as me, maybe I could do this too.

This band was an inspiration to kids everywhere and Daniel Johns has never ceased to grow as an artist and writer. Fans will always love the Silverchair we knew, but we will always be excited to see what Silverchair we get next.

Favorite Silverchair song?

“Emotion Sickness”, “Slave”, and “Israel’s Son”.

Coincidentally the first songs on those albums. Loved pushing play every first time…

Favorite Silverchair record?

Freak Show and Diorama.

Most memorable Silverchair live experience?

Silverchair at the 9:30 club in Washington D.C. for Freak Show with Handsome (dudes from helmet and quicksand super group) as the opening act.


Girl in a Coma — lead singer and guitarist

I first got introduced to Silverchair when Neon Ballroom came out in 1999. I then went back and listened to the previous albums and fell in love. First I felt very attracted to Daniel Johns, of course. But then I also liked that they were a three piece band because I was also starting in my own three piece band, Girl in a Coma. Their songs were very rock but also melodic. I remember locking myself in my room for hours just hearing their records and singing along; recording their videos off of TRL when they would pop up and longing to one day meet them. To put it simply, I was inspired. Being an “adult” now I can understand Daniels lyrics much more in depth than I did before. I love that he was open about his eating disorder and recovery just as I’m open about my drug/alcohol addiction and recovery. All of them are talented men and they are a huge part of my musical up-bringing especially the beginning of forming Girl in a Coma.

Favorite Silverchair song?

“Miss You Love”

It’s so beautiful. I actually sang this song to my mom to prove to her I was serious about music when I was 13. I sang to the wall because I was shy. She then got me my first acoustic guitar afterwards!

Favorite Silverchair record?

Neon Ballroom

Most memorable Silverchair live experience?

I have yet to see them live! I so want to sing a song with Daniel one day! It’s on my bucket music list! Ha! But I do remember seeing their live performances on TV and loving the energy.


Acclaimed music producer out of London. Produced Silverchair records — Freak Show, Neon Ballroom and Young Modern

In 1995, my friend Robert Hambling (film maker) who first discovered “Innocent Criminals” (as they were then called), played me a CD of demos they had made at age 14. Daniel’s mother had sent it in to the SBS music show he was working on. I was blown away at the song writing on the demos and in particular Daniels low voice. I had no idea that they were under 20 years old, let alone 14, this made me all the more fascinated. Robert and I then took their demos around to all the record labels we knew at the time, but none were interested.

In regards to recording Silverchair records, I have so many memories I could write an entire book. All three albums were great fun to make. They are a true band, in that once they are in the same room playing together; sparks fly and magic is put on tape. All three of them are incredible musicians, and it’s worth noting that by the time they made Freak Show (age 15) they had been together for eight years.

The vibe in the studio on all three albums was electric, but in different ways:

During Freak Show they were incredibly wild and young, the energy and adrenaline in the room was like the biggest sugar rush imaginable. Craziest moment: Ben climbing inside a flight case with a movie camera being pushed down the long corridor at Festival Studios by the other two crashing into walls while filming from the inside. Result: black screen, shrieking screams, major damage to the walls.

Neon Ballroom was more ambitious and about experimenting in the studio, something they hadn’t done to this point. I also remember the concerns about Daniel’s struggles with anorexia, which culminated in the amazing song: “Ana’s Song.” It was written and recorded in the last eight hours of studio time before flying to LA to mix.

Best studio moment however? Daniel lying on the floor with a huge green beanie on his head that made him look like an alien, singing out all the individual notes that each member of the orchestra should play, while string arranger Jane Scarpantoni immaculately translated every note he sung onto music paper. The whole symphony was in his head … talk about mind blowing!

Young Modern was like a reunion of friends many years later. Everybody had grown up in their different ways yet when playing they were like one. Best moment here was listening in ore (and amusement) in Prague while Van Dyke Parks conducted an 80 piece orchestra in a massive room where Einstein used to teach. He had us in stitches while he instructed the violin players that they sounded too froggy, like nasty little green things too much “ribbit ribbit.”

Silverchair will always be my favorite people. The experience I had making their records and the feeling of growing and pushing boundaries was second to none. Silverchair are a phenomenon, and undeniably one of the most phenomenal bands ever to exist.

Favorite Silverchair song?

“Israel’s Son”, “Slave”, “Ana’s Song”, and “Straight Lines”

Favorite Silverchair record?

Freak Show.

Because of my fun memories making it. They were so in their element. The focus in direction of what they wanted to do was inspiring to be around.

Most memorable Silverchair live experience?

Seeing them play on the small stage at Sydney’s big day out 1995. I remember standing next to David Fricke side of the stage, watching them play so loud and with so much confidence, and seeing the massive crowd of people who had streamed over on mass from the main stage areas. Many climbed on top of nearby buildings and up lamp posts to get a glimmer. Their set was perfect. One of the most memorable gigs I’ve ever seen. Me and Fricke looked at each other knowing history was being made.


Favorite Silverchair song?

“Point of View”

Favorite Silverchair record?


Most memorable Silverchair experience?

Seeing them live for the first time at the Bowery Ballroom in 2003. I rushed home from college finals (maybe a little early??) specifically to go to this show. It was amazing to be in such a small room packed with genuine and extremely passionate Silverchair fans. They played a wide range of songs from their entire catalog including Daniel solo on the piano for two very rare and deeply moving songs; “After All These Years” and “Asylum.”

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