Silverchair - YTV's Artist of the Week
By Exan
April 30, 1999

silverchair are from Newcastle, Australia. It all began when Daniel Johns, Chris Joannou and Ben Gillies entered their song "Tomorrow" into a national demo competition. Tomorrow ended up winning first place out of 800 entries from other groups across the country. The prize was a day in the recording studio in Australiaís national alternative radio network 2JJJ-FM (known to Aussieís as Triple J). The song was then added to Triple Jís playlist. All of a sudden requests for Tomorrow started ringing off the hook and before Daniel, Chris and Ben had time to blink, their song was bumped up into heavy rotation all across Australia!

Daniel: "After school, we used to go to Benís garage and "muck" around. (Aussie-speak for "fool" around). We never really set out to get a record contract. We just entered for something to do. We didnít think weíd win anything. So when we did, it was like a surprise."

I first met Daniel, Chris and Ben when they were only 15 & 16 years old. At the time, they were touring in between school during their summer holidays. (Australian summer holidays begin in January and end around April). They were promoting their first CD, Frogstomp. Back then, silverchair used to be managed by their moms. When asked what that was like, Chris responded, "Well, we didnít have to pay em!"

silverchair are one of the few bands that actually stayed in school full-time. Neon Ballroom, silverchairís 3rd record is the boysí first CD written after graduating from High School.

Daniel: Frogstomp and Freak Show were both written when we were still in school. We didnít really have a lot of time just to totally focus on music. It was always a part-time thing. With Neon Ballroom, it was a lot more creatively satisfying because it was written when we actually had time to think. It didnít feel like we were being rushed... that we had to do it during certain hours of the day. I was writing when I naturally felt like it."

Chris: "Even with touring, itís better. When we were in school it was like we had to basically think two separate things."

At their graduation which happened at the end of 1997 right after the Freak Show tour, the boys wore "white shirts" and "blue shorts" and apparently looked "stunning" on Prom night. "Did you have dates?", I asked. "Yeah!", they responded. "Each other?", I continued to ask, "Yeah!", was their answer.

Back in 1995 when I first met silverchair, I asked Daniel about why he doesnít write songs about girls:

Exan: "Youíre not writing about school or girls... Are you trying to go beyond teenage angst and write songs that anyone can relate to?"
Daniel: "I canít be bothered writing about girls, cars and school cuz thereís no point! If weíre playing a really heavy song and I sing about a girl or something, it doesnít really fit in so we donít do it!"

Exan: "Whatís wrong with girls?"
Daniel: "Nothing.. I just canít be bothered to write songs about Ďem!"

Danielís obviously changed his tune with songs like Miss You Love on Neon Ballroom! But of course the album still rawks with tunes like Anthem For The Year 2000.

Daniel: "I wanted to have a stadium rock song & lyrically itís about the youth standing up for their rights because itís basically aimed at a political party in Australia trying to impose restrictions on young people."

Danielís dog "Sweep" also makes an appearance on Neon Ballroom!!!

Daniel: "Sweep is always getting called a boy & she hates it! I was doing lots of my vocal tracks with my dog in the vocal booth on Steam Will Rise. I was singing really quietly so she thought I was singing to her so she just barked to react and it was in the right place for some reason. I think she knew because sheís very talented so she barked in the break and it came in perfectly so we kept it!

In the UK, Neon Ballroom became silverchairís 1st Top 40 hit!

In Canada, the album is already certified Gold!! In Australia the album debuted at #1, making it the 3rd No. 1 album debut for silverchair in their home country!!

Oh, and by the way, in case you guys were wondering why Daniel cut his hair.... At the beginning of this year, he had dreads in his head. The dreads ended up growing into knots. Eventually, he realised it was impossible to untangle any of them so he cut them all off the last time silverchair were in Toronto!

 
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