- YTV's Artist of the Week
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
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!