The members of silverchair are still enjoying their extended break, but as summer moves into autumn in Australia, there is news to report!
The band regrouped in February to record a new song for the upcoming Godzilla soundtrack, and lent their name and a song to help keep the playing field level for Australian artists.
First to learn about the new song (called Untitled) were members of the Llama Appreciation Society, who recently received issue No. 9 of the LAS newsletter. The mailing also included an exclusive colour photo card with pictures from the Summer Freak Show tour by the ARIA-award winning photographer and art director Kevin Wilkins.
LAS members also learned what the band members have been up to over the break. Chris Joannou visited Thailand for two weeks while Ben Gillies took a holiday in North Queensland. Daniel's been laying low at home, hanging with his mates, playing with Sweep, cooking for himself a lot, and (of course) watching tele -- the U.S. cartoon South Park and the Aussie soap Neighbours, in particular. Ben and Chris also saw U2's Popmart tour as it stopped in Sydney.
The newsletter includes exclusive photos from the wild Summer Freak Show finale in Perth, Chris catching rays in Thailand, and Ben showing his style in the kitchen. Only LAS members get the newsletter, and if you're not a member, check out the LAS web page to find out how to join.
17. silverchair - Freak
73. silverchair - Cemetery
83. silverchair - Tomorrow
silverchair placed two tunes in the list of the Hottest 100 songs of 1997, according to those who voted in a poll conducted by Australia's Triple J radio.
Freak came in at No. 13 and The Door was 27th. It was the first time two silverchair songs were voted to thelist in the same year. Tomorrow was No. 5 in 1994 behind Zombie by the Cranberries, Closer by Nine Inch Nails and two songs by the Offspring -- Self Esteem and Come Out & Play.
Triple J also included Abuse Me in their list of 300 possible songs for 1997, but it did not place in the top 100. silverchair also released Cemetery as a single in Australia during 1997.
The number one song of the year, according to the voters, was No Aphrodisiac by The Whitlams. Other songs placing higher than Freak were:
* Blur - Song 2
* Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
* The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony
* Pauline Pantsdown - Back Door Man
* Blink-182 - Dammit
* Radiohead - Paranoid Android
* Marilyn Manson - Beautiful People
* Radiohead - Karma Police
* Jebediah - Leaving Home
* Smash Mouth - Walkin' On The Sun
* Ben Folds Five - One Angry Dwarf...
In addition to placing 10th with Leaving Home, silverchair's label mates Jebediah also had the No. 33 song with Military Strongmen. Other Murmur bands on the list were Something For Kate (Captain [Million Miles] at No. 39) and Ammonia (You're Not The Only One at 43).
A number of bands who have shared a stage with silverchair also placed on the list: The Tea Party's Temptation was No. 44, Everclear had the 51st (So Much For The Afterglow) and 54th (Everything To Everyone) songs, Love Rollercoaster by the Red Hot Chili Peppers was 55th, and Local H made the list with Bound For The Floor at No. 96.
The Australian ABC TV special entitled silverchair - From Frogstomp to Freak Show aired on Nov. 22, 1997 as part of the network's salute to Australian Music Week. The one-hour production was highly entertaining, humorous and extremely well presented.
Presenter Dylan Lewis and the Enforcer, his mute sidekick, gave some basic history of Newcastle and silverchair in their "normal" energetic style while terrorising the local population.
There were interviews with people in the music industry who gave some "behind the scenes" details on everything from winning the Nomad competition to how silverchair is presented as a group.
While cruising around Newcastle in Chris's EH Holden with Dylan and the Enforcer, the band answered some generally probing questions punctuated by mostly live performance video clips including:
* Tomorrow (Cambridge Hotel, June '95)
* Israel's Son (Sydney Showground, April '96)
* Freak (video clip)
* The Door (JJJ Real Appeal, July '97)
* Cemetery (Toronto, February '97)
* No Association - (Recovery TV show)
* Abuse Me (video clip)
* Abuse Me (Late Show with David Letterman, February '97)
* Suicidal Dream (JJJ Real Appeal, July '97)
Dylan Lewis interviewed the band members collectively and separately, eliciting insights into their lives, personalities and influences. The Enforcer added spice to the presentation by always being in the background doing the unthinkable, such as mooning a barking neighbours dog, trying to kick down the fence of Newcastle High School, and stealing things from the Johns family home (including an attempt on Daniel's dog, Sweep).
The hour went by quickly. The production was fast paced and informative and held the attention of viewers right through to the end of the credits.
It is heartening to see the Australian ABC utilising their resources to help promote such a wonderful talent as silverchair. Congratulations to everyone involved.
Silverchair's Freak film clip was honoured as best Australian music video in the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.
The video was shot in California in December 1996 while the band were in Los Angeles for a special "secret" show at the famous Troubadour in West Hollywood. It was directed by Gerry Casale, formerly of the '80s band Devo.
All three of the previously released singles from Freak Show -- Freak, Abuse Me and Cemetery -- have been No. 1 successes on the ARIA Alternative chart and Top 10 hits on the national mainstream ARIA chart.
The new single is a five-track and includes the studio version of Surfin' Bird from the Surfrider Foundation MOM compilation, and three songs recorded live at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom on April 20, 1997 -- Roses, Madman and Minor Threat. Vocals on Minor Threat feature Jeremy Chatelain from Handsome, who supported silverchair at many dates in North America earlier this year.
Although the single was not officially delivered to Australian radio stations until Sept. 22, The Door had already proven popular with radio programmers around the country. Triple J added the track from the album to rotation several weeks earlier, and the song had already been included in the Austereo Hot 30 countdowns.
"It's influenced a lot by Led Zeppelin and anything from that era really," said silverchair's Daniel Johns. "Before the album, when I actually wrote it and showed Ben and Chris, Ben and Chris liked it and they wanted to continue working on it and write a bit more, and I didn't really like the song. And they were like, 'oh, come on, we'll just use it' and so I said, 'yeah all right,' just to see how it would turn out. And it ended up changed a little bit and now I'm really happy with it.
The song has become a crowd favourite at silverchair's live shows. No new video clip will be filmed for the single, but the band plans to provide Australian music video outlets with live versions of The Door.
The video for Cemetery, the third single from silverchair's Freak Show album, made its North American debut on Canada's Much Music channel.
The video had its world premiere June 21 during the Video Hits programme on Australia's Ten Network and is being shown by MTV in various parts of the world.
The single debuted as No. 5 in Australia and No. 1 on the Australian alternative music chart. The bonus tracks are a live acoustic version of Cemetery and Slab (Nicklaunoise Mix), a remix by Freak Show producer Nick Launay, which includes parts of three songs from the album -- Slave, No Association and Learn To Hate.
The single also includes the CD Extra material which was previously available only on copies of Freak Show sold outside Australia. The CD Extra includes a multimedia "sideshow," a live performance of Israel's Son and video interviews with the band. In addition to a CD single, murmur will also release a special 12-inch vinyl for Cemetery.
In France, the Cemetery single will include a track called Fade Up by the French band Manifold, which won a competition and opened for silverchair at their last appearance in Paris.
Director Gerry Casale (Freak video) rejoined silverchair to film the Cemetery music video during a short break in the band's April-May U.S. tour.
The moving ballad was the last song chosen for inclusion on Freak Show. It has been warmly received at the band's live shows in the first half of 1997.
On stage, Cemetery is performed as a solo by silverchair vocalist/guitarist Daniel Johns. However, the recorded version features Ben Gillies on timpani drums and a Jane Scarpantoni string arrangement recorded in New York's legendary Electric Lady Studios.
"I suppose we had more of a Led Zeppelin influence on this record," Johns said. "They had some cool but weird string arrangements. Like Kashmir has some really strange experimental string sounds on it and that's what we wanted to achieve with Cemetery."
Silverchair rewrote the record books last Friday when all 4,000 tickets for their show at Brisbane Festival Hall sold out in five hours. Although this venue has been used for rock concerts since the 1950s, this is the first time in history that an Australian band has sold out this venue in just one day.
The Brisbane sell out took place one week after the chair's upcoming Darwin show also sold out all 4,000 tickets in less than a day.
Silverchair's new single Cemetery will be released on June 30 and a full Australian tour is planned for the end of this year.
Silverchair took time out from their current U.S. tour this week to shoot the video for the third single from Freak Show, the haunting ballad Cemetery. The band again teamed up with former Devo keyboardist Gerry Casale in the director's chair, having worked with him originally on the Freak video. Cemetery will be released globally in June.
In addition to the title song, the release features two bonus tracks. One is a techno-style remix of Freak called Freak (Remix For Us Rejects). The other extra track on the Abuse Me single is a song called Undecided. It is not the song of the same name from silverchair's debut album frogstomp.
The Undecided on the Abuse Me single is a song made popular by the legendary Australian band Masters Apprentice. silverchair recorded the song while working with Deniz Tek of Radio Birdman last fall in the U.S. Tek and silverchair recorded vocal and guitar tracks for New Race (a bonus track on the Freak single) at Baby Monster Studios in New York City.
New Race went so well that producer Nick Launay asked Tek and the band to record an additional song. Tek suggested the "old" Undecided and taught it to the members of silverchair, who learned it in 20 minutes.
It is decidedly not a silverchair original, with Daniel Johns singing lyrics such as "I wanna be your sweet loving man," which between takes he jokingly (and uncharacteristically) sang as "I wanna be your sweet loving Dan!"