Silverchair - The Kids are Alright

By Richard Younger (Guitar World)

The next time you pass up a demo contest think about silverchair. In 1994, the Australian power grunge trio entered a home demo of the song Tomorrow in a radio-station competition and won. They used the studio-time prize to master the tune, and six months later it reached number one Down Under.

"At home, it took us two hours to record six songs," recalls 16-year-old guitarist Daniel Johns, silverchair's oldest member. "And in the studio it took us 12 hours to record one song. It got so boring, by the time we were finished, we couldn't even be bothered listening to it."

Luckily for the band, others were listening; a year and a half after silverchair's big break, their debut album, frogstomp, has gone double platinum back home. The Seattle-influenced album features the moody Shade, with its ringing open guitar chords, as well as Tomorrow, in which Chris Joannou's bassline throbs menacingly before Johns drops his mega-ton power chords and sinuous vocals into the mix.

"That song came about when we were jamming in our drummer Ben's bedroom after watching a Led Zep video," says Johns. "We wanted to make a song last 10 minutes and wound up playing for almost an hour."

Although the band members don't like to draw attention to their youth, it's hard not to marvel at the remarkable songwriting and instrumental prowess of this ferocious young trio.

"We just want people to focus on the music," says Johns, who first picked up the guitar three years ago. "It's not asking too much. People don't listen to Soundgarden and say, 'They're good. How old are they?'"