Public Freaks over Silverchair Album

By Chad Watson (Newcastle Herald)

Newcastle music prodigy Silverchair called upon the latest technology yesterday to spread the grunge-rock gospel according to its much-anticipated second album.

The aptly titled Freak released to the Australian public at 9 a.m. yesterday is the lead single from its Freak Show LP, which will be officially launched at an invitation-only Murmur Records gig in inner-Sydney on Monday night.

Freak follows the record-breaking 1995 album frogstomp, which topped the Australian alternative and mainstream charts then reached the American top 10 after the phenomenal success of the band's debut single, Tomorrow.

Last night, vocalist/guitarist Daniel Johns, bassist Chris Joannou and drummer Ben Gillies made their first "live" appearance on the Internet as guests of Sydney-based pay-TV music channel Red to speak with fans about the new single and forthcoming album.

Ninety minutes before they were due to answer their first electronically delivered question, Red publicist Mr. Matt Braybon said there were almost 100 people lining up for a "cyberchat."

Daniel and Chris kickstarted their day as guest announcers on National radio station Triple J's morning show, co-hosted by fellow Novocastrian Mikey Robins.

Meanwhile more than 9000 Internet users from around the globe visited the unofficial silverchair home page that was set up by Novacastrian music retailer Sound World in the 24 hours leading up to the single's Australian release.

Sound World's managing director, Mr. Spero Davias, said his stores in the Hunter St. Mall, Newcastle, and at Garden City shopping centre, Kotara, sold more than 250 copies of Freak yesterday.

"We have not had that kind of interest in a single release for many, many years," Mr. Davias said. "And that includes all the major international acts."

A spokeswoman for Sony Records subsidiary Murmur, Ms. Susan Robertson, said yesterday that the label had been inundated with media enquires about Freak.