The Sunday Herald-Sun

(The Sunday Herald)

One of the biggest songs released by silverchair was a little ditty called Freak.

For the Newcastle power trio's new single it has managed to rope in the "real" thing.

Its new clip, Anthem for the Year 2000, features a special appearance by popular Australian actor Maggie Kirkpatrick.

Many will remember her as the 'Freak', the menacing warder in Australian cult television program Prisoner.

In the new clip the Sydney actor plays a demonic political leader, half human, half robot, who is manipulated and controlled as a puppet figure on a supposed television broadcast.

The video was filmed in Sydney by Gavin Bowden, whose credits include Rage Against The Machine's No Shelter, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Aeroplane and Live's Lakini's Juice.

It features a huge banner of the actor covering a Sydney skyscraper.

Kirkpatrick said she was surprised when approached by the band to appear in the clip.

"My first reaction was, 'Why me?'," she said. "I later found out that the boys were from Newcastle and, being an old Newcastle girl myself, I was more than prepared to help them out. I encourage anyone from my own town.

"Actually, my niece and nephew went to school with the guys."

silverchair later asked the actor for a private photo session to build up its picture album.

silverchair seems to have an affinity for working with celebrity guests.

It recently recorded with renowned Australian pianist David Helfgott on Emotion Sickness.

That track will also be included on the band's new album, Neon Ballroom.

silverchair chief songwriter Daniel Johns said Anthem for the Year 2000 was inspired by a dream.

"The whole thing is about youth rebelling against people who are supposedly more important," he said.

"It's about youth having total control over their own minds."

"They do not need overweight people in suits telling them what to do and how to act.

"It is all about just being yourself. The chorus is very sarcastic. It is not supposed to be taken seriously."

The new single comes with three B-sides, including a cover of the Clash's classic London's Burning.

Neon Ballroom, recorded in Sydney and mixed in Los Angeles, will be released on March 8.

silverchair recently added a fourth member to its [touring] line-up, with Sam Holloway, formerly of Melbourne band Cordrazine, playing keyboards.

The band will make a one-off visit to Melbourne on March 6 to play at the Forum. The gig is already sold out.

In the meantime, silverchair is making a whirlwind international tour this month to promote Neon Ballroom.