Silverchair interview with frontman Daniel Johns and bassist Chris Joannou about their 2007 album Young Modern and its supporting tour.
The band Silverchair skyrocketed to stardom in 1994 after their first album, Frogstomp, broke the top 10 on both the ARIA and US Billboard charts. Thanks to popular Silverchair songs like “Tomorrow” and “Israel’s Son“, the Australian trio, consisting of singer/guitarist Daniel Johns, drummer Ben Gillies, and bass player Chris Joannou, became international superstars when they were only fifteen years old.
As a band, Silverchair has been a mix of trying tests and triumphs since the beginning. They all experienced battles with extreme fame at an early age. It’s not easy becoming international rockstars at the age of 15. Adding to mix, singer Daniel Johns has struggled with both an eating disorder and reactive arthritis. But despite these setbacks, Silverchair managed to pass the time by repeatedly making hit records and racking up more #1 albums than any other Aussie band in history including AC/DC, Midnight Oil, and INXS.
Silverchair Interview With MethodShop
Silverchair’s 2007 album, Young Modern, is their first new record in 6 years, and the tour supporting it will be their first U.S. tour in over a decade. Even though Silverchair was in the middle of launching their U.S. tour, Daniel Johns and Chris Joannou found a little time to do a quick interview with MethodShop. They were humble, candid and even funny.
Where have you guys been? Silverchair hasn’t toured the U.S. in over a decade. What made you want to come back?
CHRIS: It has been some time since we have done any lengthy tours in the States. The fact that we can now tour behind our new album, Young Modern is our reason for coming back. We are really excited about touring again!
We’ve read reports of Silverchair’s bassist Chris Joannou doing a “bass walk” live on stage. What exactly is this legendary move? Will U.S. fans finally get to see it in person? Does anyone else in the band have any fancy stage moves you wanna tell us about?
CHRIS: I’m not 100% sure what my “bass walk” is but I’m flattered that now its become legendary! I’ll make sure I make no changes to my moves for the upcoming U.S. shows.
Do you guys want to do anything particular during your downtime while you are here in the U.S.? Apparently Ben is an excellent surfer. Do you think you’ll be able to hit the U.S. beaches at all this summer?
DANIEL: Ben is an excellent surfer but I don’t think we are going to have much downtime to hit the beach, unfortunately.
You guys are booked to play Lollapalooza in Chicago this August. What other bands are you looking forward to seeing perform and hanging out with?
DANIEL: Arcade Fire, Pearl Jam, Bright Eyes, Iggy & The Stooges.
Silverchair has had more #1 albums than any other Australian band in history – including INXS, Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil and AC/DC. Last week I heard a DJ on a New York radio station describe you as “the Beatles of Australia.” How does that make you feel?
DANIEL: Wow that’s a really big call. I’m really flattered. I still can’t believe we have had more #1 albums then Midnight Oil. It’s amazing.
NERD NOTE: On the week after Silverchair’s album Young Modern was released in Australia (March 31, 2007), the album debuted at #1 one in the ARIA Albums Chart. Not only was Young Modern Silverchair’s 5th consecutive studio album to reach #1, but they now are the only Australian band in history to ever have five #1 one albums – surpassing Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil with four.
Because Silverchair has such an international appeal, do you find yourselves writing music/lyrics with specific markets in mind?
Did Daniel get “reprimanded” for spray-painting PG4PM (Peter Garret for Prime Minister) on the stage wall after covering the Midnight Oil song “Don’t Want to Be the One” at the 2006 Australian Recording Industry Association awards? Or did everyone just laugh it off?
DANIEL: There are a lot of people that think public figures shouldn’t be making political proclamations but I felt as though I wasn’t speaking just on behalf of myself but on behalf of a lot of people I know and even a lot of people I didn’t know.
NERD NOTE: Peter Garrett, is an Australian musician and politician. He has been an Australian Labor Party member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Kingsford Smith, New South Wales, since October 2004. Garrett was also the lead singer of the Australian rock band Midnight Oil from the 1970s to their disbanding in 2002.
Your first album, Frogstomp, was recorded in only 9 days, while you were all still in high school! Was it awkward becoming internationally famous so fast? How did that impact your childhood?
CHRIS: It was a little awkward at times as we were not used to all the attention that people were giving us. We were however still having the time of our lives and all we wanted to do was play our music. It was harder on Dan as the frontman and his face was out there a lot more than Ben and me. We got through it all though and are still enjoying it just as much if not even more than before!
I’ve heard your 2002 album, Diorama, described as both a “masterpiece” because of the song construction and production, and as a “cult classic” because you were unable to tour and promote it due to Daniel’s reactive arthritis. As a band, how did you handle this setback?
DANIEL: Not being able to tour for Diorama was definitely a huge disappointment. I was (and still am) really proud of that record but I also feel like the response to it was better than expected given the circumstances. It inspired us to top it with Young Modern.
While searching for Silverchair videos on YouTube, I noticed Daniel was wearing a headband in most of the recent clips. Is there some significance to this headband or is it just purely functional?
DANIEL: Originally it was worn as a way to try and emulate the success of an American film figure by the name of John Rambo… I stopped wearing it when I realized I looked more like professional tennis player Boris Becker then Rambo. Hahaha!
Have you ever thought about making Paul Mac, who has played keyboard on 3 of your albums so far, a permanent member of Silverchair?
DANIEL: Paul Mac is not only a really good friend but a great musician. We don’t really feel it necessary to add him as a permanent member of the band. We all see his role as the “Billy Preston” of the band.
NERD NOTE: Billy Preston (1946-2006) was a world-renowned keyboardist who played with Eric Clapton, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Barbra Streisand, Ike Turner, John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr, Luther Vandross, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Richie Sambora, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, Joe Cocker, Rev. James Cleveland, George Harrison, Sly and the Family Stone, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones among others. Preston also co-wrote the hit single “You Are So Beautiful” with Joe Cocker.
As musicians, who have played the same Silverchair songs over and over again, what song is still the most fun to play live on stage? Are you sick of playing “Tomorrow”?
DANIEL: We haven’t played that song since 1997.
Find Out More About The Silverchair Band
Silverchair’s 2007 album Young Modern is available wherever music is sold. Checkout Silverchair’s official website for news, videos, sound clips, tour dates and info on side projects by Daniel Johns, Ben Gillies, and Chris Joannou.