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Music / Silverchair

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Yes, Daniel, lovely Velvet Underground shirt.
"I don't really know,
How to put on a cool show,
As boring as they come,
Just tell me where to go,
If only I could be as cool as you..."

Silverchair is an Australian alternative rock band comprised of lead singer/guitarist Daniel Johns, Bass guitarist Chris Joannou, and drummer Ben Gillies. They have been highly successful, winning a record 20 ARIAs (Australian Record Industry Awards). The band first gained notoriety when one of their first songs "Tomorrow", won a local music competition run by television network SBS in 1994. This lead to the band being signed by Murmur Records, a subsidiary of Sony.

Their eventual debut album, Frogstomp, was recorded in a mere nine days, and released in March of 1995 when the band were still in high school, featuring a newly recorded "Tomorrow" and the other singles "Pure Massacre" and "Isreal's Son." The album not only topped the charts in Australia and New Zealand, but hit the top 10 in America which hadn't happened for an Aussie band since INXS. They returned in 1997 for Freakshow, lead by the anthemic single "Freak." Freakshow gave them another #1 at home, as did their third album released in March of 1999, Neon Ballroom. Neon Ballroom is regarded as a Growing the Beard point by some fans, as the band stretched out their alt-rock sound and added some electronic elements.

In 2003, some time after the release of their fourth album, Diorama, the band went on hiatus, members using the break to record on side projects The Dissociatives, The Mess Hall, and Tambalane. The Wave Aid concerts of 2005 saw the band reunite, and album Young Modern was released in 2007. Silverchair joined up with fellow Australian rockers Powderfinger to play the Across the Great Divide tour across Australia and New Zealand, which was to increase awareness of the efforts of Reconcilation Australia to reduce the 17-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

They broke up in 2011 while recording their sixth album, although it was officially called an "indefinite hibernation". By that point, Silverchair had sold over 8 million records around the world. They haven't ruled out a reunion at some point, they just need to feel like they have a creative spark again.


  • Frogstomp (1995)
  • Freak Show (1997)
  • Neon Ballroom (1999)
  • Diorama (2002)
  • Young Modern (2007)

Silverchair provide examples of:

  • Advanced Tech 2000: One of their bigger hits, "Anthem for the year 2000", which seemed to be a bit of a hit out against governments that promised to fix things in the medium to long term future.
  • Animated Music Video: Daniel Johns' arthritis precluded him from performing around the time of Diorama's release, and so the video clip to "Luv Your Life" had to be animated so as not to remove the face of the band and confuse fans.
  • Artifact Title: "Punk Song #2", a Freak Show outtake that was released as a B-Side. There were originally both a "Punk Song #1" and "Punk Song #3", but the other two didn't retain their Working Titles - "Punk Song #1" became "Lie To Me" while "Punk Song #3" became "Satin Sheets".
  • Britpop: Young Modern has been described as a "post-Britpop" record.
  • Buffy Speak: "Big, big and violent, like a thing that's big and violent."- World Upon Your Shoulders.
  • Dying Alone: The chorus of "Untitled":
    And all I can think of
    Are ways to die alone
  • Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product: The video for "Freak" has an old woman named Katherine Freak paying to consume sweat produced by the band while they are playing. Not satisfied with just the sweat causing her to be de-aged, she demands more. This causes her to mutate alien features such as yellow-green eyes, purple lips and bony ridges. She does seem quite happy with the changes.
  • Greatest Hits Album: The Best Of Volume 1, featuring almost all of the singles from the first three albums, plus a collection of B-Sides. Disavowed by the band, as it was released without their consent once their contract with Sony ended.
  • Instrumentals: "Madman". They actually did record a version with lyrics, which appeared as one of the bonus tracks on The Best Of, Vol. One, but it was first released as an instrumental on Frogstomp - the version with lyrics turns out to be an Ode to Sobriety. The Frogstomp version isn't quite instrumental, if "Oooh!" and a Title Drop at the very last two seconds of the song qualify as lyrics.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Lie To Me", a one minute and twenty two second Single Stanza Song ("Gonna be a liar / Lie to me, yeah / Gonna be a while / Lie to me, yeah"). There are also the Hardcore Punk Cover Versions they released as B Sides to the "Miss You Love" single - Minor Threat's "Minor Threat" (1:36) and Black Flag's "Wasted/Fix Me" (1:51, and if they'd performed "Wasted" and "Fix Me" as two separate songs both would have been about a minute long).
  • New Sound Album: Someone listening to Frogstomp and then Diorama would be forgiven for thinking it's two completely different bands. Frogstomp was released when the band was in their mid-teenage years at the height of The '90s Grunge revolution. Their 4th album Diorama somewhat defies classification but it's a soft contemporary adult easy listening piano based sound far far removed from their origins.
  • One-Woman Song: Subverted with "Ana's Song" as it's made clear later that it's about Anorexia.
  • Progressive Rock: Although they might be considered part of the genre, they start borrowing influences from the genre from Neon Ballroom onwards, using more orchestral elements and a more eclectic art rock sound. Songs like "Emotional Sickness", "Across the Night" and "Those Thieving Birds" could be considered proper prog songs however, due to their Epic Rocking with structure changes.
  • Protest Song: "Anthem For the Year 2000" dissed populist politician Pauline Hanson for her authoritarian stance on youth policy. "Pure Massacre" is about how War Is Hell. "Spawn" (and its rearranged version, "Spawn Again") is a somewhat word salad-y statement against factory farming and cruelty to animals - the latter version is more blatant about it, including statistics on animal slaughter for food ("Eight billion killed for human pleasure").
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "If You Keep Losing Sleep". Actually, Diorama and Young Modern were full of these due to Daniel Johns' Creator Breakdown.
  • Shout-Out: The band name is a Narnia reference, to - you guessed it - The Silver Chair specifically. Early on, they claimed it had something to do with hastily writing down the titles of Nirvana's "Sliver" and You Am I's "Berlin Chair" as "Silver Chair", but later they confirmed that it came from the novel. It's unknown as to why they had made the other story up in the first place, but perhaps they just thought the real origin of their name didn't seem to mesh with their Post-Grunge sound at the time.
    • They were known as Innocent Criminals until just before they entered (and won) a demo contest run by the TV show Nomad. When they admitted they'd made up the other origin story, one possible explanation that emerged as to why they lied was that one of the Nomad producers assigned them the name because of Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals and they didn't want people to know that a TV producer came up with it.
  • Teen Genius: They were 15 when they recorded Frogstomp. Any teen with a garage band would no doubt be thinking "how come we don't have a record?" when they read this.
  • "Untitled" Title: "Untitled", their contribution to the Godzilla (1998) soundtrack album.
  • Vocal Evolution : Between "Neon Ballroom" and "Diorama" Daniel's rough, raspy voice evolved into a Peter Gabriel style croon.