Silverchair is Australia?s most successful contemporary rock band. The group has had more top twenty hits during the last decade than any other local artist and they have sold over six million albums worldwide.
The members of Silverchair were all born in 1979 in the Newcastle surf suburb of Merewether. Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies started making music together at primary school and schoolmate Chris Joannou later joined on bass. In the group?s early days they were called Innocent Criminals and their repertoire consisted mainly of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath songs they had learned from their Dads? old record collections.
The trio played many shows around the Hunter Valley region in their early teens. They got their big break in mid-1994 when they won a national demo competition called ?Pick Me? which was conducted by SBS TV show ?Nomad? and youth radio station Triple J. The group?s entry was a song called ?Tomorrow? which quickly landed them a recording contract.
The band changed its name to Silverchair and in August 1994 they released ?Tomorrow?. The song eventually spent six weeks at #1 on the Australian singles charts and in 1995 it became the most played song of the year on U.S. modern rock radio.
Silverchair?s debut album ?frogstomp?, recorded in just nine days in early 1995, was a raw sounding slab of edgy alternative rock. A #1 hit in Australia and New Zealand the disc went on to become the first Australian album since INXS to hit the U.S. top 10, selling more than 2.5 million copies throughout the world. As ?frogstomp? and ?Tomorrow? propelled silverchair to music superstardom through 1996 the group juggled memorable performances on the roof of Radio City Music Hall and tours with Red Hot Chili Peppers alongside full time schooling commitments back home in Newcastle.
The trio also found time that year to record their sophomore album ?Freak Show? which was released early in 1997. A more adventurous piece of work than ?frogstomp? this disc yielded three top ten singles in Australia - ?Freak?, ?Abuse Me? and ?Cemetery?. ?Freak Show? went gold in the United States and global sales eventually exceeded 1.5 million copies in spite of the fact that the band had to juggle world tours while trying to finish their final year of high school.
After finally graduating from school the band were able to spend much more time creating their critically lauded breakthrough, ?Neon Ballroom? which was released in March 1999. The group?s songwriter, Daniel Johns had been battling personal demons as he attempted to adjust to Silverchair?s sudden success and he poured these experiences into his new batch of songs. Determined to shake the constant musical comparisons which had previously dogged his band Johns created a truly original sounding album. Fusing heavy rock with orchestral flourishes and synthetic touches with powerfully emotional lyrics, ?Neon Ballroom? was universally acclaimed as a huge creative leap for Johns and his bandmates.
Silverchair toured extensively in support of the album propelling it to even stronger worldwide sales than they had achieved with ?Freak Show?. In Europe and South America it became the group?s most successful album to date due to the Comet Award winning ?Ana?s Song? - a track about Daniel Johns? battles with an eating disorder. Elsewhere, distinctive tracks like ?Emotion Sickness? and the aching ?Miss You Love? established once and for all that this young group is not just a fad; they are genuinely talented musicians who are here to stay.
The band toured Europe and the U.S. throughout 1999 including appearances on leading festivals such as Reading and Bizarrefest and tours with bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Blink 182. After all this touring the band announced that they would be taking a 12 month break to recharge their batteries.
Having fulfilled their three album deal with Sony Music Australia the group was pursued by labels for much of this year off. At the end of 2000 they announced that they had signed new recording agreements with Atlantic Records for North and South America and their own indie label, Eleven: a music company in Australasia and Asia. As a result of these new deals their former label rush released a compilation album without the band?s involvement.
Silverchair?s one and only gig in 2000 was a sold out appearance at Australia?s Falls Festival on New Years Eve. It was followed on January 21, 2001 by the biggest show of their lives - 250,000 people at Rock In Rio - a performance which the band describe as the highlight of their career to date.
In June 2001 the band entered a studio in Sydney with producer David Bottrill (Tool, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) to start work on their fourth album, ?Diorama?. This time Daniel Johns formally assumed the role of co-Producer and set out to explore even more new musical territory.
A range of other musicians were drawn in to contribute to the disc, most notably the legendary Beach Boys and U2 collaborator, Van Dyke Parks who contributed orchestral arrangements to three tracks including a lush epic called ?Luv Your Life?. Also helping out again were ?Neon Ballroom? sidemen, Paul Mac and Jim Moginie.
Silverchair fans got their first taste of ?Diorama? when a single called ?The Greatest View? was released in Australia in January 2002 to coincide with the band?s appearance on the Big Day Out Tour. The track displayed a fresh new sound showing yet another creative leap for the band ? now rock veterans at the age of 22!
The enhanced melodic sensibility and newfound vocal confidence of ?The Greatest View? attracted unprecedented radio support in Australia on all formats and drove the single to #1 on the alternative charts and #3 on the mainstream singles chart.
Diorama means ?a world within a world?. It?s a particularly apt name for Silverchair?s new CD as this evocative piece of work lifts you out of the everyday and carries you into a world of its own.
?No matter what people have got going on in their lives, hopefully when they play this album it will make them forget about everyday stuff. When music does that it?s magical and, for me, that?s what ?Diorama? is about?, says Silverchair?s Daniel Johns.
The album sees the Newcastle trio embracing melody and combining it with lyrics that are brighter than most of their previous works. It?s a huge creative leap which also sees them exploring a vast array of instrumentation and musical styles.
The resulting piece of work literally covers the whole musical spectrum ? as its colourful cover suggest. It moves from edgy rockers ?The Lever? and ?One Way Mule? to sweeter tunes such as ?After All These Years? and ?World Upon Your Shoulders?. There are also irresistible melodic rock songs like ?Without You? and the fantasia-esque epics ?Across The Night? and ?Tuna In The Brine?. It?s a technicolour collage that?s innovative and memorable.
According to Rolling Stone magazine in it?s four and a half star review, the album is ?one of the boldest musical statements ever made by an Australian rock band?.
?Diorama? entered the Australian charts at #1 in April and has gone on to sell over 140,000 copies (double platinum) in this country so far. It has also yielded the top 10 single ?Without You? and the top 20 hit ?Luv Your Life?.
The album?s international performance has unfortunately been severely affected by the band?s inability to tour or do promotional appearances due to Daniel Johns? ill health. The singer/guitarist has spent 2002 battling a severely debilitating case of reactive arthritis from which he is now recovering. Nevertheless, even without any of the usual promotional support the album has reached #12 in Germany and the top 40 of numerous other countries including Holland, Sweden and Brazil. However, the group?s inability to tour in support of the release still made 2002 a very frustrating year.
This all began to change in October 2002 when the band?s work on ?Diorama? won them six ARIA Awards including ?Best Group? and ?Best Rock Album?. In a last minute surprise the trio returned to the stage to deliver a searing performance of ?The Greatest View? which catapulted their album back into the national top 20. The ARIA triumph capped a roller coaster year for the band ? a year which in many ways traced the journey of ?Diorama? itself ? from bleak times into a much happier new dawn.
?Our other albums have all been pretty black?, explains Daniel Johns when asked to summarize the new album. ?This time around I wanted to try painting with lots of colours?.
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