tarted by school chums Daniel Johns (vocals/guitar) and songwriting partner Ben Gilles (drums), along with Chris Joannou (bass), Silverchair got its start when the group began winning talent contests. Their big break came with the competition run by the SBS TV show Nomad and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) alternative radio station Triple J. As part of the prize, Triple J recorded their song Tomorrow, while ABC filmed and aired a video. Released as a single in the summer of 1994, it scaled the domestic charts making them overnight sensations. The next two singles followed the same path until the release of their debut album Frogstomp (1995) riding the grunge tide to the top of the US charts and resting at 9, while in England they got a foothold at 49. The album would be their first recording for 'Sony Music' after a bidding war with another label. Member Tobin Finane would join on keyboards but lasted for less than a year in 1995.
Freak Show (1997), likewise, was a success making 12 US/38 UK. By the time Neon Ballroom was released in 1999 to a 50 US/29 UK, Silverchair had lost much of their metallic roots and replaced them with more string based tunes; their formula seemed to be working now at the height of their career.
By late 1997, the trio had completed their secondary education and, from May 1998, they worked on their third album. That album Neon Ballroom (1999) received success in their native Australia. Later that same year, Johns announced that he had developed anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder, due to anxiety. Johns added that the lyrics to Ana's Song (Open Fire) from the album dealt with his disorder. Silverchair added auxiliary keyboardist, Sam Holloway (ex-Cordrazine) for the subsequent Neon Ballroom Tour.
Their contract with 'Sony' completed, the group signed with 'Atlantic Records' upon completion of Diorama (2002) for North and South America, and formed their own label, 'Eleven: A Music Company' (distributed by 'EMI'), for Australia and Asia. In November 2000, and despite Johns disapproval nor the band's involvement, 'Sony' issued The Best Of: Volume 1 compilation.
Of note during this time was Paul Mac and Julian Hamilton (keyboards/piano/remixing/programming both), between 2001-2003 and 2006-2007 again, serving on selected recordings.
In writing Young Modern (2007), Johns tried to make the music sound very simple, despite a complex musical structure. The lyrics were written after the music was created, sometimes as late as the day of recording. He would even go so far as to propose that the band would produce an instrumental album at some stage in the future.
The band's split was sudden in 2011 when their announcement stated they were indefinitely halting band activities due to mutual lack of interest, although an reunion was ruled out. Another (left-over) Silvervchair album may eventually emerge because another album had mostly been recorded before the band quit.
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Silverchair performing on the Across the Great Divide Tour in September 2007.
Photo by: Jeanie Mackinder
CC BY 2.0
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