In Loving Memory of Silverchair (1992 – 2011)
It’s been five years since Newcastle’s legendary Silverchair announced their indefinite hiatus to the world. Though Silverchair fans are all too familiar with the term ‘hiatus’, it came as a shock to many as the band had returned to writing and recording since their last extended break— even going as far as announcing a stylistic direction for their elusive sixth LP. Sadly, I feel like it’s time for us to come to terms with the idea that they may never reunite. C’mon, it’s not happening, guys. Instead, let’s celebrate the life and achievements of Silverchair, undoubtedly one of Australia’s most enduring and successful bands of all time.
The talented trio originally formed in 1992 under the name Innocent Criminals, Daniel Johns on vocals and guitar, Chris Joannou on bass, and Ben Gilles on drums. Early days were spent playing numerous shows around the Hunter Region performing Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath covers; no idea of what their futures would hold. Their mainstream breakthrough manifested in 1994, their demo was chosen as the winner out of eight hundred plus entires in an Australian talent contest by SBS TV show Nomad and Triple J. By the end of the year they’d locked in a sweet record deal.
They quickly rose to international notoriety with the release of their angsty single, Tomorrow, under the new guise Silverchair. Their debut album Frogstomp was met with similar success, catapulting the young guns to the top of Australian charts and even managing to crack to top ten in America — for the first time since INXS — all at the raw age of 15. Silverchair made waves over subsequent years, releasing their second album Freakshow, giving awkward interviews, and touring alongside big names such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Ramones, all while completing their high school education.
Breaking away from their lingering grunge beginnings and evolving towards a more imaginative, ambitious sound, Neon Ballroom marked an overhaul of the band’s musical style, and provided us with the iconic Anthem for the Year 2000. The album sparked a confidence in the group that reflected in their electric, powerful performances, signifying a turning point in which the band had truly discovered their flair. Following Neon Ballroom, 2002’s Diorama expanded horizons even further, adding orchestral elements to their catalogue. Between 2003 – 2005, Silverchair took a break to pursue other creative projects, coming back to release what became Silverchair’s swan song: Young Modern, which debuted at the top of the ARIA charts, making them the only Australian band to have recorded 5 number one albums.
On May 25th, 2011, Silverchair revealed that they were no longer going to continue creating music as a band, giving a dignified resignation from their 20 year effort. “Indefinite hibernation” is what they called it. It was upsetting news, though well justified, as excited as many of us were to hear what they could come up with next. As the 6th LP remains a mystery to us all, I ponder about what could have been, yet I find solace in the fact that Silverchair’s accomplishments as a band, and their small beginnings in our very own Newcastle will always be remembered. Thanks for the exciting journey, Silverchair (1992 – 2011)