Biography of Silverchair


The Australian grunge band Silverchair quickly rose to international stardom in 1995 with their debut album, Frogstomp. Sounding like a bastard offspring of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Silverchair gained more notoriety for their age than their music -- at the time they released Frogstomp, they were 15 years old.

Originally called the Innocent Criminals, Silverchair was formed in 1992 in Newcastle, Australia, by three schoolmates: guitarist/vocalist Daniel Johns, bassist Chris Joannou, and drummer Ben Gillies. Two years later, their demo tape was chosen as the winner out of 800 entries in an Australian talent contest conducted by Nomad, an Australian music television show, and a local radio station, 2JJJ-FM. Included in the prize was a day in the radio station's recording studio, as well as a video for their winning song, "Tomorrow." 2JJJ-FM and Nomad began playing the video before the Innocent Criminals had signed a record contract, which helped the band earn a following of fans. It also began a bidding war among Australian record labels. By the end of the year they had a deal with Murmur, a subsidiary of Sony.

Before the release of their debut single, "Tomorrow," in September of 1994, the group changed their name to Silverchair; the name was derived from Nirvana's "Sliver" (which was accidentally misspelled as "Silver") and You Am I's "Berlin Chair." "Tomorrow" became a major hit in Australia, reaching number one; it would eventually become the country's fourth-biggest selling single ever. In January 1995, Silverchair released a second single, "Pure Massacre," which also hit number one. That same month, the band recorded their debut album, Frogstomp, in just over a week. Upon its release, Frogstomp became the first album to enter the Australian charts at number one and it went platinum within a week; it would soon go double platinum and spend six weeks in a row at number one.

Silverchair's success in the United States was nearly as quick. Released in America in the summer of 1995, Frogstomp began climbing the U.S. charts quickly, thanks to heavy MTV exposure and modern rock airplay for "Tomorrow." Soon, the album went platinum in America as well, and by the end of 1995, "Pure Massacre" had become a radio/MTV hit in the U.S.

Silverchair toured throughout the first half of 1996, recording their second album in the second half. The band returned in early 1997 with Freak Show, a record which received better reviews than its predecessor yet failed to match its sales. The bland Neon Ballroom followed two years later, but also failed to do much for their American sales. But the next album, 2002's Diorama, was a shockingly creative and impressive step forward that showed the band shedding their grunge past and adding horns, strings, and mature lyrics to their arsenal.

[Hata Bildir]