Silverchair Retrospective: 1992 – 2011

Loudster Co | May 31, 2011 - 3:26 am
Silverchair have officially called it quits after being a band for almost 20 years, or have they? Sources say that the band, made up of Daniel Johns, Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou, have been trying to make another album for the past couple of years but haven’t been able to make decisions as a group and that they’ve slowly been moving apart.

The press release today stated that that “Despite (their) best efforts over the last year or so, it’s become increasingly clear that the spark simply isn’t there”.

But nowhere in the press release does it say that they could never recapture that sparks and reunite for one last tour a few years into the future. Instead of just straight up saying that they’ll never make music ever again and they all hate each others stupid faces, they use the term indefinite hiatus, which leaves the door wide open for a reunion at some point.

They’re obviously still friends who care about making great music, otherwise they would have released some garbage album this year, so I’m keeping my hopes up that we’ll see some new Silverchair material one day. Until then though, lets look back at this band, and remind ourselves why they made such an impact on the Australian music landscape.

1992: Innocent Criminals "Birth"

1992: The original Innocent Criminals line-up: Chris Joannou (left), Ben Gillies (bottom), Daniel Johns (right), Tobin Finnane (top)
 Back in 1992, teenage singer/guitarist Daniel Johns and his school friend, drummer Ben Gillies, started playing music together at their primary school. When they moved on to Newcastle High School, schoolmate Chris Joannou joined the pair on bass. They formed the band "Innocent Criminals" with second guitarist Tobin Finnane who soon left.

 The band's mainstream breakthrough came when they won a national competition in April called "Pick Me", conducted by the SBS TV show Nomad and alternative radio station Triple J) with a demo of their original song "Tomorrow". As part of the prize, Triple J recorded the song and ABC filmed a video, aired on 16 June 1992.

 Innocent Criminals were then given the opportunity to change their name before the release of "Tomorrow" as a single. They were in fact forced to change their name due to trademark issues as the name "Innocent Criminals" was the name of an American Band. This was the primary reason for the change.

Innocent Criminals
 They took the name from the C.S. Lewis book titled, "The Silver Chair". When the band changed its name from Innocent Criminals they had originally intended to be called 'Slitherchair'. After being mispronounced at a gig as Silverchair they decided to adopt that name.

1995: Frogstomp "Naivety"

ISRAEL’S SON: The opening track to their first album, Frogstomp. What a beginning, it’s hard to believe they were only 14 when this album released. Apparently made in just 9 days.

TOMORROW: The song from that first album that garnered the most attention thanks to constant play on radio, and it didn’t hurt that the song featured in an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head.

1997: Freak Show "Anger"

CEMETERY: The first album definitely had its dour and morose songs, but that was nothing compared to some of the track on the second album, Freak Show. The songs were dark, but they contained real feeling, something that’s missing from a lot of music these days, and Cemetery is the best example of that. This live version of the song is amazing, just Daniel Johns and a Guitar.

FREAK: The big hit of the second album, and probably the bands biggest hit to date, even though it’s not their best song. It’s easy to remember the lyrics and it has a driving guitar riff that pleases the kids, so I guess that’s why it’s popular, but I consider it a rather middling song in Silverchair’s overall Oeuvre.

THE DOOR: Another one from the second album, this was the first sign of where the band was heading with their music, a view into the future if you will. Amazing song.

1999: Neon Balllroom "Depression"

ANTHEM FOR THE YEAR 2000: From their third album, Neon Ballroom. I feel like this song is symbolic of their earlier work, like they just wanted a song to say goodbye to the old century as well as their darker original material, and what a goodbye it is!

EMOTION SICKNESS: The opening track of their third album, every time I hear that orchestral opening I need to change my pants. A true masterpiece.

ANA’S SONG (OPEN FIRE)/MISS YOU LOVE: Ana’s Song and Miss You Love are like siblings on this album, they share a similar tone, and they were also the big singles from this album. These songs were the true turning point for the band, away from trashy grunge towards more heartfelt songs that had much deeper meaning.

BLACK TANGLED HEART: Johns starts to show that he can actually fucking sing here. I’d put every song off Neon Ballroom on this list if I could, what an album.

2002: Diorama "Escapism"

ACROSS THE NIGHT: Speaking of great albums, Diorama is the album that defined a coming of age for the band and unlike most bands that “find their voice”, Silverchair’s didn’t involve selling out and getting more radio friendly. If anything, they went in the opposite direction for most of their fourth album, starting with this song. Heavy orchestra and piano and not a heavy guitar in sight. This song is pure love.

WITHOUT YOU/THE GREATEST VIEW: Just like the sibling songs from the previous album, these two song were the big hits for the album. They almost seem out of place among the orchestral sounds on the rest of the album, but Silverchair gotta eat sometime. They’re not bad, just misfit.

AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: Daniel Johns and a Piano = Man crush.

2007: Young Modern "Acceptance"

STRAIGHT LINES: So here we are, the end of a journey. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t a big fan of the bands fifth album, Young Modern, and I’m not a big fan of this song. The orchestral brilliance of the last album is (mostly) gone and this is what we get instead. It was obvious that this was going to be the end for the band.

WAITING ALL DAY: Not to say that the album was all bad though, and this song is a sign of brilliance that should have carried over to the rest of the album.

2011 - ..... "Indefinite Hibernation"

On May 25, 2011 via

"....Therefore after much soul searching we wanted to let you know that we're putting Silverchair into "indefinite hibernation" and we've decided to each do our own thing for the foreseeable future. "

They're ultimately doing it for the right reasons, and they don't seem to have any hard feelings.

Best of luck on your individual projects.

Here's hoping in a few years they can try making music together again!


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