Silverchair is a rock band from Newcastle, Australia. The group was formed by three classmates:
around 1992, using the name Innocent Criminals. They first attracted public attention in mid 1994 when they won a demo competition supported by the Australian radio station Triple J. This quickly lead to a recording contract even though at the time the band members were all only 14 or 15 years old.
Their debut album, Frogstomp, was a raw, muscular slab of angst-filled rock. Recorded in just nine days, it was released in 1995 and quickly became a huge hit not just in their homeland but also in North America where it entered the top 10 on the back of the single Tomorrow. At the time, some critics said that the group was derivative of many other alternative bands, particularly those from Seattle, but that did not stop Frogstomp from becoming a multi-platinum success around the world, eventually selling more than 2.5 million copies.
Silverchair toured the world in between their schooling commitments, including stints supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers in the U.S.
In 1997, they released their second album, Freak Show. The album saw the band starting to find a more original sound while Daniel Johns' lyrics dealt with the pressures of adapting to the sudden fame. In Australia and parts of Europe the album yielded huge hits such as Freak and Abuse Me but, although it went gold in the U.S., its sales performance was not as strong as Frogstomp.
Following their graduation from high school, the band started work on the album that became 1999's Neon Ballroom. Daniel Johns had been through many emotional problems and he used the album as a catharsis for his personal demons. Employing a wider range of instrumentation, his heartfelt and distinctive songs had a sound that not even the harshest critic could call derivative. As a result Neon Ballroom attracted tremendous critical acclaim around the world, particularly the haunting Ana's Song and the epic Emotion Sickness (which featured pianist David Helfgott, the inspiration for the movie Shine).
After being freed of their schooling obligations, Silverchair was able to tour much more extensively in support of Neon Ballroom. These efforts bore fruit with the disc ultimately outselling Freak Show with global sales in excess of 1.5 million copies.
Now, all just entering their twenties, Silverchair have established themselves as a formidable live rock band. Unlike many of their contemporaries, they have continued to evolve musically while attracting a loyal, growing fan base. They now seem established as a band with a long career ahead of them, a result which would have seemed highly unlikely when they first burst onto the music scene as teenagers back in the early nineties.
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