Silverchair took time out from their current U.S. tour this week to shoot the video for the third single from Freak Show, the haunting ballad Cemetery. The band again teamed up with former Devo keyboardist Gerry Casale in the director's chair, having worked with him originally on the Freak video. Cemetery will be released globally in June.
In addition to the title song, the release features two bonus tracks. One is a techno-style remix of Freak called Freak (Remix For Us Rejects). The other extra track on the Abuse Me single is a song called Undecided. It is not the song of the same name from silverchair's debut album frogstomp.
The Undecided on the Abuse Me single is a song made popular by the legendary Australian band Masters Apprentice. silverchair recorded the song while working with Deniz Tek of Radio Birdman last fall in the U.S. Tek and silverchair recorded vocal and guitar tracks for New Race (a bonus track on the Freak single) at Baby Monster Studios in New York City.
New Race went so well that producer Nick Launay asked Tek and the band to record an additional song. Tek suggested the "old" Undecided and taught it to the members of silverchair, who learned it in 20 minutes.
It is decidedly not a silverchair original, with Daniel Johns singing lyrics such as "I wanna be your sweet loving man," which between takes he jokingly (and uncharacteristically) sang as "I wanna be your sweet loving Dan!"
Silverchair's second album, Freak Show, went on sale Feb. 3, 1997 in Australia and Feb. 4 throughout the rest of the world.
At midnight on the 4th, silverchair were in the U.S. and marked the occasion with a visit to Blockbuster Music in Atlanta, Georgia to sign copies of the new disc.
Earlier in the evening, the band kicked off a tour of 10 U.S. cities in support of the album with a sold-out show at the Roxy -- the location of silverchair's first American appearance on June 21, 1995.
After wrapping up January with a performance in New Zealand, the band took a long trans-Pacific flight to Los Angeles. Within hours, Daniel, Chris and Ben made a return appearance on the syndicated radio show Modern Rock Live and headed for what they hoped would be a relaxing night at their hotel.
However, the night was far from peaceful for Daniel. Manager John Watson told chairpage that the hotel's telephone system was malfunctioning, and the phone in Daniel's room kept ringing all night long.
The flight from L.A. to Atlanta was delayed for several hours by weather, including a long time circling Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. The band arrived at their hotel in Atlanta just hours before the show was set to start.
After the long day, the typical full-out performance at The Roxy, and the late-night record store appearance, silverchair were ready for a rest, but not along one since the band jetted out of the country the next day for a live performance and interview on Canada's Much Music channel.
Meanwhile, Freak Show debuted at number one on the charts in Australia, and number 12 in the U.S.
Following is a press release from murmur music regarding the Dec. 6, 1996 encounter between silverchair, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro, and the Santa Monica, Calif. police:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SILVERCHAIR AND RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS GUITARIST DAVE NAVARRO BUSTED ON THE BEACH IN MALIBU, CA IN RECKLESS DRIVING INCIDENT
The three members of silverchair, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro, were taken into custody by police on Friday, December 6 in Malibu, CA while test driving a vehicle for U.S. magazine Bikini's Test Drive column.
silverchair's Daniel Johns, Chris Joannou and Ben Gillies had been safely piloting a new four-wheel-drive Montero Sport around a Malibu parking lot with Dave Navarro, who was on board to write the article.
When they took the vehicle on to the sand, chaos ensued when three policemen and four Baywatch-style patrol officers appeared from nowhere and ordered Johns, who happened to be at the wheel at the time, out of the vehicle. The police took Johns to the Santa Monica Police Station, planning to charge him for driving without a license and on the beach without a permit. He was briefly placed in a holding cell until representatives from Epic Records, the band's U.S. label, could be dispatched to the hotel to fetch the singer's Australian driver's license and passport.
All was well in the end, however, and after a little friendly negotiation the relieved band members gladly posed with the officers for photographs. Johns was released and all charges were dropped.
The article by Dave Navarro will appear in the April '97 issue of Bikini magazine.
silverchair were visiting L.A. after playing music festivals in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo with the Sex Pistols, Bad Religion, Cypress Hill and Spacehog. While in L.A. silverchair played a small undercover club show at The Troubadour under the moniker "The George Costanza Trio" and shot a video for Freak, the first single to be released from their forthcoming album. Freak will be at radio from Dec. 31, New Year's Eve, and available at retail from Jan. 13.
silverchair have now returned to Australia. Their next live shows are in Hobart on January 10, Launceston January 11, and the Peaches N Cream Festival in Cobram, Vic. on Saturday, January 25.
During the band's December 1996 visit to Los Angeles, Guitar World magazine caught up with silverchair's Daniel Johns and Chris Joannou for a preview of Freak Show.
"It seemed like a good theme for an album and a tour," Johns told Guitar World. "Being in a band is a lot like working in a circus or freak show. You set up and play, and then pack up and move to the next city."
The magazine's poinmt of view: "Even if life is a carnival for the teenaged Australian power trio, their sophomore effort demonstrates that they are not clowning around. Intense new songs like Slave, Abuse Me and Cemetery reveal a darker, more disturbing vision than their multi-platinum debut, frogstomp."
"We didn't sit down and say, 'OK, we're going to write a really dark album'," Johns explained in the interview. "It just came out like that. We did, however, have a pretty strong idea of what we wanted Freak Show to sound like. We were trying to fuse a really hard, compressed sound associated with bands like Helmet and Quicksand with a looser, live-in-the-studio approach associated with producer Steve Albini. We got somewhere in between and we're really happy with it."
Guitar World's story on the interview appeared in the magazine's February 1997 issue.
Ben Gillies, Chris Joannou and Daniel Johns were in a Hollywood studio on Thursday, December 5 to do their parts in the film clip for Freak, one of the 13 songs on silverchair's forthcoming album Freak Show. Gillies revealed the plot of the video in an exclusive interview with chairpage.
"We're playing in an oven and there's these big coil things making us sweat a lot," he said. "There's this scientist guy in this big white robe kind of thing collecting all our sweat, and there's a real old lady, and they're pumping our sweat in this real old lady.
"By the end of the film clip she like, goes younger. She turns into a young girl but it's not like a fountain of youth, she turns into a young girl but she turns into a lizard as well, so it's pretty funny."
Although the video was shot in the U.S., Freak will be the second single in North America and the first in the rest of the world. Abuse Me will be promoted first in the U.S. and Canada, and the clip for that song was recently filmed in Australia.
A correspondent for chairpage.com was in the studio while the first portion of the Freak video was being filmed.
"The set was neat," our correspondent reports. "It was circular, similar to the shape of the set in the Chili Peppers' Warped video. When I first walked into the studio I thought that the lights were actual heat lamps, but then I realized they were just lights colored orange to look like heat lamps. So I guess you could say it really did look like a really big oven.
"They had to spray the guys with a lot of water to make it look like they were sweating a lot, and then the scientist guy would come on stage with prongs and a cotton ball and wipe a little bit of 'sweat' off of them and put it in a container. The guy was pretty funny looking -- he was wearing this space-suit type of thing.
"They didn't have to do that many takes, but they did film each section different ways, so they'd have a good variety of things to edit together. At first they had all three guys on stage, then one would step off and they'd just use two, and then they filmed each band member individually.
"Daniel had a silver guitar, Chris had a silver bass, and Ben had cherry red drums. I had the chance to hear the studio version of the song and it sounds really good! It's a bit slower than the live version and it's different from the versions they played on their tours earlier this year. But it sounds very good. There are even some back-up vocals on one part.
"I didn't get the chance to stay until the end of filming for that day, but I did find out that the lizard and old lady parts were going to be filmed at a seperate studio the following day. It was really great being there and getting the chance to see Freak being filmed. I can tell you now, there¹s a lot to look forward to for that video!"
Silverchair now have their own Internet home page at www.chairpage.com.
Much of the content of the new site originated at two fan-based sites: the Innocent Criminals page and the Israel's Son web site.
The band itself owns the chairpage.com domain name, and the site will work in cooperation with the Internet operations of Sony Music Entertainment, which is the parent company of silverchair's record label, murmur.
The Australian music industry presented silverchair with an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 10th annual ARIA (Australian Record Industry Association) Awards Sept. 30, 1996 in Sydney. It was the first time since 1990 that the association has presented an Outstanding Achievement Award.
Because they were traveling between shows in Adelaide and Melbourne, Chris Joannou, Ben Gillies and Daniel Johns were not able to be present to accept the award in person. However, they recorded a thank-you message for playback at the ceremonies:
Ben: G'day. We're really happy to be collecting this award on behalf of Josh Shirley. Sorry we can't be there to pick it up in person, but we're on tour at the moment.
Chris: A lot of people have helped us out over the last couple of years, and we'd especially like to thank our families, our manager Watto, Brett Oaten, and our crew. And we'd also like to thank, umm, John, Denis and Susan and everyone else at our record company.
Daniel: Most of all though, I'd like to thank anyone who likes our music or has come to any of our gigs. And last of all I'd like to say Triple J has helped out Australian music and bands a lot over the past few years so please don't mess with Recovery or Triple J. Thanks a lot. Goodbye.
[The people mentioned by Chris are manager John Watson, lawyer Brett Oaten, Sony Music Australia chief Denis Handlin, and John O'Donnell and Susan Robertson of murmur.]
In 1995, silverchair were nominated for eight ARIAs and won five: Best Australian Single, Best Australian Debut Single and Highest Selling Australian Single for Tomorrow; Best Australian New Talent and Best Australian Debut Album for Frogstomp.
Consistent with their desire to stay out of the media spotlight, silverchair didn't accept any of the awards on stage, sending Josh Shirley, the young son of Frogstomp producer Kevin "Caveman" Shirley, to pick up their honors. Last year's ceremonies were highlighted when silverchair teamed up with You Am I lead singer Tim Rogers for to cover the Australian punk classic New Race by Radio Birdman.
The 1996 awards covered the period from July 1, 1995 through June 30, 1996. Even though silverchair did not put out a record of their own during that time, the band was nominated as Best Australian Group on the basis of the release of Blind, which was re-recorded for the motion picture soundtrack of The Cable Guy. The band did not expect to win in that category (Regurgitator were named best group for 1996), but according to manager John Watson, silverchair were honored just to be nominated.
[Thanks to Melinda Simons for the transcript.]
Silverchair's major activity in July of 1996 was to begin mixing the 14 tracks for their highly anticipated second album. The band also played five shows in Australia before and after the trip to New York for the mixing sessions with producer Nick Launay and engineer Andy Wallace.
Ben Gillies and Daniel Johns flew in from Sydney with manager John Watson on the morning of July 19th. They joined Launay and Wallace at one of New York's premiere mixing studios and began working on final mixes of the 24-track recordings they had made at Festival Studios in Sydney the month before.
Though Watson, Gillies and Johns had to return to Australia just four days later to prepare for two shows the following weekend in North Queensland, Wallace and Launay remained in the studio and completed the mixing of eight songs. The balance of the work was scheduled for completion in October.
Mixes completed in July 1996:
* The Door
* Lie To Me (tentatively called "Liar")
* Abuse Me
* Pop Song For Us Rejects
* Learn To Hate
Signs posted by Daniel Johns on the back of the chairs of Nick Launay and Andy Wallace at the mixing desk in New York:
* "Nick can really fuck you up so don't mess with him 'cause he's a big fucker."
* "Andy is a hard-core hero."
Daniel Johns and Ben Gillies in New York, July 1996 While in New York, Johns, Gillies, Watson and Launay paid a visit to the Coney Island High music club in the East Village to take in a set by Australia's You Am I.
A reporter from Canada's YTV channel was on hand, and she asked Daniel to interview YTV's Tim Rogers.
Daniel: [smiles at the camera] No problem. Tim, what brought you to this festival, was it because of Lollapalooza?
Tim: It was actually a blind date between you and me!
Tim: And oh yeah, you're pretty good looking!
Daniel: Yeah, you are too! [grins] Tim, are you homesick yet?
Tim: Daniel, I'm not homesick any more after seeing you!
YTV: That ring on your brow... is brand new, well, since I've seen you anyway which was like eight months ago, so you just recently got it?
[Close up on the eyebrow ring. Daniel stares into the camera]
Daniel: Yeah, it's an engagement ring! Tim proposed to me! [Tim and Daniel smile]
YTV: Oh! Did it hurt? Daniel: Um, no not really, 'cause it was all for the right reasons, ya know. [scratches his neck]
YTV: All in the name of rock 'n' roll?
Daniel: All in the name of love!
YTV: For Tim.
[Tim winks at the camera]
YTV: This is sweet, this is the sweetest date I've ever encountered!
YTV: Bye guys, thank you!
Daniel: [laughs and waves] See ya later!
[Thanks to Meg (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the transcript.]
silverchair's new album will feature at least 13 new songs, the innocent criminals pages have learned. The follow-up to the band's highly successful debut frogstomp is due in February from murmur (Sony). A total of 14 songs were recorded between May 30 and June 22 at Festival Studios in Sydney, Australia.
Nick Launay is producing the new release, which as yet has not been given a title. Launay (who has also produced such bands as Midnight Oil, Public Image Ltd. For Squirrels, Birthday Party and Talking Heads) produced the new version of silverchair's Blind, which appears on the Sony Records soundtrack for the motion picture The Cable Guy.
Launay and New Jersey's Andy Wallace, one of the world's premier mixing engineers, have completed the mixing of eight of the tracks, with the balance due to be finished in October. Wallace's mixing credits include albums by Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine, Helmet and Sepultura.
As with frogstomp, the songs were written by Daniel Johns and the collaboration of Ben Gillies and Daniel Johns. Gillies and Johns recently flew to New York along with manager John Watson and murmur's John O'Donnell to assist in the mixing process. During the band's brief stay in New York, Gillies told the innocent criminals pages that silverchair would play several shows in North America prior to the release of the new album, in addition to the eight dates already set for late September and early October in Australia. Many of the new songs will be played on these dates before the release of the new album.
The songs include six which have been live by silverchair in performances prior to this month:
Pop Song For Us Rejects
Learn To Hate
Three of the remaining songs recorded for the new album were performed at shows in Australia in late July:
Five songs have not been heard by live audiences anywhere:
Petrol and Chlorine
Punk Song #1
Punk Song #2
Punk Song #1 has also been referred to as Liar, while Punk Song #2 has been called Better. Punk Song #2 is not expected to be included on the new album. Punk Song #1 will have a different, official title.