Special Report: Introducing the Australian Nirvana: Silverchair


Australian correspondent Alex Jackson reports from Perth: Three

fresh-faced teenage boys from Newcastle (the city north of

Sydney, not the one in England) have just seen their debut album

Frogstomp go straight to No. 1 on the Australian ARIA

(mainstream) charts. The members of Silverchair may only be 15, but

already they can count members of the Cult and Offspring as fans, not to

mention thousands of

teenage girls. Daniel Johns (vocals, guitars), Chris Joannou (bass),

and Ben Gillies (drums) have known each other since kindergarten and

formed Silverchair in 1992.

Silverchair's meteoric rise to the top started last

June, when they won a nationwide competition for unsigned bands conducted by

multicultural broadcaster SBS. Their prize included a day in the recording

studios of national youth network Triple J and a video clip. Triple J began

playing the winning song "Tomorrow" before it had been released, leading to a

mini bidding war which

ended when new Sony developmental label Murmur inked the trio.

"Tomorrow" was officially released as an EP toward the end of last

year and has gone on to sell more 160,000 copies while their follow-up

single, "Pure Massacre," also went top 10.


who have been dubbed "Nirvana in Pyjamas," were "adopted"

by the Cult during the January/February "Big Day Out," a travelling


festival often compared to Lollapalooza. Johns was given a flick knife


Ian Astbury and the trio danced onstage wearing wigs during at least

one of

the Cult's sets. Around the same time Courtney Love, on tour with

Hole, questioned why Johns "looks like Kurt (Cobain) but sounded like

Eddie (Vedder)?"


of Silverchair's Big Day Out sets were greeted with mayhem as crazed

teenage girls tried to trample barricades to get to their new idols. First

aid officers had to work overtime resuscitating fainting and trampling

victims. The trio's popularity was confirmed when they scooped the Australian

categories of the readers' poll published in this month's (April)

Australian Rolling Stone, winning Artist of the Year, Best New

Band, Best Hard Rock Act, Brightest Hope for 1995, as well as Hype of the Year.

"Tomorrow" won best single and Daniel Johns also made the top five songwriters,

behind more established names Neil Finn (Crowded House), Tim Rogers

(You Am I), Paul Kelly, and Nick Cave. All three members made the top

five of their instrument categories.


are currently in Europe doing some showcase gigs but return to

Australia to start a national tour at Easter. What we want to know is,

when will Frogstomp be released in the US, and, more to the

point, what exactly is a "frogstomp?"