By Richard Challen (Tiger Beat)
There's approximation, there's imitation, there's even plagiarism. And
then there's Tomorrow, the runaway hit by silverchair that answers,
once and for all, the burning question; What if Eddie Vedder were
really a blond-headed teenager living in Merewether, Australia? As much
as the guys in silverchair wear their influences on their collective
sleeves, though, one can't exactly pass any severe critical judgment
upon a band whose oldest member is all of 16 years old. The age excuse,
incidentally comes in handy when conducting a phone interview with that
selfsame 16-year-old, lead singer and guitarist Daniel Johns, at nine
o'clock in the morning... Australian time.
THE OPERATOR HAD A LITTLE TROUBLE GETTING SOMEONE TO ANSWER THE PHONE AT YOUR PLACE. DID YOU JUST WAKE UP OR SOMETHING?
Yeah, I just woke up.
SORRY ABOUT THAT.
(Laughs) It's OK. My mom and dad took my sister to school and I didn't hear the phone.
AREN'T YOU LEAVING AUSTRALIA TODAY TO COME OVER HERE AND JOIN THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS' TOUR?
Um... not now, because the Chili Peppers' tour has been postponed till later.
OH, HAS IT?
Yeah, I think the drummer broke his wrist or something.
AND YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO PLAN THE SHOWS AROND YOUR SCHOOL SCHEDULE?
Yeah, We were doing the tour 'cause we've got summer holidays in a few weeks. We really can't really tour that much since we're all stuck in school.
I'M SURPRISED YOU'RE CONTINUING YOUR SCHOOLING, ACTUALLY WITH THE SUCCESS OF THE ALBUM. THAT'S PRETTY POSITIVE.
Um... kind of. It's good in some ways, bad in others. (laughs)
ARE YOU DOING IT FOR YOURSELF OR YOUR PARENTS?
My parents. (laughs) They want me to.
STILL, THAT'S GOTTA BE COOL, HAVING A NUMBER ONE ALBUM AND STILL BEING IN HIGH SCHOOL.
(Pause) Uh, yeah ... I guess. (laughs)
HAVE YOUR CLASSMATES STARTED TREATING YOU DIFFERENTLY?
Nah, they just treat us normal. They don't really pay attention to that stuff.
NOT EVEN THE WOMEN?
(Laughs) Nah, not really.
YOU MUST BE AMAZED AT HOW WELL THIS ALBUM HAS DONE IN AUSTRALIA AS WELL AS THE UNITED STATES.
Yeah, we didn't really expect it to go as well as it did. We only thought we'd sell about 15,000 copies or something.
AND NOW YOU'VE SOLD OVER A MILLION.
(Laughs) Not yet.
REALLY? I'M PRETTY SURE FROGSTOMP IS PLATINUM OVER HERE.
Oh, I wouldn't have a clue.
WE SHOULD PROBABLY TALK ABOUT ALL THOSE PEARL JAM COMPARISONS, I KNOW THAT'S GOTTA BE A SORE SPOT FOR YOU.
Um... we don't really care. We used to, but now we don't think we really sound anything like them. There's a few songs on the album -- like three or four -- that were influenced by Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, but the rest were more influenced by Tool and Helmet and Quicksand.
THOSE ARE THE BANDS YOU'RE LISTENING TO NOW?
Yeah, that's what our newer stuff sounds like.
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR SONGS LIKE ISRAEL'S SON OR PURE MASSACRE? HOPEFULLY YOU HAVEN'T EXPLORED THESE EMOTIONS FIRST-HAND.
Well, some is just stuff I dream about, and some of it's stuff that I saw on the telly. And some is what you see on the street, stuff like that.
SHADE IS SUCH A POWERFUL SONG. IT SEEMS LIKE IT MUST'VE BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU. THERE'S SOME PRETTY STRONG REFERENCES TO CHILD ABUSE.
Actually, it's just abuse in general.
BUT DID THE LYRICS COME FROM A SPECIFIC SITUATION?
Uh, just stuff about abuse, really.
SO WHO'S THE "FAT BOY" IN TOMORROW?
(Laughs) That's "fat" as in overindulgent. It's just a rich guy.
AHA, AND THAT'S WHERE THE VIDEO COMES IN WITH THE PIG-NOSE MAN RUNNING AROUND.
SO WHAT'S THE FASCINATION WITH LLAMAS? YOU HAVE ABOUT THREE OR FOUR REFERENCES TO THEM ON YOUR ALBUM.
Aw, we just like 'em. (laughs) They look good.
NO OTHER REASON?
That's the reason, we just like 'em.
ARE YOU STILL PLANNING TO COME TO THE STATES AND TOUR SOON?
We're probably gonna stay here for the next week or so, then we'll go over. I think we're doing Saturday Night Live.
ALRIGHT! YOU KNOW WHO'S HOSTING?
YOU HAVE NO IDEA?
I've never even heard of the show before.
(LAUGHS) REALLY? IT'S A U.S. COMEDY PROGRAM THAT COMES ON LATE SATURDAY NIGHT. ONCE UPON A TIME IT WAS PRETTY FUNNY, BUT NOW IT MORE OR LESS SUCKS.
ANYWAY, IT WILL HELP YOUR ALBUM SALES.
Oh. (pause) We don't really like doing TV very much.
[Thanks to Amanda for the transcript.]