We Never Broke Up

(Channel V)


They may be back together in the studio and on stage, but Silverchair are still keen to quell any rumours they even got close to ending the Chair. In a jovial interview backstage at the recent Great Escape festival, Daniel Johns and Ben Gillies revealed the band just needed a hiatus in the true sense of the word (rather than as an alibi for breaking up like many bands do).

”We’ve been in this band since we were 11 years old and now we’re 26,” explained Johns. "I’ve had a guitar tech since I was 14 and I’d never learnt to string my guitar – I don’t know how to do it.”

“With any creative job, you need an opportunity to go away and do other stuff. We really appreciated our other projects – I did The Dissociatives, Ben did Tambalane and Chris produced the Mess Hall – but it taught us to appreciate what we've got [with Silverchair].”

So they went away to play with other projects, but now Team Silverchair is reunited, re-energised and most importantly for hungry fans, ready to record.

”We’re pretty excited about getting back together and rediscovering our love for each other,” jokes Johns.

According to the band, that love might have remained a long-distance relationship a bit longer if they hadn’t regrouped for the Wave Aid tsunami relief concert in January 2003. Playing in front of 50,000 people for a worthy cause was the perfect catalyst for reigniting the spark that Johns admits “we took for granted”.

”We got really inspired by Wave Aid and really enjoyed playing it. Watching Midnight Oil, we realised we’ve got an opportunity to be that good when we’re older than ourselves. That we could do something really special here.”

On a lighter note, he still gets hassled with questions about the extremely toned physique he showed off at Wave Aid (pictured left). Wait a sec, that’s a bad thing? Let's just say he won't be putting out his own series of exercise videos any time soon.

”If people keep asking about that, I’m going to cry. There was just something about the lighting – it made me look really buff. People always come up to me and say ‘man, you looked like Brad Pitt from Fight Club!’ I’m just like ‘leave me alone. I want to lead a normal life!” he jokes.

With a string of festival appearances (Perth’s Rock It, the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and the Great Escape in Sydney) and a secret show in Sydney as ‘Short Elvis’ already behind them this year, the lads will be spending the rest of 2006 concentrating on recording their fifth, as yet untitled album. But the live shows have already played an invaluable part in its making.

”We just really wanted to play some songs because we’re recording and wanted to sound like a band again,” says Johns. “It’d be weird to not play together for three years and head straight into the studio. The essence of being in a band is to be a performing band without production tricks, orchestras etc.”

Not only has hitting the stage restored the band’s synergy, it’s also helped panel-beat some of the newer additions to the set-list.

”We’re playing five or six new songs and I think even the ones we’ve played a couple of times, they feel like the best songs now. Before they didn’t – they were just the most appropriate. Now they feel like we’ve nailed it – maybe we need to do a couple more gigs though,” he laughs.

Those gigs will have to wait for now - when pressed about the next tour, the guys suddenly get very sheepish. ”Ask Ben,” quips Johns. “He organises all the touring.”