Daniel Johns performing at the Big Day Out 2008
|Birth name||Daniel Paul Johns|
|Also known as||Young Modern|
22 April 1979 |
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
|Genres||Alternative rock, electronica, art rock, post-grunge|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, drums, bass|
|Associated acts||Silverchair, The Dissociatives, I Can't Believe It's Not Rock|
|Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Rickenbacker, PRS Custom 24, Gibson Les Paul Custom, Gibson SG|
Daniel Paul Johns (born 22 April 1979) is an Australian musician, singer, and songwriter. Best known as the former front man of the rock band Silverchair, Johns is also one half of The Dissociatives with Paul Mac and, in 2007, he was ranked at number 18 on Rolling Stone's list of The 25 Most Under-rated Guitarists.
At the age of 12, Johns and school friends Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou formed a band, originally named "The Innocent Criminals", and practised daily after school for periods of four hours or more.
The band's career began when the three members were 15-years-old, after a demo recording of their song "Tomorrow" won a competition that was run by the SBS TV programme Nomad. The group subsequently accepted a three-album deal from Sony Music in 1994 and the label hurriedly released their first album Frogstomp in 1995 after "Tomorrow" remained in the No. 1 position of the Australian singles chart for six weeks.
The band released Freak Show in 1996, followed by Neon Ballroom in 1999 and then Diorama in 2002. Following Diorama, Silverchair embarked on a lengthy hiatus before the release of the next album.
During the post-Diorama hiatus, Johns worked on several side projects, the most notable of which was The Dissociatives with dance musician/producer Mac. Johns and Mac worked together since Mac's 1997 remix of "Freak" and his contribution to Neon Ballroom. In 2000 they recorded a five-track EP I Can't Believe It's Not Rock. The Dissociatives album was initially recorded in London, United Kingdom and, a few months later, they regrouped in Sydney and Newcastle to finish off the project. The Dissociatives toured with musicians Kim Moyes on drums, Julian Hamilton on keys and James Haselwood on bass.
In late 2005, Johns and Silverchair reunited and announced the production of a new album entitled Young Modern. The new album was released on 31 March 2007 and was followed by the 'Across the Great Divide' tour with fellow Australian band Powderfinger.
On 13 June 2008, it was reported on the band's website that Johns was working on a new side project with Luke Steele (The Sleepy Jackson, Empire of the Sun), but a release date was not confirmed for the collaboration. In 2008 the name of the project was "Hathaway and Palmer", according to a radio interview that Steele conducted, but this has not been confirmed since. In December 2008, Johns was named as the producer of The Scare's album.
In May 2011, Silverchair announced on their website that the band was going into "indefinite hibernation" and explained that "it's become increasingly clear that the spark simply isn't there between the three of us at the moment". Later that month, Johns and filmmaker Josh Wakely presented a talk at Tedx Sydney in which they discussed a film that they were working on that was tentatively titled "My Minds Own Melody". A video of the talk was uploaded to YouTube in June 2011 and a trailer for the completed film was released in mid-2012.
In 2012 Johns collaborated with the Australian Chamber Orchestra to create the soundtrack "Atlas" for a Qantas Airlines commercial that began airing a week before the 2012 Olympics. Johns explained:
When Qantas first approached me, I agreed to the project as I was really into the idea of creating a piece of music that represented Australia. I wanted it to sound big, something special. It was a conscious effort to create a good piece of music and not just a jingle. I've also wanted to work with the Australian Chamber Orchestra for a long time now so it was great to finally be able to do that.
In May 2012, Johns wrote and recorded music with pop duo The Veronicas for the latter's third album. The writing process began in November 2011 and the twin sisters stated that working with Johns "was one of our greatest experiences".
As of January 2013, Johns was scheduled to appear in a live performance with Van Dyke Parks, as part of Australia's Adelaide Festival, on 8 March 2013, and he was also rumoured to be working on a debut solo album. In May 2013, Steele revealed that he and Johns were completing the project that they commenced in 2008.
In November 2013, it was reported by various media outlets that Johns was in the process of working on a solo album due for release sometime in 2014. His manager John Watson was quoted as saying: "it’s looking extremely likely that it’ll be out next year.”
A public controversy arose in July 2007 after Johns claimed on Australian radio station Triple J that he had shared a joint with his then-wife Natalie Imbruglia, Australian Federal MP and ex-Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett, and Bono of U2 in November 2006, while they listened to a demo recording of Silverchair's album Young Modern. Following Johns' claim, Tony Wood, whose daughter Anna Wood died of water intoxication secondary to use of MDMA, suggested that Garrett be subject to a drug test, despite Garrett's assertions that he had not touched marijuana since his twenties, and Johns countering the claim by claiming it was a joke. Johns also said that he thought it would be obvious that it was a joke, seeing as both Peter Garrett and Bono were publicly against drugs.
In late 1997, during the Freak Show tour, Johns experienced depression. This was amidst rumours that he was suffering from a drug addiction/eating disorder, which Johns explained in a Rolling Stone Australia interview that he had developed anorexia nervosa. Johns claimed that he weighed less than 50 kilos, or 110 pounds at his thinnest. With Neon Ballroom came the single "Ana's Song" about Johns' battle with anorexia. In 2004, Johns spoke at length to ABC interviewer Andrew Denton and revealed that at one point he had considered suicide.
After recording Diorama, Johns was diagnosed with a rare but serious case of reactive arthritis. After treatment in Los Angeles, United States, he was able to tour with the band for the 'Across the Night' Tour. Reports of the arthritic symptoms did not resurface since the completion of the tour.
Johns announced his engagement to long-time girlfriend, actress, singer and model Natalie Imbruglia in late 2002, and they married on New Year's Eve 2003. On 4 January 2008, it was announced they were divorcing, stating, "We have simply grown apart through not being able to spend enough time together."
In July 2008, The Daily Telegraph announced Johns was dating Australian model, Louise Van der Vorst. In 2009 the couple moved from Australia to New York City so that Van der Vorst could expand her modelling career. By July 2011, the couple were living together in Newcastle, Australia. In April 2012, it was reported that Johns initiated the dissolution of the relationship in February 2012.
As of early 2013, Johns was dating fashion designer Estelita Huijer, with whom he was photographed in Sydney, Australia's Crown Street. It was reported in early May 2013 that Johns is regularly seen at venues on Crown St, located in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, including the eatery 'Bills'.
Johns is also known for his animal rights support, having revealed that he is a vegan in 1998. The Neon Ballroom song "Spawn Again" features Johns's views on animal liberation, but he stated in a subsequent interview: "I'm not telling people how to eat or how to change their lives, I just wanted to express my opinion in a song and it's something, as I said, I feel very strongly about so that's just how I express myself through music."
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (May 2013)|
Johns's tour guitars include:
- Gibson Les Paul Custom – C#-G#-C#-G#-C#-C# tuning. Used for the songs "Emotion Sickness", "Paint Pastel Princess", "Spawn Again" and "Without You"
- Fender 1972 Telecaster Deluxe – Black Finish. Used for all songs in standard tuning, such as "Young Modern Station" and "Ana's Song".
- Fender 1972 Telecaster Deluxe – Natural Wood Finish. Used for all songs in standard which require a capo, most notably "Those Thieving Birds/Strange Behaviour/Those Thieving Birds Part 2".
- Rickenbacker 330/12 semi-hollow 12-string – Used in standard tuning for "The Greatest View" and "World Upon Your Shoulders".
- Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 – Emerald Green finish. One of Johns' original guitars. Now used in dropped-D tuning for "The Door". The guitar was once owned by Page Hamilton of the band Helmet.
- Paul Reed Smith McCarty Standard – Black finish. Used since the Freak Show era, and now for songs in E-B-G-D-A-B tuning such as "The Lever" and "One Way Mule".
- Gibson SG Heritage – Tuned half a step down for "Straight Lines".
- Maton EM325C semi-acoustic – Sparkle finish. Used in an unusual tuning of F-C-G-D-G-D, used for the songs "Tuna in the Brine", "Across The Night" and "Luv Your Life".
Johns first used Marshall JCM 900 amplifiers for Frogstomp, but by the time of Freak Show, switched to Soldano SLO-100 heads. Until 2005, Johns was using Marshall cabinets, however, he has changed this setup. He now uses Hiwatt Hi-Gain cabinets with his Soldano amps. He also uses Vox amplifiers in the studio.
Awards and nominations
- 2008 Song of the Year and Most Played Australian Work APRA Awards for "Straight Lines", written by Daniel Johns and Julian Hamilton, was presented by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Johns, on his own, also won Songwriter of the Year.
- Silverchair has won 21 ARIA awards to date.
- "The Twenty-Five Most Underrated Guitarists.". Rock & Roll Daily. 10 January 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Band: Silverchair". Long way to the top. ABC. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
- "Biography". Official Silverchair Website. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
- "Artists: Silverchair". Rolling Stone. JANN S. WENNER. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Silverchair – Freak Show". discogs. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". discogs. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Silverchair – Diorama". discogs. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Ash (13 May 2013). "Daniel Johns working on Talking Heads Inspired Album with Luke Steele". Pedestrian TV. Pedestrian Group Pty Ltd. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- killyourstereo (19 December 2008). "Daniel Johns Producing The Scare's New Album". Retrieved 19 December 2008.
- "SILVERCHAIR NEWS". Chair Page. Silverchair. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Vidette Moore (25 May 2011). "Silverchair Have Split Up". Music Feeds. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- TEDxTalks (27 June 2011). "TEDxSydney – Daniel Johns & Josh Wakely – My Mind's Own Melody" (Video upload). YouTube. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Kiel Egging (30 May 2012). "Watch: Daniel Johns and Josh Wakely’s Trailer For ‘My Mind’s Own Melody.’". Music Feeds. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Glenda Kwek (20 July 2012). "Daniel Johns gets on board as Qantas replaces iconic I Still Call Australia Home anthem". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Adam Bub (May 2012). "Musicfix: Silverchair's Daniel Johns writes songs for The Veronicas". ninemsn. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Kiel Egging (15 January 2013). "Chris Joannou on Silverchair: "The Book Is Still Open"". Music Feeds. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Sarah Smith (14 May 2013). "Luke Steele and Daniel Johns team up for "hard-edged" collaboration". FasterLouder. FasterLouder Pty Ltd. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Staff Writer (15 November 2013). "Daniel Johns Album To Be Released Next Year". themusic.com. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Daniel Johns breaks his silence with Melbourne rapper 360". News.com.au. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Garrett pressured to take drug test". news.com.au. 10 July 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
- Donovan, Patrick (10 July 2007). "Johns extinguishes spot fire after dopey joke". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 10 July 2007.
- "Silverchair Resurrected". Dose (Canwest Publishing Inc). 10 July 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2010
- Sams, Christine (6 June 2004). "Anarexia almost killed me: Daniel Johns". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
- "What comes COX". The Age (Melbourne). 8 December 2002. Retrieved 27 April 2010
- Daniel Johns and Louise Van De Vorst in model affair | thetelegraph.com.au
- "Louise van de Vorst: I don't want to be come a superstar". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 July 2011.
- "Shock split for Daniel Johns and model Louise Van der Vors". News.com.au. 24 April 2012.
- "Daniel Johns back in Sydney with a new waif in tow". The Daily Telegraph. 4 May 2013.
- June Bird (November 1998). "Daniel Johns". Animal Liberation. Animal Liberation NSW. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "For Silverchair Frontman, Animal Rights Worth Singing (Not Preaching) About". MTV. 30 March 1999. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Previous Winners Song of the Year". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- "2008 Winners – APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 April 2010.