Freak (Silverchair song)

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Single by Silverchair
from the album Freak Show
Released 13 January 1997
Format CD single; 7" (Australia/U.S.)
10" (UK)
Recorded 1996
Genre Grunge, post-grunge
Length 3:51
Label Murmur
Writer(s) Daniel Johns
Producer(s) Nick Launay
Silverchair singles chronology
"Abuse Me"

"Freak" is a song by Silverchair, released as the first single from their second album Freak Show; both were released in 1997.

The song reached number 1 in the Australian charts, being the second single by Silverchair to reach that position. The first single of Silverchair's to reach number 1 was the lead single from Frogstomp (1995), "Tomorrow", which was released in 1994. This feat was not repeated by the band until ten years later, with "Straight Lines", the lead single from their 2007 album Young Modern.

One of the B-sides of the single is a cover of "New Race" by Australian band Radio Birdman.

The making of the video[edit]

The music video for this song was directed by Gerald Casale, a member of Devo who also directed the majority of their videos. The video was filmed in Los Angeles, California, in 5 and 6 December 1996.

The video features the band playing in an oven-chamber, monitored by a scientist in a control room. Their sweat is collected, received by a doctor and taken to a wrinkled-up woman in an adjoining room. The doctor touches part of her flesh with the sweat, and it smoothens. The doctor injects a large amount of sweat into the woman, and she regresses to being middle-aged. The doctor calls for more sweat, so the scientist turns up the heat, as high as 175°F in the oven-chamber, causing the band members to sweat even more. Their sweat drains into a sort of water cooler, where the doctor collects a glass of it. She gives this to the woman, and when she drinks it, her youth returns. However, she is still not satisfied, so she orders and drinks another dose and turns into an alien mutant. She loves the new look and pays the doctor. When this is all done, the heat lamps are turned off, and the room now seems to appear very cold. The band punch out their time cards and walk out.

The lights were not actual heat lamps, but lights colored orange to look like heat lamps. The band members were sprayed with mass amounts of water to make it look like they were heavily sweating, and then the scientist 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 group did not have to do that many takes, but they did film each section different ways, so they would have a good variety of things to edit together. At first they had all three members on stage, then one would step off and they'd just use two, and then they filmed each band member individually.

The scenes featuring the old woman were filmed separately at another studio.[1]

The video for "Freak" was honored the International Viewer's Choice Award at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards for Australia.


The song is one of the few songs from the Frogstomp/Freak Show-era that Silverchair still plays live. The version that they play live is significantly different from the studio version, in that the song is now taken half a step down, and Daniel Johns uses a whammy pedal for the solo, which he also often improvises. In addition, the vocals in the second verse of the song are almost always screamed or death growled by Johns.

In popular culture[edit]

The song appears during the closing credits of the animated television show Daria episode "Malled".[2]

Track listing[edit]

Australian CD single (MATTCD040)

  • Australian limited 7" vinyl (MATTV040)
    • UK limited 10" vinyl (664076 0) (Includes collectible 10" cards)
  1. "Freak"
  2. "New Race"
  3. "Punk Song #2"
  • (The Australian vinyl version of the single comes in various extremely rare coloured editions: gold/yellow (only 40 pressed), clear, semi-clear/various colour, pink-marbled clear, smoked yellow, smoked red and "no one knows which other colours". All these versions are extremely rare and very hard to find).

UK CD single (6640765) (with collectible cards)

  1. "Freak"
  2. "New Race"
  3. "Undecided"
  4. "Slave" (Live)
  • The song "Undecided" is not the Silverchair song included on the Frogstomp album. This version is a cover by the Master's Apprentice.

US 7" promo (ES7 9355) (red cover and vinyl)

  1. "Freak"
  2. "Punk Song #2"
  3. "New Race"

European CD single (6640762)

  1. "Freak"
  2. "New Race"
  3. "Punk Song #2"
  4. "Interview"

Promo 1-sided 12" vinyl (4950201A1)

  1. "Freak (Remix for Us Rejects)"
  • This is a promo given to radio stations for promote the single "The Door" in Australia.

US promo CD (ESK9342) (red cover)

  1. "Freak"


Chart (1997) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[3] 1
Canadian Singles Chart[4][5] 55
Canadian Rock/Alternative Chart[6] 12
New Zealand Singles Chart[7] 23
UK Singles Chart[8] 34
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[5] 25
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[5] 29


  1. ^ Silverchair - News Archive - BACKSTAGE AT THE "FREAK" VIDEO SHOOT
  2. ^ Soundtrack Daria
  3. ^ "Silverchair singles". Retrieved 2001-06-14. 
  4. ^ "Silverchair Top Singles positions". RPM. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  5. ^ a b c "Silverchair - Billboard singles". allmusic. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  6. ^ "Silverchair Rock/Alternative positions". RPM. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  7. ^ "Silverchair singles". Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  8. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). HIT Entertainment. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]