Daniel Johns

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Daniel Johns
Daniel Johns Big Day Out 08.jpg
Daniel Johns performing at the Big Day Out 2008
Background information
Birth nameDaniel Paul Johns
Also known asYoung Modern, Dr. Dreams
Born (1979-04-22) 22 April 1979 (age 39)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
OriginNewcastle, New South Wales
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • keyboards
Years active1992–present
Associated acts

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, was ranked at number 18 on Rolling Stone 's list of The 25 Most Underrated Guitarists. [1]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Silverchair Australian rock band

Silverchair were an Australian rock band, which formed in 1992 as Innocent Criminals in Merewether, Newcastle with the line-up of Ben Gillies on drums, Daniel Johns on vocals and guitars, and Chris Joannou on bass guitar. The group got their big break in mid-1994 when they won a national demo competition conducted by SBS TV show Nomad and ABC radio station, Triple J. The band was signed by Murmur, and were successful on the Australian and international rock stages.

The Dissociatives are an Australian band consisting of Daniel Johns of Silverchair, Australian dance producer DJ Paul Mac, and touring members Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes from Sydney electronic duo "The Presets". Their first single "Somewhere Down the Barrel" entered the Australian Top 40 charts on debut on 15 March 2004, reached #25 that week, and was one of the five most played tracks on Australian radio in March. The debut album The Dissociatives was released on 4 April 2004.


Early life

Johns was born to Greg and Julia Johns, who owned a fruit shop in Newcastle. He grew up in Merewether, New South Wales, Australia, with two younger siblings. [2] Johns attended Newcastle High School, from which he graduated in 1997.

Newcastle, New South Wales City in New South Wales, Australia

The Newcastle metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the Australian state of New South Wales and the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas. It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area which includes most parts of the local government areas of City of Newcastle, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Cessnock, City of Maitland and Port Stephens Council.

Merewether, New South Wales Suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Merewether is a suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, located 3 km (2 mi) from Newcastle's central business district with a population of around 11,000. The suburb stretches 3 km (2 mi) from Merewether Beach in the east to Adamstown in the west.

Newcastle High School (Australia) public secondary school in Newcastle West, New South Wales, Australia

Newcastle High School is a state run high school located in Newcastle West—a suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia–with an enrolment of approximately 1100 students.


At the age of 12, Johns and school friends Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou formed a band, originally named "The Innocent Criminals", and practiced daily after school for periods of four hours or more. [2] [3]

Ben Gillies Australian musician

Benjamin David Gillies is an Australian musician, best known as the drummer of Australian rock band Silverchair from 1992 until the band went on hiatus in 2011. In 2003, Gillies formed Tambalane with Wes Carr, initially as a song-writing project, they released a self-titled album in 2005 and toured Australia but subsequently folded. By June 2011, after Silverchair's disbandment, Gillies was in the final stages of about 12 months of working on his solo album and he said that it was not a continuation of his earlier work with Tambalane. In 2012, he formed Bento, in which he performs lead vocals, and released the band's debut album Diamond Days.

Chris Joannou Australian Macedonian Musician

Christophoros John "Chris" Joannou is an Australian-Macedonian musician, best known as the bassist for the Newcastle-based alternative rock band Silverchair. He was the first of the three band members to cut his long hair short. Joannou was nicknamed 'Lumberjack' by Silverchair fans for his love of trees, and plaid shirts. Chris' bandmate Ben Gillies taught him how to play bass guitar, making him the only band member who did not initially know how to play an instrument.

The band's career began when the three members were 15 years old when a demo recording of their song "Tomorrow" won a competition that was run by the SBS TV programme Nomad. [2] The group, now named Silverchair, 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 on the Australian singles chart for six weeks. [4]

Tomorrow (Silverchair song) 1994 song by Silverchair

"Tomorrow" is a song by Australian rock band Silverchair which was released on 16 September 1994 on their debut extended play album, also titled Tomorrow. The song also appeared on the band's first full-length album, Frogstomp. It won the 1995 ARIA Music Award for Single of the Year and Highest Selling Single. The track was written by the band's lead vocalist, lead guitarist and front man, Daniel Johns, and their drummer-percussionist, Ben Gillies. It was produced and engineered by Phil McKellar at national radio station, Triple J's studios for SBS-TV's show, Nomad, which aired on 16 June 1994. After the broadcast the band were signed to the Murmur label – a Sony Music subsidiary – which subsequently issued the Tomorrow EP.

<i>Frogstomp</i> 1995 studio album by Silverchair

Frogstomp is the debut studio album by Australian alternative rock band Silverchair. It was released on 27 March 1995, when the members were only 15 years of age, by record label Murmur.

The band released Freak Show in 1997, [5] followed by Neon Ballroom in 1999, [6] and then Diorama in 2002. [7] Following Diorama, Silverchair embarked on a lengthy hiatus before the release of the next album. [4]

<i>Freak Show</i> (album) album by Silverchair

Freak Show is the second studio album by Australian alternative rock band Silverchair. It was recorded between May and November 1996 and released on 31 January 1997 by record labels Murmur and Epic. It was nominated for the 1997 ARIA Music Award for Best Group, but lost to Savage Garden.

<i>Neon Ballroom</i> 1999 studio album by Silverchair

Neon Ballroom is the third studio album by Australian alternative rock band Silverchair, released in 1999 by record labels Murmur and Epic.

<i>Diorama</i> (Silverchair album) Silverchair album

Diorama is the fourth studio album by Australian alternative rock band Silverchair, released on 31 March 2002 by Atlantic/Eleven. It won the 2002 ARIA Music Award for Best Group and Best Rock Album. The album was co-produced by Daniel Johns and David Bottrill. While Bottrill had worked on albums for a variety of other bands, Diorama marked the first production credit for lead singer Johns.

During the post-Diorama hiatus, Johns worked on several side projects, the most notable being The Dissociatives with dance musician/producer Paul 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 . Their debut album The Dissociatives was initially recorded in London, United Kingdom, and a few months later, the two 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.

Paul Mac Australian musician

Paul Francis McDermott, who performs as Paul Mac, is an Australian electropop musician, singer-songwriter, producer and music re-mixer. He was classically trained at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Mac has formed various bands including Smash Mac Mac (1986–88), The Lab (1989–1998), Itch-E and Scratch-E (1991–present), Boo Boo Mace & Nutcase (1996–98), and The Dissociatives (2003–2005). Mac has released two solo albums, 3000 Feet High and Panic Room – both appeared in the top 40 on the ARIA Albums Chart.

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. EPs generally contain a minimum of four tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

<i>I Cant Believe Its Not Rock</i> 2000 EP by I Cant Believe Its Not Rock

I Can't Believe It's Not Rock is the self-titled debut EP of an experimental project consisting of Daniel Johns and Paul Mac, credit to 'I Can't Believe It's Not Rock'.

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. [8] In December 2008, Johns was named as the producer of The Scare's album. [9]

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". [10] [11] 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 Mind's Own Melody. A video of the talk was uploaded to YouTube in June 2011, [12] and a trailer for the completed film was released in mid-2012. [13]

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. [14] 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. [14]

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." [15]

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 was also rumoured to be working on a debut solo album. [16] In May 2013, Steele revealed that he and Johns were completing the project that they had started in 2008. [17]

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." [18]

In January 2014, Johns co-wrote the song "Impossible" by Australian rapper 360. Johns also sang on the song's chorus. Johns met 360 through Johns' brother Heath, who is also 360's publisher. [19]

For the 40th birthday of the triple j radio station, Beat the Drum, held at Sydney, Australia's Domain on 16 January 2015, Johns performed a piano version of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". [20]

Johns debuted a new song as a solo artist on 29 January 2015 on the Triple J radio station. Titled "Aerial Love", the song is taken from a four-track EP that was released on 13 March 2015. National Music Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, Peter Vincent, described the song as "sexy" and "soulful". Johns is expected to release a full-length studio album as a solo artist some time in 2015. [21] In February 2015, "Aerial Love" debuted at No. 50 on the Australian Singles Chart, later peaking at No. 21. [22]

Johns released his fifteen-track debut album as a solo artist on 22 May 2015, entitled Talk . The record features multilayered arrangements of R&B, soul, synthpop, and electronic melodies. Talk peaked at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia within the first two weeks of its release. [23] The album also achieved some unexpected success in other parts of the world, coming in at No. 1 on the Slovakian iTunes albums chart shortly after release.

In May 2016 Johns collaborated with Perth duo Slumberjack on their track "Open Fire", [24] which is the first single from their forthcoming EP, to be released late 2016. Johns also featured in the music video. [25]

Johns has also worked with artists such as ZHU in the track "Modern Conversation" in 2017 and fellow Australian artist What So Not in the album "Not All The Beautiful Things" released in 2018 where he contributed to a good portion of the music.

Johns teamed up with Luke Steele from Empire of the Sun to form DREAMS, releasing the single “No One Defeats Us” in March 2018. [26] DREAMS' debut album, No One Defeats Us, was released in September 2018 through EMI. [27]


In July 2007, 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 in November 2006 while they listened to a demo recording of Silverchair's album Young Modern. In response, Tony Wood, whose daughter Anna Wood died of water intoxication secondary to use of MDMA, suggested that Garrett be subject to a drug test. [28] Garrett asserted that he had not touched marijuana since his twenties, and Johns said the original statement was a joke, adding he thought it would be obvious that it was a joke, as both Garrett and Bono were publicly against drugs. [29]

On 28 October 2014, Johns was stopped by police when they spotted his black Jaguar traveling at a speed of between 70 and 80 kilometres per hour (43 and 50 mph) along Morgan Street in Merewether, which is governed by a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph). Johns, who was arrested for driving under the influence, told police that he had consumed four large wines between 4.30pm and 7.40pm. Johns was required to attend a traffic offenders course, [30] he reappeared in Newcastle Local Court in February 2015 and was convicted of mid-range drunk driving, receiving an $880 fine and disqualification from driving until June, 2015. "I made a mistake, for which I am really sorry," the singer told reporters outside the court that day. "I completed the traffic offenders program and it will never happen again." [31]


Awards and nominations

Personal life

In late 1997, during the Freak Show tour, Johns experienced depression [37] amid rumours that he was suffering from a drug addiction/eating disorder. Johns explained in a Rolling Stone Australia interview that he had developed anorexia nervosa. Johns claimed that he weighed less than 50 kilos (110 lbs) 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. [38]

After recording Diorama, Johns was diagnosed with a rare but serious case of reactive arthritis. After treatment in Los Angeles, he was able to tour with the band for the Across the Night Tour. [39] Reports of the arthritic symptoms did not resurface after 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, they announced that they were divorcing, stating, "We have simply grown apart through not being able to spend enough time together." [40]

In July 2008, The Daily Telegraph announced Johns was dating Australian model Louise Van der Vorst. [41] 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. [42] In April 2012, it was reported that Johns had initiated the dissolution of the relationship in February 2012. [43] [44]

As of early 2013, Johns was dating fashion designer Estelita Huijer, with whom he was photographed in Crown Street in Sydney. [44] Johns commenced a relationship with Michelle Leslie in October 2016. [45]

Johns is also known for his animal rights support, having revealed that he is a vegan in 1998, [46] although it was stated that he is a pescetarian in 2009. [47] The Neon Ballroom song "Spawn Again" features Johns' 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." [48]

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The Presets Australian electronic music duo

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<i>Young Modern</i> 2007 studio album by Silverchair

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Julian Hamilton Australian musician

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Anas Song (Open Fire) single by Silverchair

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Straight Lines (song) single

"Straight Lines" is a song by Australian band Silverchair. It was released on 20 March 2007, and debuted at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart. The single was shortly followed by the release of the band's fifth studio album Young Modern on 31 March 2007. Unlike the songs written during Diorama where Daniel Johns wrote all the tracks himself, "Straight Lines" was co-written by The Presets' Julian Hamilton. On 19 February 2007, it became the band's first Australian number one single since 1997's "Freak". On 2 September 2007, "Straight Lines" was accredited Double Platinum by ARIA, representing combined digital sales and physical shipment of 140,000 singles in Australia, equalling "Tomorrow" as their best selling single. On 28 October 2007, "Straight Lines" won "Best Selling Australian Single" at the ARIA Music Awards of 2007, as well as "Single of the Year". The song was the most played song on Australian radio in 2007. It charted at number two on the Triple J Hottest 100 for 2007 and missed out on the number-one spot by only 13 votes. As of January 2008, the single has remained in the top 50 for over 40 weeks.

Silverchair discography

The discography of Silverchair, an Australian alternative rock band, consists of five studio albums, twenty-two singles, two live albums, two best of albums, and four video releases.

Mind Reader (song) single

"Mind Reader" is a song by Australian alternative rock band, Silverchair, from their fifth studio album, Young Modern. The song was sent to Australian radio stations in January 2008 and released as the fourth and final single from the album. The song was co-written by the group's lead singer-guitarist, Daniel Johns, with Julian Hamilton of The Presets, who is responsible for the "don't know what you want" chorus. The single was released on 23 February 2008, as a digital download. It was the last Silverchair single – the group have been on an "indefinite hiatus" from May 2011.

Empire of the Sun (band) Australian electronic music duo

Empire of the Sun are an Australian electronic music duo from Sydney, formed in 2007. The duo is a collaboration between Luke Steele, of alternative rock band The Sleepy Jackson, and Nick Littlemore, of electronic dance band Pnau.

Select discography of Australian musician Daniel Johns.


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