Daniel Johns

Daniel Johns
Daniel Johns performing at the Big Day Out 2008
Daniel Johns performing at the Big Day Out 2008
Background information
Birth name Daniel Paul Johns
Also known as Young Modern, Dr. Dreams
Born (1979-04-22) 22 April 1979 (age 41)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • keyboards
Years active 1992–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]

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.


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]

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]

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]

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.

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. Peter Vincent, National Music Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, described the song as "sexy" and "soulful". "Aerial Love" debuted at No. 50 on the Australian Singles Chart, later peaking at No. 21.[21] 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.[22] 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",[23] which is the first single from their forthcoming EP, to be released late 2016. Johns also featured in the music video.[24]

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.[25] DREAMS' debut album, No One Defeats Us, was released in September 2018 through EMI.[26]


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, 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.[27] 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.[28]

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;[29] 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."[30]


Awards and nominations

Personal life

In late 1997, during the Freak Show tour, Johns experienced depression[36] 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.[37]

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.[38] 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."[39]

In July 2008, The Daily Telegraph announced Johns was dating Australian model Louise Van der Vorst.[40] 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.[41] In April 2012, it was reported that Johns had initiated the dissolution of the relationship in February 2012.[42][43]

As of early 2013, Johns was dating fashion designer Estelita Huijer, with whom he was photographed in Crown Street in Sydney.[43] Johns commenced a relationship with Michelle Leslie in October 2016.[44]

Johns is also known for his animal rights support, having revealed that he is a vegan in 1998,[45] although it was stated that he is a pescetarian in 2009.[46] 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."[47]


  1. ^ "The Twenty-Five Most Underrated Guitarists". Rolling Stone. 10 January 2007. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Band: Silverchair". Long way to the top. ABC. Archived from the original on 8 June 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  3. ^ "Biography". Official Silverchair Website. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Artists: Silverchair". Rolling Stone. JANN S. WENNER. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Silverchair – Freak Show". discogs. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". discogs. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Silverchair – Diorama". discogs. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ killyourstereo (19 December 2008). "Daniel Johns Producing The Scare's New Album". Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  10. ^ "SILVERCHAIR NEWS". Chair Page. Silverchair. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  11. ^ Vidette Moore (25 May 2011). "Silverchair Have Split Up". Music Feeds. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  12. ^ TEDxTalks (27 June 2011). "TEDxSydney – Daniel Johns & Josh Wakely – My Mind's Own Melody" (Video upload). YouTube. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b 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.
  15. ^ Adam Bub (May 2012). "Musicfix: Silverchair's Daniel Johns writes songs for The Veronicas". ninemsn. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  16. ^ Kiel Egging (15 January 2013). "Chris Joannou on Silverchair: "The Book Is Still Open"". Music Feeds. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  17. ^ Sarah Smith (14 May 2013). "Luke Steele and Daniel Johns team up for "hard-edged" collaboration". FasterLouder. FasterLouder Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  18. ^ Staff Writer (15 November 2013). "Daniel Johns Album To Be Released Next Year". themusic.com. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Daniel Johns breaks his silence with Melbourne rapper 360". News.com.au. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  20. ^ "Daniel Johns covers 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' at triple j's Beat The Drum" (Video upload). triple j on YouTube. Google Inc. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  21. ^ "australian-charts.com – Daniel Johns – Aerial Love". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  22. ^ "Hillsong beats Daniel Johns to number one on aria chart". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Slumberjack Drop New Track 'Open Fire' With Daniel Johns". LWA. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Slumberjack – Open Fire (feat. Daniel Johns) [Official Music Video]". Youtube. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  25. ^ "Well, it's finally here. A collaborative project that's been 15 years in the making". Triple J. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  26. ^ "We chat with Luke Steele on his long-awaited Daniel Johns collaboration DREAMS". Beat Magazine. Archived from the original on 21 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  27. ^ "Garrett pressured to take drug test". news.com.au. 10 July 2007. Archived from the original on 11 July 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
  28. ^ Donovan, Patrick (10 July 2007). "Johns extinguishes spot fire after dopey joke". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
  29. ^ Proudman, Dan (20 November 2014). "Silverchair's Daniel Johns pleads guilty to drink-driving". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  30. ^ Han, Esther (9 May 2015). "Silverchair's Daniel Johns suffers head injury during Sydney night out". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  31. ^ "Winners by Award – Producer of the Year". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  32. ^ "17th Annual ARIA Awards". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 23 February 2004. Retrieved 5 November 2016. Note: User may be required to access archived information by selecting 'The History', then 'By Award', 'Producer of the Year' and 'Option Show Nominations'.
  33. ^ "Previous Winners Song of the Year". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  34. ^ a b "2008 Winners – APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  35. ^ Baroni, Nastassia (7 October 2015). "Courtney Barnett, Hermitude, Tame Impala Lead 2015 ARIA Award Nominations". musicfeeds.com.au. Archived from the original on 7 October 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  36. ^ "Silverchair Resurrected". Dose. Canwest Publishing Inc. 10 July 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  37. ^ Sams, Christine (6 June 2004). "Anarexia almost killed me: Daniel Johns". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  38. ^ "What comes COX". The Age. Melbourne. 8 December 2002. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  39. ^ "Natalie splits from husband". Metro. 4 January 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  40. ^ "Daniel Johns and Louise Van De Vorst in model affair". The Daily Telegraph. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  41. ^ "Louise van de Vorst: I don't want to become a superstar". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 July 2011.
  42. ^ "Shock split for Daniel Johns and model Louise Van der Vors". News.com.au. 24 April 2012.
  43. ^ a b "Daniel Johns back in Sydney with a new waif in tow". The Daily Telegraph. 4 May 2013.
  44. ^ "Daniel Johns finally spotted in public with convicted drug offender girlfriend Michelle Leslie". News.com.au. 31 July 2017. Archived from the original on 3 December 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  45. ^ Bird, June (November 1998). "Daniel Johns". Animal Liberation Front NSW. Archived from the original on 30 July 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  46. ^ "Q's Daily B-Sides #20 – News – QTheMusic.com". Q. 12 October 2009. Archived from the original on 17 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  47. ^ "For Silverchair Frontman, Animal Rights Worth Singing (Not Preaching) About". MTV. 30 March 1999. Retrieved 27 May 2013.

External links