The Book Of Daniel: From Silverchair to Dreams
When Silverchair shuddered suddenly to a halt in 2011, there was no swansong, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone, after 15 years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of ARIAs and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm, graduating from a loft above a family garage to centre stage of Madison Square Garden within the time it typically takes most bands to record their first single. Over their stratospheric career, Daniel Johns developed into a performer and songwriter with few peers in modern music.
Shortly after the breakup of the band, Johns' marriage to pop star Natalie Imbruglia also ended. There were also some sordid headlines: a DUI charge, a snap taken of him asleep in an inner-city back alley, whispers of wayward behaviour. People feared what might happen next.
But at the same time a new Daniel Johns emerged. His debut solo album, Talk, appeared to rapturous reviews in 2015 and raced to the top of the Australian charts, and then 2018 saw the advent of DREAMS, his long-awaited collaboration with Luke Steele. This was a vastly different Daniel Johns to the grungy, guitar-blazing teen of the 1990s. His new sound and image were slick, sophisticated and sexy as hell. It was a remarkable creative makeover, perhaps the most ambitious ever undertaken by an Australian rockstar. Former rockstar.
The Book of Daniel documents how Johns also battled many personal demons, including life-threatening anorexia and crippling reactive arthritis, not to mention a wilful streak a mile wide. Drawing on more than 15 years spent documenting the life and times of Johns and Silverchair, it brings Johns' story to life, revealing in remarkable detail the many struggles and triumphs of one of Australia's most distinctive and dazzling talents.
The book has been well received; ABC Illawarra said it was a 'cracking read', while Rod Quinn of ABC Overnights described it as a 'great story, well told'. You can read more at the Daily Telegraph, Who magazine, the Daily Mail and TheMusic website. I also spoke with Zan Rowe at Double J. A new edition of the book was published in early December 2019.