It’s hard to believe that at only 39 years of age, Daniel Johns has spent over a quarter of a century in the spotlight as one of Australian music’s most beloved names. However, in his first televised interview in over a decade, the former Silverchair frontman has revealed that it wasn’t always smooth sailing due to what he describes as a “serious anxiety disorder”.

Speaking to Andrew Denton for his new program InterviewJohns’ first interview in three years saw the musician address his controversial period in 2015 which saw him not only release his debut solo album Talk, but also make headlines for a number of incidences, including when he was arrested outside a Sydney bar and arrested for drink driving.

“I wasn’t well, but it wasn’t what people thought it was,” Daniel Johns explained to Andrew Denton. “I have had a pretty serious anxiety disorder for fifteen years and it got really bad at a point and I was not coping and didn’t know how to deal with it.”

Johns revealed that in order to find ways to cope with this disorder, he attempted to self-medicate with alcohol, stating that it was “the only thing that worked,” and that he “was drinking alcohol to keep that at bay.”

“But it didn’t work, and then I got diagnosed with this — I don’t want to say what it is — this anxiety disorder, and now I am a perfect specimen,” he continues. “Since then I’ve done therapy and a lot of other stuff like medication to stop shaking.”

However, fans might also remember that following Daniel Johns’ debut solo show back in 2015, a number of promised tour dates never eventuated due to the musician’s state of mental health, and the intense stage fright that it caused him.

“It was pretty rough, because I felt like without [music], I didn’t have anything,” he explained. “But it was just because of anxiety — if that gets too out of control, music can’t come anymore.”

“I couldn’t sing. I couldn’t write words because I was so scared about what I was going to say, because I didn’t feel good, so I didn’t want to write. So, I’d write music, really crazy electronic music… but I could very rarely put a vocal on anything.”

While Johns had been rather quiet since the release of his debut record, he has since returned to the world of music, teaming up with Empire Of The Sun’s Luke Steele to create the new duo Dreams, which recently made their live debut at Coachella, and are set to make their Aussie debut later this month at Sydney’s Vivid LIVE.

However, despite slowly easing back into the spotlight again, Daniel Johns admitted that his anxiety is always at the forefront and that it remains a constant struggle, he assured Andrew Denton that he feels “really happy”.

“My head is chaos,” he explained. “It’s all maintenance, all keeping things at bay for the most part, delicately spinning plates.”

“I gave up a while ago trying to eliminate things in my head, ’cause I just don’t think it’s achievable. And so it’s a lot easier to keep things at bay before they drive you crazy.”

If you or somebody you care for needs help or information about depression, suicide, anxiety, or mental health issues, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Check out Daniel Johns & Luke Steele as Dreams with ‘No One Defeats Us’:

YouTube VideoPlay

Vivid LIVE 2018 Lineup

Mazzy Star
Ice Cube
Cat Power (Moon Pix 20th Anniversary)
Dreams (Daniel Johns & Luke Steele)
Iron & Wine
Neil Finn (Out Of Silence with Orchestra)
Total Control & Friends (ft. Native Cats, Greta Now & DJ Yoni)
Middle Kids
No Mono
Joep Beving
Fugazi’s Instrument (Screening + Q&A with Guy Picciotto)
Xylouris White
An Evening with Repressed Records (ft. Nasho, Mick Turner, Nun, Hurtsville & Knitted Abyss)
Ambient 1: Music For Airports performed by Alaska Orchestra (written by Brian Eno)
Club Kooky
Kuren + Electric Fields
Burial 12″s all night long (with DJ Eli)
Astral People (ft. Danny Krivit)
Mad Racket (ft. Lord of the Isles Live)
Lighting of the Sails (Metamathemagical by Jonathan Zawada)

Vivid LIVE 2018

Friday May 25th – Saturday, June 16th
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Tickets on sale 9am, Friday, March 23rd
For more information, check out the Vivid LIVE website

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