Daniel Johns is currently prepping the release of his debut full-length solo effort, his first full-length release since 2007’s Young Modern, his last release with Silverchair, the band he fronted for almost two decades.
The singer’s return to the scene has prompted numerous questions. Namely, just what was Johns doing in the years immediately following the dissolution of one of the biggest bands in Australian music?
Now, in a new interview with Fairfax‘s Joel Meares, Johns has opened up about the end of Silverchair, his choice to “[stay] on the lowdown” after he put the band on an indefinite hiatus, and what he devoted his newfound free time to.
According to Johns, after the band was put into what he calls “indefinite hibernation”, he felt the need to “disappear” and retreated to his beachside property in Merewether, south of Newcastle.
Enclosed in what he describes as a “’70s porn palace” out of Boogie Nights, Johns became a relative shut-in. “I just wanted to not be in the industry and not be famous and not have anything to do with it,” he says.
“I felt like I was losing who I was. I was becoming the lead singer of Silverchair more than I wanted to be.” The blinds in his house stayed mostly closed, save for when he checked the surf each morning, though he admits he hasn’t surfed since his teens.
His only company was Gia, his shar-pei-whippet cross, described by Johns as a “really weird girl”, which he would walk each morning. The rest of the time, he was watching movies on Apple TV, which became “quite an important fixture in my life”.
After discovering a supermarket nearby that did online delivery, Johns ditched grocery shopping too. “It was like, ‘Man, I don’t have to leave! It’s going to be genius – I’ll just sit at home with the puppy dog!'” he recounts.
However, he insists this wasn’t a depressive period. “It wasn’t like I was sitting in my dressing gown, shaking, with a cigarette,” he says, “but I wasn’t in a very social stage. Those first four years of hiding were more about just shutting everything out.”
Silverchair was recently thrust back into the headlines after an unsubstantiated rumour surfaced that they were one of three bands, along with Jet and Powderfinger, being offered a large sum to reunite and support AC/DC’s upcoming tour.
However, Johns was adamant that the rumour was untrue and that he has no plans to reform Silverchair for now, if at all. “I think you can safely print that that won’t be happening,” he said. “Not even for a million bucks.”