Playing hooky with Dad isn’t any teenager’s idea of fun. But if you’re the three under-legal-age lads who comprise Silverchair — guitarist-singer Daniel Johns, 16, bassist Chris Joannou, 15, and drummer Ben Gillies, 15 — and touring to support your first album, fathers are required baggage. ”They’re there for parental guidance in case we go to pubs or something,” says Joannou, ”but they keep out of our way.”
The members of Silverchair don’t need a watchdog, however, when they roar through tracks from Frogstomp. An intoxicating blend of metallic crunch, fuzzy melodies, and youthful exuberance, the album was recorded after the Newcastle, Australia, trio won a local demo contest in June 1994 with ”Tomorrow.” ”I couldn’t believe it when they called us,” admits Gillies. ”It was a really bad recording.” Upon winning, the band rerecorded the song, then watched it shoot to No. 1 on the singles chart. A deal with Australia’s Murmur label soon followed, and Frogstomp went on to be the first debut album to enter that country’s charts at No. 1.
Amazingly, success across the ocean is proving to be just as big a piece of cake. Frogstomp has gone gold in America, scaling both the pop and alternative charts, and MTV’s Buzz Bin has adopted the trio. The boys take it in stride, even dismissing the ”Nirvana in Pajamas” nickname with which critics have saddled them. Although, sighs Gillies,”We wish they’d listen to the music and not hype how young we are.”
Hype or not, Silverchair still needs chaperones, as they return to the U.S. for a September tour and again when they open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in November — only this time, it may be their mothers who keep a watchful eye. ”We don’t get away with as much when they’re around,” grumbles Joannou.