Originally called the Innocent Criminals, Silverchair was formed in
1992 in Newcastle, Australia by three schoolmates --
guitarist/vocalist Daniel Johns, bassist Chris Joannou, and
drummer Ben Gillies. Two years later, their demo tape was
chosen as the winner out of 800 entries in an Australian talent
contest conducted by Nomad, an Australian music television
show and a local radio station, 2JJJ-FM. Included in the prize
was a day in the radio's recording studio, as well as a video for
their winning song, "Tomorrow." 2JJJ-FM and Nomad began
playing the video before the Innocent Criminals had signed a
record contract, which helped the band earn a following of fans.
It also began a bidding war among Australian record labels. By
the end of the year they had a deal with Murmur, a subsidiary of
Before the release of their debut single "Tomorrow" in September
of 1994, the group changed their name to Silverchair; the name
was derived from Nirvana's "Sliver" (which was accidentally
misspelled as "Silver") and You Am I's "Berlin Chair." "Tomorrow"
became a major hit in Australia, reaching number one; it would
eventually become the country's fourth biggest-selling single
ever. In January, 1995, Silverchair released a second single,
"Pure Massacre," which also hit number one. That same month,
the band recorded their debut album, Frogstomp, in just over a
week. Upon its release, Frogstomp became the first album to
enter the Australian charts at number one and it went platinum
within a week; it would soon go double platinum and spend six
weeks in a row at number one.
Silverchair's success in the United States was nearly as quick.
Released in America in the summer of 1995, Frogstomp began
climbing the US charts quickly, thanks to heavy MTV exposure
and modern rock airplay for "Tomorrow." Soon, the album went
platinum in America as well, and by the end of 1995, "Pure
Massacre" had become a radio/MTV hit in the U.S.
Silverchair toured throughout the first half of 1996, recording
their second album in the second half. The band returned in
early 1997 with Freak Show, a record which received better
reviews than its predecessor, yet failed to match its sales. Neon
Ballroom followed two years later.