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The Book of Daniel: From Silverchair to DREAMS

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When Silverchair shuddered to a halt in 2011, there was no swan song, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone - after more than fifteen years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of awards and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm within the time it typical When Silverchair shuddered to a halt in 2011, there was no swan song, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone - after more than fifteen years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of awards and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm 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 break-up of the band, Johns's marriage to pop star Natalie Imbruglia also ended. He became the focus of sordid headlines and 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 sophisticated, brilliant 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 the reclusive Johns also battled many personal demons, including life-threatening anorexia and crippling reactive arthritis. Drawing on more than fifteen years of documenting the life and times of Daniel Johns, author Jeff Apter has brought his story to life, revealing the struggles and triumphs of one of Australia's most distinctive and dazzling talents. The book also includes a collection of exclusive photographs of Johns by eminent rock photographer Tony Mott.


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When Silverchair shuddered to a halt in 2011, there was no swan song, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone - after more than fifteen years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of awards and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm within the time it typical When Silverchair shuddered to a halt in 2011, there was no swan song, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone - after more than fifteen years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of awards and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm 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 break-up of the band, Johns's marriage to pop star Natalie Imbruglia also ended. He became the focus of sordid headlines and 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 sophisticated, brilliant 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 the reclusive Johns also battled many personal demons, including life-threatening anorexia and crippling reactive arthritis. Drawing on more than fifteen years of documenting the life and times of Daniel Johns, author Jeff Apter has brought his story to life, revealing the struggles and triumphs of one of Australia's most distinctive and dazzling talents. The book also includes a collection of exclusive photographs of Johns by eminent rock photographer Tony Mott.

30 review for The Book of Daniel: From Silverchair to DREAMS

  1. 4 out of 5

    Simon Davies

    Just okay. Read more like an extended bio of Johns’ music career than an insightful look into his life. It was fine but given the subject, disappointing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Moxon

    Was very excited when I got this for Xmas. Being a huge silverchair fan it was a quick and enjoyable read. I did learn some new things I didn’t know about Daniel and the band. Jeff writes really well and I was taken back to the start of when silverchair launched to the time they ended. I played the albums as I read the book which brought back lots of fun memories. I have seen silverchair play live 6 times over the years and I thought Jeff described the way they played was spot on, where it actua Was very excited when I got this for Xmas. Being a huge silverchair fan it was a quick and enjoyable read. I did learn some new things I didn’t know about Daniel and the band. Jeff writes really well and I was taken back to the start of when silverchair launched to the time they ended. I played the albums as I read the book which brought back lots of fun memories. I have seen silverchair play live 6 times over the years and I thought Jeff described the way they played was spot on, where it actually took me back to the performances. All silverchair fans will love this book and if you are not a fan you will enjoy the way Jeff shares their journey.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Smith

    When Silverchair burst onto the Australian music scene in September of 1994 with Tomorrow, I was reaching the end of my final year of high school. We were deep into the Grunge era at that point of the 90s and it was all about Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins for me. Despite Silverchair having a sound that resonated to my (then) music tastes, I deliberately shunned them, because they were kids, and there was no way I was going to be caught fan-girling over a trio of fourteen year old boys. But w When Silverchair burst onto the Australian music scene in September of 1994 with Tomorrow, I was reaching the end of my final year of high school. We were deep into the Grunge era at that point of the 90s and it was all about Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins for me. Despite Silverchair having a sound that resonated to my (then) music tastes, I deliberately shunned them, because they were kids, and there was no way I was going to be caught fan-girling over a trio of fourteen year old boys. But with each new album, the Silverchair sound kept evolving and their final album, Young Modern, was eons away from Frogstomp. When I consider the music that has defined certain eras of my life, Silverchair feature pretty heavily. But there’s so much more to Daniel than Silverchair. Over the years, both during band breaks and post Silverchair, he’s worked on a host of differentiated music projects. When Daniel Johns made his comeback in 2015 as a solo artist with Talk, I was listening to it from the start. His sound had evolved dramatically, but so had my music tastes. This year he’s collaborating with Luke Steele as Dreams. I love how he’s constantly evolving and reinventing himself, it’s just fantastic and incredibly inspirational. Although I will say, Miss You Love and Straight Lines remain my favourite ways to listen to Daniel’s voice. ‘And what about hobbies: did he have any? “My hobby became my job when I was really young.”’ As I’ve been reading this book, I’ve been thinking a lot about Daniel Johns, Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou as fourteen year olds becoming instant rockstars. My eldest son is fourteen, and the way these boys are described in the book has me thinking that they were no more or less mature than what my son is; they were just regular fourteen year old boys with a short attention span who loved to play loud music, clown around, skate, and surf. And I look at my son and imagine him with all of that instant adoration, all of that pressure and scrutiny, and I am astounded that these boys made it through and stayed together as a band for as long as they did. That they each had extremely supportive parents is very fortuitous, and their band management was pretty solid too. That there may have been issues along the road should really come as no surprise. For Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou, fame seemed easier for them to come at, but for Daniel, it was a very different story. ‘When we started out, at thirteen or fourteen, we were exactly the same. But as we grew up and went through the same kind of experiences, it’s interesting how it affected us and shaped our personalities. We went through the whole being-famous-and-going-through-adolescence thing together, and came out the other side complete opposites. I’ve no idea how it happened.’ He seems to me, from this account, to be an introvert. An insanely talented artist who was repelled by fame, repelled by the adoration; utterly terrified of public life and plagued by ill-health. He hated touring and performing live. An artist who was forever seeking to leave Tomorrow behind. His personal story is sad, creatively inspirational, yes, but ultimately heartbreaking, because in truth, he still doesn’t seem to have it all together. He’s only two years younger than me, but the whole time I was reading this book, the mother in me kept rearing its head. He’s been through so much: astronomical highs at an extremely young age; health challenges that would have levelled many. And yet, here he is, still producing music, completely on his own terms. ‘The curious case of Daniel Johns. A rebel teen at 40 years old and an amazing artist at 24.’ Jeff Apter is a skilled biographer. The Book of Daniel is a fact based biography, but Jeff has taken all of these facts, along with anecdotes and interview extracts, and interwoven them with seamless precision. The entire book reads like a story and I enjoyed that it was presented chronologically. I’m not a fan of memoirs but biographies, when written well, I do enjoy – especially music ones. Jeff’s extensive knowledge of the Australian music industry, combined with his clear ability to write well, has resulted in a polished biography that is intimate without being intrusive, and entertaining without being gratuitous. There are some great photos included, along with a collection of insightful quotes from Daniel himself at the top of each chapter. The Book of Daniel is a really well put together biography and I highly recommend it. Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of The Book of Daniel for review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marty Schindhelm

    Very light read with not much new to be discovered. Did give me a good reason to dust off my olf Frogstomp and Freakshow albums

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Daniel Johns deserves more. This book could have been written better.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    Daniel Johns has evolved into an outstanding artist. Shaped by experiences and public scrutiny, tormented by the fame, I do wonder....If he could go back in time would he do it all again? A well written book providing insight into the fascinating mind and talented creator, Daniel Johns. Needless to mention, his music has been revived in my day-to-day. I'm interested in experiences that shape a person, and the meaning behind some of his lyrics was of particular interest. Now I can't stop playing Daniel Johns has evolved into an outstanding artist. Shaped by experiences and public scrutiny, tormented by the fame, I do wonder....If he could go back in time would he do it all again? A well written book providing insight into the fascinating mind and talented creator, Daniel Johns. Needless to mention, his music has been revived in my day-to-day. I'm interested in experiences that shape a person, and the meaning behind some of his lyrics was of particular interest. Now I can't stop playing The Greatest View on repeat.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Belrose

    As much as I loved Silverchair, I wanted more about Daniel than the band. I felt like the book focused to heavily on Silverchair and just gave little bits on Daniel and his world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Callie84

    Terribly written. Unauthorised. A great trip down memory lane regardless. And I’m still as big a Daniel Johns fan as ever. And I agree with others that he deserves more—this book could have been so much more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leonie Netherton

    Lack-lustre. It read like a long Rolling Stone article. A reminder of why I generally avoid biographies... I can only imagine how much better it would have been if Daniel had composed an autobiography instead.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A straightforward overview of the musical career of Daniel Johns. Nothing to write home about.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    There's nothing here that I couldn't have found out about Silverchair through some searches on Wikipedia and YouTube. There's nothing here that I couldn't have found out about Silverchair through some searches on Wikipedia and YouTube.

  12. 5 out of 5

    D.A. Cairns

    I'm one of those Silverchair fans who started to fall out of love with the band when Diorama was released, then dumped them with the addiction of Young Modern. I was interested then in this book which clearly was focused on Daniel Johns: the singer, guitarist and chief songwriter of the band. I enjoyed, as usual with rock biographies, reading the stories behind the songs; all the behind the scenes stuff. The author obviously spent quite a bit of time over the years with the band and more specific I'm one of those Silverchair fans who started to fall out of love with the band when Diorama was released, then dumped them with the addiction of Young Modern. I was interested then in this book which clearly was focused on Daniel Johns: the singer, guitarist and chief songwriter of the band. I enjoyed, as usual with rock biographies, reading the stories behind the songs; all the behind the scenes stuff. The author obviously spent quite a bit of time over the years with the band and more specifically with Daniel, so he had some good insight into the boy who became a man in front of everyone and couldn't handle it. I mean Johns couldn't handle it, not the author of the book. The Book of Daniel also provided a very good picture of how hectic the band's schedule was. What it portrays most clearly is a 'tortured genius'. The subject of the book comes across as a man without peace. HIs health struggles are well documented in the book as well, notably anorexia and arthritis, both of which were linked to his depression and isolated lifestyle. After reading this book, I felt sorry for Daniel Johns and I wondered about the wisdom of children being allowed to become stars. My overall feeling was sadness. I would have enjoyed the Book of Daniel more if Daniel Johns had found some peace and if there had have been more care for the welfare of him and Ben and Chris when they were children and Frogstomp made them heavy rock superstars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elso

    Another great read from Jeff Apter. Found myself figuratively at times peering into the lounge room of John’s home in Newcastle. Feeling the hurt & solitude, sensing the creativity & the escapism of being trapped within body & mind. There are many parts to this read where I felt a connection. Feeling confused as a fan, not understanding the direction musically of Johns - what a waste of talent. As it turns out this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Felling guilty, as I was one of the ma Another great read from Jeff Apter. Found myself figuratively at times peering into the lounge room of John’s home in Newcastle. Feeling the hurt & solitude, sensing the creativity & the escapism of being trapped within body & mind. There are many parts to this read where I felt a connection. Feeling confused as a fan, not understanding the direction musically of Johns - what a waste of talent. As it turns out this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Felling guilty, as I was one of the many Novocastrians who would literally drive slowly along the Merewhether beach road. In hope just to grab a sight of Johns in his beach house and only ever to see the white piano - felt disappointed, but still grateful as it would confirm that this was the Rocks stars pad. The amazing strengths & vulnerabilities shown by Johns in the pursuit of individualism is what makes artists like Johns a remarkable talent. Always a fan.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Moxon

    Was very excited when I got this for Xmas. Being a huge silverchair fan it was a quick and enjoyable read. I did learn some new things I didn’t know about Daniel and the band. Jeff writes really well and I was taken back to the start of when silverchair launched to the time they ended. I played the albums as I read the book which brought back lots of fun memories. I have seen silverchair play live 6 times over the years and I thought Jeff described the way they played was spot on, where it actua Was very excited when I got this for Xmas. Being a huge silverchair fan it was a quick and enjoyable read. I did learn some new things I didn’t know about Daniel and the band. Jeff writes really well and I was taken back to the start of when silverchair launched to the time they ended. I played the albums as I read the book which brought back lots of fun memories. I have seen silverchair play live 6 times over the years and I thought Jeff described the way they played was spot on, where it actually took me back to the performances. All silverchair fans will love this book and if you are not a fan you will enjoy the way Jeff shares their journey.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Managed to read this in one sitting surprisingly. Overall this book outlines the broad strokes to Daniel Johns career pre & post Silverchair. However, it is stuff most fans would already know. It felt like the content was just curated information all in one book. Unfortunately, new insights are few and far between. Personally I would have loved if it deep dived into Daniels point of view on things more, especially the dissolution of Silverchair...although it does offer some, but not much. It was Managed to read this in one sitting surprisingly. Overall this book outlines the broad strokes to Daniel Johns career pre & post Silverchair. However, it is stuff most fans would already know. It felt like the content was just curated information all in one book. Unfortunately, new insights are few and far between. Personally I would have loved if it deep dived into Daniels point of view on things more, especially the dissolution of Silverchair...although it does offer some, but not much. It was sad to find out about the downfall of Daniel & Ben's friendship, only wish they elaborated on it a bit more. As a longtime fan of Daniel's work, I almost don't feel I learnt anything new from reading this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rae Goldman

    I should’ve known better and skipped this one. I grew up on Silverchair; I remember watching the VMA performance on my 12th birthday with anticipation because I was going to see them the following week. This book was just disappointing from beginning to end. I understand the that the author didn’t have any corporation from Johns’ management on this project, but that doesn’t excuse the laziness. It reads like a high school journalism project where all of the information has been recycled from pre I should’ve known better and skipped this one. I grew up on Silverchair; I remember watching the VMA performance on my 12th birthday with anticipation because I was going to see them the following week. This book was just disappointing from beginning to end. I understand the that the author didn’t have any corporation from Johns’ management on this project, but that doesn’t excuse the laziness. It reads like a high school journalism project where all of the information has been recycled from previous publications and it offers nothing new or remotely interesting. Skip the book use the money to buy a six pack and spend the night scouring YouTube for old interviews and performances.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate Cornfoot

    I was 12 and listening to sugary pop when Silverchair burst onto the music scene in 1994. Given a few years, I quickly caught up, and Silverchair became a seminal band in the re-routing of my musical tastes. It's no surprise, then, that I loved this excellent biography. Jeff Apter writes a concise, sharp, thrilling account of Silverchair's rise and fall, and the personal rollercoaster ride experienced by Daniel Johns. We aren't subjected to any turgid descriptions of pre-fame childhoods; it roll I was 12 and listening to sugary pop when Silverchair burst onto the music scene in 1994. Given a few years, I quickly caught up, and Silverchair became a seminal band in the re-routing of my musical tastes. It's no surprise, then, that I loved this excellent biography. Jeff Apter writes a concise, sharp, thrilling account of Silverchair's rise and fall, and the personal rollercoaster ride experienced by Daniel Johns. We aren't subjected to any turgid descriptions of pre-fame childhoods; it rollicks along, from one gig to the next. Such a fun, nostalgic, thoroughly enjoyable read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carla Coulston

    Sensational read, really enjoyed this. I learned a lot I didn't know about one of my favourite bands, and even more about the incredible artist Daniel has become. Really interesting for any rock fan & an especially sweet dose of nostalgia for those who grew up in the Grunge era and remember Big Day Out's, Alternative Nation etc. Sensational read, really enjoyed this. I learned a lot I didn't know about one of my favourite bands, and even more about the incredible artist Daniel has become. Really interesting for any rock fan & an especially sweet dose of nostalgia for those who grew up in the Grunge era and remember Big Day Out's, Alternative Nation etc.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Clinton Hoy

    Never underestimate the power of a good story from a life explored. I’ll confess to being guilty of dismissing a lot of Johns’ work post silverchair but after reading this book I’m motivated to revisit. A nice insight into one of Australia’s most talented artists.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Court Small

    Not a bad read if you were a Silverchair fan however the book is more about their rise to fame with a few personal facts thrown in ie. Eating disorder, anxiety, marriage, divorce, band disharmony etc and the quotes from Johns (which are not many) came from previous interviews. I was expecting more

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ally Van Schilt

    I enjoyed this book well enough, Apter really writes well about the Australian music scene and its players. I enjoyed the glimpses into Daniel’s life, I just wish there was more about him - but that he is an enigma is really just reinforced!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Dunbar

    This was an interesting book, not spectacular in anyway but an easy read. It gives a good overall development of his music and some aspects of Daniel Johns as a person. The author has researched this topic extensively but has no real personal connection so Daniel, so it is lacking.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Rodriguez

    A fascinating insight into the making of one of Australia's most successful bands and one of Australia's most gifted musical talents in Daniel Johns. A fascinating insight into the making of one of Australia's most successful bands and one of Australia's most gifted musical talents in Daniel Johns.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lucy WC

    One of the most interesting bios I've read One of the most interesting bios I've read

  25. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Ryan-Gunn

    Easy read and enjoyable if you are a fan of Australian music. The only issue I have is that majority of the information was well known. Overall good book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pip Coomes

    I was really interested in this book because I love Silverchair and always admired the creative genius of Daniel. The cover sells it as something more than Silverchair which I found particularly appealing. Honestly, the post Silverchair story was so minimally covered. It really was about his childhood, Silverchair and the demise of Silverchair. Also a lot of the quotes/reference moments can be seen in a few Youtube videos like the Diorama documentary. It's still interesting because it's subject i I was really interested in this book because I love Silverchair and always admired the creative genius of Daniel. The cover sells it as something more than Silverchair which I found particularly appealing. Honestly, the post Silverchair story was so minimally covered. It really was about his childhood, Silverchair and the demise of Silverchair. Also a lot of the quotes/reference moments can be seen in a few Youtube videos like the Diorama documentary. It's still interesting because it's subject is interesting but... I wanted so much more from this book. My full review on my YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/kozykaIYs9s

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Judd-Lam

    I loved Silverchair in high school but had long forgotten them until I came across this book while queuing next to a discount bin at my local post office. I then devoured it and found it to be not only a fascinating character study of the troubled genius behind many familiar lyrics and riffs, but also a nostalgic journey into the pop culture context of my childhood and adolescence.

  28. 4 out of 5

    gemsbooknook Geramie Kate Barker

    ‘The highs, lows and incredible life of the enigmatic Daniel Johns, from Silverchair to DREAMS When Silverchair shuddered to a halt in 2011, there was no swan song, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone – after more than fifteen years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of awards and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm within the time it typically takes most bands to record t ‘The highs, lows and incredible life of the enigmatic Daniel Johns, from Silverchair to DREAMS When Silverchair shuddered to a halt in 2011, there was no swan song, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone – after more than fifteen years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of awards and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm 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. After the end of his marriage to Natalie Imbruglia and the break-up of his band, he became the focus of sordid headlines and 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 sophisticated, brilliant and sexy as hell. It was a remarkable creative makeover, perhaps the most ambitious ever undertaken by an Australian rockstar. Former rockstar.’ This book was amazing. As a massive Daniel Johns fan, I was so excited to get my hands on this book and thankfully it didn’t disappoint. I loved getting an insight into Daniel life and career by Daniel and people who live these experiences with him. Reading this book was a roller coaster of emotions, yet I finished reading it feeling completely satisfied. Jeff Apter has done a fantastic job with this book. Documenting Daniel Johns life, from his life-threatening anorexia, crippling reactive arthritis to the highs and lows of life in the public eye. Jeff Apter’s takes the reader behind the head lines of one of Australia’s biggest talents. Adding an extra layer to this book is the collection of exclusive photographs of Daniel Johns taken by eminent rock photographer Tony Mott. The Book Of Daniel by Jeff Apter is a must read for all Daniel Johns fans and anyone interested in the Australian Music Industry. Geramie Kate Barker gemsbooknook.wordpress.com

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Another in the long line of rock bios from Jeff Apter. Manages to flesh out a very complex, shy, talented prodigy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Indigo White

    The book documents how the reclusive Johns battled many personal demons, including life-threatening anorexia and crippling reactive arthritis. Author Jeff Apter has brought his story to life, revealing the struggles and triumphs of one of Australia’s most distinctive and dazzling talents. Very well written.

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