Album review – VARIOUS – Spawn (Again)
By ANDREW MCKAYSMITH
I CERTAINLY recall the hype around Silverchair in 1994 as I was still school aged, yet old enough to have formed relatively fixed musical tastes.
On regular rotation within my Aiwa personal cassette player; Dogman (’93) by Kings X, Give a Monkey a Brain… (’93) by Fishbone and Stain (’93) by Living Colour. My musical antennae though, was squarely focused on 24-7 Spyz’s titanic yet overlooked funk-metal opus, Strength in Numbers (’92). Thus, I became determined to mimic ‘Spyz bassist Rick Skatores ‘Freddie Washington’ on steroids slap bass blitz through my own musical performance and recordings. Like the grunge movement Silverchair were so inspired by, I really didn’t take much notice of the then-adolescent wunderkinds or anything happening around them. However, as the next 10 or so years would play out… plenty of impressionable youths found great appeal in the band’s music.
The concept of bands contributing to Spawn (Again) is certainly noble. The bands who appear on the tribute hail unashamedly from genres under the banner of heavy metal, which brings me to an important point about Silverchair’s erratic front man, Daniel Johns.
I understand the Silverchair camp gave this project the seal of approval (whomever that comprises in 2017…) so I do hope Johns realises the impact his songwriting has had on the many youths who were inspired to pick up instruments and form excellent heavy metal and rock bands, especially based on the examples honouring Silverchair on this tribute.
The highlights? Gympies best ever musical export The Amity Affliction recording a stellar version of “Tomorrow”, Northlane’s “Anthem for The Year 2000” and the intense rendition of “Cemetery” by The Brave.
A key benefit of Spawn (Again) is probably entirely unintended: It might be a catalyst for Johns to ditch the eyeliner, synths, baggy black pants with the crotch starting south of the knees, bizarre Justin Timberlake impersonations and force him to take a long hard look in the mirror.
John’s immense talent as a rock’n’roll front-man is wasted as he searches for himself among the hologram of Sydney’s social scene … for an interview conducted with Pedestrian.TV he commented that “I didn’t want to be, like, 50 and have people say what did you do with your life?…and all I had to show was Silverchair records”. That comment reeked of far too many late nights partaking various vices to dull the senses and vocalising thoughts into the vacuum of eager-to-please strangers that have no concept of Johns’ real talent.
As a working musician who has spent well over 20 years building a parallel career in the music industry and major corporations as a sales executive, I can assure Johns that if I had reached the age of 50 with his talent, his (potential) canon of (rock) albums under the Silverchair moniker and the can-do team he had behind him (he was blessed with excellent musicians and personalities in drummer Ben Gilles and bassist Chris Joannou) … I would be immensely proud of my work.
Johns’ rock music likely helped people through tragedy, hardship and we know for a fact that he provided the inspiration for youth to pick up the guitar and start a band.