Aussie-band Silverchair’s first single, Tomorrow hit #1 locally in their native Oz.
Their debut album, Frogstomp, was a 1995 US hit. The album couldn’t be more heavily date-stamped “1995” if it tried – it’s as grunge as anything gets. But so was the world in ’95, which bought 3.5 million copies of the album.
Silverchair proved, though, that they were more than just a grunge tribute band during a career in which they branched out to work with the Beach Boys‘ ornate arranger Van Dyke Parks, before finally splitting in 2011 after unbroken Aussie success.
Hints of staying power were already present in singer/guitarist Daniel Johns’ lyrics. Although his voice was a faithful facsimile of Eddie Vedder‘s, his perspective was distinctly small-town; the band members had mostly spent their lives in Merewether, a former mining suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales.
Their sense of run-down isolation was ramped up on Tomorrow, in which Johns welcomes us to “a little town” where “the water in the tap is very hard to drink”. It sounds more like the sort of dusty, rusty outback hell-hole passed through in Ozploitation B-movies like Mad Max (1979) and Wake In Fright (1971), rather than Merewether’s nondescript, beach-heavy reality and Johns admitted that those early lyrics were TV-inspired, imaginative leaps.