Tag Archives: daniel johns

Flashback Friday – Stalking silverchair

8 Sep

The year was 1999. I was 16 years old. I got into music when I was about 14 years old. My very fist favourite band was silverchair, and I haven’t ever had another favourite band. It’s always been them. It still is. Even though they have since broken up (sad face).

Silverchair are an Australian band that got discovered when they were like 12. If you’re seen those new Qantas commercials, you’ve heard Daniel Johns, the lead singer. The song is lyric-less, but still features his voice. And he wrote the music too.

Anyway, when I was younger, I, like thousands of other girls, thought I was going to marry Daniel Johns.

I used to drool over Daniel Johns. Before he started wearing eyeliner.

I’ve seen silverchair play approximately 5 times. But in 1999? 3 times. And that’s pretty good considering I lived in the U.S. and they are from Australia.

My friend Lyndsey, who was also rather obsessed with silverchair, and I always has these crazy schemes to get backstage and meet Daniel Johns. Who cares about the rest of the band, we wanted to meet Daniel Johns (yes, I may have a child named Daniel John. I know what you’re thinking, but we did not name him after Daniel Johns. Yes, I know how improbable that sounds, but seriously, it was unintentional. His middle name was always going to be John because it’s Aaron’s middle name, and Daniel was the only first name we agreed on. Plus I had a dream before we got pregnant with him that Hannah had a little brother and his name was Daniel. Convinced now?)

The first time Lyndsey and I saw silverchair was at the insane concert on a mountain in the snow. You could go snowboarding, and then watch some bands play. Insane, right? Lyndsey and I decided that during silverchair’s set, she’d pretend to pass out, then we’d both crowd surf to the front, over the barrier, and then to first aid. Which in our teenage minds, was right next door to silverchair’s dressing room.

Silverchair came on, my other friend and I moshed, screamed, had a blast. I don’t know what happened to Lyndsey. She seemed to disappear into thin air. I guess I was enjoying the music too much to notice when Lyndsey actually did pass out and have to crowd surf, unconscious, to the front and over the barrier. Not that the front was far, we were in the third or so row, slipping and sliding as we jumped up and down to the music on the compacted snow.

The left photo shows the stage in the snow. The right is Daniel Johns from where I was in the crowd. Notice in front of me was only the security guard and official photographers. Booyah.

At the end of the concert a voice came over the loudspeaker telling my friends and me to go to the first aid tent to reunite with Lyndsey.

I got all excited. I was actually being invited by name backstage?!

A security guard showed us where to go. There was a lone tent with a first aid cross on the top, nowhere near the actual back stage/dressing room area. Sigh. At least Lyndsey was ok.

But we were still determined. We don’t give up easily.

4 months later (why they came out twice in one year, I’m not sure, but they did, and I wasn’t about to complain), as I was driving my crappy van down the road, I heard an ad on my favourite radio station, 107.7, The End. Hang on, the radio (amongst many other things) in my van didn’t work. I must have been somewhere else. Silverchair was doing an End Session.  Why is that so awesome? An End Session (at least in those days, don’t know about now) was where a band went to a recording studio to play a very small, intimate concert (that was recorded) in front of about 30 people.

We had to go. But obviously something like that was not easy to get in to.  In fact, it was just plain annoying. You had to call up and be the 7th or whatever they decided caller.

We didn’t like those odds. So we thought outside the box, only as 2 16 year olds could. We found out when the call ins started. We had to get in before then. We had to secure our tickets. We found out where the radio station was located. We brainstormed.

Cookies. The main morning DJ was rather…um…obese. And what to obese men like? Cookies. We spent all day in the sweltering in Lyndsey’s trailer (what, you forgot? I was from a trailer too) heat wave of July heat, slaving over the stove perfecting out sugar cookies and decorating them to look like the morning DJs.

The next morning, I drove us to Seattle at ridiculous o’clock in the morning to deliver our cookies. Ok, so we didn’t actually think the whole getting in thing out much. When we got there, the building was locked. Obviously. It was 5am. We waited, standing around like we were meant to be there.

Someone came by and opened the door. We casually went in after him. YES! We were inside. We checked the sign that told us what was on each floor. 107.7: top floor.

We went to the elevator. Sigh. You had to have a swipe card to push the button and actually go anywhere. Our door friend was not going to our floor.

But hang on, there were stairs. 20 something flights of them. Awesome. We had to take a few breaks along the way, but we made it to the top and found the wonderful door that led to the radio station.

Locked. Bugger.

We pounded on that door for 5 minutes. No one came. Maybe they were ignoring the 2 crazy girls with cookies wearing silverchair t-shirts. Or maybe they didn’t hear us.

We walked all the way back down. And back outside. There was an intercom out there.

I pushed the button and waited. “Hello?” a voice said, more asking than stating.

I told them we spent the whole previous day making cookies for the DJ’s and could we possibly come upstairs and give them out?

“Yeah, ok. I’m sure Andy Savage likes cookies.”

The door opened, and the elevator button worked. We rode it to the top and suddenly we were there. They actually let us into the studio where they were on air, broadcasting the breakfast show.

They spoke to us on air. They were impressed with our cookies and their likeness to the DJs. They enjoyed eating them. But only after we took a bite first to prove they weren’t poisoned.

They were amused. Their bellies were full, this was our chance.

I don’t remember exactly what I said (I was the talker mostly), but I mentioned the End Session, and said we had to go.

“If you can think of some way to earn the tickets by the end of the show, then we’ll talk.” Andy told us.

We stayed in the studio all morning. Scheming. Plotting.

“How about a scavenger hunt?” I said. “We could go around Seattle, collecting 107 different things and if we do it, we win the tickets.”

They were clearly impressed. What can I say, I’m an ideas woman.

They thought about it for a bit.

“Ok, if you girls can collect 107 different pieces of crap from different businesses for free from the start of the show tomorrow until the end of the show, we’ll give you the very first tickets to the End Session.”

We were ecstatic. I knew we could do it. Free stuff? Ha, we were experts at free stuff. We spent every summer at the fair, showing horses and going around to all the different booths collecting free stuff. Not because we wanted it really, but because it was fun. It’s just what we did.

The next morning, we drove back to the radio station at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. It was the summer don’t forget, school wasn’t on, and I wasn’t working that day. I don’t think. Or maybe I called in sick.

One of the DJs drove Lyndsey and me around in my van, stopping all the time so we could jump out and ask business for free crap. The first few gave us very strange looks, but still complied, giving us things like used disgusting wash clothes, and packets of sugar.

My van. Yes, it was awesome. I loved my van.

We checked in regularly with the radio station, broadcasting where we were and what we were doing. People started expecting us and having things ready to give to us as soon as we arrived. It was fantastic.

We had 3 hours, but still, it was tight. Our time was almost up and we were one item short.

The DJ drove through a construction area with lots of cones.

“Just open the door and grab a cone.” He told us.

He drove really slowly, and we stealthily grabbed the cone, bringing our total to 107, and securing our tickets. Not to mention we had a blast doing it.

My End Session pass. Yeah, I still have it.

The station regularly made people do different scavenger hunts for tickets after that.

A couple weeks later, it was End Session day. We got in line early and got to sit (on the floor, there were not chairs or anything) right up front. Just a few short feet from Daniel Johns. We were mesmerised. Here is a link to one of the songs recorded that day:


Afterwards, we were told that the guys would be coming out to meet us fans, sign stuff, and take photos. Oh. My. Gosh. I nearly wet myself I was so excited. This was it. I was about to meet Daniel Johns.

Except he didn’t come out. Everyone else did. But not him. Not the holy grail of our teenage dreams. Wanker.

Ben Gillies (the drummer) and me after the End Session. Why yes, I am giving him bunny ears. I am cool like that.

That’s ok, they were playing a show that very night just down the street. A normal show. One you buy tickets to go and see. Of course we’d already bought our tickets the day they went on sale.

silverchair’s touring keyboarder (he wasn’t actually part of the band) after the End Session. I wish I could get away with blond hair and burgundy foils now. 

We decided to put the passing out plan to action once again. This wasn’t the snow, so there wouldn’t be a random first aid tent this time. No, the first aid station had to be backstage.

We got near the front as usual. We’d get there even if it meant we had to scratch and bite and kick. It was silverchair after all. We didn’t want to put operation pass out into motion too early. We didn’t want to miss the concert and besides, Daniel Johns wasn’t going to be backstage if he was in the middle of singing.

So we waited. Then near the end, it was a go. Lyndsey “passed out” so convincingly I wasn’t sure if she really had passed out. We surfed over the barrier to the waiting security guards who carried Lyndsey with me following to the first aid station. Which was just off the front of the building. Nowhere near the dressing rooms. Or even the hallway that Daniel Johns would walk down at the end of the show. Sigh.

13 years later, and I still haven’t met Daniel Johns. Sigh.

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