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50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time – #8: Silverchair

Billy Fleming & Zach Stephenson of Hockey Dad look at one of Australia’s biggest success stories, the mighty Silverchair.

50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time - Silverchair

Nabil Elderkin*; Ian Laidlaw*

In December of 2020, Rolling Stone Australia released a special edition issue which looks at the 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time, paying tribute to the best and most impactful artists in Australian music history. While it would have been easy for the editors and writers of the publication to profess their love of the listed artists, the decision was instead made for those who found themselves inspired by these world-renowned names to share their own testimonials of why these artists deserve to make the list.

In celebration of the issue’s release in December, we’re counting down the full 50 artists and their accompanying testimonials in this ongoing online feature. If you want to get your hands on an physical copy of the magazine, be sure to subscribe now to experience the double-length edition featuring some of Australia’s best and brightest discussing the finest names in local music.

50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time – #8: Silverchair (by Billy Fleming & Zach Stephenson of Hockey Dad)

We were introduced to Silverchair at the age of 13/15, back when we first started playing music together. Our families and friends would always come watch us at our local pub shows, eventually coming up to us after the set and saying, “Silverchair hit the big time at your age, you know”. At the time it was trippy for us to hear that.

Being young scrappy kids growing up in a small rural town on the outskirts of a Steel City, it was insane to think that making records and touring the world could actually be possible for us. Even today, it is just so unfathomable how big they became, compared to what you could even attempt to get these days. Not that “being big” is the most important thing, but it certainly played a part with it being achievable and something for us to strive towards.

“Riffs. Vocals. Concepts. Artworks. Riffs. Lyrics. Riffs.”

Once we took our families’ advice and started listening through their back catalogue, the level of maturity throughout their records was something remarkable that stood out and really influenced us. Riffs. Vocals. Concepts. Artworks. Riffs. Lyrics. Riffs. Everything was just so legit and tweaked for a bunch of kids our age to be creating.

After listening to those records front to back since we first started playing and writing music, it has been really strange to hear comparisons of Zach’s vocals with Daniel Johns in one of our new singles, “Itch”. Zach’s vocals, lyrics and overall songwriting has evolved since our earliest recordings, with more conviction and emotion shining through as time goes on. Perhaps Zach is subconsciously tapping into that Silverchair realm, purely due to all of their songs being so significant and permanently etched into all our brains without us even knowing it.

It goes without saying that Silverchair have had a massive influence on every young Australian band that ever came out after them, and we owe so much to them for showing us the way. Cheers boys.