Silverchairs Daniel Johns His Recovery From Depression
With a new album, 'Neon Ballroom,' to go out and promote, the Australian trio Silverchair couldn't really hide the fact that lead singer and songwriter Daniel Johns now looks radically different from the way he did as a teenager just a few years back.Catapulted into the rock-and-roll fast lane before he could even drive, life certainly hasn't been what one could call 'normal' in some time for Johns. Swamped by his group's success, apparently, he sank into a deep depression and developed an eating disorder that reduced him to a sickly shade of his former self, as he revealed to MTV News' John Norris.
The frontman's illness is the general subject of his band's new single, 'Ana's Song (Open Fire),' and the name 'Ana' in the title is short for anorexia nervosa. The pain evidenced in the very personal lyrics Johns wrote for the song (and, indeed, for much of the new album) reaches beyond the cliched troubles of overnight success and clutches right at the heart of the emotional problems
he has been grappling with for the past few years.
disorder intensified. Norris asked the singer-songwriter how little he was eating when his illness was at its worst.'It got to a stage where it was pretty little,' he replied. 'When I wrote 'Ana's Song,' when I wrote the actual poem, I was eating, like, I don't know, two or three pieces of fruit a day... not very much.'
myth about eating disorders is that it's all to do with fashion, and it's all to do with feeding a certain stereotype,' he replied. 'It's not about losing weight to a lot of people, it's more about just having control.'But when Johns' weight dropped to its lowest, he realized that the disease had taken control of him. 'I know that the lightest that I was, was like, fifty kilograms [110 pounds],' he said. 'When that happened, that was when I saw a doctor and was told to change, or things would get dramatically worse.' Fortunately, things took a turn for the better. The cathartic effect of writing poetry, combined with the helpful impact of antidepressant medications and the positive response of his bandmates (drummer Ben Gillies and bassist Chris Joannou) to the music he'd written, helped draw Johns out of his seclusion and into the studio, where Silverchair began work on 'Neon Ballroom.' Now, out on the road in support of the album, Johns is able to call the shots in
his career more than ever and is keeping things from spiraling out of control. Cynics might suggest that the frontman's newly confessional side serves a promotional purpose as well, but he's got little time for such charges.'I don't care what people think,' Johns asserted. 'When you get letters that say, 'You've helped me admit to anorexia,' and... 'I was gonna kill myself until I heard this album,' that makes people that say, 'You're exploiting your problems,' just seem like such a little speck in the dirt. You just don't worry about it.' Norris asked Johns if he thought had been fully cured, or if he would be cured in time. 'I don't think I'm a hundred percent cured. That would be naive to think that,' he replied. 'But I'm definitely on the road to being cured. Definitely a lot better than I've been in the last... my state of mind, at the moment, is better than it's been in the last two or three years.'
other eating disorder, help can be had by contacting:Eating Disorders Awareness And Prevention Hotline
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc.