Silverchair’s Daniel Johns issues blunt statement over pulled ABC documentary

Former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns has hit back amid speculation over the cause of an ABC documentary featuring his two ex-bandmates being pulled from streaming.

Last week, reports emerged that Australian Storyhad been forced to take down the first half of its feature story on the iconic band from ABC iView due to “rights issues”.

A Silver Lining Part One tells the story of Silverchair’s rise to stardom and the childhood friendships behind the band, given from the perspective of Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou.

Johns did not participate in the documentary.

The ABC two-part series coincides with the September 27 release of the duo’s memoir, Love and Pain.

Following the drama regarding part one being pulled, Johns, 44, shared a statement on Instagram on Sunday night providing his side of the story, and calling for an end to the “unhelpful speculation.”

“I would have preferred to say nothing but here are the facts,” he began in his lengthy post.

“Australian Story reached out to me via my team ‘as a courtesy’ on August 11 to let me know that they were doing a story on [Gillies] and [Joannou].

“I was and remain incredibly supportive of them telling their story.

“I was asked at the end of filming to be interviewed about their contribution to the band and although I wished them all the best, I respectfully declined for one reason.

“I haven’t been involved in the book nor am I aware of the contents. I’ve been asked on many occasions to read the book but haven’t been sent a copy, consequently I was uncomfortable being interviewed to help promote it.

“I was later asked by [ABC] via Silverchair’s label [Sony Music Australia] to clear 7 songs for iView (most of which were composed solely by me) to soundtrack a 2 episode series.

“One particular use related to Ana’s Song being featured as they discussed my battle with anorexia.

“I said to Sony and ABC that I would be open to approving all songs provided I received a copy of the book to ensure I wasn’t having my songs used to promote something I had no visibility on.

“I was told again that Ben & Chris would not give me a copy to read. That’s why the iView use was denied.

“[Leigh Sales] posted on Sept 12 that the Australian Story would not be available on iview due to ‘rights issues’, she later deleted this post and ABC proceeded to feature the story on iView without a license in place.

“Sony reached out to them to take it down, it took ABC 3 days to remove it at which point most people had already viewed the story.

“I’ve also been affected by Silverchair rights not being approved, I re-recorded my own compositions for many applications including my podcast because the recordings were denied by another band member.

“As always, I wish Ben & Chris nothing but success and happiness. I have never sought to block their book, I merely asked to receive a copy in advance to fact-check it. I was concerned about my personal health records being discussed, I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

“Everyone is tagged, if I’ve got it wrong please provide the evidence or kindly please stop the unhelpful speculation.”

News.com.au has reached out to ABC’s Australian Story for comment.

A blurb on the book’s front cover teases that it will tell “the remarkable story of Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou, two teenagers who grew up in Silverchair, one of Australia’s greatest rock bands.”

Johns is pictured on the front cover, in a photo of the trio in their mid-90s fame as teenage rock stars.

Silverchair released five studio albums and sold more than 10 million albums worldwide before they announced an “indefinite hiatus” in 2011. Since then, relations between Johns and his former bandmates have disintegrated, with the singer telling The Project last year that “bitterness, jealousy, anger,” led to the band’s dissolution.

The marketing material for the book promises it will deliver “funny, unforgettable rock ‘n’ roll stories, along with all the love and pain that came with being in the band.

“So much has been written about Silverchair over the years but very little has been said by the band’s members. In Love & Pain, childhood friends Ben Gillies (drummer) and Chris Joannou (bass player) tell us the tales that Silverchair’s fans have never heard, about how the band started, how they worked together and how they ended up.”

Johns didn’t hold back in last year’s Project interview when asked about his former bandmates.

“I don’t have any bad feelings, but I know. I know bitterness and I know jealousy,” he told interviewer Carrie Bickmore.

“One of the guys in particular has taken a real shining to kicking me while I was down and while I was in rehab and stuff. Saying I was exploiting mental health to sell records or something along those lines.”

Johns said he felt Gillies was particularly jealous of his success beyond the band.

“They’ve not shown me any respect. Me and Chris have a very passive relationship,” he said.

“Ben, for some reason has a real issue with me being successful without him. That’s sad because I wish him all the best honestly, but unfortunately he doesn’t want me to branch out.”

Johns opened up with his story in the popular 2021 podcast series Who Is Daniel Johns?, revealing that his bandmates felt “abandoned” by his decision to quit Silverchair to pursue other projects.

“I wanted to remain friends, but I didn’t want to remain in that band,” he said.

“Unfortunately, they thought it was one or the other … We’ve never really healed. I don’t dislike them and they don’t dislike me, but it’s really awkward and really hard to mend that bridge.”

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