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News August 22, 2022

Daniel Johns’ Career Odyssey Is Explored In New Exhibition, YouTube Docuseries

Senior Journalist, B2B
Daniel Johns’ Career Odyssey Is Explored In New Exhibition, YouTube Docuseries

Daniel Johns has seen it all, done it, talked it, walked it.

His career, a constantly-evolving odyssey spanning several decades, has seen him scale charts at an age when the rest of us were sleeping through our alarms.

With Silverchair and as a solo artist, he hit No. 1, collected a stack of awards, landed headline slots on the biggest stages around the world, and came back home to Newcastle.

Now, he’s taking the rest of us on that journey through a new exhibition.

Johns, BMG and exhibition creators Radio Velvet are behind Past, Present & FutureNever, a collection of artifacts, memorabilia and “experiential exhibits from the future” which should give us an unprecedented insight into the enigmatic rock star.

“I can say without a hint of exaggeration that Past, Present & FutureNever is the most ambitious project I’ve ever been a part of,” Johns says in a statement announcing the new project.

“For 45 minutes, people can physically time-travel back to my childhood and into the FutureNever in a way that provides a greater insight into my creative process and personal life than any live concert could ever hope to achieve. It’s literally a lifetime of work that has gone into it and I’m prouder of it than anything I’ve ever done.”

Spread out across multiple levels at Rialto Melbourne (at 525 Collins Street), the showcase takes us back to the origins of Silverchair and the grunge era, with Johns’ adolescent diary, school reports, a “throwback” wardrobe and original handwritten lyrics of global hits including “Freak” and “Tomorrow,” then takes a leap forward to today and beyond.

“Daniel’s creativity is limitless, his vision is simultaneously vast and laser focused. This era is Daniel Johns at the peak of his powers and Past, Present & FutureNever is a spectacularly ambitious statement from an artist who has broken every shackle the industry has dared place upon him,” comments Heath Johns, BMG Managing Director (Australia and New Zealand).

In a world where “artists are being asked to truncate their vision to create social media soundbites, Daniel has dared to build a multi-level sensory experience that is equal part art exhibition and theme park,” he continues. “The team at BMG is beyond proud to partner with our pioneering friends at Radio Velvet to bring Dan’s technicolour vision to life — I promise you will leave with your jaw on the floor”.

The 43-year-old rocker has returned to the charts, and headlines, in a big way this year.

Johns’ most recent solo studio LP, FutureNever (via BMG/ADA), topped the ARIA Albums chart earlier this year, setting chart records on the way by becoming the longest-reigning Top 2, Top 3, Top 5 and Top 10 Australian release of 2022. 

Earlier, in 2021, Johns was the subject of the popular podcast, Who is Daniel Johns?.

To coincide with the exhibition, YouTube today (Aug. 22) releases the three-part docuseries, Inside the Mind of Daniel Johns, the first episode of which sees the artist discuss his nervous breakdown, struggles with self-medication, which resulted in a widely reported car accident and court appearance, and his stint in rehab.

“I haven’t been there at all to promote FutureNever, so for it to become the chart success it has is testament to the people who have been supporting me and I’m eternally grateful for the love,” Johns says in the series opener, which drops at 6pm AEST.

“For probably the first time in my life, I’ve sacrificed the art for both my physical and mental health. I had a nervous breakdown, I really f*cked up — I’ve been processing pain and guilt. I’m going on the record now to talk about the dark but also the light. This is a healing journey, but I also need to talk about the music because it’s the only thing that pulled me through.”

Johns also confirms he’d put the call out to former Silverchair bandmates Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou to perform on FutureNever.

“I asked them not out of necessity, I asked them because I wanted to make it clear that I don’t have an issue with them as people – I just didn’t want to play under the banner of Silverchair,” he says in the YouTube series.

“Once I’d established myself as an artist outside of Silverchair.  I asked them to come again and then when they didn’t want to, I didn’t care. It was like, ‘I asked you, it’s cool, I’ll play the drums with spatulas’.”

Before they could legally drink, drive or vote, Silverchair was the hottest band in the land, ruling the national ARIA charts with their grunge-influenced 1995 debut album Frogstomp and the iconic single “Tomorrow.” 

Frogstomp went to No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart, and its followup, 1997’s Freak Show, peaked at No. 12.

The trio sold more than six million albums and achieved many firsts. All five of their studio LPs, from Frogstomp through to Young Modern, went to No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart, a feat no other band count match. And by the time they called it day, their collection of ARIAs numbered 21, a record to this day.

Past, Present & FutureNever is open from Aug. 26 –Oct. 9. For tickets to the exhibition visit

From each ticket sold, $5 will go to the FutureNeverFund, a charitable fund that raises money to create better futures for people and animals in need.


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