Silverchair Singer Reveals Heartbreaking Illness: ‘It’s Pretty Serious’


Former Silverchair singer Daniel Johns has revealed he self-medicated with alcohol to manage a serious mental health illness he has had for 15 years.

The singer and guitarist told Andrew Denton’s Interview he struggled with feeling “constantly panicked” for more than a decade before he got help.

“I have had a pretty serious anxiety disorder for 15 years, and it got really bad at a point. I was not coping. I didn’t know how to deal with it.”

During his first talk show interview in 12 years, Johns attributed his worrying public behaviour in 2015 and 2016 to his anxiety.

Johns said he has since managed to get his anxiety under control after therapy and taking medicine to stop him from shaking.

When asked by Denton if he also had a “problem with addiction” at the time, Johns said he had been trying to self-manage his condition.

“I was medicating my anxiety with alcohol, a lot, and I didn’t know what it was. I was misdiagnosed a lot of things,” he said.

“I didn’t know what I had, so I didn’t know how to deal with it, and the only thing that I found that worked was alcohol, so I was drinking alcohol to keep that at bay.”

“But it didn’t work, and then I got diagnosed with this — I don’t want to say what it is — this anxiety disorder, and now I am a perfect specimen.”

Johns has returned to music with electronic two-person duo Dreams alongside former Emipire of The Sun lead singer Luke Steele.

The new venture is a personal victory for Johns, who was left unable to write music at the height of his anxiety battle.

“If that gets out of control music doesn’t come anymore, there’s too much doubt and too much fear it won’t come out,” he said of the years following Silverchair’s disbandment.

“I couldn’t write words because I was so scared about what I was going to say, because I didn’t feel good, so I didn’t want to write.”

Many of his fans also expected him to tour his 2015 solo album Talk but we didn’t see any shows after a debut solo show at the Sydney Opera House.

It was stage fright that prevented him from doing so with Johns saying, “I was just too scared. I was just too worried.”

“My mind exploded. I get stage fright and can get really anxious,” Johns said.

When Denton suggested he’d love to be able to take a walk around inside Johns’s head, the musician and former Silverchair frontman said, “No you wouldn’t. It’s bloody chaotic.”

“I’m really happy but my head is chaotic,” he continued. “I wish I could just shut it off some times. Nothing really shuts it off. It’s all maintenance, it’s all keeping things at bay for the most part, delicately spinning plates.”

According to, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

  • Olga Stewart

    I am so very glad both that he got diagnosed and got help for this.

  • Raj

    Hope he is doing ok sounds like some pretty intense anxiety.

  • Hwang Sunghyeop

    How about Pajo now? Also Daniel god bless you.

  • Corndog

    Feeling “constantly panicked”. I know exactly how that feels. It’s my life, daily, always.

    • Olga Stewart

      As do I, my friend.

      As do I.

      And how are you doing today?

      • Corndog

        I’m really tired today, just can’t be bothered going through the motions, but i have another 4 hours before i finish in work, then i have to head to my mum’s house and get her sorted before i can finally get home about 7-8 hours from now.

        How about you? Feeling ok?

        • Olga Stewart

          I’m sorry to hear about you feeling tired.

          But I do hope that things go all right with both getting things sorted out with your Mom and with getting home.

          I’m doing all right.

          Though, I’m just amused at some of the people who try to mouth off to me on here.

          • Corndog

            Thanks Olga:)

            Yes there have been quite a bunch of angry folks around these parts recently. Just earlier I had to delete a couple of comments. One having a go at Brett and the other having a go at me for some reason. Apparently he took exception to my avatar…

          • Olga Stewart

            Mr. Nick on another article thinks I’m being judgmental because I feel bad for that fellow from Bangladesh coming to that Tool event while the lead singer wasn’t a part of it.

            Okay the fellow probably had a great time.

            But wouldn’t it have been even better if the lead singer was a part of the event?

            Otherwise, what was the point.

          • Corndog

            I think that’s the same guy whose comments I deleted.

            I agree totally about the Tool thing. I don’t see the point either; certainly not at that price.

          • Olga Stewart

            Nor do I.

          • Nick

            Whoa! I stumbled into this article from the Tool one and didn’t think I’d get mentioned here. Look, I always try to be respectable toward anyone I encounter, in person or online. Of course you’re entitled to your opinion. I was simply defending the guy from Bangladesh. Feeling bad for someone who doesn’t feel bad themselves is kind of like you spending $2,000 on a vacation to Hawaii, having a great time and loving it, and then returning home only to have a friend tell you that you wasted your money. They’re projecting their opinion onto your life decisions, which is unfair and deflating. I hope you can see where my objection is coming from. If not, that’s cool too. And to Corndog, not sure it was my comments you deleted but if I crossed any lines, feel free to. I’m with you both on disliking negativity and anger on the internet.

            Good day!

          • Corndog

            I checked and it wasn’t your comments that were deleted. It was someone else who was being unpleasant for no reason.

          • Olga Stewart

            Also, you’re welcome. :).

            This site seems to attract the angry ones, the weirdos, the rude ones, and the ones who like to dictate what you both think and feel.

            I feel sorry for all of them.

          • Corndog

            I don’t understand how people can get so bent out of shape over someone else’s opinion on music. If it’s affecting them so badly perhaps they need a different hobby.

          • Olga Stewart

            This couldn’t be about Dave, right? Hee hee.

          • Corndog

            No it wasn’t, but it totally applies to him too:)

          • Olga Stewart


          • Olga Stewart

            And I’m sorry about the grief you have been getting in regards to some of those comments.

          • Corndog

            Thanks Olga, but it’s grand. Water off a ducks back:)

          • Olga Stewart

            You are most welcome. :).

  • halcyon

    I’m pretty sure that his panic attacks are manifestations of the social anxiety he’s been suffering since childhood. I hope he gets better.