Born to rock: Ben Gillies, 37, co-founder and drummer for Silverchair, in Newcastle over Christmas. Gillies plans on releasing a new album in 2017. Picture: Marina Neil
Merewether’s most famous drummer, Ben Gillies, now calls Melbourne home, but he will never forget where he came from.
The co-founder of Silverchair, along with Daniel Johns, grew up in the Newcastle beachside suburb, first playing as a rap duo in Year 3 at The Junction Primary School. “We would take our denim jackets off, and spin them around and sing these silly-ass rap songs,” Gillies recalled with a smile over a coffee at One Penny Black in Newcastle Mall over Christmas.
It was in Year 3 that Gillies took up the drums, with Johns learning the guitar a year later. It wasn’t long before they started to make their own music, asking friend Chris Joannouto join them and play bass.
Ben Gillies on Daniel Johns when they were called Innocent CriminalsTomorrow, wentglobal, and the band so far has soldmore than 9 million albums.
On May 25, 2011, the band announcedthey were going into “indefinite hibernation”.
Joannou now runs The Edwards restaurant and pub in Newcastle West.
Johns has released a solo album.
The Gillies havestarted an alcoholic beverage company, La Mascara. Jackiestars on the reality TV series TheReal Housewives of Melbourne.
Gillies still has music running through his veins, though, and has plans to release a solo album in 2017. He’s almost finished recording in Byron Bay with producer Jordan Power, a former Maitland resident.
Gillies’ Silverchair cred will always be a part of him. Although Johns’ was credited with writing most of the materialon the band’s later albums, Gillies has writing credits on early hitsTomorrow and Pure Massacre.
As for the possibility of a Silverchair reunion, Gillies said: “I’m up for it.”
Read more in the Weekender story on Ben Gillies on Saturday.