Skip to main content

Silverchair's Daniel Johns shares horrifying details of his March nervous breakdown: "I couldn’t tell what was real"

Daniels Johns on Australian TV show The Project
(Image credit: The Project, Network 10, Australia)

Former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns has shared a harrowing account of the "full-on nervous breakdown" he suffered earlier this year.

Back in March, Johns admitted himself to rehab, following his arrest for drink-driving after a car crash in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. But in a new interview conducted with TV host Carrie Bickmore on Australian current affairs show The Project, the 42-year-old musician states that he “didn’t go to rehab for alcohol”, but rather to seek help for mental health problems which overwhelmed him during the recording of his latest solo album FutureNever.

The singer reveals that he “pretty much had a full-on nervous breakdown.”

Revisiting the events in March which led to him being arrested following a collision on New South Wales' Pacific Highway, Johns tells Bickmore: "I got in a car, and I was barely even aware what I was trying to do. I just wanted to escape. It was the equivalent of just like running into the forests. Everything was too much.

"I was in a really quiet environment, a really peaceful environment, and I was trying to run away. I didn’t realise that all the noise was in my head, so there was nowhere to run, there was nowhere to hide.

"I remember being lost. I remember being petrified. I remember being in the dark. I remember the colours – I even remember thinking, ‘This is how I’m gonna die.’ But I wasn’t suicidal…

"It was only when the penny dropped, that I was putting other people in danger, that I went, ‘What the fuck?’ Because I like chaos – that feels me as an artist. I like chaos, I love it, but I hate it when I can’t get out.

"If someone had been hurt, I think I probably would have killed myself."

Johns went on to say that he entered rehab in order to get professional help in his on-going mental health battle, admitting, "I was like, ‘I need help, my brain is crazy.’ Like, I couldn’t tell what was real…"

Watch the full 16-minute interview with Johns on The Project below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.