Silverchair bass player Chris Joannou is selling a bunch of gear

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Want to get your hands on some pieces of Australian music history?

If you came of age in the 1990s, you probably remember the first few Silverchair records as memorable touchstones of Australian music.

And if now, 20 years later, you’re thinking about getting your own band back together – of rediscovering the chunky guitar tones you used to bash out in the garage – we’ve got some good news.

Chris Joannou, one-third of Newcastle’s most famous musical export, is selling some of the instruments he collected over two decades playing bass in the band.

Joannou, 38, used to own a studio on the NSW Central Coast, producing work for people like Josh Pyke and Paul Dempsey.

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Chris Joannou playing 'Whitey'

But a whole bunch of gear has been sitting in storage since he moved away from his music career and gave up that studio to focus on his hospitality business in Newcastle, The Edwards.

“It was time for a stocktake,” he tells Double J.

“It was time for other people to enjoy what’s been locked in the shed for the last eight years.”

One of the key pieces for sale, through the music gear website, is a Stuart Spector bass Joannou bought in New York City on Silverchair’s first US tour, and subsequently used in the studio on 1997’s Freak Show.


“I think the first few times we ever went to New York it was just music shop after music shop,” he says, recalling the way he and bandmates Daniel Johns and Ben Gillies were “young and in awe” of the city.

“They were hot property back then – everybody was playing those Stuart Spector basses, [looking for] that really active, aggressive sound.”

Another bass guitar, a fretless Maton JB4, was played on Neon Ballroom (1999) and, says Joannou, has hardly been taken out of its case since the making of that record.

There are also a couple of 1970s Fender bass guitars (one nicknamed Whitey, the other Phil) that Joannou used on the final Silverchair record, 2007’s Young Modern.

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The Stuart Spector bass Joannou used on Freak Show

While he has moved on from his 20-plus-year career in music, he is not selling everything.

“I found one of my first basses that I ever bought locked up in [the studio], which was a bit of blast,” he says.

“That’s one of those ones that I could never let go of.”

Likewise, he’ll be hanging onto the very first instrument he ever learned on, the bass guitar he bought off Gillies for $200 when they started the band as teenagers in the mid-90s.

Joannou also needs to think of the next generation.

He says his two-year-old daughter gets a kick out watching Dad play some of the guitars that still fill their Newcastle home.

Maybe, too, music will come back into his professional life, at some point.

“There is definitely a very beautiful comradery that goes with [being in a band] … and playing live is a feeling you only get when you are doing that,” he says.

“So, those are some of the things I miss dearly. It’s definitely instilled in me … I’m sure the time will come again.”