SILVERCHAIR have cancelled all their concert engagements due to further deterioration in the health of lead singer and guitarist, Daniel Johns.
Persons holding tickets to the band's sold out New York and London dates over the next two weeks will be offered full refunds from the point of purchase as will ticket holders to the Sydney concert which was postponed last week.
The band was also scheduled to perform a series of shows in the US, Canada and Europe including several major festival appearances over the coming months. All of these dates, without exception, have now been cancelled until Daniel has fully recovered.
"I am truly sorry that I am not able to do the touring we had planned for so long", said Daniel Johns. "I apologize for the inconvenience these cancellations will cause. I am doing everything humanly possible to try and get well but lately things have just kept getting worse."
"These cancellations are a major disappointment to the band", said the group's manager, John Watson. "The guys were really looking forward to finally getting out there and playing shows. However, the rapid decline in Daniel's health over the last two weeks in particular has simply made this physically impossible for him."
"SILVERCHAIR know that their fans and some other people will feel very disappointed that the band is unable to tour for the foreseeable future but those feelings are nothing compared to the deep disappointment and frustration which Daniel is feeling right now. Daniel has spent the better part of three years creating the songs for this new album. These cancellations will clearly mean that less people will get to hear the new music in which he has invested so much time and effort. It's really upsetting for him and for everybody involved."
As previously announced, Daniel Johns is suffering from a severe case of reactive arthritis. The condition's primary symptoms are chronic swelling of the joints resulting in impaired movement and extreme pain. These symptoms are caused by the body's reaction to an underlying virus — hence the name 'reactive arthritis'. About 6% of males have a genetic predisposition to suffer from this condition once in a lifetime and DNA tests have confirmed that Daniel Johns is part of that 6%.
In the majority of cases, reactive arthritis lasts for around three months. Johns originally contracted the condition in December 2001 but in January 2002 he managed to fulfill his obligations on Australia's Big Day Out tour. After that his symptoms got worse leading the band to postpone a mid-March concert. During April he improved significantly, allowing the band to tour New Zealand and do various promotional activities for their album in Australia. At this point it seemed that he was on the road to the full recovery that his doctors had predicted would probably occur after about three months.
However in recent weeks his symptoms have not only returned, they have spread into other parts of his body. While previously the swelling was mainly confined to his legs, it is now present in most of his other joints, including his left hand. This is causing him extreme pain and is severely limiting his movement. As a result he is unable to play guitar on most days and on some days he has difficulty walking for more than a very short distance.
Unfortunately, in spite of his best efforts Daniel has not responded to numerous treatments that have proved successful for other people. These have included a recent hospitalization and a wide variety of conventional and homeopathic medications.
Furthermore, new medical test results yesterday revealed a number of other complications relating to Daniel's condition. These complications involve some glandular and lymphatic dysfunctions, both of which require further intensive treatment. It seems that these other problems are preventing Daniel from fighting off the underlying virus that is triggering his arthritis. This may explain why he has not responded to all the various treatments he has received.
As a result of these new test results Daniel's doctors have changed their longstanding prognosis of a short-term recovery.
Their prognosis is now that it may be a year before Daniel has recovered sufficiently to allow him to undertake a normal touring workload. They remain certain that the condition is not life threatening and that he will eventually make a complete recovery. However, they have imposed a strict treatment regimen and categorically ruled out any possibility of touring for the time being.
The band's acclaimed new album, Diorama, is slated for global release in July and those plans remain unchanged. Daniel is expected to be able to perform some limited promotion duties for the album but for the time being all travel has been specifically ruled out by his doctors.
"I hope that in spite of our current inability to tour, people will still get to hear the new album. I'm proud of it and I really wish I could do more to support its release," said Daniel.
Diorama was a #1, platinum-selling hit in Australia and is still in the top 10 two months after its release. The disc has received the best reviews of the band's career and music industry bible, Billboard, has called it "a remarkably innovative and gratifying outing whose depth and color seem to grow with every successive spin."