Daniel Johns, the former frontman of defunct alt-rock group Silverchair, won’t face jail time after he was found driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.157, which is three times over the legal limit in Australia.
Johns had a court hearing Wednesday (July 6th) after pleading guilty to high-range drunk driving (via The Guardian). The incident occurred on March 23rd at around 10:30 p.m. in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, just north of Sydney.
The court was told that Johns’ new solo album FutureNever, which was released in April, had resurfaced many of the mental health issues he faced after becoming famous as a teenager; he began self-medicating with alcohol to ease his reactive arthritis, which came about as a result of an eating disorder in his 20s. Following a trip his partner planned in an effort to ease Johns’ stress, the musician “simply got in the car and simply drove to get away.”
Johns’ SUV crashed into a van, causing both vehicles to wind up on the shoulder of the wrong side of the road. The van driver and its one passenger were treated on the scene, and the passenger was later taken to the hospital.
During the hearing, Johns’ lawyer Bryan Wrench stressed how seriously his client took the charges, especially since being discharged from a brief stint in rehab in June and abstaining from alcohol since: “While in rehab his album hit No. 1, but what needs to hit No. 1 is his mental health,” Wrench said.
The court decided that while the charge was serious, Johns’ “background and circumstances were exceptional.” Johns received 10-month intensive corrections order and a seven-month license suspension, and was ordered to continue medical treatment.
Consequence revived our Whatever Happened To series last October with a deep-dive into Silverchair, who became inactive in 2011. The band is best known for their 1994 single “Tomorrow.”