AN INTERVIEW WITH TIM FARRISS - INXS
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Steve talk to INXS guitarist "The Riff Meister" Tim Farriss.
During the Summer XS tour in 1991 INXS played Wembley Stadium in front of 77,000 people, at one point Michael Hutchence told Tim to “play the f***ing riff Timmy”, which led to Farriss being nicknamed The Riff Meister, and later The Riff Sherriff. The moment was captured on film and CD for "Live Baby Live."
Tim Farriss was born in Perth, Western Australia and is the oldest of four children: he has two brothers, Andrew and Jon, and a sister, Alison. He was classically trained on the guitar from the ages of eight to twelve by Peter Fredericci who played with the Australian Symphony Orchestra.
As an adolescent, Farriss attended the Forest High School in Sydney. There he quickly formed a friendship with Kirk Pengilly. Farriss (lead guitar) and Pengilly (guitar and saxophone) soon formed the band "Guinness," the eventual base and bedrock to the future internationally successful group, INXS.
During Farriss' painful recovery from an operation to remove abnormal bone growths in his legs, the result of a Hereditary Multiple Exostoses (which his brother Jon also suffers from), his brother Andrew recruited school friends and "Doctor Dolphin" band mates Garry Gary Beers (bass guitar) and Michael Hutchence (vocals).
INXS were formed as The Farriss Brothers in 1977 in Sydney, New South Wales. They began playing covers in Western Australian pubs and clubs occasionally mixed with some of their own original music. Mainstays were main composer Andrew Farriss on keyboards, Jon Farriss on drums, Tim Farriss on guitar, Kirk Pengilly on guitar and saxophone, Garry Gary Beers on bass, and main lyricist Michael Hutchence on vocals. For 20 years, INXS were fronted by Hutchence, whose "sultry good looks" and magnetic stage presence made him the focal point of the band. Initially known for their new wave/ska/pop style, they later developed a harder pub rock style, including funk and dance elements.
In the early 1980s, INXS first charted in their native Australia with their debut self-titled album, but later garnered moderate success elsewhere with Shabooh Shoobah and a single, "The One Thing". Though The Swing brought more success from around the world, its single "Original Sin" was even greater commercially, becoming their first number-one single. They would later achieve international success with a series of hit recordings through later in the 1980s and the 1990s, including the albums Listen Like Thieves, Kick, and X; and the singles "What You Need", "Need You Tonight", "Devil Inside", "New Sensation", and "Suicide Blonde".
In the 1990s, INXS brought a new audience following Hutchence's romance with pop singer, Kylie Minogue, and achieved greater acclaim in the UK. However, starting with Welcome to Wherever You Are, in 1992, they achieved less success in the United States. Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel suite in Sydney in November 1997 and INXS did not perform publicly for a year. They made appearances with several guest singers including Jimmy Barnes, Terence Trent D'Arby, and Jon Stevens; Stevens formally joined the band for a tour and recording session in 2002. In 2005, members of INXS participated in Rock Star: INXS, a reality television series, broadcast worldwide, culminating in the selection of their new lead singer, Canadian J.D. Fortune, and the release of "Pretty Vegas" and "Afterglow" as singles, and its album Switch.
In late 2010, they recorded and released Original Sin, a tribute album, featuring guest artists such as Kavyen Temperley (of Eskimo Joe) and Ben Harper. In September 2011 the band announced that Northern Irish singer-songwriter Ciaran Gribbin had replaced Fortune as their lead vocalist ahead of a planned tour of South America, Australia & Europe later in the year.
INXS won six Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards including three for 'Best Group' in 1987, 1989 and 1992, and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001.As of May 2013 INXS have sold close to 40 million records worldwide.
In 2013, television network, Seven Network Australia, announced that it is producing a mini series focusing on the band's behind the scenes stories, called INXS: Never Tear Us Apart. Band member Tim Farriss is a pre-production consultant on the show. The mini series commenced production at the end of June 2013, and premiered on 9 February 2014 and the finale aired the following Sunday night (16 February 2014). The mini series rated very highly for both nights and created a renewed interest in the band which translated to a resurgence in sales of their music bringing them once again to the number one position on the Australian popular music charts.