PUBLISHED IN THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR ON NOVEMBER 17, 1996

 

BY NICK KREWEN

 

"I definitely think we're at a crossroads," says TIM FARRISS, guitarist and co-founder of Australian supergroup INXS, before pausing to sip his beer.

He and the other members of INXS were in Toronto last week to promote their latest album, INXS The Greatest Hits. The album -- which contains two new studio tunes, "The Strangest Party" and "Deliver Me" -- marks the end of a chapter as the band leaves the Warner fold in North America and signs with PolyGram for the world.

"It'll be nice to be working under a united front," says Farriss. "As it stands now, we have five different versions of this album coming out, which is why we're doing the promotional rounds."

Farriss reveals that this six week global promotion tour is the first time in the past four years the band taken a break from the record-tour-record-tour cycle of their last two albums, Welcome To Wherever You Are  and Full Moon, Dirty Hearts.

"We played a couple of surprise concerts -- one in Sweden, and another at the Brixton Academy in London, and they felt good," declares Farriss. "Now we're on a four month break, and we'll reconvene in March to record a new album. I'm just looking forward to going back to Australia to do some surfing."

Farriss says The Greatest Hits  album and interviews with journalists have allowed he and fellow band members to reflect on their 17-year history, and the early days when the high school chums were playing 300 shows a year in their native Australia.

"We got to where we are mainly through our perseverance and our diligence," states Farriss, "The basic INXS fan has seen us perform, and been blown away by our live show. They keep coming back."

It was 1977 when Tim Farriss, his brothers ANDREW (keyboards, guitar) and JON (drums), KIRK PENGILLY (sax, guitar), GARRY GARY BEERS (bass) and singer MICHAEL HUTCHENCE began playing together, and 1979 when they first called themselves INXS. The line-up has remained unchanged ever since.

"We're all friends," says Tim Farriss. "We have arguments, but they're always about things concerning the music, things we end up agreeing were a problem in the first place."

Farriss recalls that the band first felt they made it with the release of their third album, Shabooh Shabaah, in 1983.

"We were playing the biggest halls in Australia, and we had had several hits by that stage. It was the first time we recorded in the best studio, and the very first thing we recorded was `The One Thing.' We had a proper producer, a proper budget -- because we couldn't shoot an album cover for the price we recorded the first two -- and Andrew, Jon and Kirk took the album to New York and Los Angeles to play for some big-name producers and spend a couple of weeks in the outside world to see what it was like."

Farriss reports that most of the producers said they couldn't improve on the original, so territorial distribution was organized and the band began touring North America and Europe.

"It all happened rather quickly after that," says Farriss. "We were still young enough when we achieved the goal of being the top band in Australia, that we had no choice but to head overseas. When you get to a certain level of success back home, you have no place to go."

INXS' combustive mixture of sexually charged rock funk spread like wildfire, as songs "Original Sin", "What You Need" and albums The Swing  and Listen Like Thieves  raced up the charts.

The band's next album, Kick, sold an astounding 9 million copies around the world, including a million in Canada alone, and spawned the smashes "Need You Tonight", "Devil Inside", "New Sensation" and "Never Tear Us Apart."

To date, INXS has released 11 albums and sold 20 million albums. While studio releases X, Welcome To Wherever You Are  and Full Moon, Dirty Hearts  haven't broken the bank like Kick, Farriss says the band isn't overly concerned.

"When you have an album as big as Kick, it changes your life. We never tried to follow up, and were never interested in making Kick II. We don't have that burning desire to be a #1 band, just to make great records."

-30-

DISCOGRAPHY

1980 -- INXS

1981 -- Underneath The Colours

1982 -- Shabooh Shoobah

1982 -- Inxsive

1983 -- Dekadance EP

1984 -- The Swing

1985 -- Listen Like Thieves

1987 -- Kick

1990 -- X

1991 -- Live Baby Live

1992 -- Welcome To Wherever You Are

1993 -- Full Moon, Dirty Hearts

1994 -- Greatest Hits

1997 -- Elegantly Wasted -- Mercury

SIDE PROJECTS

1989 -- Max Q, Max Q

1999 -- Michael Hutchence

COLLABORATIONS

1992 -- Various Artists, Unforgettable -- Warner (Promo Only)

1992 -- Various Artists, Barcelona Gold

1995 -- Various Artists, Batman Forever (Michael Hutchence solo)

 

#1 HITS

1987 -- "Need You Tonight"

THANKS: Joanna Dine, Steve Waxman, Wade Hemsworth

1996, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink

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