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INXS

INXS (pronounced “in excess”, In-X-S) are an Australian rock band, formed as The Farriss Brothers in 1977 in Sydney, New South Wales. Mainstays are Garry Gary Beers on bass guitar, Andrew Farriss on keyboards, Jon Farriss on drums, Tim Farriss on lead guitar and Kirk Pengilly on guitar/sax. For twenty years, they were fronted by Michael Hutchence on lead vocals, 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.

INXS achieved international success with a series of hit recordings through the 1980s and 1990s, including the albums Listen Like Thieves, Kick, X and Welcome to Wherever You Are and the singles “Original Sin”, “Need You Tonight”, “Devil Inside” and “New Sensation”.

Hutchence died in 1997 and INXS did not perform publicly for a year. The band 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 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.

INXS has 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. To date INXS have sold more than 30 million records.

History

Early years

The origins of the band began with Andrew Farriss convincing his fellow Davidson High School classmate, Michael Hutchence, to join his band, Doctor Dolphin. The band contained two other classmates, Kent Kerny and Neil Sanders and a bass player, Garry Beers and Geoff Kennely, from a nearby high school, Forest High School. In 1977, Tim Farriss, Andrew’s older brother, invited Andrew, Hutchence and Beers to join him and his schoolmate Kirk Pengilly. Tim and Pengilly had been playing together since 1971 as either an acoustic duo or as a four-piece band called Guinness (named after their bass player’s dog). Together with younger brother Jon Farriss they formed the Farriss Brothers, who consisted of Garry Beers on bass guitar, Andrew Farriss on keyboards, Jon Farriss on drums, Tim Farriss on lead guitar, Geoff Kennelly on Drums, Michael Hutchence on lead vocals and Kirk Pengilly on guitar and saxophone. The band made their debut on 16 August 1977 at Whale Beach, 40 km (25 mi) north of Sydney. Andrew Farriss remembers:

I thought the show went really well, but I think my dad summed it up the next day: ‘Great show, but everyone was asleep when we left.’ I think everyone might have been stoned.
—Andrew Farriss


The parents of the Farriss boys relocated to Perth, Western Australia in 1978, taking Jon to continue his schooling and, as soon as Hutchence and Andrew finished school, the rest of the band followed. They briefly performed as The Vegetables, singing “We Are the Vegetables”, before returning to Sydney ten months later, where they recorded a set of demos. At a chance meeting in the car park of the Narabeen Antler, a pub in North Narrabeen. Tim was approached by Gary Morris, the manager of Midnight Oil.

I remember him coming up to me and saying ‘Who are you working for, mate?’ and I kind of went, ‘Oh, we have this band and we’re called The Farriss Brothers’. He offered to give us some work supporting Midnight Oil on the spot.
—Tim Farriss

The band began to regularly support Midnight Oil and other local bands. Morris advised that a member of the Oils crew had come up with a new name and suggested they change it to INXS. The name INXS was inspired by English band XTC and Australian jam makers IXL.

“I saw a commercial for a brand of jam called IXL. Their ad featured a guy who said, ‘I excel in all I do.’ I’d recently seen the English band XTC when they toured Australia, and I loved their name: XTC – Ecstasy. In that moment, I put all those thoughts together. The name needed to be letters, but make a word. I put the IXL jam commercial together with XTC and the concept of a band that was inaccessible and I had it: INXS
—Gary Morris
Pengilly explained that Morris had some other ideas:

Gary [Morris] was a great marketer, and I think he also had this idea of us being ‘inaccessible’. He said we could be on stage in a cage of lights. It was a mystery thing … He told us that unless we wanted to change our ways and become the world’s biggest Christian band, he could no longer manage us … He wanted us to write songs about Christ and to promote a drug-and-alcohol-free and no-sex-before-marriage, proper Christian lifestyle. He was very convincing and for a moment I think we might have done it. Then he got on to strange terrain.
—Kirk Pengilly
We thought that would be a bit much – but it was a good name.
—Tim Farriss
The band’s first performance as INXS was on 1 September 1979 at the Oceanview Hotel in Toukley on the Central Coast of New South Wales and by the end of 1979, after passing on the Christian band image, they hired Chris Murphy as their manager and continued taking on the Oz pub circuit.

The night Morris offered them to me, I told him I’d take them midway through their third song. I stood there thinking, “This is pretty funky.’ This kid up front is pretty weird. This band plays really, really well … What Morris didn’t realise was that I only intended to take them on as their booking agent. I didn’t want to be their manager.
—Chris Murphy
Murphy was an adept business manager and negotiator. By early 1980 the band had signed a five-album record deal with a Sydney independent label, Deluxe Records, run by Michael Browning, a former manager of AC/DC.

Discography

Studio Albums

1980 INXS – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/inxs-inxs-1980/

1981 Underneath and Colours – Coming soon 03/10/2017

Listen Like Thieves – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/inxs-listen-like-thieves/

X – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/inxs-x/

Compilations

Shine Like It Does – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/inxs-shine-like-it-does/

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