For some bands, performing over 5,000 live shows to 25 million people in 50 countries with 35 million albums sold over 30 years would be enough for a satisfactory retirement. But not so for INXS, who’ve announced an extensive tour across Australia.
INXS started out performing gigs in and around Sydney in 1977 when they called themselves the Farriss Brothers and consisted of Andrew, Tim and Jon Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, Garry Beers and iconic original frontman, Michael Hutchence.
The band stayed together unchanged for 20 years before the tragic death of Hutchence, and even then the only changes have concerned the frontman role. After performing with numerous singers, the band announced in September last year their fourth official frontman; Irish singer Ciaran Gribbin.
On joining Ciaran told Billboard.com: “INXS definitely played a huge part in my musical education as a songwriter and something I aspired to, so to be in the band now is pretty amazing.”
Ciaran has been behind the scenes of the music industry for some time; he provided the backing vocals for Snow Patrol’s ‘Eyes Open’ album, performed on the soundtracks to ‘Heartless’ and ‘Wild Target’, and was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for co-writing the Madonna song, ‘Celebration’. More recently, he has written, recorded and produced the music for the film, ‘Killing Bono’.
Unlike the reality series ‘Rock Star: INXS’ which J.D Fortune won in 2005, Ciaran’s INXS entry was more of a natural process that almost happened by chance. He met Andrew Farriss at a mutual friend’s party in Sydney a few years ago and ended out on the balcony playing acoustic guitar and singing ‘Mystify’ among other things.
“I just enjoyed the guy's company and really enjoyed his voice and listening to his songs, his music,” Andrew told Billboard.com. “Later on I realised the collaboration, artistically and especially songwriting, could be something that would be really, really good for INXS."
“We kept writing stuff and it was very fruitful and before I knew it Andrew had suggested to the band that I could be the guy that they were looking for,” Ciaran said to Billboard.com. “I met with the band and we rehearsed and went through some of the material and we hit it off.”
In September last year INXS released the first single from this collaboration, ‘Tiny Summer’, without revealing who the new vocalist was. Reviewers were impressed with some suggesting whoever it was should be fronting the band.
Andrew says there is no master plan for how they’re going to proceed with Ciaran just yet, but they’re definitely enjoying the process.
“We're just really enjoying being creative and seeing where that leads,” he informed Billboard.com. “We're experimenting with a whole range of things, and that's the most important thing, to really try out different things and find out what we can do together.”
As for the upcoming tour Ciaran describes it with a laugh as a “baptism of fire”.
“In a way I'm slightly nervous, and in another way I'm unbelievably excited. It's a wonderful, proud moment for me, a real feeling of achievement to have a band of INXS' stature believe in me as a performer and a singer,” he said to Billboard.com.
1977: Band originally formed in Sydney as Farriss Brothers. Members at this time were Michael Hutchence, Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, Tim Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, and Garry Beers.
1979: Officially become INXS.
October, 1980: First album, ‘INXS’, released on Deluxe Records. It was recorded during midnight to dawn sessions after performing an average two gigs a day.
1981: Second album ‘Underneath The Covers’ released.
October 1982: ‘Shabooh Shoobah’ — the band’s third album and first worldwide release.
May, 1984: Fourth album ‘The Swing’ is released. INXS top the Australian charts for the first time with the single, ‘Original Sin’.
October, 1985: Breakthrough album ‘Listen Like Thieves’ was released. It featured the band’s first US top five single, ‘What You Need’.
1986: INXS record Easy Beats cover ‘Good Times’ with Jimmy Barnes for the ‘Lost Boys’ soundtrack.
September, 1987: The group’s biggest single so far, ‘Need You Tonight’ released. This is the only INXS single to chart number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
October, 1987: Sixth studio album ‘Kick’ released; it eventually goes 6x platinum.
September, 1990: ‘X’ is released. The group’s seventh longplayer peaks at #1 in Australia, #2 in the UK and #5 in the US.
August, 1992: Their eight album, ‘Welcome To Wherever You Are’, incorporates a 60-piece orchestra.
November, 1993: ‘Full Moon, Dirty Hearts’ — their ninth album — is released and features Ray Charles on one track.
May, 1993: INXS score highest selling Australian band award at the World Music Awards.
April, 1997: ‘Elegantly Wasted’ released. It would be the tenth, and last album recorded with Michael Hutchence.
November, 1997: Michael Hutchence was found dead in an Australian hotel room at the age of 37.
November, 1998: The band performs Mushroom Records' 25th anniversary concert with Jimmy Barnes as lead vocalist on two tracks.
June, 1999: US singer Terence Trent D'Arby provides vocals for INXS at the launch of Stadium Australia, site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
May, 2000: INXS perform sporadic shows with Jon Stevens.
2001: INXS inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
November, 2002: The band begin touring again and start recording with Jon Stevens, INXS’ ‘seventh member’.
October, 2003: Jon Stevens leaves INXS.
September, 2005: TV series ‘Rock Star: INXS’ witnesses J.D. Fortune named the new INXS frontman.
November, 2005: The group’s first album since ‘Elegantly Wasted’ in 1997, ‘Switch’, is released.
November, 2010: Greatest hits album, ‘Original Sin’, released.
September, 2011: J.D.Fortune and INXS mutually separate. Northern Irish singer/ songwriter Ciaran Gribbon announced as the new INXS frontman.
INXS play Harrigan’s Drift Inn, Jacobs Well, June 24 and Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, June 28.