Live and ac­ces­si­ble

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Pay-tv - KYLIE MILLER

AC­CORD­ING to Jon Far­riss, you of­ten only recog­nise a real rock star mo­ment af­ter the mo­ment has passed.

Far­riss would surely know. Af­ter decades with Aussie rock leg­ends INXS he has had his share.

‘‘Mick Jag­ger came to a show that we did at a club in New York in about 1983 with Sha­booh Shoobah,’’ Far­riss says.

‘‘Back then he was a pres­ence. I was so amazed that he would make the ef­fort to come to an INXS show and he seemed so gen­uinely in­ter­ested in the mu­sic.

‘‘Then in Syd­ney I was ac­tu­ally hang­ing out with him in his ho­tel room at the Sebel Town­house, which now doesn’t ex­ist, and he was singing to me his ideas and demos for Steel Wheels about three inches from my face! Some of the great­est rock star mo­ments aren’t ap­par­ent un­til they are over.’’

Jag­ger and his Rolling Stones are top of Far­riss’ wish list to ap­pear as guests on the lon­grun­ning XYZ se­ries MAX Ses­sions, which he has just stepped in to host.

Far­riss re­places Chit Chat, from Ma­chine Gun Fel­la­tio, who in turn re­placed the late Crowded House drum­mer Paul Hester.

While the host­ing role is new— Far­riss makes his de­but on Sun­day in an episode fea­tur­ing Snow Pa­trol — it’s not his first ap­pear­ance on the show.

‘‘INXS did a MAX Ses­sions with (new lead singer) JD (For­tune) in 2006,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s just a great in­sti­tu­tion and great to have the op­por­tu­nity for in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal bands to per­form in an en­vi­ron­ment which not many shows of­fer. This is the real thing.’’

Launched in Novem­ber 2003 with an in­ti­mate per­for­mance by Bri­tish su­per group Cold­play, Ses- sions quickly ce­mented it­self as MAX’s flag­ship show and has since show­cased nearly 40 artists rang­ing from Blondie, Moby and Michael Bu­ble, to broth­ers Tim and Neil Finn, Delta Goodrem, the John But­ler Trio and Keith Ur­ban.

‘‘I think it al­ways had a great chance of suc­cess from the beginning be­cause it was born out of pure in­ten­tions,’’ MAX pro­gram di­rec­tor Rachel New­man says.

‘‘It re­ally was and is about serv­ing a gen­uine au­di­ence de­sire as well as, to a lesser de­gree, sup­port­ing our lo­cal mu­sic in­dus­try. But what I think has kept it alive and kept it re­ally rel­e­vant is that at no time have we com­pro­mised our pro­duc­tion val­ues.

‘‘They are of the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard; pro­duc­ing live mu­sic is our ex­per­tise.’’

New­man names a Ses­sions high­light as a con­cert by Aus­tralian rock­ers Pow­derfin­ger on the steps of Syd­ney Opera House, which raised money and aware­ness for breast can­cer re­search, along with the se­ries de­but by Cold­play, who ‘‘set the bar very high’’.

This week­end’s episode fea­tur­ing Snow Pa­trol is an­other high­light.

‘‘We’ve had a par­tic­u­larly strong year this year. It just re­ally de­pends on artist avail­abil­ity, how long they are in town for and how long we can have ac­cess to them.’’

De­spite the suc­cess INXS had with the Mark Bur­nett-pro­duced se­ries Rock Star: INXS in 2005 — a for­mat tal­ent show that found the band its new lead singer — Far­riss had never con­sid­ered fronting a show.

‘‘It’s one of those lit­tle square inches of op­por­tu­nity that you get. I was play­ing a con­cert as a guest artist with Richard Clap­ton at the State The­atre and Shaun James, the gen­eral man­ager of XYZ, called me later and said let’s meet for a cof­fee.

‘‘We talked about a bit of this, a bit of that and the next thing he goes, ‘How about you pre­sent­ing MAX Ses­sions’?’’

To the MAX:

(from left) Jon Far­riss with fel­low INXS mem­bers Kirk Pengilly and JD For­tune.

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