INXS adds fam­ily charm

Band’s lat­est voice is more than just a front­man, writes Rose Sadleir

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

AL­MOST two decades af­ter the death of Michael Hutchence, INXS have fi­nally found a new singer who is more than just a front­man.

‘‘He’s a band­mate,’’ says gui­tarist Tim Far­riss of vo­cal­ist Ciaran Grib­bin, who joined the famed Aus­tralian band in De­cem­ber last year.

Grib­bin, an Ir­ish song­writer who pre­vi­ously sang back­ing vo­cals for Snow Pa­trol, is INXS’S third new singer since Hutchence.

‘‘Ciaran is a dif­fer­ent kind of en­ter­tainer. He charms the au­di­ence. We are feel­ing mu­si­cally ex­cited to be do­ing some­thing fresh again,’’ Far­riss says.

While many of INXS’S orig­i­nal fans would ar­gue a name change for the band – which still fea­tures five orig­i­nal mem­bers – would be the fresh­est op­tion, Far­riss says the thought of a new name ‘‘just seems weird’’.

‘‘Maybe if a cou­ple of guys had left the band or there was an­other project,’’ he says.

‘‘If a fam­ily mem­ber dies, you don’t stop be­ing a fam­ily. You don’t change your sur­name.

‘‘We have car­ried on as a fam­ily and we are do­ing our best to keep it alive.’’

He says Hutchence wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. ‘‘Michael was a band guy,’’ he says. ‘‘When we were first start­ing to get big he turned down a cover for Rolling Stone mag­a­zine.

‘‘They had a his­tory where they would only put the singer on the cover for the first one.

‘‘Michael said ‘no’. They were like ‘what?’. No one says no to that. Peo­ple write songs about be­ing on the cover of Rolling Stone.

‘‘He had the balls to do that. He said ‘we are a gang, a team’ and that’s the way it’s been. We lost a fam­ily mem­ber. But now we have spread our wings.

‘‘It’s broad­ened our hori­zon and we’ve ended up where we are now.’’

Far­riss says Grib­bin does a great job of per­form­ing INXS’S old tracks.

‘‘Any good singer has to do (the songs) jus­tice. We don’t change the keys, so from a tech­ni­cal point of view, he has to sing like Michael,’’ he says.

Far­riss says INXS’S re­gional tour of Australia will give them a chance to show Grib­bin ‘‘where we grew up’’ and to test a few new songs each night.

‘‘It’s a tough one, be­cause most peo­ple are there to hear the hits and as it is, we don’t have enough time to play all the hits, but we need to find bal­ance.

‘‘We re­ally en­joy play­ing the new tracks. We are writ­ing and re­hears­ing new ma­te­rial, get­ting set to go into the stu­dio.

‘‘This tour is a tiny win­dow to test the songs.’’

INXS play Har­ri­gan’s Drift Inn, at Ja­cob’s Well, on June 24 and Twin Towns, at Tweed Heads, on June 28-29.

INXS band mem­bers (from left) Kirk Pengilly, new vo­cal­ist Ciaran Grib­bin and An­drew Far­riss.

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