INXS adds family charm
Band’s latest voice is more than just a frontman, writes Rose Sadleir
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.