Personalities | Tim Farriss | Master of the Understated | Guitar Heroes
The oldest of the Farriss children, Tim was classically trained on the guitar for four years, starting at the age of eight. He attended high school in Sydney, where he met Kirk Pengilly, the future guitarist and saxophonist of INXS. Eventually adding lead singer Michael Hutchence, the band released its debut album, INXS, in 1980. The album featured ‘Just Keep Walking’, their first Australian hit single. Its follow-up, 1981’s Underneath The Colours (produced by Richard Clapton), became a hit album in Australia.
The band followed with Shabooh Shoobah (1982), which featured the single ‘The One Thing’, their first Top 30 hit in the United States. With The Swing in 1984, the band built its international reputation, as ‘Original Sin’ became their first No. 1 single and an international hit. ‘Original Sin’ didn’t fare as well in the UK, and INXS had only marginal success on the charts until 1986 with the release of Listen Like Thieves, on which the band displayed its Rolling Stones and Chic influences. In the US the second single, ‘What You Need’, became a Top 5 Billboard hit, bringing INXS their first breakout US success.
Farriss became known as a versatile guitarist who could move smoothly from the funk-influenced style of INXS’s early works and the crunchy grooves of their hard-rock material; a master of the understated, tasty riff more than the flamboyant solo. Farriss suffered from bone disease and injuries throughout his life, but always recovered to lend his defining guitar work to the band throughout their 25-year history.
An avid sportsman, Farriss made a fishing video in 1989 called ‘Fish In Space’, a playful reference to Michael Hutchence’s film Dogs In Space. In 1996 Farriss released a sample CD, Deep Inside, which featured over 1,000 samples of various instruments. INXS gained new attention in 2007 with a reality based TV show Rock Star: INXS, in which they chose a new lead singer.
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