Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10

Today's birthday goes to Jon Farriss, the drummer for the Australian band INXS. The members have been together over 30 years, ever since they were a new wave/ska band called the Farriss Brothers (Jon's brothers, Andrew and Tim, play keyboards and lead guitar, respectively.) A former manager, who almost convinced them to become a Christian band, gave them the INXS name.

Instead, they developed their own rock sound (and their confidence to follow the beat of their own drummer, so to speak) and became one of the biggest music acts of the 80's. In their first 20 years, five of their albums went platinum, and they charted singles in the US 22 times (including "Disappear", which Jon co-wrote with lead singer Michael Hutchence.)

After the death of lead singer Hutchence in 1997, the rest of the band struggled to determine their next step. Over the next few years, the band would perform one-off shows with guest vocalists, then almost found a new singer - who left before they could record an album. Finally in 2004, they took the audacious step of making a worldwide search for their next lead singer, and making it part of a reality TV show. Though met with criticism, the show did produce what they were looking for: their next singer, J D Fortune, a guy as rebellious as the band is. He got the job and toured with the band for the next few years.

What happened after the tour is still under debate. Either JD got sent home after the tour, or he got 'sent home'. [As of 2010, the band and JD have confirmed that he is definitely the lead singer of INXS.] Either way, the next INXS album isn't with JD Fortune; it's a tribute album to Michael Hutchence, with guest singers performing covers from the first 20 years of the band's history. Among the names confirmed are the Killers' Brandon Flowers, Rob Thomas, Nikki Costa, and Ben Harper.
Here's a Ben Harper concert performance, with birthday boy Jon sitting in, of "Never Tear Us Apart":

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