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In a statement released early Tuesday in Australia, iconic rock band INXS announce the end of their touring days after 35 years in the music business. From INXS.com, “We understand that this must come as a blow to everybody, but all things must eventually come to an end. We have been performing as a band for 35 years, it’s time to step away from the touring arena”.
The confirmation comes after a confusing weekend that included a surprising teary goodbye on stage in Perth, Australia by INXS drummer, Jon Farriss at the end of the Matchbox 20/INXS tour of Australia which caused speculation of a band split picked up by news outlets everywhere. Fans & friends of the band were further confused by personal emails and texts from band members to people around the globe denying the end of the band.
The statement continued, “Our music will of course live on and we will always be a part of that.”
“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the friends and family that have supported us throughout our extensive career. Our lives have been enriched by having you all as a part of the journey”
INXS forged their reputation as one of the world’s greatest live bands, relentlessly touring the US, Europe, South America, and the Far East constantly throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, fuelled by the success of records such as Listen Like Thieves, Kick, X, and Welcome To Wherever You Are.
That hard earned and hard won live reputation took INXS to the very pinnacle of the live world touring circuit with such memorable performances headlining iconic venues across the world … in the UK [Wembley Stadium 80,000], the US [Texas Stadium 60,000] and Rio De Janeiro [ Rock in Rio 120,000].
But with the high, came a bitter and cruel blow … the loss of their charismatic and irreplaceable front man Michael Hutchence in November 1997.
‘It’s been 35 years for INXS as a live touring band and unbelievably it’s been 15 years ago since we lost Michael’ said Jon Farriss.
We lived for each other in the trenches and we loved each other. It was the six of us against the world and then suddenly and inexplicably we were but five. We were lost right at the moment we were on top.’
The band struggled to deal with the enormity of it all and the easy solution was to just call it a day.
‘We never took a soft option, it was the adversity, the challenge and the struggle that forged us into the live working band we became. And this was as big as it could possibly get when it came to a challenge’ said Andrew Farriss, ‘and in the end we decided for a whole bunch of reasons to march forward. To us there was no other option . families always move forward’.
To live to 80 plus is a life well lived. To lose Michael so young was a tragedy for all of us. But with this band, their legacy, their music was just so damn good, it was always destined to live beyond all of us.
The last 3 years has seen a resurgence of INXS with their songs being hammered on radio and a rise in audience numbers with the live show. The song ‘Original Sin’, with Rob Thomas on vocals, reached number 1 on the Billboard dance charts.
As Jon Farriss says, ‘INXS’ touring days could never last forever. We wanted it to end on a high. And it has’
Music critics and fans alike have chided the band for years in their decision to continue making music after the death of Michael Hutchence. For the remaining members of INXS, it was the only job they had ever done, the job they truly loved and excelled at. Michael’s decision to leave this world didn’t mean they had to stop doing the only thing they had ever done – rock as an amazing live band. The band tried a succession of different singers in the last 15 years including Terence Trent D’ Arby, Noiseworks Jon Stevens, rebuilt a great fan momentum and had a hit with Rockstar INXS winner, J.D. Fortune and the song Pretty Vegas and the last year with Irishman Ciaran Gribbin at the helm.
On a more personal note, I hope they choose to continue working in the music business in some fashion and remember to call their old friends if they visit the USA because hanging out with these Australians for drinks and laughs are some of the best times I’ve had.
INXS images courtesy of Cindy Robinson, Ciaran Gribbin images courtesy of Esther Oliver