"Superstardom is a funny sort of thing. What a ridiculous term," laughs Andrew. Twenty years of touring, and producing hit after hit hasn't really changed the normality of Andrew Farriss, the unassuming mastermind behind the music. Born in Cottesloe, Western Australia on March 29th, 1959, he is the second eldest of four Farriss children, and the composer of 90% of the music that INXS structure. Historically, Andrew has spent hours on the road in hotel rooms creating sounds on a small cassette player and cataloged them for later use when composing music for INXS. "Without Andrew Farriss there would be no music for us to play," says Michael.
Andrew's first instrument was a violin, but by the time he reached high school he was playing keyboards and guitar. It was at Davidson High School that he met Michael Hutchence. Andrew and his friend Paul helped Michael out of a fight on his first day. From then on they were to be the best of friends, even when Michael went to Los Angeles for a year, Andrew kept in regular contact. Upon Michael's return, they started writing and got together with Garry Gary Beers, Kent Kearny and Neil Sanders and Doctor Dolphin was born. One year later, Andrew, Michael and Garry Gary linked up with Kirk Pengilly and Andrew's brothers. The Farriss Brothers formed in 1977 and 20 years later remained unchanged in their lineup, a definite rarity in the music industry.
Apart from INXS, Andrew has produced and performed in many different projects. In 1983, Kirk Pengilly, Garry Gary Beers and himself recorded a one-off 12" single called Flaming Hands/Cast My Love. Andrew's most definitive and successful production outside of the band to date is with Australian singer Jenny Morris. In 1987 he produced Body & Soul, as well as playing keyboards, guitar and percussion. The album went on to triple platinum sales in Australia and put Jenny Morris on the map in Australian music. Andrew went on again to produce her next two albums, Shiver in 1989 and Salvation Jane in 1995. He has also co-wrote Our Generation on the 1994 album Freedom by Yothu Yindi, the acclaimed Aboriginal musicians from the Northern Territories. He also produced a record for Teddy Richards, Aretha Franklin's band mate guitarist and son.
1990 would prove to be another big year for Andrew. Apart from another hit album with INXS, he married actress/singer Shelley Banks on April 22nd, in the rural town of Berrima in New South Wales. Tim Farriss was his best man. The couple met 18 months earlier after a performance of HMS Pinafore, in which Shelley appeared. Andrew and Shelley's home now, after a few years living in England, is an old converted private girl's school in Sydney where they live with their 3 children, Grace, Josephine and Matthew.
Whilst touring the UK in 1993, Andrew was refused entry into one of his own gigs. Dressed in a pair of jeans and a black bomber jacket, Andrew turned to the bouncer. "But I'm in the band," he explains. Someone with a pass had to get Tim, who arrived on the scene moments later and bought Andrew in. "That was pretty embarrassing," smiles Andrew. Being behind the production of a song rather than in front of the camera has always been Andrew's style. The ultimate professional, he is a perfectionist in his art, and rightly so.
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