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INXS basking in glow of self-tribute album

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011

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The members of INXS were “honored” that so many artists — including John Mayer, Train’s Pat Monahan, Ben Harper, Nikka Costa and others — were willing to sing new versions of the group’s hits on this year’s “Original Sin” album. But more eye-opening was the different directions many of the songs took in their new incarnations.

And that was “fairly scary at first” for Andrew Farriss, who wrote most of the group’s material with late frontman Michael Hutchence.

“I kind of let go of the steering wheel, which caused me some anxiety,” explains Farriss, 52, one of three brothers in the Australian-based band. “I had to look around amongst my bandmates and sort of say to the guys, ‘What do you think about this?’ and let go of the control thing.

“But it led us to think about how you re-approach your own music when you’ve performed it live in front of millions of people. It’s amazing how you don’t think that you can do it in a different way, but it’s really just up to you and what you limit yourself to do, or not to do, in the end.”

The exercise has also gotten INXS thinking about making an album of new material — its first since “Switch” six years ago. The remaining quintet from the original band also feels confident that JD Fortune, the Canadian singer who won the 2005 “Rock Band: INXS” reality TV show, is now even more ready to front the group.

“He’s changed a lot,” guitarist Tim Farriss, 54, says of Fortune, who sang on “Switch” and on the “Original Sin” version of “The Stairs.”

“When he first joined the ranks I think he was sort of lost in space. I don’t think he quite realized what he was signing up for, and he took on all of the sort of things we used to do back in the ’80s and went sort of haywire.

“I think now he understands he’s part of a family and really appreciates that and wants to still be part of the family. He’s thriving and he’s trying his hardest to be part of that, and he’s doing a great job. He’s singing better then I’ve ever heard him sing and singing songs he said he couldn’t before. It’s really kind of thrilling.”

INXS and Berlin perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $35.50-$68.50. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com. NOTE: New $10 main floor seats have just been released. Buy online.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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