“We have very high expectations for ourselves and take what we do very seriously. INXS is a most beautiful gift, and I thank all our fans for supporting us for all these years.” Jon Farriss
A drummer’s drummer by any standards, Jon Farriss knows his craft well and has been a prolific writer and producer inside and outside of INXS for many years.
The youngest of the Farriss brothers, Jonathon James Farriss was born August 10, 1961 in Perth, Western Australia. Turning pro at 16, Jon had begun learning the drums at just four years old. As part of cover band Top Cat, he gained invaluable experience with different musical styles including rock and cabaret. A chance jam between members of Jon’s brother’s two bands (Guiness and Doctor Dolphin) led to him joining them to become The Farriss Brothers. When the Farriss family moved from Sydney to Perth in 1978 with Jon still in school, the entire band followed in order to stay together until he could graduate and play full time for what was to eventually become INXS in 1979.
“I see him as being a little like Scotty on the Starship Enterprise, you know, holding the ship together, running the engine.” Kirk Pengilly
When Jon, Gary and Andrew played on Richard Clapton’s highly regarded The Great Escape, it marked the start of Jon’s solo work within the band. ‘You Never Used To Cry’ was the first in a string of compositions by Jon to be used as “b-sides” to INXS’s singles. Others include ‘I’m Over You,’ ‘Everybody Wants U Tonight’ and ‘Deepest Red’, each developing in sophistication as Jon grew as a musician. His co-writing of hot INXS album tracks such as ‘Old World New World’ (Shabooh Shoobah), ‘Faith In Each Other’ (X) and ‘Back On Line’ (Welcome To Wherever You Are) have also yielded hits with ‘Disappear’ in 1990 (X), and ‘The Gift’ in 1993 (Full Moon Dirty Hearts).
During INXS’s 2003 involvement with the annual “Night Of The Proms” in Europe, a unique situation for Jon presented itself with the subbing for ailing drummer supremo Simon Phillips in Toto, who were also performing in the month long orchestral rock program. Quickly learning the tricky time changes of songs such as ‘Africa’ and ‘Rosanna’ was no easy feat, but doing double duty with Toto and INXS pushed Jon to a new level of musicality.
In a defining moment of ‘the pupil meets his master’, Jon appeared on stage with Ringo Starr in February 2013, during Ringo’s All Starr Band performance in Sydney. With Ringo singing, Jon played Ringo’s drums to The Beatles’ song “With A Little Help From My Friends.” He was also invited and recognized on stage by Nile Rodgers in Sydney’s iconic Opera House, where Nile recalled, “My inspiration to work with INXS was after seeing their drummer Jon Farriss perform live, when the band were playing on a festival with Hall & Oates.”
2010 saw Jon as co-executive producer on INXS’s tribute album, “Original Sin”. He co-produced several tracks on that album featuring artists including Rob Thomas, Ben Harper, Tricky, John Mayer and Pat Monahan.
In recent years, an elaborate portable home studio allows Jon to pursue new personal musical projects.