Asians such fresh fans
IT was just another hectic day in the life of band INXS. Flying in from Taipei in the morning, meeting the press in the afternoon, and dashing off to the concert hall for a sound check in the evening for the big show that night.
Over 30,000 Hong Kong fans were expected for the two concerts that concluded the band's 10-day ''Dirty Honeymoon'' tour of Asia.
The band's keyboardist and song-writer Andrew Farriss says: ''It feels good to be in Hong Kong.
''It's a homecoming of sorts for Michael (Hutchence) and Jon (Andrew's brother), and I was here for two weeks in 1987 writing material for the album Kick. '' Song-writing has always been Farriss' forte. He leaves the public excesses of a rock star to ''front man'' Michael. He says he is more at ease communicating through the raw strains of his electric guitar than by talking to the press.
''INXS has always been a people's band,'' Farriss says. ''Touring is great, but it's like you're packing your bags, travelling and performing.
''The '80s were really about playing to live audiences, but on the last couple of albums, we concentrated on getting more prolific in the recording studio.'' The Australian band, which has been together for 17 years, has averaged one album a year since 1990, considerably more than what most rock groups achieve.
Their 10th and most innovative so far is Full Moon , Dirty Hearts , heavy with jazz-funk influences.
In many ways, the album represented a back-to-basics approach the band was keen to adopt. In April last year, the band launched on their ''Get Out of the House'' tour, playing to capacity crowds in pubs, clubs and small venues across three continents.
The Asian leg of the world tour, which began on February 15 in Singapore, brought the band face to face with their Asian fans, who had endured repeated concert cancellations in the past.
''I think audiences in Asia are a lot less jaded than in Europe or the US,'' Farriss observes.
''Everyone in the group contributes. The irony is that a lot of people don't know that I write most of the music, but that doesn't bother me. I know it's me and that's enough.'' Fariss met lead singer Michael Hutchence when the latter transferred from King George V School in Hong Kong.
''Michael is fascinating to the press because he is so reckless, there is this image of the larger-than-life rock star, and he's very good at being that.'' A family man with two daughters, Farriss jets between international concert venues and home, which is England.
So how does the soft-spoken star keep it all together? He looks up and deadpans: ''I'm sober.''