Andrew Farriss AM
ANU Coombs Fellow
(Keyboards, vocals , guitar, songwriter, record producer )
Andrew was born on March 27, 1959 in Perth, Western Australia, the second of the Farriss siblings.
He began writing songs at 14 years old, first on a 1950s upright Beale piano – he was playing piano at nine – before expanding to guitar at 17.
While at Davidson High in Sydney he began writing for his high school bands.
One of these, Doctor Dolphin, included two future INXS members, his best friend Michael Hutchence and Garry Beers.
Andrew met Michael in the school yard, where Michael was being bullied and Andrew stepped in and intervened, cementing their life-long friendship.
Andrew and Michael developed as INXS’s main writers.
“We wrote over 300 songs together,” Andrew relates. “It was definitely fate we found common ground as school kids with songwriting.”
“And it was important when The Farriss Brothers later formed and eventually changed its name to INXS as that was when the pressure really came on to constantly write chart hits, whilst touring endlessly.”
Some of their award-winning hits were “Original Sin”, “What You Need” and “Need You Tonight & Never Tear Us Apart.”
Speaking on why INXS songs still resonate through generations, Andrew explains, “For it to really work, you have to have a feel for what people like to listen to – you need to know what excites them as well as what excites yourself”.
As for which song he thinks most sums up the spirit or style of INXS, he suggests “Never Tear Us Apart “, explaining, “The name of that song sums it all up, really.”
As for how he feels when he’s out and about and hears INXS music: “Many different emotions go through my mind and heart.
“With the INXS recordings I have vivid memories of where the song was written and how it was recorded, sometimes maybe good or bad things were happening at that time in life and the many national and international INXS career moment memories.”
In 2015, Andrew was awarded a Coombs Fellowship with The Australian National University in Canberra where he lectured and mentored students culminating in the Soundbites Concert, sharing the stage with the ANU student musicians.
In 2020, Andrew was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for his contributions to music and as an Ambassador for the Nordoff Robbins Charity institute and within the wider Australian community. He attended the official ceremony at Government House with his youngest children Josephine and Matthew (his eldest is Grace).
“Having family present made it very special for me, as I was a little nervous with the formal nature of the ceremony.”
“I am humbled and deeply grateful to the Australians who considered me for the award.”
On October 4, 2013, Andrew married for the second time, to Marlina Neeley, at Cay Pointe Villa Resort in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, USA.
They live on a farm in regional New South Wales near the country music capital Tamworth.
Andrew continues to be involved with INXS projects and is passionate about the bands enduring career.
As a solo artist, Andrew also released a 5 track EP titled “Love Makes The World“ and recently released a self-titled 12 new song solo country roots album. Andrew continues to perform music live, write songs and also produce records for other artists, most recently for the First Nation artist known as YIRRMAL from NE Arnhem Land.
Andrew was nominated for the 2021 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for Most Performed Australian Work and Most Performed Pop Work for Dua Lipa’s “Break My Heart” for the songs interpolation of Andrew’s iconic rhythm guitar melody from “Need You Tonight”