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LIVE REVIEW: Jon Stevens – Mandurah, April 8th 2021

Jon Stevens - Mandurah 2021 | Photo Credit: Sharon Burgess

 

You know that the state borders are coming down and the country is starting to reopen when Jon Stevens comes to town.  Tonight was the first of three-side shows Stevens had managed to arrange for music-hungry fans and even though this is very much a similar set-list as his last visit back in 2019, it is filled with some of Australia’s best loved rock songs that were clearly written to induce as much crowd participation as possible and you can never tire of a songbook like that.

 

Once again it was Melbourne singer-songwriter Taylor Sheridan who had the job of warming the crowd and he did that just brilliantly.  With his charismatic delivery and crisp repertoire, Sheridan enchanted the crowd, who have been starved of interstate artists for over a year.  For me, Taylor is a kind of Ed Sheeran crossed with David Gray with a dusting of James Blunt… only far better.  His songs are catchy and extremely well performed and these are only enhanced by the individual short tales of how and why they are written.  It can never be easy to stand front & centre and even more so when not supported by a live band backing you up but tonight Taylor Sheridan absolutely nailed it, especially with his stunning version of ABBA’s ‘SOS’.

Dressed in black jeans, black open necked shirt & black suit jacket Jon Stevens skipped onto the stage and immediately fired off one of his biggest hits in ‘Touch’.  The response was instantaneous, as many in the room rose to their feet in unison.  “Hang on!  You’re allowed to dance here in WA?  Wow, you guys are progressing well!” joked Stevens before keeping his foot well & truly on the pedal with the first of eight songs from the INXS songbook in ‘New Sensation’.  And that’s how the set continued throughout the evening with alternating tracks from Noiseworks and INXS, which worked perfectly.  ‘Devil Inside’ & ‘Love Somebody’ continued the barrage of hits, with the front of stage a mass of dancing bodies, which clearly the band & Stevens appreciated.

Backed once again by his super-tight band of incredible musicians including a rythmn section comprising of drummer Johnny Salerno (Suzi Quatro, Vanesa Amorosi) and bassist Chris Bekker, Stevens teased & toyed with the Mandurah audience as he powered through the set-list, encouraging the crowd to sing along at every opportunity.  Jon is often dubbed ‘Rock Royalty’ here in the country he has made his home and it’s easy to see why – he seems to deliver the songs effortlessly but with such incredible emotion that you are hooked on every word & syllable.  Songs like the anthemic ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ forced the whole room to sway & sing in unison before that saxophone solo from the wonderful Glenn Reither allowed everyone a moment to fill their lungs once again.  Lead guitarist Sammy Vincent along with rythmn guitarist & lead backing vocalist Tony Kopa completed the line-up and all were allowed to shine throughout the seventeen-song set, especially when they were all introduced to the crowd one by one to show off their individual talents.

 

Jon Stevens - Mandurah 2021 | Photo Credit: Sharon Burgess

 

‘What Ya Need’, ‘No Lies’ & ‘Need You Tonight’ ensured the party atmosphere continued before another obvious favorite, ‘Hot Chili Woman’ threatened to take the roof off Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.  ‘Don’t Change’ & ‘Take Me Back’ completed the set with Stevens & his entourage leaving the stage to rapturous applause.  If they hadn’t  returned, I’m sure the whole room wouldn’t of complained but return they did and started the encore with a real treat.  ‘In My Youth’ is a track Jon admitted has not been played in a while and “we may mess it up”… but we didn’t care and even when Stevens had a slight vocal wobble, it was nothing a swig from his ‘magic’ cup couldn’t fix (“Vodka, the tea bag is a decoy” we were informed).  The night ended as it started, in full swing, as INXS’s ‘Kick’ completed this stunning night of live music.

The second of the side shows will see Jon & his band head further south to Bunbury before joining a star-studded sold out Red Hot Summer Tour line-up at Sandalford’s Winery in the Swan Valley, before his final show at Freo.Social in Fremantle on Sunday.  If you want a night of sing-a-long rock hits to take your mind off the worries of this troubling world, then this is one show you need to attend!  Bravo JS & his band, Bravo!

Set List: Touch, New Sensation, Burning Feeling, Devil Inside, Love Somebody, Original Sin, Miles & Miles, Never Tear Us Apart, Voice of Reason, What Ya Need, No Lies, Need You Tonight, Hot Chili Woman, Don’t Change, Take Me Back
Encore:  In My Youth, Kick

 

REMAINING WA DATES

Friday April 9 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury
Tix: https://www.moshtix.com.au

Saturday April 10 – Red Hot Summer Tour, Sandalford Winery, Swan Valley

Sunday April 11 – Freo.Social, Fremantle
Tix: https://www.moshtix.com.au

 

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INXS founding member Andrew Farriss shares his first solo concert

Andrew Farriss

 

Songwriter Andrew Farriss is best known as a founding member of legendary chart-toppers INXS. He played keyboards, guitar and sang backing vocals in the band –the songs he wrote with lead singer Michael Hutchence catapulted the group to international stardom that included sold-out arena and stadium tours, and more than 50 million album sales worldwide. INXS songs became the soundtrack of a generation and are still played on radio stations around the world on a daily basis. The music of INXS continues to inspire countless musicians globally.

With INXS not having any touring plans in the pipeline, and a swag of original material in his songbook, Andrew has now embarked on a solo career that sees him explore the Country-Americana genre.

Living on the land and running a working farm for the last 25 years, country music was never far from Andrew’s heart. Yet, it was a chance trip up to the Apache Pass along the Mexican border that set the musical direction for his first self-titled solo album. Andrew and his wife, Marlina, spent weeks horse-riding with good friends, cowboy wrangler Craig Lawson and his wife Tamara through the Chiricahua Mountains. The history of the area really captivated Andrew in a way that he wasn’t expecting, from the stories of the tumultuous fighting to the barren beautiful landscape. “I became quite enamoured with it, it became very real to me,” he says. “When I went back to Nashville, what I really wanted to do was write about that outlaw country that I just saw and the history of the area.”

Andrew is, first and foremost, always a songwriter. Consequently, when it came to writing material for his own album, he did what he had always done – throughout his years working with other artists and writing for INXS – he focused on writing good stories with great music. “I am really enjoying stepping out on my own with this album,” he says. “I love writing songs and telling stories that hopefully resonate with people. I have not followed any trends or formulas creating these songs. What I have written and recorded is different. I like different, different is good.”

After being asked so many times what people can expect musically from Andrew as a solo artist, he decided to record a live concert with his band and put it up on his Facebook and YouTube channel. Recorded in late 2020, when COVID lockdowns in Australia meant touring was off the cards. The concert features the songs from Andrew’s EP Love Makes The World, and is the perfect introduction to his solo work. The EP was released in mid 2020, to bridge the gap that the pandemic created when it was decided to postpone the album’s scheduled 2020 release. After waiting a year from the original planned release date of his self-titled album, Andrew decided to seize the day and stop waiting on the unknown and is now launching the album on March 19, 2021.

“I recorded the live EP set to give people an idea of what I am doing musically,” says Andrew. “The EP set is a little more diverse than the tracks on the album, but it is a good introduction into what is coming on March 19th when we release the album. Because of the pandemic regulations we were unable to have an audience for the concert recording, but now that it is up on my Facebook and YouTube, everyone watching will become the audience for my first solo live concert. I hope you enjoy it.”

Andrew’s debut self-titled album is released internationally through BMG/BBR on Friday 19th March 2021.

 

 

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TOUR NEWS: Jon Stevens brings the Noiseworks & INXS Collection tour to WA

Jon Stevens

 

After a sell-out tour in 2019 Jon is heading back to WA, tributing the legendary bands that catapulted him into Aussie Rock Royalty! Jon Stevens | The Noiseworks & INXS Collection Tour brings hits Take Me Back, New Sensation, Touch, Don’t Change, Hot Chilli Woman, Never Tear Us Apart, No Lies and more.

In 2018 a co-founding member of INXS, Andrew Farriss surprised Jon by entering the band room after not seeing each other in 15 years to say, “That was an awesome gig Jon, but you really need to do more INXS songs”.

Jon was on The Best of Jon Stevens Tour reflecting on his 40-year career, performing songs from Noiseworks, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Dead Daisies and his solo collection with just a couple of INXS classics. This reunion with his old friend with whom he’d shared the stage with around the world fronting INXS from 2000-2005 formed the idea for his new tour Jon Stevens | The Noiseworks and INXS Collection Tour.

The Tour brings hits Take Me Back, New Sensation, Touch, Don’t Change, Hot Chilli Woman, Never Tear Us Apart, No Lies and more.

These shows are an assault of the senses, with nothing but relentless hits! A visceral charge of emotion that will transport you back to 1987 and beyond including the INXS songs that were such a huge part of the soundtrack of our lives.

 

WA APRIL DATES

Thursday April 8 – Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
Tix: https://www.manpac.com.au

Friday April 9 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury
Tix: https://www.moshtix.com.au

Saturday April 10 – Red Hot Summer Tour, Sandalford Winery, Swan Valley

Sunday April 11 – Freo.Social, Fremantle
Tix: https://www.moshtix.com.au

 

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TOUR NEWS: Andrew Farriss announces tour dates in support of debut solo album

Andrew Farriss

 

To celebrate the release of his first solo album, legendary songwriter Andrew Farriss has announced a special run of tour dates throughout April and May. Andrew’s self-titled album, a collection of songs traversing roots, blues, Americana and country will be released internationally on March 19 through BMG. Andrew has assembled some of the best country musicians from around Australia to perform with him on the tour.

Andrew Farriss hardly needs an introduction to music fans. He is the man behind the songs that sold INXS more than 50-million albums throughout their career. His music with the band has been played constantly on radio stations around the world for over three decades.

Andrew is very excited to be performing again after a lengthy break from the road. The tour is not only the first solo tour undertaken by a member of INXS since the band stopped working live, it is also the debut of Andrew’s more country-influenced songwriting. “For me personally, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to share my music, and take my style of country music on tour, and play to the people who have supported my career to now, and hopefully some new faces as well,” he says. “Like so many others, we’ve had friends and family whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19, so to be able to take my music out and perform it live around Australia, is a really humbling experience.”

The next single from Andrew’s album is released on March 5. Run Baby Run is the perfect prelude for what music-lovers can expect from his album, and the live shows in general. A big song with a vivid story, Andrew effortlessly weaves an old-time reverie with an outlaw country sentiment.

Joining Andrew on his album tour is two-time Golden Guitar winner Andrew Swift. Since finding his feet in the Australian country scene as a Toyota Starmaker grand-finalist in 2017, Andrew Swift as gone from strength-to-strength, his debut album Call Out For the Cavalry debuted at #1 on the ARIA Australian Country Charts.

“I’m pleased to have Andrew Swift on board with this tour,” says Andrew. “He is a mate of mine.”

Spend an evening with one of Australia’s most successful and respected artists and experience the craftmanship and beauty of his music and the stories told within the songs. This is a rare opportunity to be taken on a journey through places, emotions, observations and the personal experience of a true legend of the Australian music industry. These shows have limited capacity due to COVID-safe protocols, so book now to avoid missing out on what will be an awesome night of music with Andrew Farriss and his friends.

Andrew Farriss will release his self-titled debut album on Friday 19th March 2021 through BMG. Andrew’s new single, Run Baby Run, is released on Friday 5th March 2021.

 

APRIL 2021 TOUR DATES

Friday 9th April 2021
The Royal Hotel, QUEANBEYAN NSW
Early Show Doors at 5.30pm | Late Show Doors at 8.30pm
www.royalhotelqbn.com.au

Saturday 10th April 2021
Heritage Hotel, BULLI NSW
Early Show Doors at 5.30pm | Late Show Doors at 9pm
www.heritagehotel.com.au

Friday 16th April 2021
Lizottes, NEWCASTLE NSW
Doors at 6pm | Show Starts at 8.30pm
www.lizottes.com.au

Saturday 17th April 2021
Manly Leagues Club, MANLY NSW
Early Show Doors at 6pm | Late Show Doors at 9pm
www.manyleagues.com.au

Saturday 23rd April 2021
Paddington RSL Club, PADDINGTON NSW
Early Show Doors at 6pm | Late Show Doors at 9pm
www.paddorsl.com.au

Saturday 24th April 2021
Brass Monkey, CRONULLA NSW
Early Show Doors at 5.30pm | Late Show Doors at 8.30pm
www.brassmonkey.com.au

MAY 2021 TOUR DATES

Friday 7th May 2021
Thornbury Theatre, THORNBURY VIC
Doors at 8pm
www.thornburytheatre.com.au

Friday 14th May 2021
NightQuarter, SUNSHINE COAST QLD
Doors at 6pm
www.nightwyarter.com.au

Saturday 15th May 2021
Fitzy’s, LOGANHOLME QLD
Doors at 8pm
www.fitzysloganholme.com.au

Sunday 16th May 2021
Wallaby Hotel, MUDGEERABA QLD
Doors at 3pm
www.wallabyhotel.com.au

Friday 21st May 2021
Freo Social, FREMANTLE WA
Doors at 8pm
www.freo.social

Saturday 22nd May 2021
The Charles Hotel, NORTH PERTH WA
Doors at 8pm
www.charleshotel.com.au

Friday 28th May 2021
The Gov, ADELAIDE SA
Doors 7.30pm
www.thegov.com.au

For more information, or to book tickets please visit www.andrewfarriss.com

 

Andrew Farriss

 

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TOUR NEWS: Songwriter Andrew Farriss announces string of intimate tour dates in April & May 2021

Andrew Farriss

 

Legendary songwriter, and founding member of INXS, Andrew Farriss will be performing a number of intimate shows in April and May 2021 to celebrate the release of his first solo album. Andrew’s self-titled LP features a selection of eclectic songs with a unique blend of rhythm, roots, Americana and country influences. The album, which is set for a 19 March 2021 release, follows the 2020 release of Andrew’s critically acclaimed EP Love Makes The World – a wonderful mix of folk, ballad, contemporary and experimental songs that focus on humans and their relationships with each other and also with the earth.

Andrew’s songs have sold INXS of fifty million albums during his career (pun intended). He is one of Australia’s most successful songwriters of all time with his works being played constantly on radio around the world over the last 40 years. In January 2020, he was honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), acknowledging his considerable contribution to music.

Andrew released his debut country single, Come Midnight, in 2019, aptly demonstrating his versatility as a songwriter and endearing him to country music fans. His follow-up single, Good Momma Bad, which he debuted at Tamworth Country Music Festival this January, helped cement Andrew as a formidable presence on the country-roots scene. His last single, All The Stars Are Mine from his recently released EP, Love Makes The World, continued to showcase the many facets of Andrew’s songwriting.

Spend an evening with one of Australia’s most successful and respected artists and experience the craftsmanship and beauty of his music, and the stories that lay within his songs. Be taken on a journey through places, emotions, observations and the personal experiences of a true legend of the Australian music industry.

These shows have limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions so book now to avoid missing out on what will be an awesome night of music with Andrew Farriss and his friends.

Andrew Farriss will release his self-titled debut album on 19 March 2021 through BMG.

 

TOUR DATES

Friday 9th April 2021
Royal Queanbeyan Hotel, QUEANBEYAN NSW
Early Show Doors at 5.30pm | Late Show Doors at 8.30pm
www.royalhotelqbn.com.au

Saturday 10th April 2021
Heritage Hotel, BULLI NSW
Early Show Doors at 5.30pm | Late Show Doors at 9pm
www.heritagehotel.com.au

Friday 16th April 2021
Lizottes, NEWCASTLE NSW
Doors at 6pm | Show Starts at 8.30pm
www.lizottes.com.au

Saturday 17th April 2021
Manly Leagues Club, MANLY NSW
Early Show Doors at 6pm | Late Show Doors at 9pm
www.manyleagues.com.au

Saturday 23rd April 2021
Paddington RSL Club, PADDINGTON NSW
Early Show Doors at 6pm | Late Show Doors at 9pm
www.paddorsl.com.au

Saturday 24th April 2021
Brass Monkey, CRONULLA NSW
Early Show Doors at 5.30pm | Late Show Doors at 8.30pm
www.brassmonkey.com.au

Friday 8th May 2021
Thornbury Theatre, THORNBURY VIC
Doors at 8pm
www.thornburytheatre.com.au

Friday 14th May 2021
NightQuarter, SUNSHINE COAST QLD
Doors at 6pm
www.nightwyarter.com.au

Saturday 15th May 2021
Fitzy’s, LOGANHOLME QLD
Doors at 8pm
www.fitzysloganholme.com.au

Sunday 16th May 2021
Wallaby Hotel, MUDGEERABA QLD
Doors at 3pm
www.wallabyhotel.com.au

Friday 21st May 2021
Freo Social, FREMANTLE WA
Doors at 8pm
www.freo.social

Saturday 22nd May 2021
The Charles Hotel, NORTH PERTH WA
Doors at 8pm
www.charleshotel.com.au

For more information, or to book tickets
please visit www.andrewfarriss.com

 

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INTERVIEW: Andrew Farriss (solo artist, ex-INXS)

Andrew Farriss

 

2020 has delivered one of the most frustrating & difficult years for artists all across the globe with tours, album releases & even the ability to get together in the studio near on impossible for some.  For ex-INXS songwriter, ARIA Hall of Famer and most recently a Member of the Order of Australia Andrew Farriss, it was to be an exciting year that was to see him release his long-awaited debut solo album, following on from the success of his first two single releases ‘Come Midnight’ and ‘Good Momma Bad’.  The pandemic forced Farriss to drastically rethink his plans and take a slightly different path but having a long & decorated career spanning over forty years has it’s benefits, as over that period of time Andrew had written and collected a catalogue of songs and collaborations that had sat dormant waiting to surface when the time was right. 

Well, that time was October 2nd and the result is the wonderful EP ‘Love Makes the World’, a collection of five very different tracks with collaborations from artists such as Suzi DeMarchi (Baby Animals), Ciaran Gribbin, Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams) and close friend Jon Stevens (Noiseworks & INXS) and is a very different feel & vibe to what is expected on Farriss’s delayed debut album which is expected to be released in 2021. 

The Rockpit has had the pleasure of following Andrew’s solo journey since the release of ‘Come Midnight’ back in August 2019 and once again we spoke to a jovial Farriss while at home on his working cattle farm near Tamworth in New South Wales and found him eager to talk about how the EP came to fruition, discusses a couple of the tracks in more detail and tells us a bit about his wonderful hats.

 

AF:         Hey Sean.

Sean:     Good morning Andrew, how are you doing?

AF:         Yeah, I’m good thanks.  How are you going?

Sean:     I’m very well thank you.  Before we start, I just wanted to wish you and your Marlina a belated happy anniversary.  I saw the little vid clip you posted where you were mouthing the words to one of your own songs [laughs]

AF:         [laughs] Thanks, I appreciate that.  We’ve had quite a ride Marlina & I and I’m lucky to have her in my life.  That night was sort of funny and sort of not [laughs].  I had just released ‘All The Stars Are Mine’ and the next minute we were having a couple of days off together, doing whatever we were doing walking around in the bush up in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and spending some anniversary time together.  We went to dinner and the restaurant staff recognized me, they were really sweet, and they put the EP on.  Well, let me tell you it’s not the most romantic thing when you are taking your wife out to dinner and she looks at me and says, “That’s your bloody music!” [laughs] and that’s why I was being a goon and singing to her because I had to do something to lighten the moment.

Sean:     It was wonderful to see you share that.

AF:         Ah good, good and how have you been?

Sean:     Very well thank you.  We’ve been extremely lucky over here in the West with a sense of some normality especially with live music and venues being able to be open.  Original music seems to have been supported better than ever and a lot of shows & gigs are selling out due to restricted numbers.  It’s still very much in the back of your mind that things can take a turn for the worse very quickly if we don’t stick to the guidelines & advice but to see original music being supported like this is very refreshing & encouraging.

AF:         I’m really pleased to hear that, in fact I’m really jealous.  I wish I could come over to the West, in fact talking of our anniversary Marlina & I usually come across to the West because we love it over there and because I’m originally from the West.  I would probably would have moved there again except that I have three adult children who I love very dearly and who live in New South Wales.

Sean:     And of course, your farm.

AF:         Yeah, there you go and that [laughs]

Sean:     Well, congratulations on the EP ‘Love Makes the World’ and you’ve thrown me more curve balls because once again it’s quite different to the first two singles you have already released.  I suppose with that in mind, my first question is are these five tracks songs that were never expected to go on the album that was due out last May?

AF:         Yeah, that’s a good question and your right.  When we last caught up, I was in the process of releasing my self-titled LP and of course I had already released ‘Come Midnight’ and ‘Good Momma Bad’ and then the pandemic kicked in around March and the record label called me nervously and said, “Look Andrew, we love your album but…” and at first I thought to myself, “uh-oh”, you know and they said, “…we really think that a lot of people in the offices within Australia and the United States as well as Europe have all gone home to self-isolate so we just don’t have the people to promote it properly for you.  We suggest you just pause it.”  I felt that was pretty good advice, but I was frustrated because that meant changing my plans and then I thought what you just said.

Luckily, I had recorded some other songs which were a very different sort of flavor to what I think my album is and so I was walking around thinking those songs like ‘Love Makes The World’, Tears In The Rain’, ‘My Brother’ they are very sort of emo songs, I guess is a good word.  They are kind of emotional based songs, ‘First Man on Earth’ and all that and ‘All The Stars Are Mine’ so I took the idea to the label and said, “Look I’ve got these other songs and I think they really suit what we are all going through right now.  Do you think it’s a good idea to put them out?”  I honestly thought they would say no they wouldn’t do that, but they went, “Yeah, we love it!” and then next thing here I am doing it.

Sean:     What’s great about this EP release is that fans of your music have been blessed with something a little extra that we may not have got to hear if it hadn’t been for the pandemic.

AF:         Your right.  Actually, you’re quite correct.

Sean:     When we received the press release with the track listings and names of who you had collaborated with, I noticed ‘My Brother’ was a co-write with Jon Stevens so I dropped him a text saying I was looking forward to hearing it and he replied almost immediately, “So am I!  We wrote it back in 2002!” [laughs]

AF:         [laughs] Yeah, I know right.  Jon and I have been communicating quite a bit recently.  We’ve always stayed friends and he’s such a talented guy… an amazing talent really and when I grow up I hope I can sing like him [laughs] but I was going to say we worked on a few songs actually back a long time ago and one of those was ‘My Brother’.  But you know Sean, I never felt entirely comfortable with putting this song out because I wanted to make sure Jon was ok with it too because to me it’s not just about me, it’s about him in the song too, you know.  I was a bit hesitant about releasing the song and one thing I don’t do is jump on a wagon train of people in a funeral procession.  I’m not one of those people but I felt with this song and with what we’ve been going through… people at this moment in time are experiencing loss with this dreadful virus that has people literally passing away, people can’t see family, they can’t visit anyone or travel anywhere so I figured with that song being about loss it was about time it came out.

Sean:     It’s increasingly prominent too with the highlighted increase in mental health issues that have worsened due to the pandemic and which in some instances can lead to that most difficult of subjects, suicide.

AF:         Yes, it’s a dreadful thing.  All I can say about all of that is that often the warning signs are very subtle.  You don’t really know what is going on with anyone.  You can be talking to someone straight to their face and then the next day they are gone.  Probably if you were trained as a psychiatrist or professionally medically trained you may pick up certain signs but when you are in the course of life and everyone is busy, and you’ve got responsibilities it so difficult.  I think the most important message I would say to anyone who is struggling with depression or that sort of thing is, and I know this is going to sound really odd, but change your diet, eat properly, eat fruit & vegetables, try and look after your physical health, exercise a bit and you’d be surprised.  Also try to talk to someone about what you’re going through and let someone know you are struggling because sometimes verbalizing your inner fears or concerns is worth its weight in gold.

 

Andrew Farriss - Love Makes The World

 

Sean:     I know we have R U OK? Day but maybe we should make that every day?  I think that’s so important.

AF:         That’s it.  I’m sure we all go through life where we have ups and we have downs.  I think it’s how we handle both extremes and without sounding like the Dalai Lama but to calm the farm and live in between is where you’ve got to be.

Sean:     So true.  I know it’s a sensitive subject so thank you for touching on it.  One of the tracks that really intrigues me is ‘First Man on Earth’.  I don’t want to tarnish my Rockpit reputation by announcing my secret love of Robbie Williams’ music but some of the songs that Guy Chambers wrote at their peak together were epic.  How did you and Guy get together?  I’m guessing this was mid-2000’s when you co-wrote this track?

AF:         Yeah, it’s interesting because what happened was quite funny.  Someone said to me the other day, “Hey Andrew, I see you have a new EP out.  You know EPs are really old fashioned.” And I said, “No shit, right! [laughs] I know they are.”  I told him the idea originally was that I wanted to put out four tracks on vinyl but then the vinyl factory shut down… I was full steam ahead doing all this and then the label suggested that as I had a really strong EP to go the whole package and put one more song on there that was a bit left of centre.  My wife Marlina reminded me that I had this song ‘First Man on Earth’ that I’d written all those years ago with Guy Chambers and when I played it to the label they said it had to go on there and then the vinyl factory closed so it went digital on the DSP platforms.

How it came about though was that I was writing a few songs with Guy at the time.  I had gotten on to him because as song writers I had heard of him and he had heard of me so there was this mutual respect thing going on there.  What actually happened with this song in particular was that I think Guy had a family commitment or something like that one morning and so I came into the studio early because I like to work early in the morning… I’m a bit strange like that compared to a lot of people in the music industry.  So, I came in early and he had a room full of analogue synthesizers and I thought, “I know how to work these.” [laughs] So, I said to the engineer to just roll it and record it.  Guy walked into the room and asked me what I’d been doing, thinking I would have come up with some snappy three-minute pop song and I said no and nervously played him what I’d been doing [laughs] and he was like, “What?” so he sits down and we both grabbed a pencil and paper and we put the lyric together.  I love the lyric because ‘First Man on Earth’ is really talking about the fact that whether we like it or not we are still biological human species but we seem to be ever increasingly interested in technology and that’s what this song is about.

Sean:     When I first listened to the track, and I know a really bad human trait we have it to compare something we hear with something else and your brain automatically tries to work out where you’ve heard that sound or riff before.  The first thing I got was Jean-Michel Jarre from the opening segment and then it gave me a bit of a Pink Floyd vibe as I got deeper into the song.  It’s one of the standout tracks for me – I love it.

AF:         Cool.  It’s been a rough sleeper as a song goes because Guy always told me he liked it too but its eight minutes and eight seconds long for God’s sake [laughs]. Yeah, it sounds great anyway but who wants to spend eight minutes and eight seconds listening to a song when we have the attention span of a bird these days with technology.  It’s a miracle it’s out at all really but a couple of people have also said the Jean-Michel Jarre thing to me and I have had a couple of Floyd things too but I take it as a great compliment given that I had to try and play a Dave Gilmour style guitar solo at the end of it [laughs] which was challenging, put it that way.  For me what I really love about the song is the lyric.

Sean:     Did I hear bongos underneath the guitar?

AF:         [laughs] Yeah, there are congas on there.

Sean:     Ah, I thought I heard them.  Something I noticed on this EP is how the different instruments that you use change the feel & style of the music.  That might be blatantly obvious to most people, but I noticed it more on ‘Love Makes the World’.  If you removed the uke and the more country style instruments that are on there it would almost change that song to a completely different genre.

AF:         That’s exactly right.  A lot of what I originally set out to do, even from when we started talking about what I’d been doing, I deliberately set myself a challenge to try wherever possible on all of the rest of the recordings I’m making to use more traditional style instruments and not rely so much on some of the pop thing or rock thing but just to work with the old school instruments and try to navigate them as much as I can and to get the same sort of feel I may get from more technical instruments.  We are going through a lot of transition in the world at the moment and I don’t just mean the pandemic, I mean its even really hard to work out where things musically are going at the moment.  I would hate to think that the next generation of musicians don’t know how to play old school instruments but just know how to push buttons – it’s pretty weird.

 

Andrew Farriss

 

Sean:     I can definitely pick up instruments like the fiddles, the lap steels in there and some of the slide guitar work is beautiful.  It’s so subtle in places, it’s wonderful.  In fact, I purchased a copy of the EP off your site the other week and it arrived the other day with a lovely signed note from you, so thank you for that.

AF:         You’re welcome mate.  Do you want me to pay you back? [laughs]

Sean:     [laughs] No, that’s very kind but it’s worth every penny.  One question I’ve been meaning to ask since we first spoke last year is where do you get your fantastic hats from?

AF:         [laughs] People do ask me that.  Well I’ve got to be honest I get them handmade for me because when I first started looking at wearing a hat… first of all where I live out in the bush is about four and a half to five hours inland from the coast, so it doesn’t feel as beachy and certainly not a lush as other places I’ve been to in my life so I’m more in the bush and getting out more towards the outback.  A lot of the people who live around me dress as though they are in the country music industry, which is quite funny to me in one sense, but that is their natural way to dress.

But you have got to wear a hat when you’re in the bush firstly and secondly I began to recognize when I started trying on all these different hats that I needed an education in hats and as I began to buy hats I began to recognize that a lot of my journey is that same as the instruments, I began to get interested in to how these things turned into cowboy hats.  I began to realize, if you watch a lot of the older westerns like ‘Tombstone’ that a lot of the older didn’t have the curled up lips on the hats, they were flat brimmed and they had round tops on the quite often, not the dented typical cowboy hats and that’s because a lot of the hats originally came from Europe or they were campaign military hats.  They weren’t a fashion item… well I guess they were but didn’t look like a modern cowboy hat and that intrigued me.  So I get my hats handmade for me, I suppose that sounds a bit posh but that’s what I like to do and it means if I walk into a room, no one else has got one [laughs]

Sean:     Can you actually walk into a room wearing them because some of them have huge brims [laughs]

AF:         [laughs] Yeah, if I take a crowbar with me, I can fit through the door but mostly I’m pretty good with all that and they are great because they keep the sun off your head.

Sean:     I think it was last time we spoke about the comparisons with the cowboys of the wild west and the Australian bush rangers so living where you are must be the closest thing you can get to the wild west in the US.

AF:         Well exactly.  Literally I drive into the small town where my farm is and there are still bullet holes in the door of one of the pubs from a bush ranger years ago, you know.  That’s the area where I live, and I just love that.  I couldn’t foresee when we first spoke to each other the craziness of the world right now with this pandemic.  I couldn’t see it coming.  I’m sure other people couldn’t either, which is why we are in such a mess but I think back then what I really didn’t understand either was that coming from three years of having severe drought out in the bush areas where my neighbors & I live then dealing with the catastrophic bush fires and now going through this pandemic and hopefully coming out the other side of it because it’s been raining pretty well this year.  I’m just hoping that next year, please dear God that he is going to give us some solace & comfort, you know, and it will be good for everybody.

Sean:     The east coast of Australia has certainly been dealt some pretty difficult hands so let’s hope things improve.  Andrew, once again we have run out of time and this always happens when we chat because I always have so many things to talk to you about, but one question I would love to finish with is one of my regular ones if I may.

AF:         Of course.

Sean:     If you could be credited with writing any song ever written, what song would you choose?

AF:         Hmmm… I’m confused as to what the song is actually called.  ‘Scarborough Fair’ or ‘Canticle’ by Simon & Garfunkel.  I love that song.  Its beautiful.  I love the way the lyric morphs into being about a soldier going off to war.  It starts off and you think that it’s a pretty little song and then you realize nearer the end that it’s actually quite dark.  But it’s such a beautiful song.

Sean:     I didn’t know that.  I will need to revisit this song now.  Andrew, once again I just thank you for your time.  It’s always an absolute pleasure to get to talk to you.  I’m looking forward to the album even more now.

AF:         Thanks mate.  Look just be careful out there Sean and hope we chat again soon.  That would be great.

Sean:     Likewise, and when you finally get to come back over to WA hopefully, we can catch up and have a proper chat.  It would be great to see you.

AF:         I’d love to do that.  Thanks Sean.

 

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