Entertainment People Injured INXS guitarist breaks down in court

Injured INXS guitarist breaks down in court

tim farriss court finger
Ciaran Gribbin and Tim Farriss (right) perform in Adelaide in 2012. Photo: Getty
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INXS’s injured lead guitarist has broken down after telling a court the rock band will likely not tour again.

Tim Farriss, 64, is suing the owners of Sydney boat Omega after his ring finger was severed in an accident in 2015.

While his brother and bandmate John Farriss made comments in 2012 suggesting the band had “very likely” performed its last show, the guitarist told the NSW Supreme Court he’d not stopped playing and believed the band could have continued.

He denied the band “retired” in 2012, saying it ceased to perform live.

“Will the band ever tour again?” the boat owner’s lawyer John Turnbull SC asked.

“Not now – I don’t think the band would ever tour without me,” Farriss replied before breaking down.

The court has been told the guitarist’s reattached ring finger is “useless” and composing is no longer possible.

Minutes earlier and after reluctance that his comments could hurt feelings and cause offence, Farriss said he’d considered replacing frontman Ciaran Gribbin with a more well-known singer after 2012.

After Jon Stevens and JD Fortune, Gribbin was the third singer the band had used since the 1997 death of founding member Michael Hutchence.

Gribbin was a better singer than Fortune but was even less well-known, Farriss said.

The guitarist dreamed of emulating the success of “good friends” Queen, who have in the past decade collaborated with American singer Adam Lambert.

“I had a vision of us getting a singer of great notoriety, it occurred to me to find someone much like Queen with Adam Lambert,” he said.

INXS has “other avenues we could have tried” but “as it turns out, I didn’t get that opportunity”, he said.

But Farriss’ assertion that he would have made substantial income by touring after 2015 is not backed by any admissible evidence, the defendants say.

Omega’s owners, John and Jill Axford, and the boat rental company they’d engaged also deny they failed in their duties to maintain the electric anchor winch equipment that resulted in the musician’s finger being hacked off.

They have told the court the musician and experienced boater’s evidence about what happened was “frankly, bizarre and unbelievable” and in fact, Farriss was at fault.

Farriss says the equipment on the 34-foot vessel malfunctioned and, as he attempted to fix it, his left hand was somehow caught by the chain and trapped between it and another part.

He only placed his hands near the chain “because I had to”.

“It was a scary device and I kept as far from it except where I found it was absolutely necessary,” he said on Tuesday.

“It was not operating when I put my hand anywhere near it.”

He denies he accidentally caused the injury by stepping on foot-operated buttons that move the anchor chain up and down.

The only other person on Omega at the time of the accident in Akuna Bay – the plaintiff’s wife, Beth Farriss – began giving evidence on Tuesday.

The court has been told her husband was complaining the anchor chain was twisted and leaning over the bow when she heard a “thunk” and him remark “It’s taken my finger!”

“That moment looking down is burnt into my brain,” she said.

The hearing continues.