INXS guitarist Tim Farriss has told a Sydney court that a 2015 boat accident that severed his finger has left him in “forced retirement”, adding that he doesn’t think INXS will tour without him.
As the ABC reports, Farriss caught the ring finger of his left hand in the electric anchor of a boat he hired from John Axford, after taking it out with his wife, Beth, in Sydney’s northern beaches over the 2015 Australia Day long weekend.
Axford had provided Farriss with details via text on how to repair kinks in “a rusty and dirty” anchor chain, but Farriss ultimately severed the finger. The musician underwent surgery in an attempt to repair the finger but was left with permanent damage.
Farriss is suing for negligence and breach of Australian Consumer Law, as well as damages. Part of the 64-year-old’s case is that he should have been given more instruction from Axford, that the equipment should have been better maintained and there should have been warning signs of any risks associated.
Axford and his wife Jill have denied claims of negligence, arguing Farriss failed to act with reasonable care.
When asked by his barrister Adrian Williams how we would describe his occupation in a court hearing on Monday (August 30), the guitarist replied, “forced retirement.” Williams also said Farriss’ reattached finger was “useless” and the musician was depressed.
Because Farriss is suing for damages including future loss of income, part of the guitarist’s cross-examination included pressing him on INXS’ future touring plans. During a 2012 show in Perth, drummer Jon Farriss had unexpectedly said it would likely be the band’s last performance. A few days later, INXS issued a statement confirming their official retirement from touring.
However, Tim told the court he thinks Jon’s statement “was a way we could move on without Ciaran Gribbin as our singer”, referring to the vocalist who performed with them during 2011-2012.
When directly asked if he thinks the band will tour again, Farriss replied, “I don’t think the band would tour without me.”
The defendant’s barrister John Turnbull claimed the band hadn’t achieved “anywhere near” the success they did with the late Michael Hutchence as their vocalist.
At one point, Turnbull asked Farriss, “By the time you injured your fingers … the glory days for INXS were well and truly over weren’t they?” to which he replied, “That’s a matter of opinion.”
Turnbull also claimed Farriss is “downplaying” his “extensive” experience with boats.
“At some point, Mr Farriss must have loosened the winch clutch and stepped on the up button or perhaps the down button, but of course only he knows what happened,” Turnbull said.
“Our case is this is a misadventure, sadly, by Mr Farriss who has undoubtedly been injured as a result of, somehow or another, the chain and his fingers … coming into contact with each other.”
A paramedic’s notes also included that “[Farriss’] foot accidentally touched the switch which operates the winch”, which Farriss denies telling the paramedic.
The court case has continued over the week.