Published: July 2018
Along for the Ride is not just another tale of a world-famous rock band, laced with wild stories, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Although, when the band in question is INXS, the Australian phenomenon that achieved worldwide hits over three decades, there's no shortage of interesting material to include.
Along for the Ride is a first-hand witness account, to the meteoric rise of the band, as told by early landlord, friend and staunch supporter, David Clement.
In 1979, the knockabout racing driver and car dealer was contacted by a young member of a local band, then called The Farriss Brothers, requesting the use of David's racing workshop in Brookvale, on Sydney's northern beaches, as a rehearsal base. Bemused, David cleared an area and as money was tight, charged $5.00 a week for electricity.
The young group - initially brothers Andrew, Tim and Jon Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, Garry Beers and Michael Hutchence - honed their songsmanship, playing ability, and relationships in the workshop, under David's appreciative eye. The band would go from humble beginnings with a cult-following on Sydney's northern beaches, to international success and sold-out stadium performances.
David stayed with them for the ride.
"They were relentless with their heavy workload, touring schedules and the effort they put in to achieve their dreams," David says. "I believe that having three brothers, and the other three members all as friends since their school days, was a part of the foundation for their success. It was a tight-knit `family affair' from the start."
David often accompanied the band on their national and international tours, and has crammed the book with the sorts of hi-jinks that rock stars inevitably get up to. Yet their success was built on a formula of friendship, hard work and of course, genuine talent.
"They had bad days, when not everybody agreed on certain matters - as happens in any relationship," David says. "But I must say, I travelled with them to every capital city in Australia, to L.A., Las Vegas and other US venues, and I never witnessed any major blow-ups among them. And the band line-up remained the same until after almost 20 years together the sad departure of Michael Hutchence occurred.".
The friendship was always reciprocal. Ten years on from their first meeting, the band sponsored David several times at the Bathurst 1000 motor race, they also formed the INXS/Kick Race Team competing in the Australian Production Car Championship, for nearly three years. Chris Murphy saw it as a great opportunity to promote the Band's upcoming soon to be mega album KICK. The boys revelled in fast paced laps at the wheel, around Sydney's Amaroo Park Raceway in various cars, and, considering their inexperience, Michael and Jon where quite competitive and surprised all, especially in the wet conditions.
"Other biographies and stories on the band have been written by music journalists and are generally looking from the outside in," says David of Along for the Ride. "My story is written from the perspective of being right there, on the inside, virtually from their beginning as The Farriss Brothers and the change to INXS, before manager Chris Murphy began to wave his magic wand over them.
"It's a story I've wanted to tell for 20 years or more, about this group of school kids who worked hard and ended up conquering the world."