INXS guitarist Tim Farriss says government policy targeting one-punch crimes should be focused on providing entertainment for drinkers and not simply shutting them out, and that governments and local councils ought to be pushing for more live bands in places where drinkers congregate.
“There would be a lot less alcohol-fuelled violence if people were getting their rocks off watching bands live, maybe getting something from Harry’s Café De Wheels and then going home. But nowadays everybody just stands around in pubs and gets geed up for a fight,” he told News Corp.
The guitarist’s comments come after the enactment of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell‘s controversial and highly criticised “one-punch laws,” which impose harsher punishments on intoxicated assaults, 10pm closing times for bottle shops, 1:30am venue lockouts, and 3:00am last-calls.
Among the criticisms of the new reforms are that they punish responsible drinkers for the actions of a few violent cowards. Many punters, musicians, and publicans took to social media to vent their frustration over the laws, with Sydney’s Q Bar sharing a ‘Punish Thugs Not Pubs’ petition.
“People are going to drink but let ’em drink in an environment where they’re spending a lot of time looking at some band, dancing, being entertained. They forget about the alcohol as their only focus, for a start,” said Farriss, adding that partying to a band “is all a bit of a sex dance in the end.”
“When we were growing up it was all about what band we were going to see,” continued Farriss. “It really didn’t matter about drinking so much, it just happened to be in a pub. Then the slot machines and DJs started taking hold — nothing against DJs — but it’s all a bit mindless.”
The guitarist believes that the reason events like Tropfest don’t see high levels of violence is because of the entertainment on offer. “No one fights after going to Tropfest…it just goes to show if you entertain people and they’re not bored, they don’t turn mindlessly to violence,” he said.
Farriss explained that he has been personally affected by random street violence, with both he and one of his two sons the victims of king hits, as well as bandmate Michael Hutchence, who lost his sense of taste and smell after being randomly punched by a taxi driver while out in Copenhagen.