Tim Farriss says he suffered a career-ending finger severance on boat anchoring equipment in 2015
The lead guitarist of INXSstared down in horror at the bloody stump of his left ring finger after it was hacked off by a boat’s anchoring equipment in 2015 and screamed: “It’s taken my finger off!”
A shocked Tim Farriss – who feared he was about to faint – then gathered the finger in the palm of his hand and held it against his chest.
The Perth-born musician is now suing the Sydney rental boat’s operators – John William Axford and Jill Mary Axford of Church Point Charter – for damages.
He claims they’re responsible for the injury that ended his career.
“I will NEVER forget what I saw next as long as I live,” Farriss, 61, said in his evidentiary statement for the NSW supreme court civil case.
“My hand was covered in rust, blood and mud, but I could see one of my fingers had been severed and the others were disfigured, badly lacerated and bleeding.”
Farriss’s legal team argues there was a foreseeable and not insignificant risk of injury to someone handling the anchoring equipment on the Omega Clipper 34 boat.
The guitarist hired the boat for a leisure cruise on Pittwater Bay over the Australia Day weekend in 2015.
The statement of claim argues the defendants failed to properly instruct Farriss how to use the equipment and didn’t maintain a fully functioning anchor system.
The Axfords and Church Point Charter insist Farriss was given proper instructions but failed to take due care and failed to operate the anchor appropriately.
“If [Farriss] suffered injury, loss or damage [which is not admitted], the defendants say such loss and damage was caused or contributed to by the first plaintiff’s own fault and negligence,” the defence states.
The musician argues that on 24 January 2015 he and his wife, Beth, sailed into Akuna Bay but struggled to set anchor because the chain was “prone to ‘kinking’”.
They telephoned a Church Point Charter employee for assistance after the anchor motor stopped operating and then reset the circuit breaker.
The motor restarted but it didn’t halt the kinking of the chain.
Farriss says he attempted to realign the chain only for it to start spinning out of control.
He suffered a severed left ring finger and serious injuries to his index and middle finger. There was a minor injury to his pinky finger.
He needed 11 hours of surgery to reattach the severed finger, which is no longer functional.
Farriss is seeking special damages – which aren’t quantified – for loss of earnings and future loss of earnings, as well as out-of-pocket expenses.
Montana Productions – which is owned by Farriss and his wife and controls his publishing rights and royalty income – is also seeking damages.
“I find my reattached ring finger to be an annoyance and unsightly. I have considered having it amputated,” Farriss said.
“I am no longer able to play guitar other than a few beginner-level chords.”
The plaintiffs on Tuesday sought to amend their statement of claim in the supreme court but the defence opposed the move.
Associate Justice Joanne Harrison reserved her judgment with directions to be issued on Friday.
‘Having a No 1 at 15 was a wild ride. I didn’t realise it was about the prohibition of teenage sex – but we got away with it’
Tiffany Darwish, singer, 1987 version
When I was a kid I used to sing everywhere – the bathroom, the grocery store. When some musician friends of my parents had a party, my dad suggested I get up and sing. People went: “Wow. That voice. She sounds like a 30-year-old woman.” Before I knew it, I was singing on bills with people like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.
When I was 15, someone told a producer, George Tobin, about this “girl with a great voice”. George helped me get a record deal and things started to roll pretty quickly. I Think We’re Alone Now had been a hit for Tommy James and the Shondells in the 60s. I didn’t know the song, and it didn’t sound so modern. When I came back the next day, they’d remade it as a dance track. I didn’t want to record it, but I took the song home and my girlfriends were dancing around the room. My producer said: “Trust me on this.”
I went back to the studio and did the vocals in maybe four takes. I don’t think I realised that the song was about the prohibition of teenage sex, but we got away with it. The lyrics are what teenagers think about: going behind a bush and kissing and whatever. People have since told me: “Oh me and my husband were in the car listening to it and …” And I think: “Way too much information!”
The song took off when I sang it live. Because I was too young for clubs, we did a tour of shopping malls and shot some of it for the video. At first, I could go and have a pizza afterwards, but soon there were so many people that I could barely even get into the mall. Having a No 1 hit at 15 was a wild ride. I met Michael Jackson. Girls copied my earrings and my crimped hair. I still have “Children behave” – the first words of I Think We’re Alone Now – on my T-shirts. I love the song now and never tire of singing it.
Tommy James, singer, 1967 version
I Think We’re Alone Now was presented to me as a slow ballad by my producers, Richie Cordell and Bo Gentry. I was 19, but I heard the hook and thought it sounded like a hit. We did a quick demo, souping it up and making it much faster. When we played it to Morris Levy, the head of Roulette Records, he loved it, so we went back in the studio to record it properly. I recorded the vocal on Christmas Eve 1966, so we could get the song on the street for the new year.
Morris was right out of the movies. At first we had no idea that his Roulette label was a front for the Genovese crime family. He was a mob associate and these mafia guys would hang around Roulette like it was a social club. We soon learned to tiptoe around and not eavesdrop on too many conversations. But Morris could hear hits and if it hadn’t been for him nobody would have heard much more of Tommy James.
I Think We’re Alone Now was the first of what became known as our bubblegum hits. Richie and Bo would come to me with these really simple, almost nursery rhyme-type songs. I’d say, “I’m not singing that!” and half an hour later I couldn’t get the tune out of my head. I learned how to make records with I Think We’re Alone Now. We did the bass and drums first and then layered the rest – which we’d never done before – and made the choruses quieter so that the verses would explode out of a radio speaker. It became a signature sound for many other records.
Twenty years later, I watched in disbelief as Tiffany’s version of I Think We’re Alone Now and Billy Idol’s version of Mony Mony – another of our songs – flew up the charts together like they were holding hands. Neither of them knew about the other before they were released. Tiffany came up to me at a convention to apologise for covering us. I said: “Are you nuts? I should be thanking you.” She did a great job, and she’s a real sweet girl.
• Tiffany plays Rewind Festival South, Henley-on-Thames, on 17 August. Her album Pieces of Me is out now. Tommy James has recorded a new version of I Think We’re Alone Now for the forthcoming biopic, Me, the Mob and the Music.
Carriageworks, Sydney Sydney Chamber Opera sees reckless beauty in the Booker prize-winning tale of a wager between an unlikely couple
When you hold a prism of glass up to the light, you experience an ordinary but remarkable miracle of science: light bends and refracts, and on its journey it creates rainbows. It’s a fact of physics. It’s a splintering, a dispersion. It’s beautiful.
And just like rainbows out of glass comes Oscar and Lucinda, a poetic/intellectual contemporary chamber opera based on Peter Carey’s Booker and Miles Franklin award-winning novel. The book – an interrogation into and subversion of Australian colonialism through the lens of an unlikely pair – has been finely woven and condensed here for Sydney Chamber Opera by librettist Pierce Wilcox, side characters streamlined into a neat cast of six.
Oscar (Brenton Spiteri) and Lucinda (Jessica Aszodi) are united by shared obsessions: chance, predestination, and the practical extension of both: religion, yes, but mostly gambling. Lucinda speaks and acts like a woman before her time; Oscar is an earnest yet defrocked minister. They see beauty in each other – unbearable, angelic beauty. Like the beauty of glass. Lucinda bets Oscar her inheritance that he cannot take her masterwork – a cathedral made out of glass – safely from Sydneyto Bellingen on the New South Wales mid-north coast.
In the opera, directed with steadfast compassion by Patrick Nolan, we follow Oscar and Lucinda’s divergent, far-flung childhoods – hers in Australia, on stolen land (a fact with which she is rightly, profoundly uncomfortable); his in England, where a complex relationship with his father and a call to God shape Oscar into an anxious, yearning adult. When they finally meet, at the end of the first act, the opera blooms open. It’s a delightful, near-giddy collision, a moment you can’t help wish came a little earlier.
It’s so difficult to condense a novel like Carey’s into a two-act narrative (the book is bursting with life and populated by irresistible personalities), but the strength of Wilcox’s libretto lies in its narrowest focus, when it looks little elsewhere than Oscar and Lucinda themselves. It is at its best when it takes Carey’s lyrical, emotive words and gives them music, but it also relies on audience recognition of those words and the chapters surrounding them; you need to understand their weight in the original text to follow the action onstage. Without that knowledge, it would be hard to feel the story’s internal momentum and shape as it advances. It doesn’t quite stand on its own as a work, its narrative buried in references and ideas rather than clarity of plot.
There’s more clarity in composer Elliott Gyger’s score, which takes Carey’s gift for shards of story, written in a voice that makes poetry from the mundane, and spins it out through a musical prism. The result: spiky musical vignettes that flash and bend like rainbows. There’s a reckless beauty to the score that can only come from careful forethought and construction; when the ensemble of 16 play through it, conducted by Jack Symonds, you can feel that care. Elegant, clever motifs disappear and reappear like shadows – the hint of a wager, the presence of love, the lingering expectations inherited from a mother and father – and once you acclimate to the soundscape, which sounds jagged and strange to the ear at first, it begins to take you over, setting your heart to new rhythms.
Spiteri and Aszodi’s voices respond to each other’s like they’re reaching out with both hands, a harmonic chase of caramel tones and prayer, and, thankfully, twists of wit and fun. Jane Sheldon provides an essential rich counterpoint as Miriam Chadwick, and along with Mitchell Riley, Simon Lobelson and Jeremy Kleeman, lend strength and voice to the entire world outside Oscar and Lucinda themselves – both chorus and community.
On a minimalist set by Anna Tregloan, which is a study in the tension between matter – all stone, water and the idea of glass – it falls to Damien Cooper’s romantic, evocative lighting design to create time, space and the divine from rocks and buckets and a hint of earth. A small tank, constantly filled with water and agitated by hand, lulls us over the sea and guides us on board the ship, the Leviathan, that brings Oscar and Lucinda together. The glass cathedral and the Bellinger River are writ in miniature, and so are Lucinda’s beloved glassworks. Everything enormous is made small and precious here. You could almost hold this opera in your hands. There’s something heartbreaking about that.
Battersea Arts Centre, London This teasing, challenging new-music bill was a mashup of genres, noises and hi-tech tools that rejoiced in sonic breadth
It opened with a vocal tour de force from Jennifer Walshe: snatches of pop hits poured unaccompanied from her lips, lyrics spliced like an anarchic mashup of Top of the Pops 2 footage. And it ended with Oliver Coates brandishing his cello aloft, its tone distorting with each movement – part helicopter, part electric guitar – as layers of synthesised sound roared around him. They dissipated gradually, leaving a single sustained note and ears ringing.
This latest Proms outing beyond South Kensington didn’t just step away from the cavernous Royal Albert Hall into the intimate, artfully lit and stripped-wall surroundings of the BAC. Performed across three small stages surrounding its standing audience, this mixed programme of new music crossed other boundaries: between music and noise, genres and styles, human performers and hi-tech tools.
In Crewdson and Cevanne’s set,Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian’s “sonic bonnet” (a Midi controller worn as a spectacular headdress) triggered looping, distant seagulls, running water and crackles of static, which mingled deliciously with her live harp and sunset-warm, folk-inspired vocals. Also exploring that human-tech divide, Neil Luck used theMusarc choral collective in Any’s Responses as a live laugh-track, their ultra-tight responses triggered by musical instructions spoken deadpan. Elsewhere, his gnomic Deepy Kaye mixed blink-and-you’ll-miss-it video clips of card dealing and coins spinning with his own vocals (spoken, garbled or gargled through water), mystifying live audio description from Mary Ann Hushlak and live electronics with viola (James McIlwrath) and cello (Rebecca Burden).
But it wasn’t all about digital wizardry.Kit Downes’s improvisation on BAC’s 1901 pipe organ – on which restoration work after a fire in 2015 “isn’t quite finished”, as he explained with relish – was a keen-eared celebration of the instrument’s foibles. Under Downes’s hands and feet, its unearthly whistles, patches of microtonal tuning and percussive, pitchless expulsions of air through faulty pipes became beguiling extensions of the standard array of keys and stops. And in a concert that by turn challenged, teased and rejoiced in the sheer breadth of sonic possibilities available to producers of new music today, it was a salient reminder of the continued pleasures and potential of analogue sound.
Rapper’s breakthrough hit smashes Billboard record set by Mariah Carey’s One Sweet Day’ more than 20 years ago
Lil Nas X has broken Mariah Carey’s 23-year-old record for most weeks at No 1 with his viral country-trap song Old Town Road.
The breakthrough rapper smashed the record this week when the track spent its 17th week on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart – the only song to do so since Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s duet One Sweet Day set the record in 1996.
“YEEE TF HAWWW,” Lil Nas X tweeted Monday.
Hours later the 20-year-old rapper posted a video thanking his fans for helping his song set a new record.
“I’m on the toilet right now, but I want to say thank you to every single person who has made this moment possible for me. We just broke the record for the longest-running No 1 song of all-time,” said Lil Nas X, sporting a cowboy hat as he played Old Town Road in the background. “Let’s go!”
With some irony, the song was listed on the country charts where it peaked at No 19 in March. Then Billboard said it was not country enough and took it off, attracting enough controversy to propel it up the pop charts.
The song was first released on the short-form video app TikTok in February, sparking a meme in which creators drink “Yee Yee Juice” and change into western garb as the song kicks off.
“It’s been incredible to watch Old Town Road grow from its start on TikTok in February – as the backbone of an accessible and engaging meme that generated millions of creations and billions of views – to a record-breaking smash hit that has all walks of life listening on repeat,” TikTok’s general manager Vanessa Pappas told Billboard on Monday.
The song, which has achieved most of its success through audio streaming, also saw remixes featuring Diplo, Young Thug, Mason Ramsey and BTS. To its advantage, Billboard counts the original song and the remixes as one when calculating chart position, thus helping Old Town Road stay on top.
“Seventeen is my new favorite number,” Cyrus said in a statement, also referring to his debut album Some Gave All, which spent 17 weeks at No 1 in 1992. “My goal was always to make music that would touch people’s lives around the world.”
Songs have come close to displacing Old Town Road from the top spot, including Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy and a pair of Taylor Swift singles, but ultimately were unsuccessful.
(Self-released) The Grammy-winning darling of the US rap scene finally releases his debut album: a candid, cutesy concept album based around his wedding
On 9 March 2019, Chance the Rapper donned a white tux and married his long-term partner at a service in Newport Beach, California. The Chicago star’s long-awaited debut album is a confetti shower of sweet-hearted hip-hop forged in the fulsome emotion of that day. A wedding ring gleams on its cover and comic skits threaded throughout the record pull you inside a riotous reception, as the rapper, real name Chancelor Bennett, reckons with his journey to marriage and the leap into adulthood it represents. “Took the scenic route but this is the way,” he reflects as The Big Day gets into gear, nodding to his and wife Kirsten Corley’s rocky road to matrimony (the pair split in 2016, entering into a legal dispute over their daughter Kensli before reconciling and announcing their engagement last year).
What follows is an album that, true to tradition, combines something old and something new, subtly expanding Chance’s sound without ever straying too far from the sentimental gospel-pop heart of his last release, Coloring Book, which won the Grammy for best rap album in 2017.
Debut albums, like marriages, are milestones best not rushed into in, it would seem. The 26-year-old dropped his first mixtape in 2012, had his breakthrough with Acid Rap in 2013, and is now a hip-hop household name, enlisted for collaborations by everyone from Kanye West toCardi B and invited to host Saturday Night Live. Coloring Book, another free release, cemented his place at pop’s high table, making The Big Day a “debut” by an artist with an already seismic influence on the culture and community his music stems from.
The only real difference with The Big Day is that you can spend money on it: it’s once again self-released and features the same vibrant production that lit up Coloring Book. The opening track, All Night Long, establishes the album’s celebratory mood in a champagne uncorking of breathless rhymes over hyper-bright synth stabs, with John Legend crooning the chorus. Elsewhere there’s We Go High, an emotional rap confessional that finds the historically guarded Chance lift the veil on past mistakes: “My baby mama went celibate / lies on my breath, she said couldn’t take the smell of it,” he confides, an apparent admission of infidelity that feels significant given his angry responses in the past to his private life becoming public (“Y’all better do y’all jobs and stop worrying about how good my family is,” he tweeted at the Chicago Sun-Times in 2017 in response to an article detailing his and Corley’s court proceedings).
Hot Shower is more playful, trading bars with MadeinTYO and DaBaby over powerful blasts of bass and rattling hi-hats, while the Ari Lennox-starring I Got You is an absurdly smooth wedding-vows R&B bop (“I’m tryna go to heaven with ya,” he raps at his betrothed). You might expect to find these sort of collaborators on a Chance the Rapper release: ditto Nicki Minaj, who cameos on the excellent Zanies and Fools, and this year’s breakout rap firestarter, Megan Thee Stallion, whose verse on Handsome is characteristically captivating.
More surprising but equally welcome are appearances by Toy Story tearjerker Randy Newman, who advises that “time has come to take it all in” on 5 Year Plan, and Ben Gibbard of emo mainstays Death Cab for Cutie. The latter’s vocals on Do You Remember, a tender tribute to the rapper’s childhood, help make for an instant Chance classic, happily harking back to past summers that seemed to last forever.
Like a lot of weddings, it drags a little: at 22 tracks and almost 80 minutes long, The Big Day is too big for its own good, with songs that could have been excised. Get a Bag’s gags about how Chance “stopped smoking cigarettes, now pussy tastes like key lime” feel pretty inessential next to 5 Year Plan’s emotional plea to never let life pass you by.
What is Chance the Rapper’s own five-year plan following The Big Day? There’ll be some who listen to this debut album (whatever that term means any more) and hope for more invention and variation in his next steps, when the star’s til-death-do-us-part commitment to cheery, church-rap cutesiness begins to tire. For fans though, The Big Day will endure well past any seven-year itches.
Pikehall, Derbyshire Acts like Wolf Alice are a welcome break from the hordes of white blokes with guitars, who don’t reflect the eclectic taste of the crowd
‘YNot festival. Why not go home when it’s fucking thrashing down?” asks Shaun Ryder during the Happy Mondays’ Sunday afternoon set, as freezing cold rain batters the audience. Although a huge chunk of them already have, driven home by nonstop rain and a site turned to brown sludge.
Located in the beautiful Peak District and one of the fastest-growing festivals in the UK, Y Not has an unusual demographic that is almost a perfect split between teenagers and over-40s. It’s a divide that Sports Team notice, as one half of the crowd bounce along in sweat-drenched clusters while the other nods reservedly. “Is this the parents’ side?” asks singer Alex Rice. “How’s the craft beer tent? Sorry Idles couldn’t be here.” However, this attempt at caustic wit quickly stumbles as the band immediately mess up new singleHere It Comes Again and have to start over. It also doesn’t help that it sounds like past-their-best Art Brut.
Idles do indeed turn up the next day and play an impassioned set, one that gains a sad relevance when singer Joe Talbot introduces a song about depression, 1049 Gotho, having just found out a friend took their own life. Some accuse them of mere sloganeering, but it’s a spiriting thing to witness a band with an audience as large as theirs declare, “Long live the European Union and immigration”, to a cross-generational audience united in the pit.
Days earlier, Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis tweeted: “With love & humility … we’re the best band in the world.” His claim is neither humble nor accurate, but Foals are the perfect band to headline this kind of festival, crashing between heavy riffs, pop hooks and indie disco hits. From one band who claim to be the greatest in the world to another, with Echo and the Bunnymen singer Ian McCulloch proclaiming “This is the greatest song ever written”, as the band whip up a stirring version of The Killing Moon. Having seenthe Murder Capitalplay post-punk dress-up in raincoats, suits, malevolent stares and freshly lit cigarettes to walk on stage with, it shows how little the new Irish band have expanded on the true spirit and dynamism of the genre – their conceited affectation is even more transparent compared to the clattering ferocity of the Bunnymen.
Indiedominates Y Not. It’s a bit like being tuned into Steve Lamacq’s 6 Music programme for three days solid: a haven for some, but eclecticism suffers. One of the mid-2000s indie boom acts to come out of that era with memorable tunes, a shred of dignity and free from a crippling drug addiction is Franz Ferdinand. They play a brilliantly fun, punchy, at times almost cheesy set, with frontman Alex Kapranos playing the role of suited compere.
Rare variation of genre is welcome, such as rapper Wretch 32’s fluid vocals and heavy bass diverting from the band format. Similarly, sets that weave between the sparky, grungy and poppy from Sunflower Bean and Wolf Alice are a much-needed break from the fairly omnipresent sight of four white lads playing guitar music as if the last 15 years hasn’t happened.
This is the frustrating dichotomy of Y Not: it has done a brilliant job of attracting a huge number of engaged young people, but the lineup fails to reflect their post-genre sensibilities.
Rebecca Kanter is accused of abusing staff and damaging property at Washington DC embassy
A fan of the rapper A$AP Rocky has been arrested in Washington DC after allegedly threatening to “blow up” the Swedish embassy there. The rapper is currently jailed in Sweden, awaiting trial for an assault charge after footage emerged of him and his entourage allegedly punching and kicking a pair of men on a Stockholm street.
According to a written statement by a Secret Service officer, Rebecca Kanter is accused of screaming at embassy staff, accosting a group of students visiting the embassy and damaging property. She was arrested after refusing to leave the premises, and charged with wilfully injuring and damaging property of a foreign government, and refusing to depart a foreign embassy. The previous day she had allegedly thrown liquid from a Coca-Cola bottle at the embassy and shouted: “I’m going to blow this motherfucker up.” She wrote on social media that she had “defiled the House of Sweden … why aren’t I getting press for A$AP”. She has been released on bail.Profile
A$AP Rocky’s case has drawn further attention after Donald Trump intervened to put pressure on Sweden to release him. “Sweden has let our African American community down in the United States. Give A$AP Rocky his freedom,” he wrote on Twitter.
Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven responded, saying “in Sweden, everyone is equal before the law”, with Karin Olofsdotter, the Swedish ambassador to the US, affirming: “The government is not allowed, and will not attempt, to influence legal proceedings.” Former prime minster Carl Bildt wrote: “Political interference in the process is distinctly off limits! Clear?”
New Orleans singer and songwriter who was a founder member of the Meters and the Neville Brothers
Art Neville, who has died aged 81, was a founder not only of the Meters, whose music in the late 1960s and early 70s helped to define the genre of New Orleans funk, but of the Neville Brothers, who were masters of various soul, blues and gospel styles and were distinguished by their intricate vocal harmonies.
The Meters provided the musical backup for innumerable soul and funk artists, including on big-selling classics such as Lee Dorsey’sWorking in the Coal Mine (1966) and Labelle’s Lady Marmalade (1974). But they also had hits in their own right, notably in 1969 with Cissy Strut (1969) and Look-Ka Py Py. Their musical groove influenced artists as varied as Little Feat, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Public Enemy and the Grateful Dead.
Once Neville, who was nicknamed Poppa Funk, quit the Meters in 1977 he joined his siblings Charles, Aaron and Cyril to form the Neville Brothers, whose best- known album, Yellow Moon (1989), contained several landmark tracks including the title song, a version of Dylan’s With God on Our Side, and Sister Rosa, their ode to the civil rights pioneerRosa Parks. They toured with major artists, including the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Tina Turner, and were traditionally the closing act on the final Sunday night of New Orleans’s annual Jazz & Heritage festival.
Art was born in New Orleans to Arthur Neville and his wife, Amelia (nee Landry). His father was a station porter fond of singing tunes by Nat King Cole and the Texan bluesman Charles Brown. His mother was part of a dance act with her brother, George “Big Chief Jolly” Landry.
Art was the oldest of the four brothers. His interest in playing keyboards was triggered at the age of three, when his grandmother took him to a New Orleans church where he spotted the organ. “I turned the little switch and hit one of the low keys,” he recalled. “It scared the daylights out of me, but that was the first keyboard I played.”
He later began playing the piano and performing with his brothers, and in high school joined (and subsequently led) his first band, the Hawketts. He was the lead singer on their version of Mardi Gras Mambo, a regional hit in 1954. It became a regular fixture at New Orleans’s annual Mardi Gras celebrations.
In 1958 he joined the US Navy, emerging in 1962 to continue his musical career. He formed Art Neville and the Neville Sounds, which included Aaron and Cyril before they quit to form their own group. Now a four-piece completed by guitarist Leo Nocentelli, bass playerGeorge Porter Jr and drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste, they played regularly at New Orleans clubs, backing artists such as the Pointer Sisters and Lee Dorsey.
In 1965 they became the Meters, whose refinement of the loping, syncopated rhythm called the “second line” became emblematic of New Orleans funk. Prime examples included the group’s hits Cissy Strut, Look-Ka Py Py,Chicken Strut (1970) and Hey Pocky A-Way (1974). Cissy Strut, which reached No 23 on the mainstream Billboard chart, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011.
The Meters made countless recordings as the house band for the songwriter and producerAllen Toussaint, with highlights including Working in the Coal Mine, which reached No 8 in the UK and the US, Dr John’s album In the Right Place (1973), and Labelle’s US chart-topper Lady Marmalade, a song about a prostitute in the French quarter of New Orleans with the famous line “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”
In 1974 the Meters backedRobert Palmer on his album Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley, and in 1975 Paul McCartney invited them aboard the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach, California, to play at the launch party of the Wings album Venus and Mars. Also present was Mick Jagger, who invited the Meters to support the Rolling Stones on their tours of the US and Europe in 1975-76. The group now included Cyril, who joined for their album Fire on the Bayou (1975).
Art and Cyril quit the Meters in 1977 and formed the Neville Brothers with Aaron and Charles. The brothers had already gathered the previous year to back their uncle George Landry on the album The Wild Tchoupitoulas. At first the Neville Brothers were slow to gain recognition. Art recalled how when they used to play at Tipitina’s in New Orleans “you could have blown it up and not hurt anyone but the Neville Brothers”. Though Keith Richards hailed their 1981 album Fiyo on the Bayou as the finest of the year, sales were poor.
They failed to release another studio album until Uptown (1987), a conscious effort to find a more mainstream sound (with Richards and Carlos Santana guesting) that prompted accusations of a sellout.
A change of fortune came with Yellow Moon, sympathetically produced by Daniel Lanois, which successfully moulded the group’s collective skills into a coherent whole. In 1989 the group won a Grammy for best pop instrumental performance for the Yellow Moon track Healing Chant.
Outside the Neville Brothers Art began playing concerts with his former Meters bandmates, following a reunion at the 1989 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival.
They subsequently formed a new version of the band called the Funky Meters, and Art continued to perform with both outfits. He won another Grammy in 1996 with various artists for best rock instrumental performance for SRV Shuffle, a tribute to the guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Neville Brothers disbanded in 2012 but reunited for a farewell concert in New Orleans in 2015. Three years alter Art announced his retirement after more than six decades in the music business.
He is survived by his second wife, Lorraine, their two children, Amelia and Ian, a son, Arthel, from his first marriage, to Joan, his brothers Aaron and Cyril and sister Athelgra.