Kirk Pengilly

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Kirk Pengilly
Pengilly in 2011
Pengilly in 2011
Background information
Also known asSnore[1]
Born (1958-07-04) 4 July 1958 (age 63)
Kew, Victoria, Australia
GenresRock, new wave
InstrumentsGuitar, saxophone, keyboards, flute, percussions, vocals
Years active1975-present
Associated actsINXS
WebsiteKirk Pengilly from the INXS website

Kirk Pengilly (pen-GILL-ee; born 4 July 1958) is an Australian musician and member of the Australian rock group INXS. Kirk plays saxophone, guitar and also performs as a backing vocalist.

Early career[edit]

Pengilly moved to Sydney in 1966,[2] and became best friends with fellow band member Tim Farriss with whom he attended Forest High School.

Their first band Guinness, formed in 1971, was a high school band in which Pengilly was the principal songwriter and lead singer.[3] The band included American David Stewart on pedal-steel guitar and Malcolm Walker on drums, and was named after bass player Steve Spencer's dog. Guinness played a style of music inspired by bands like Yes, Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Gentle Giant on one hand, and country rockers like Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett on the other. Mixing country rock and the concert style of rock music worked well for a while, and the band enjoyed some success on Sydney's Northern Beaches and Sydney city venues like Chequers, Frenchs and others. But the music was not really commercial and the band struggled to gain a steady following.[4] In late 1976, the group disbanded when David Stewart returned to America. Malcolm played in the club scene with a number of bands, while Steven embarked upon a career as a sound technician in the UK.[5]


Pengilly performing with INXS in 2010

The Farriss Brothers band was formed in 1977, subsequently changing the band name to INXS in 1979.[6]

As principal backing vocalist, saxophonist and guitarist, Pengilly contributes to a great deal of the music that INXS release. He has written, produced and performed numerous b-sides.[7] Pengilly was also the creator of the rare Happy Christmas record sent to early 1980s fanclub members in Australia and the United States.[7] His main instrument though is the guitar. "My eldest brother, Mark, gave me a beat up acoustic guitar when I was about nine and I taught myself playing along to records,"[This quote needs a citation] Pengilly recalls.

INXS have toured the world with highlights including playing to 250,000 people at the US Festival in California in 1983, with Queen at Wembley Stadium in 1986, headlining the huge HFS-Tival, performing for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Melbourne 1985, headlining the Rock 'n Rio Festival where they played to over 150,000 people and their own sell out show to 75,000 people at Wembley Stadium. The band have won numerous awards including three American Grammy nominations and have been inducted into the Australian ARIA "Hall of Fame.".[8]

His position also sees him as the key publicity spokesperson, a role he does not take lightly. Pengilly also holds the distinction of being the band's archivist, faithfully logging daily entries in diaries that date back to the beginning of INXS.[9]

Pengilly stated that Michael Hutchence's death in 1997 came as a big shock because Hutchence was in "a great place" and believes it was an accident.[10] After Hutchence's death, the band continued playing with various different singers until the band parted ways in 2012.[8]

After 430 weeks in the ARIA top 100 albums chart, INXS's album "The Very Best" reached Diamond status in 2020.[11]

Other projects[edit]

In 1982 Pengilly became involved in a one-off EP project with the band, The Igniters.[7] The following year he, Andrew Farriss and Garry Gary Beers worked together on the 12" release of "Flaming Hands" / "Cast My Love". In 1987, Pengilly appeared in the music video "You're Gonna Get Hurt", released by Australian singer Jenny Morris, unrecognizable without his trademark glasses.

When the band was on a break during 1989, Pengilly along with Tim Farriss produced an album for local Sydney band, Crash Politics. He played saxophone for Richard Clapton on his Distant Thunder album in 1993, and has also been a session guitarist for Shona Laing and saxophonist for Martin Plaza. His production efforts include an album for his brother Drew's band, Coo, in 1999 and in 2002, Pengilly co-wrote and co-produced the album Still in Bed by Hughie Murray.[7]

Pengilly starred in the first series of Celebrity MasterChef Australia and progressed to the finals where he came second to Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan.

In December 2016 Pengilly and his wife Layne became Brand Ambassadors for the online health and wellness market-place Inner Origin.

Personal life[edit]

Pengilly and wife Layne Beachley in 2012

Pengilly has one daughter, April Rose Pengilly (who is an actor), born in 1988,[12] with his ex-girlfriend Karen Hutchinson. Hutchinson and Pengilly were together for ten years, in which time she toured with the band. In December 1993, Pengilly married singer Deni Hines. The marriage lasted ten months, and the two parted ways in early 1995.[citation needed] Hines sang backing vocals on INXS' "Not Enough Time". Pengilly was once engaged to freelance DJ Louise Hegarty; the relationship lasted for seven years.

Pengilly is married to 7 X world women's champion pro surfer, Layne Beachley. Their relationship started after a very awkward first date set up by mutual friend Jon Stevens.[13] The pair had no connection, until they were joined on their date by the restaurant owner who shared a bottle of Limoncello and the spark began.[13] After a 7-year courtship they were married at their South Coast home in New South Wales in a private ceremony at 10.10am on 10 October 2010.[14] They renewed their wedding vows in 2014[15] after Layne lost her wedding ring whilst surfing.[16] In 2020 they celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary with a trip to the Blue Mountains and stated that the pandemic lockdown helped to bring them closer together.[13] Pengilly and Beachley currently live on the northern beaches of Sydney.[17]

Pengilly is an ambassador of Glaucoma Australia after experiencing glaucoma in 1987 at the age of 29.[18][19] Pengilly underwent surgery for aggressive prostate cancer in 2015 after indications of the condition started in 2012.[20]

Pengilly plays a SG1820 Yamaha guitar after being influenced by hearing Carlos Santana playing one.[8]


  1. ^ [1], "Facebook"
  2. ^ Bozza, Anthony; INXS (2005). INXS Story to Story: The Official Autobiography. Atria Books. p. 5. ISBN 0-7432-8403-8.
  3. ^ St John, Ed; INXS (1992). INXS: The Official Inside Story of a Band on the Road. Mandarin. p. 8. ISBN 1-86330-207-7.
  4. ^ Bozza, Anthony; INXS (2005). INXS Story to Story: The Official Autobiography. Atria Books. p. 6. ISBN 0-7432-8403-8.
  5. ^ Bozza, Anthony; INXS (2005). INXS Story to Story: The Official Autobiography. Atria Books. p. 8. ISBN 0-7432-8403-8.
  6. ^ "INXS Guitarist Tim Farriss Reflects on the Band's Biggest Moment". Den of Geek. 5 November 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Kirk Pengilly Bio Archived 3 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b c "Kirk Pengilly - Yamaha - Music - Australia". Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  9. ^ Spurrier, Jeff (3 January 1988). "The Sweet Smell of INXS". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  10. ^ readFebruary 25, less than 2 min; 2018 - 8:27am (24 February 2018). "INXS star's candid interview". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  11. ^ "INXS makes chart history as 'The Very Best' album reaches diamond status". 8 December 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  12. ^ St John, Ed; INXS (1992). INXS: The Official Inside Story of a Band on the Road. Mandarin. p. 9. ISBN 1-86330-207-7.
  13. ^ a b c broread (10 October 2020). "Layne Beachley and Kirk Pengilly celebrate 10 years of marriage". Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Layne Beachley's special wedding date", "News Corp Australia", 11 October 2010
  15. ^ longhetti, chloe-lee (4 July 2014). "Layne and Kirk renew vows with a new ring". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Layne Beachley has tweeted about losing her wedding ring at Freshwater Beach in Sydney", "SBS News", 23 April 2014
  17. ^ "Johanna visits Layne Beachley and Kirk Pengilly at home". Better Homes and Gardens. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  18. ^ Hear Kirk Pengilly of INXS talk about his glaucoma experience with Annie Gibbins, retrieved 23 June 2021
  19. ^ "Kirk Pengilly: Return from the Brink of Blindness | Glaucoma Australia". Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  20. ^ link, Get; Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest; Email; Apps, Other. "INXS' Kirk Pengilly Treated For Cancer". Retrieved 23 June 2021.

External links[edit]