INXS- Kick- Andrew & Tim Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, the late Michael Hutchence

2017 marked a bittersweet convergence of no less than three anniversaries for INXS. It was the fortieth anniversary of the three Farriss brothers Tim, Andrew, and Jon from Perth in Western Australia teaming with Kirk Pengilly, Gary Beers, and Michael Hutchence in Sydney to form INXS; it was also the thirtieth anniversary of the phenomenal international hit album Kick  ; and, sadly,  November 1997 was when we all lost the gifted INXS lead singer/songwriter Hutchence. No less than two film documentaries on the life of Michael have been produced: one entitled The Last Rock Star in 2017 was not endorsed by the band, while another Mystify  is helmed by Richard Lowenstein who directed sixteen INXS music videos.

With the focus each week  In the Studio on getting the stories behind history’s greatest rock albums, we write and talk about the best days of the best bands, so by definition it is usually a positive experience. Since the Fall 1987 INXS album Kick  is not only one of the biggest sellers of the entire 1980s decade (estimated at more than six million in the U.S. alone), but highly acclaimed to boot ( a bullish four Top Ten U.S. singles including “New Sensation”,”Devil Inside”,”Never Tear Us Apart”, & the #1 “Need You Tonight“) and five MTV Video Music awards, what’s not to love?

Yet as my interviews with keyboard player/songwriter Andrew Farriss, older brother lead guitarist Tim Farriss, sax player/rhythm guitarist Kirk Pengilly, and archival interviews with lead singer/songwriter Michael Hutchence were all being integrated with the surprisingly timeless joyous musical performances on Kick, it was impossible to ignore a sense of melancholy that I just could not shake. It is quite understandable, really, because to revel in the peak of this literal band of brothers Tim, Andrew, and drummer Jon Farriss from the remote (even by Australian standards) city of Perth is to look unblinkingly at just how much they, and we, lost with the death by misadventure of Michael Hutchence. The only bigger tragedy would be if the world simply forgot altogether.- Redbeard