Michael Hutchence – circa 1987

 “Watch the world argue / Argue with itself / Who’s gonna teach me / Peace and happiness?” – ‘Dancing On The Jetty’ (Michael Hutchence, Andrew Farriss)

Michael Hutchence sashays across the stage.  The vocalist with Australian rock band INXS is in his element.  It is July 1985.  A major gathering of Australian bands have been assembled for this show.  Sixteen acts perform prior to INXS: Mental As Anything, The Machinations, I’m Talking, The Models, Do-Re-Mi, Electric Pandas, Dragon, Men At Work, Australian Crawl, The Party Girls, Uncanny X-Men, Goanna, Little River Band, Mondo Rock, The Angels, and Renee Geyer.  It is a mark of INXS’ position within the industry at the time that they are chosen to close the show.  The occasion is Oz for Africa, a benefit performance to raise money for those starving in Ethiopia.  It links into a number of concerts held around the world that day.  The main shows are in London in the U.K. and Philadelphia in the U.S.A.  INXS’ set is broadcast by the BBC in the U.K., while the performances by Men At Work and Little River Band are picked up by the ABC network in the U.S.A.  The whole project – multiple concerts, television broadcasts, fund-raising – is known as Live Aid.  The name is adapted from Band Aid, the tag attached to an all-star single the previous Christmas in support of the same cause.  The person behind Band Aid and Live Aid is Bob Geldof, the vocalist in Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats.  Geldof is virtually treated like a saint for his efforts.  Although his path and that of INXS touch only in the most fleeting way on this day, he will play a crucial role again in their lives twelve years later.

Michael Kelland John Hutchence (22 January 1960 – 22 November 1997) is born in Lane Cove, near Sydney, the latter being the capital city of the Australian State of New South Wales.  His parents, Kelland Hutchence and Patricia Kennedy, wed the previous year, 1959.  Kelland – or ‘Kell’ – is a Sydney businessman.  Patricia Kennedy is a make-up artist.  She has a daughter, Tina Burgess (born 1947), from a previous relationship, so Tina is Michael’s half-sister.  Kell Hutchence’s business interests result in the family relocating a number of times.  They move north to Brisbane in Queensland, the State directly above New South Wales.  Michael’s younger brother, Rhett (born 1962), is born in Brisbane.  The family then moves to Hong Kong.  Michael attends the King George V School in Kowloon, Hong Kong.  He becomes quite a good swimmer but his ambitions are derailed by a broken arm.  In 1972 the Hutchence family returns to Sydney.  Michael goes to Killarney Heights High School.  His father says that, as a teenager, Michael was quite reserved.  He was always interested in poetry.  He joined the boy scouts.  Michael is almost ‘roughed up as the new boy in high school in Sydney.’  He is saved from this fate by another student: Andrew Farriss.

Andrew Farriss is the second of four children born to Dennis and Jill Farriss in Perth, Western Australia.  They have three sons: Tim (born 16 August 1957), Andrew (born 27 March 1954) and Jon (born 10 August 1961).  They also have a daughter, Alison, who is their youngest child.  The Farriss family move right across the continent to New South Wales where Andrew meets Michael Hutchence.

“Andrew had the most interesting music,” comments Michael Hutchence, explaining what drew him to his new friend.  The Farriss family are quite musical.  Andrew looks to put together a band of his own.  Michael recalls his astonishment when Andrew said to him, “Here’s a microphone.  Do you want to sing?”  Together with some school friends, Michael and Andrew begin playing gigs under the name of Doctor Dolphin.  They are joined by bass player Garry Gary Beers.  “We found Garry at the beach,” notes Michael.  Actually all the boys are now attending Davidson High School.  Garry Gary Beers (born William Gary Beers, 22 June 1957) is from the beachside suburb of Manley, New South Wales.  His odd double first name is given to him at high school.

Tim Farriss, the eldest of the Farriss boys, is not in Doctor Dolphin.  That’s because he already has his own band.  Guinness is formed in 1971, a year before Michael Hutchence returns to Sydney from Hong Kong.  Evidently, Tim didn’t see fit to invite his younger brother, Andrew, to join Guinness, which may explain why Andrew wanted to put together his own group.  Somebody who does join Tim’s group is Kirk Pengilly (born 4 July 1958).  Kirk was born in Kew, Victoria, the State that makes up the lower third of the east coast of Australia’s mainland.  Kirk’s family moved to Sydney in 1966 and he went on to attend Forest High School with Tim.

Michael Hutchence’s parents separate when he is 15 years old.  For a short time in 1976, Michael lives in California in the U.S.A. with his mother, Patricia, and half-sister, Tina.  This departure of their lead vocalist puts Doctor Dolphin out of business.

Michael Hutchence and his mother return to Australia.  Michael seeks out his old bandmates and finds they have reorganised.  The two schoolboy bands, Doctor Dolphin and Guinness, have merged.  The youngest of the Farriss boys, Jon, quits school to join his siblings’ band.  With a line-up of Michael Hutchence (vocals), Tim Farriss (guitar), Andrew Farriss (keyboards, guitar), Kirk Pengilly (guitar, saxophone), Garry Gary Beers (bass) and Jon Farriss (drums), The Farriss Brothers debut on 16 August 1977.  It’s a prosaic, if accurate, name for the group.

The Farriss Brothers (the band) is almost scuppered when the Farriss brothers (the family) move back to Perth in Western Australia in 1978.  However, such is the bond between the boys by this time, that Michael Hutchence, Kirk Pengilly and Garry Gary Beers move to Perth as well.  According to Michael Hutchence, “It was really just a garage band at the start – no great aspirations.”  He adds though that “it was the start of something.”  For a while the band performs under the name of The Vegetables.

In 1979 the six friends move back to Sydney, independent of their families.  Gigging again as The Farriss Brothers, they receive some well-meant advice from Gary Morris, the manager of fellow Australian band, Midnight Oil.  He thinks ‘they should make themselves “inaccessible”, with Michael singing from behind bars.’  The concept doesn’t stick but the ‘inaccessible’ tag is adapted to the group’s new name: INXS (pronounced ‘in excess’; early mispronunciations include ‘inks’ and ‘eye en ex ess’).

In 1980 INXS are signed to a recording contract with Deluxe Records by Michael Browning.  A former manager of Australian hard rock band AC/DC, Browning took his severance pay and set up this label.  INXS join The Numbers, The Dugites and Toy Love as Deluxe’s first clients.  “INXS got signed not because some A & R [Artists & Repertoire] guy thought we’d sell a lot of records, but because we sold out so many venues,” points out Andrew Farriss.  “No journalist picked us as the next big thing.  There were thousands of kids coming to see us.”

From a ‘reserved’ teenager, Michael Hutchence has grown into a consummate frontman.  With a cascade of butterscotch coloured curls falling across his face, he is adored by female fans.  He prances about the stage as if his legs are collapsible stilts, striking poses that draw comparisons with other great rock frontmen of the past such as Mick Jagger of the The Rolling Stones and Jim Morrison of The Doors.  Hutchence acknowledges “I’m fairly arrogant…as I was when I was 17.”  His attitude to fame is variable.  “We don’t have much of a star system in Australia…It doesn’t mean much,” he says on one occasion.  Yet he is also quoted as saying, “I love being famous.  It’s like a totally Freudian thing [a reference to psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, the ‘father of psychoanalysis’] – it makes me feel wanted and loved and noticed.  Anyone would want that, wouldn’t they?”  Hutchence is content to ‘assert himself on stage rather than through the media.’

Although all the members of INXS contribute to the band’s songwriting, the bulk of their output is composed in tandem by Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss as, respectively, lyricist and musician.  Michael’s early interest in poetry comes out here.  He rarely writes a straight narrative, preferring something more akin to Japanese haiku, a series of disconnected images that, when added together, form a bigger picture.

It takes an album or two before INXS discovers its musical style.  When they do, the band’s sonic signature becomes a crossbreed of funk and rock.  Most Australian bands on the pub circuit pump out a fairly unadorned brand of hard rock.  It’s a brave move for some white boys in a distant continent to try to play funk, a bass-heavy dance music created by African-Americans.  “We always had sax and keyboards doing some very strange things in our songs.  We always had a bit of finesse in our arrangements,” argues Michael Hutchence.  Yet “no matter what we were playing we had to do it in front of a thousand p***ed Aussies –We had to go for it, all the way.”

In May 1980 INXS release their first single, ‘Simple Simon’, backed with ‘We Are The Vegetables’.  On these songs Michael Hutchence babbles like he is calling a horse race.  The band are playing something close to ska, the faster cousin of reggae, a music popularised in England at the time by acts like The Specials and Madness.  The B side is a holdover from 1978 when INXS were briefly known as The Vegetables.

‘INXS’ (1980) (AUS no. 27, US no. 165), the debut album, is released five months later in October.  All the tracks on this disc, produced by Duncan McGuire and INXS, are credited as group compositions.  ‘Wishy Washy’ and ‘Learn To Smile’ still sound vaguely like ska music, particularly in Andrew Farriss’ keyboard textures.  ‘In Vain’ demonstrates a greater depth and originality, but the real prize is ‘Just Keep Walking’ (AUS no. 38).  Tim Farriss’ piercing guitar accompanies an insistent marching rhythm as Michael Hutchence describes “Fast car driving / Sleek and modern / Public transit / Photos waiting / Blood and glass / Three points of rain / Carpet lining / Seats reclining / Clever words and smooth tongue talking / Shove it, brother / Just keep walking.”  (Note: It is said that Garry Gary Beers name is misprinted on the sleeve and this, rather than a childhood nickname, may be the source of his doubled first name.)

On 6 February 1981 Tim Farriss marries Bethany Anne (Buffy) Reefman.  The couple go on to have two sons, James and Jake.

In 1981 Michelle Bennett becomes Michael Hutchence’s girlfriend.  Although they never wed, the relationship last until 1987.  Michael’s mother, Patricia Kennedy, says Michelle is the only girl he ever talked about marrying.  During this time, Michael is also romantically linked with American singers Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go’s (in 1984) and Terri Nunn of Berlin (in 1987).

INXS have a hit with the 1981 single ‘The Loved One’ (AUS no. 18).  This is a cover version of a brooding song first recorded in 1966 by another Australian band, the similarly-named Loved Ones.

For their second album, ‘Underneath The Colours’ (1981) (AUS no. 15), in October, INXS bring in Australian singer-songwriter Richard Clapton to act as producer.  It’s an unusual choice, but works quite well.  The group composition ‘Fair Weather Ahead’ sounds like a holdover from the previous album.  This disc’s ‘standout single’ is ‘Stay Young’ (AUS no. 21) on which Michael Hutchence urges “Keep that biting lip / Know what I mean /Sweat upon the brow / That’s what I want.”  Andrew Farriss’ keyboards still betray a ska influence, but ‘Stay Young’ pioneers the unusual arrangement of hard and fast verses leading to a slower, creamier chorus.  The opposite is a more common formula in rock music.  The title track, ‘Underneath The Colours’, has a pleasantly dream-like, unfocussed quality.  This is INXS’ last album for Deluxe, their manager, Chris Murphy, taking them to Warner Brothers records from this point on.

Around this time, Kirk Pengilly begins a relationship with Karen Hutchinson.  They later have a daughter, April (born 1988).

‘Shabooh Shoobah’ (1982) (AUS no. 5, US no. 46) is the third album by INXS.  It is produced by Mark Opitz.  While the first two INXS albums showed promise, this effort is a substantial improvement.  “I can listen to it comfortably,” claims Michael Hutchence.  “I couldn’t do that with the others.”  Leading the charge is ‘The One Thing’ (AUS no. 14, US no. 30), ‘a torpedo-rock burst of futurist disco’: “Well you know just what you do to me / The way you move, soft and slippery / Cut the night just like a razor / Rarely talk and that’s the danger.”  Like ‘Stay Young’, this song adopts the fast verse / slow chorus model and adds what Hutchence describes as “that mixture of funk and rock.”  Bookending he album is ‘Don’t Change’ (AUS no. 14, US no. 80), a group composition of anthemic optimism that offers a “Resolution of happiness / Things have been dark for too long.”  In between these two poles are Andrew Farriss’ ‘To Look At You’ (AUS no. 36), a subtly thoughtful number, and the chattering groove of ‘Black And White’ (AUS no. 24).  INXS begin their first U.S. tour in March 1983.

The next album by INXS, ‘The Swing’ (1984) (AUS no. 1, US no. 52), is their best.  Most of the material is produced by Nick Launay, who lends interesting sonic textures throughout the disc.  The one song Launay does not produce is the first single, ‘Original Sin’ (AUS no. 1, US no. 58).  This is produced by Nile Rodgers of American disco music greats, Chic.  Daryl Hall, half of the U.S. pop vocal duo Daryl Hall And John Oates, supplies backing vocals on this track.  As may be expected with Nile Rodgers at the controls, this track makes the most of INXS’ dance music proclivity while the lyrics push a line in miscegenation: “Dream on black boy / Dream on white girl / And wake up to a brand new day.”  ‘I Send A Message’ (AUS no. 3, US no. 77) is built around robotic electro-keyboards with Sean Kelly of Australian band The Models providing some welcome oddball grit to the backing vocals.  Michael Hutchence barks, “I miss the people / I miss the fun / You’re my apparition / She’s-a my only one”…and the song stops dead in its tracks…only to start up again as though its batteries have been replaced.  New Zealand-born singer Jenny Morris practically duets with Hutchence on ‘Burn For You’ (AUS no. 3): “Tilt my hat / At the sun / And the shadows they burn dark / Light me and I’ll burn for you / And the love song never stops.”  Musically, ‘Burn For You’ mixes percussion, synthesisers and some more tinkly-bonk keyboards.  Andrew Farriss later produces an album for Jenny Morris.  Songs like ‘Dancing On The Jetty’ (AUS no. 39) demonstrate that, with this album, INXS are, to borrow the words of Michael Hutchence, “moving just far enough away” from their previous sound to appear fresh without losing the qualities that make their music satisfying.  This disc shows ‘a mood of confidence and united determination.’

On 15 July 1985 INXS make their triumphant appearance at ‘Oz for Africa’ / ‘Live Aid’.  It’s a pivotal moment in the group’s upward journey.

‘Listen Like Thieves’ (1985) (AUS no. 3, US no. 11, UK no. 48) in October is the first of three INXS albums produced by Chris Thomas.  It opens with their greatest single, ‘What You Need’ (AUS no. 2, US no. 5, UK no. 51).  This is a sharp-cornered blast of art rock funk, highlighted by a fuzz guitar section from Tim Farriss and a blaring saxophone solo from Kirk Pengilly.  “Ain’t no sense in all your crying,” Michael Hutchence sings defiantly, insisting, “Pick it up / Throw it into shape.”  The noodling funk of the title track, ‘Listen Like Thieves’ (AUS no. 28, US no. 54, UK no. 46), holds a declaration of originality: “Everybody’s / Down on their knees / Listen like thieves / But who needs that / When it’s all in your hands.”  The song ‘Listen Like Thieves’ is credited to Andrew Farriss, Michael Hutchence and Garry Gary Beers as composers.  ‘Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain)’ (AUS no. 15, UK no. 54) has an unusual hold-and-release style with bold strokes of guitar.  Both ‘Shine Like It Does’ and Andrew Farriss’ ‘This Time’ (AUS no. 19, US no. 81, UK no. 79), a plea for peace between a squabbling couple, add gentler notes to the proceedings without losing momentum.  They are the exceptions though, because Chris Thomas’ approach is to ‘encourage the group to sound more on record like they do on stage.’  In other words, they are urged to rock harder.

Between albums, INXS cut the 1987 single ‘Good Times’ (AUS no. 2, US no. 47, UK no. 18), a duet with Australian rock star Jimmy Barnes.  This is a creditable cover version of a 1968 hit by legendary antipodean band The Easybeats.

Released in October, ‘Kick’ (1987) (AUS no. 1, US no. 3, UK no. 9) is ‘the album that makes [INXS] international superstars’ and is considered by some to be ‘the definitive INXS album.’  The steamy ‘Need You Tonight’ (AUS no. 3, US no. 1, UK no. 2) finds Michael Hutchence in a lusty, breathless state, singing “I need you tonight / ‘Cos I’m not sleepin’ / There’s something about you, girl / That makes me sweat.”  Andrew Farriss’ ‘Mediate’ is a nice add-on to the end of ‘Need You Tonight’.  The horny ‘Devil Inside’ (AUS no. 6, US no. 2, UK no. 47) is built on a fuzz guitar figure and continues the theme of intimacy: “Look at them go / Look at them kick / Makes you wonder / How the other half lives.”  ‘New Sensation’ (AUS no. 8, US no. 3, UK no. 25) has a rhythm guitar bedrock and booming drums from which Hutchence hollers, “And the sun comes like a god into our room / All perfect light and promises.”  ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ (AUS no. 14, US no. 7, UK no. 24) is a fresh field for INXS.  A string section of cellos and violins is paired with an anguished sense of strength in sadness.  “We could live for a thousand years,” suggests the lyric, “But if I hurt you / I’ll make wine from your tears.”  It’s an unusual song in the band’s repertoire, but succeeds largely because it is so boldly unique.  ‘Kick’ also includes such notable pieces as ‘Mystify’ (UK no. 14), the title track ‘Kick’, and Michael Hutchence’s ‘Guns In The Sky’, a tirade against the U.S. government’s proposed Laser Defence System.

When not travelling the globe, Michael Hutchence now makes his home in Hong Kong, the land where he lived for some time as a youngster.

With his seven-year relationship with Michelle Bennett ending in 1987, Michael Hutchence has a brief fling with Australian actress Virginia Hey in 1988.  More notable is his 1989-1991 romance with Kylie Minogue.  With Michael Hutchence’s encouragement, the singer / actress goes from cute girl-next-door to an edgier, more experimental and sexier persona.

On 22 April 1989 Andrew Farriss marries Shelley Banks, a woman he met in 1987.  Andrew and Shelley go on to have three children: Grace, Josephine and Matthew.

There is a view that, after ‘Kick’, ‘success goes to the group’s head.’  In 1988 Michael Hutchence declares, “the more we indulge ourselves…the more success we have.”

‘X’ (1990) (AUS no. 1, US no. 5, UK no. 2) has a lot to live up to.  It gets off to a good start with ‘Suicide Blonde’ (AUS no. 2, US no. 9, UK no. 11).  American blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite contributes some scorching work as Michael Hutchence denounces the woman of the title: “Suicide blonde was the colour of her hair / Like a cheap distraction for a new affair.”  For a change of pace, Hutchence co-writes with the youngest of the Farriss brothers, drummer Jon Farriss, for ‘Disappear’ (AUS no. 23, US no. 8, UK no. 21).  Its drip-fed beats make it seem like the soundtrack for an aerobics class and Michael flings himself into the vocals with matching enthusiasm: “You’re so fine / Lose my mind / And the world seems to disappear.”  ‘Bitter Tears’ (AUS no. 36, UK no. 46, UK no. 30) is probably the album’s next most satisfying outing.  ‘The Stairs’ is a bit more grandiose than usual and producer Chris Thomas takes a co-songwriting credit with Hutchence and Andrew Farriss for ‘By My Side’ (AUS no. 23, UK no. 42).

As his relationship with Kylie Minogue concludes, Michael Hutchence has a brief liaison with Kristen Zang in 1991, then moves on to model Helena Christensen who becomes his lady love for the period 1991-1995.

‘Live Baby Live’ (1991) (AUS no. 3, US no. 72, UK no. 8) is a concert album drawn from INXS shows recorded in a variety of cities, including London, New York, Paris and Sydney.  A new song recorded in the studio, ‘Shining Star’ (AUS no. 21, UK no. 27), is slipped into the contents.  ‘Live Baby Live’ takes its title from the opening words of ‘New Sensation’, a track originally heard on ‘Kick’ (though on ‘Kick’ that’s ‘live’ (rhymes with give) rather than ‘live’ (rhymes with hive)).

Drummer Jon Farriss marries Leslie Bega on 14 February 1992.

‘Welcome To Wherever You Are’ (1992) (AUS no. 2, US no. 16, UK no. 1) is released in August.  Described as ‘their most adventurous’ album, this set is co-produced by INXS and Mark Opitz, the man who produced ‘Shabooh Shoobah’.  The album is notable for a reduction in the number of songs contributed by Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss, though the duo does provide such fare as ‘Not Enough Time’ (US no. 28) and ‘Taste It’ (AUS no. 36, US no. 101, UK no. 21).  Andrew Farriss steps up as the sole songwriter on ‘Beautiful Girl’ (AUS no. 34, US no. 46, UK no. 23); ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ (AUS no. 30, UK no. 20) which employs a full orchestra for accompaniment; and the album’s best cut, ‘Heaven Sent’ (AUS no. 13, UK no. 31).  The oddly processed vocals on the last-named song seem to emphasise the comparatively diminished input of INXS’ lead vocalist.

Mark Opitz and INXS again share a production credit for the follow-up, ‘Full Moon, Dirty Hearts’ (1993) (AUS no. 4, US no. 53, UK no. 3) in November.  The crashing, tumultuous ‘The Gift’ (AUS no. 16, UK no. 11) is probably the highpoint of the album.  This song is another offering from the ‘Disappear’ pairing of Michael Hutchence and Jon Farriss.  The album is ‘generally ignored.’

By this time, Kirk Pengilly’s ten year relationship with Karen Hutchinson is over.  In December 1993 he marries Deni Hines, an Australian singer.  She is the daughter of Marcia Hines, an African-American singer who left the U.S. to become a pop star in Australia in the 1970s.  Kirk and Deni’s marriage lasts only ten months.  He then becomes engaged to DJ (disc jockey) Louise Hegarty, a relationship that lasts seven years, though they never wed.

INXS change record labels in 1994, moving to Polygram.  They soon change managers as well.

In 1994 Michael Hutchence is interviewed by Paula Yates for the British television program ‘The Tube’ on Channel 4.  According to Paula, she and Michael have sex for the first time about half an hour later.  Paula Yates is married to Bob Geldof, the man who put together the Live Aid charity concerts.  Yates and Geldof split up in 1995 and divorce in May 1996.  By that time, Paula Yates is pregnant with Michael Hutchence’s child.  Their daughter, Heavenly Hiriani Tiger Lily Hutchence is born 22 July 1996.  The child becomes known as Tiger or Tiger Lily.  The relationship between Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates is rather volatile.

‘Elegantly Wasted’ (1996) (AUS no. 14, US no. 41, UK no. 16) is the next album for INXS.  Michael Hutchence claims that the title is “just a phrase that popped into my head.”  It actually dates back to journalists’ description for Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones at the height of his heroin addiction.

Michael Hutchence is very troubled himself.  He is not interested in marrying Paula Yates or anybody.  “I’m happily unmarried,” he says.  Michael’s mother claims he has ‘drug habits’ and his personality has changed during his time with Paula.  He is seeing a psychiatrist and taking the anti-depressant Prozac.  Paula is said to have made threats against both her own life and Tiger Lily’s in an increasingly desperate attempt to keep Michael.  Instead, Michael Hutchence returns to Sydney and has a brief relationship with Australian actress Kym Wilson in 1997.

INXS begin rehearsals for their ‘Lose Your Head’ tour, celebrating twenty years together without a line-up change.  On 21 November 1997, after rehearsals with the group, Michael Hutchence has dinner with his father and stepmother.  He returns to his hotel room at the Sydney Carlton Ritz.  There follows a ‘heated’ phone call from Bob Geldof.  Michael himself phones his ex-girlfriend, Michelle Bennett.  When hotel staff enter the singer’s room the next day, they find him dead, his naked body suspended by a leather belt wrapped about his throat.  He was 37.  Rumours suggest his death is the result of an ‘auto-erotic accident’, but Michael’s father gruffly dismisses such talk.  Michael’s relatives are more aware than the general public of his depression and personal problems.  The coroner’s official verdict is that Michael Hutchence deliberately committed suicide.  In a sad postscript, Paula Yates dies of an accidental heroin overdose on 17 September 2000.  Tiger Lily is brought up with her half-sisters by Bob Geldof.

In 1999 Jon Farriss divorces his wife, Leslie.

Despite the death of Michael Hutchence, INXS continue to perform.  They use a series of guest vocalists.  Black singer Terence Trent D’Arby is the first in 1999.  New Zealand-born Jon Stevens, formerly with Australian band Noiseworks, takes on the role from 2000 to 2003.  Mark Burnett, a ‘reality show maverick’, enters into business with INXS to produce ‘Rock Star’ in 2005, a television program on the U.S. CBS Network that will track contestants competing for the prize of becoming the new vocalist for INXS.  The winner is Canadian J.D. Fortune (born Jason Dean Bennison, 1 September 1973).  With J.D. Fortune, INXS cut a new album, ‘Switch’ (2005) (AUS no. 18, US no. 17).

In 2006 Jon Farriss marries his second wife, Kerry Norris.  They go on to have a daughter named Avani (born 6 October 2008) and a son named Danan (born 15 November 2010).

In September 2007 Garry Gary Beers marries a woman named Jourdan.  They have twins, a girl named Isla and a boy named August.  Beers already has three children.  He has two daughters, Lucy and Matilda, from his first marriage to Jodie Crompton.  He also has a son, Benjamin, from a short relationship with Shelley Preston in 1997-1998.

On 10 October 2010 Kirk Pengilly marries Australian women’s surfing champion, Layne Beachley.

J.D. Fortune’s reputed ‘cocaine habit’ alienates him from his colleagues in INXS.  Although he remains the official frontman, the band uses guest vocalists like Rob Thomas (of Matchbox 20) and Ben Harper on ‘Original Sin’ (2010) (AUS no. 49), an album of fresh recordings of the band’s past hits.

J.D. Fortune is officially dismissed in August 2011.  Ciaran Gribbin from Northern Ireland acts as vocalist for INXS from 2011 to 2012.  ON 11 December 2012 INXS announce they will no longer be touring.

His marriage to Shelley Banks over, Andrew Farris marries his new wife, Marlina, on 4 October 2013.

INXS did their best work on their first seven albums: ‘INXS’ (1980) to ‘X’ (1990).  In the early 1990s, they became ‘boxed in’ by their trademark sound and struggled in later years to regain their potency.  In retrospect, carrying on after the death of Michael Hutchence seems ill-considered, but it is always easier to be wise after the fact.  Presumably, the rest of the close-knit group thought their chemistry would see them through.  When Michael Hutchence was part of that formula, the group scaled great heights.  There is an eerie significance in Bob Geldof being distantly associated with both one of the INXS’ greatest triumphs (their Live Aid show) and their greatest tragedy (Michael Hutchence’s death).  INXS were ‘different from the pack; young and energetic, not afraid to look and behave like rock stars.’  INXS ‘harnessed its hard rock, dance and new wave influences into a sleek, stylish groove.”


  1. as at 8 July 2013, 18 February 2015
  2. ‘The Virgin Encyclopedia Of Eighties Music’ – Edited by Colin Larkin (Virgin Books, 1997) p. 245
  3. Notable names database – – as at 8 July 2013
  4. Internet movie database – – as at 8 July 2013
  5. UK.INXSFAN – Michael Hutchence – (video) documentary Pt. 1 of 5 (18 May 2010)
  6. ‘Friday On My Mind’ by Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 68, 128, 129, 136, 150, 155, 198
  7. ‘The Swing & Other Stories’ video documentary – Michael Hutchence interview conducted by Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum (1984)
  8. ‘The Big Australian Rock Book’, ‘INXS’ by David Fricke (Megabooks, 1985) p 49, 50
  9. ‘INXS – The Greatest Hits’ – Anonymous sleeve notes (EastWest / Warner Music, 1994) p. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12
  10. ‘Rocking Tonite’ (Canadian television program) – Michael Hutchence interview (1988)
  11. as at 10 August 2013
  12. as at 11 August 2013
  13. ‘This Morning’ (U.K. television program, Independent Television Network) – Patricia Kennedy and Tina Burgess interview conducted by Patricia Glossop (30 October 2000)
  14., ‘INXS’ by Stephen Thomas Erlewine as at 10 August 2013
  15. as at 5 August 2013
  16. VHI music video network – Michael Hutchence and Tim Farriss interview conducted by A.J. Hammer (1996)

Song lyrics copyright MCA Music (1980-1984), MMA Music International (1985-1990)

Last revised 19 November 2013


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