See if I ever take a bullet for you again.
Too damn many books.

The Original Sin.

I remember being in the middle of getting ready to leave a hotel down in Slidell, Louisiana, back in November 1997 when the news came through on both the TV and the radio that INXS frontman Michael Hutchence had been found hanged in a hotel in Sydney, Australia.

The four of us who had made the trek to this small suburb of New Orleans from Chicago were all rock fans.  Not only were we in "Loozeana" to hit the normal trappings like Rue Bourbon and the French Quarter, but we were also in town for the U2 show at the Superdome.  When we heard the news, it hit all of us like a ton of bricks.  To some degree, we were all fans of INXS.  Myself especially.

I'm not a career-long fan like so many others before me.  I will admit to having only become a fan as a result of 80s radio rotations in which their album Kick featured so prominently.  But I remained a fan long after so many other U.S. fans forgot about them.  I saw them on their Full Moon, Dirty Hearts tour in 1993 at the Aragon Ballroom (or "Brawlroom" as it's lovingly referred to in Chi-town) with my friend Michael who was an even bigger INXS than myself.  Heck, he made the trip out from Ames, Iowa, just to see them play. I slapped five with Hutchence three times while down in front of the stage (and I'll never wash my hand again... just kidding).

I own all their albums (either in CD or MP3 format), including those that predate Kick.  I still listen to them fairly regularly as I feel that INXS is a band whose music remains current.

But I will never be able to see them play live again.  Or will I?

MiscrockstarinxsA week from this coming Monday (that's July 11 for those of you scrambling for your calendars), CBS will premiere their latest in a seemingly neverending line of reality shows... Rock Star: INXS.

What's it all about?  Here you go, as per CBS.com...

Celebrated rock guitarist Dave Navarro and Brooke Burke are the hosts of ROCK STAR: INXS, a new reality show executive produced by SURVIVOR's Mark Burnett. The show combines the world of rock music with relationship-style unscripted drama, performance competition and a weekly contestant elimination. The last singer standing will become the lead singer of the internationally renowned band INXS, will embark on a worldwide concert tour with the band and will be part of the group's new album.

Yes, I realize that my comment "Or will I?" may sound like I'm holding out hope for this show.  That could not be further from the truth.  This is just a train wreck waiting to happen.

This is not the first I've heard of this disaster.  I think it was roughly a year ago that I first heard this show was in the network's coffer.  I was ready to gag then and I'm ready to gag now. 

My problems with the show...

  1. Michael Hutchence is INXS.  He was their heart, soul, and, for many women as well as some men, their body.  He epitomized the concept of modern stage presence.  His energy is what made the band what it is.  Yes, the other five guys in the band are spectacular musicians and I don't mean to take anything from them, but Hutch defined the band.  Don't sully his memory.  Please.
  2. I know many bands have replaced lead singers in the past with varying degrees of success.  But if you hope to be able to return to some semblance of your past self, don't you think you will need someone of a little higher caliber than unknown artists that, in some cases, are just barely half the age of the other band members?
  3. "Celebrated rock guitarist Dave Navarro"?  Are you kidding me?  Yeah, he was good with Jane's Addiction.  But the one album he did with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (One Hot Minute) was hardly palatable.  Aside from marrying Carmen Electra, what the hell else has he done to deserve the title "Celebrated"? 
  4. And why is Brooke Burke getting snubbed in the adjective category?  No descriptor for her?  Not even "Sex bomb host of Wild On!"  If I were her, I'd be pissed.  Then again, if I were her, I'd be running for the hills knowing that this was my next gig.

Bear in mind that these are just the humble opinions of one U.S. fan of the band.  I would like to ask INXS fans from their home country of Australia what they think (Kazza and others?).  If you are a fan, how do you feel about this whole sordid affair?  If you have no particular opinion, have you heard rumblings from other people?  Grunts of disdain or support?

Just curious.

Comments

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Dave2

While past shenanigans like this have me doubtful it can succeed, I wish the lads nothing but the best of luck. They gave everything they had to a band they loved, then got screwed because of Hutchence's rather selfish act.

Hutchence's presence may have been INXS to most people, but these guys put in just as much, and shouldn't be expected to just blow off their friendship and a band they helped to create because of what he did.

Sure a television show like this is tacky (though TLC is going a step beyond tacky with their similar show), but I hope it works out. They're just trying to make the best out of a situation they had no control over.

Kevin

What's TLC's show? I don't know anything about it.

The question is, though, was Michael's act truly selfish? Was it suicide or was he taking part in some sort of autoerotic asphyxiation as so many have said he likely did? It's one of those questions that will never be answered much like Kurt Cobain's "suicide."

I have no problem with the band playing on. They should and they deserve to. And I was happy with the guy that had been filling in for Hutch in recent years. I've heard he was really good. He had been touring with the band for a couple of years now but had recently either quit or been fired, I'm not sure which. I just lose respect for the band in this method of approach to replacing both Hutch and their fill in.

kazza

I liked a lot of their music, but I guess was never a huge fan. I tend to agree that losing such a key member of a band really destroys the essence of the band, and you can't really replace that. But hey, if the rest of the band want to carry on with a new lead singer, fine, but perhaps they shouldn't be called inxs...

Kevin

Even the Doors, when they picked up Ian Astbury last year to replace Jim Morrison, called themselves The Doors 21st Century or the 21st Century Doors or some such. Thought it was a cute spin on the name. Especially when you consider that they had a song called "20th Century Fox."

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