Package celebrating band's landmark 1987 album includes DVD, unreleased songs and an 80-page book
Australian rockers INXS are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their best-selling album, "Kick," with a lavish box set that includes a wealth of outtakes and additional songs from the sessions as well as a DVD with documentary and live footage.
The group's Andrew Farriss, who co-wrote "Kick's" songs with the late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, tells Billboard it's been illuminating to delve back into that period of the group's career in compiling "The Kick 25th Anniversary Edition."
"I think when the idea (for the box set) came up, most of us were at first sort of thinking, 'Why? What are we doing?' " Farriss notes. "But we realized that every musician, every songwriter fortunate enough to be able to get their music and songs heard... all want to have their work validated. 'Kick' was a very important record for INXS and potentially may have been an important record for its time. So we wanted to really give people a really good snapshot, if you like, of what we were doing then and what we were trying to do and how we did it. We thought people would think that was really interesting."
"The Kick 25th Anniversary Edition" -- which will be available exclusively via INXS.com -- unearths extra tracks such as "Move On," "I'm Coming (Home)," "On the Rocks" and "Jesus Was a Man," as well as the original arrangement of "Never Tear Us Apart" and a selection of demos, remixes and live tracks. The DVD, meanwhile, includes a documentary about the making of the album, track-by-track commentary from the band members, concert and tour footage -- some taken by the band itself -- and promotional videos. The Super Deluxe set also comes with an 80-page hardcover book, while the collection is also available on limited edition red vinyl and in a two-CD edition with the remastered original album and a disc of the extra tracks.
"Kick," INXS' sixth album, was the group's second No. 1 album in its homeland, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 -- the group's highest showing ever -- and was certified six-times platinum in the U.S. It also launched four Top 10 Hot 100 hits, including the chart-topping "Need You Tonight," "Devil Inside," "New Sensation" and "Never Tear Us Apart."
"The commercial success astounded us," Farriss recalls. "I think we knew at the time we were doing something special with the songwriting and recording, but we didn't set out to make a 'landmark' album. I think we were on a roll from a very organic part of our career. We built the whole thing on live performance, and as we went along we became better recording artists, and by 'Kick' we were just in a really great place."
The "Kick"-er of the story is that Atlantic Records, the group's label, didn't think so. When presented with "Kick," the company famously balked and offered INXS $1,000,000 to return to the studio and make another album.
"They just didn't want to understand what we were trying to do," Farriss says. "We had done (1985's) 'Listen Like Thieves,' which was pretty straight rock, and I think they hoped we'd be going down that road. When we turned up with 'Kick,' they were like, 'What is THIS?!' But we being the kind of people we were, we just said, 'No, that's what we want to do. It's our music. This is where we're at,' and we pushed it."
In addition to the "Kick" 25th anniversary packages, INXS is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its concert video "Live Baby Live" from London's Wembley Stadium in 1991 with a DVD reissue. Meanwhile, the band -- with its latest singer, Irish-born Ciaran Gribbin -- is on tour with Australia, and Farriss promises some new material is in the offing.
"I've got maybe four, five new tracks I'm happy with, and there's a lot of other material," he reports. "Because we're out touring, it's a little bit frustrating because I want to stop and concentrate on that (new) work. But you've got to be patient and make sure it's right. But this particularly lineup of INXS is really -- we're on a winner, I think, with this one. It's looking really, really positive."