INXS is calling it a day, according to various reports. Although an official statement has yet to be distributed, the rumor mill Down Under is in high-spin after the band made an announcement of their own during a show over the weekend.
The group apparently announced the end in the city where it all began. During a performance Sunday at the new Perth Arena, drummer Jon Farriss made the call that they would disband, reportedly saying, “I’m getting teary.”
Performing “Need You Tonight” in Perth, 11/11/12
At their peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Australian outfit enjoyed a period of superstardom and were regularly in the conversation of ranking the “biggest bands on the planet.” But all that came crashing down in 1997, when the group lost its charismatic singer of 20 years Michael Hutchence, who was just 37. The surviving band members pushed on, but the second part of INXS’ career would never reach the same heights.
Originally formed in 1977 in the Western Australian capital of Perth, INXS’ body of work has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, scored six UK Top 10 albums and five US Top 20 albums.
Their biggest commercial success came in 1987, when INXS released “Kick,” an album which sold more than 10 million copies and yielded the tracks “Need You Tonight,” “Devil Inside,” “New Sensation,” “Never Tear Us Apart” and “Mystify.” “Need you Tonight” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 2 in Britain, and its accompanying video went on to win five MTV Awards. In 1991, INXS won the BRIT Award for best international group.
The group reunited in recent years, and in 2004 turned to a TV talent series “Rock Star” to find a new frontman — to the ire of its fan base. Canadian J.D. Fortune won the gig, and there have been others at the mic, including Jon Stevens, Terence Trent D’Arby and the band’s current frontman, Irishman Ciaran Gribbin.
In the past five years, the band’s inspirational manager Chris Murphy returned to the fold, and began mapping out the band’s future. In a conversation with this reporter in 2010, Murphy said, “What I’m doing for INXS today is not trying to solve an issue or problem today. I’m setting up a strategy that will last 20 years.”
Murphy is understood to be readying a statement to clarify the band’s situation, which should be unveiled Tuesday. Billboard reached out to various sources, but no-one is talking.
Universal Music Group and INXS last year forged a long-term agreement to revamp and re-release the group’s catalog. This year marks the 25th anniversary of “Kick,” their biggest album. The band recently released a massive box set, titled “The Kick 25th Anniversary Edition,”which includes a wealth of outtakes and additional songs from the sessions as well as a DVD with documentary and live footage.
Keyboardist Andrew Farriss told Billboard last month that the band had several new songs in the works. “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.”