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August 29, 2014

Music Thread

So y'all's can write about whatever you like, musically. I'll just write a little bit up here because I wanted to write something about this anyway.

Lately -- I think because it's the 25th anniversary of Kick, or something -- I've been fascinated by INXS.

One of the cable channels has on a two-part docudrama about INXS' rise and fall. The first half is all rise -- formation to Kick -- the second is all fall, from Michael Hutchence being sucker-punched and knocked out cold in Hong Kong (did you know that?) which gave him a nasty change of personality (prone to rages) and robbed him of his sense of smell and taste, to his ultimate suicide in Sydney.

The docudrama is produced by INXS, so it gets very superficial about certain things they probably don't want to talk about. Like, Tim Farris, the band's leader, got married relatively early. Did he cheat? The movie does not say yes or no. It never shows him cheating; it just sort of shows him around semi-dressed girls during the band parties.

I'm not into these movies for such prurient stuff but the film has this tendency to set something up and make you curious, and then completely ignore the obvious questions you'd have about it.

Youngest member Jon Farriss, the drummer, got arrested for drugs at one point. There's an implication in the film he was actually dealing to help the band make rent. But... the film never says. He just gets out of jail because he's a minor, and no one ever mentions it again.

The most compelling character in the movie is... the manager, Chris Murphy, who comes across very well and very central to the band's success.

The other characters in the movie are Michael Hutchence.

Pretty much just Michael Hutchence. And his girlfriends.

Occasionally you see Tim Farris and Andy Farris and sometimes Jon Farris. Kirk Pengilly has a couple of lines, and Garry Gary Beers is almost entirely absent from the movie until the last ten minutes. When he confesses that he's begun seeing a woman besides his wife, in a scene that really showcases...

Michael Hutchence.

The film has almost no "how the song was written" material at all. There's one famous story that when Listen Like Thieves was about to go out to the record company, Chris Murphy listened and said, "I don't hear any hits."

So Andy Farris wrote a song in about a day, and Hutchence wrote the lyrics, and the band recorded it in like three takes, and it became their all-time greatest hit (at that time). That was "What You Need."

The movie just completely skips over that. I have no idea why. Especially because "What You Need" directly led to Kick -- the entire album of Kick is designed to sound like What You Need. What You Need was different from everything else on Listen Like Thieves, and everything they'd done before.

So this one song, written and recorded in a single day (or day and a half), changed their whole sound, made them superstars, and spawned, basically, an entire album.

But the movie ignores all of that.

It does reveal a few interesting things. Their first manager found God and decided that he could only manage Christian bands. He tried to convince INXS to become a Christian band. They briefly considered doing so.

Another interesting thing was when the label heard Kick for the first time, they hated it so much that they offered the band one million dollars to write and record an entirely new album. They said it was too black, and they couldn't sell INXS to black radio, being white and all.

It made no sense, either: Seriously, "Kick" was just "What You Need" in 12 different parts. "What You Need" was their biggest hit. Ergo, any executive who's interested in hits should have said, "Cool, it sounds like your biggest hit. Let's push this out there."

But they absolutely hated it.

The band had to go behind their back to release it.

So you probably know what happened next.

It's a decent docudrama, as far as these things go, just... superficial.

But diverting enough.

Anyway, here are a few of their better songs.


I think the below is my favorite song. Andrew Farris said it was made up of a bunch of spare parts that didn't fit at all together, but somehow it did all fit.

digg this
posted by Ace at 07:54 PM

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