ATN's Music News of the World: INXS' Michael Hutchence
INXS Leader Struggled With 'Demons'Argued with Bob Geldof over personal issues.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : Only days before he apparently took his own life, INXS leader Michael Hutchence presented a persona to at least some around him as a figure who had weathered the storm of life in the probing public eye and had come out wiser and happier.It was a picture that contrasted sharply with that which was drawn on Saturday morning, when Hutchence was found hanging in a Sydney, Australia, hotel room from his own belt in an apparent suicide.In what Melbourne, Australia's Herald Sun newspaper claims was Hutchence's final interview, conducted just four days before his death, the singer admitted that he had struggled with personal problems but suggested that he had persevered."I have dealt with many demons in my life, but nothing compares to what I've had to face over the past few years," Hutchence told Nui Te Koha of the Sun newspaper last Wednesday. "It would be so easy for me to say that I hate what I've become, but then what I've become certainly in the public eye, I've had no control over. And I don't like that. It concerns me a great deal that every move that I make is looked at, photographed and made into gossip, some fucking sound bite that doesn't resemble the truth."Still, Hutchence said that his art has helped him to survive such scrutiny. "That I can create, that I can write, that I can express, that is the light at the end of the tunnel," he told the Sun. "That is how you win the battle."Hutchence's behavior later in the week seemingly added to that image of one who had put his hardest days behind him. On Friday afternoon, one day before the INXS lead singer was found dead in a Sydney hotel room, he was in "brilliant spirits" as he rehearsed with the band, according to Shawn Deacon, the band's Australian publicist. There were no outward signs that anything was troubling Hutchence that Friday afternoon, Deacon said."They were rehearsing for the [since canceled 20th anniversary] tour that was to have begun Tuesday [Nov. 25]. A crew from a respected news magazine here called A Current Affair was filming them for a story," said Deacon, who works for Big Media Party Ltd., the band's PR firm.In fact, Deacon said the 37-year-old singer, whose body was found in his Ritz-Carlton hotel room in the Double Bay neighborhood of Sydney, Australia, "was very up, very witty and charming" during the rehearsal session.Police have yet to determine what circumstances led to Hutchence's death. Although police are still investigating the death as well as awaiting toxicology reports, which should take several weeks, Scott Willis, Senior Constable with the New South Wales Police said Monday that he "seriously doubted" Hutchence was the victim of what some speculate may have been a sex ritual gone wrong."We don't believe there is anything to indicate autoerotic asphyxiation," said Willis, of the dangerous practice that involves the cutting-off of oxygen to the brain in an attempt to heighten sexual pleasure. "Even though he was found naked, there's nothing to indicate that was the cause."Willis said the police will still not officially rule the death a suicide until the toxicology reports are back. He did say, however, that foul play is not believed to have been a factor.It has been widely reported that the prescription anti-depressant Prozac was found in Hutchence's room, which he had occupied since arriving in Sydney last Tuesday, along with four other, still unidentified prescription pills. Willis, who would not comment on what the contents were of the other containers found in the room, would only say that "you can't do tests on empty bottles."Australia's Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday (Nov. 25) (Australia is 18 hours ahead of the United States) that Hutchence had argued with Live Aid benefit organizer/ex-Boomtown Rats leader Bob Geldof, the former husband of Hutchence's partner, Paula Yates, the evening before his body was found.The Herald story is based on an account of a British journalist who was on Yates' flight to Australia. According to Martin Frizell, Yates said she blamed Geldof for Hutchence's death. "She said she wanted to bring all her children [Yates had three children with Geldof and a daughter with Hutchence] to Australia for Christmas, but Bob Geldof had changed his mind and said the children couldn't go," Frizell told the Herald. "The last words she heard Michael say were, 'I love you. I'm going to phone Bob right now and beg him, beg him to allow them to come.' "Geldof has thus far refused to respond to Yates' claims. "I am not being difficult, but it's better for me if I do not just say anything at all," he told the British Press Association outside his London home.During Hutchence's interview with the Herald Sun, he made reference to the recent stress that had affected both Yates and him. "I have been through some difficult times lately -- I'd say it was much worse for Paula -- but I'm a realist, I just do my best to confront these things and hope I come out of it stronger and wiser and a better person," he said.Later, the singer acknowledged that the press often pitted the public personalities of him and Geldof against one another. "It is an easy contrast," Hutchence said. "A convenient one. Saint Bob and the wild boy rock star. You pick the one people are going to believe. One day the truth will be told."In a SonicNet on-line chat in February of this year, Hutchence, while in the United States promoting the band's most recent album, Elegantly Wasted, expressed his joy about being a new dad. "The best thing I ever made," said Hutchence about his now 16-month-old daughter Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.Ironically, in that same interview, guitarist Tim Farriss, when asked how long the band would last, typed, "We already have lasted forever."Willis would not confirm if the police had any indication that Hutchence had called Geldof from his room, or if phone records indicated that he'd called anybody else from the room. As reported earlier by the Herald, police revealed that Hutchence was still alive at 9 a.m. on Saturday, when he telephoned former girlfriend Michelle Bennett and left a message on her answering machine.Bennett is then reported to have arrived at Room 524 where Hutchence was staying, and after he failed to answer her knock, left a note under the door. Willis would not reveal the contents of that note, nor would he confirm or deny if any other note was found in the room. The Herald also reported on Monday that Hutchence had sent Yates a dozen red roses in London on Friday, with a note that read: "To all my beautiful girls, all my love, Michael."In addition to INXS' 13-date anniversary tour, which was to kick-off on Tuesday and play both 10,000-seat arenas and more intimate venues, Deacon confirmed that Hutchence had been working on-and-off, on a solo album. "It was only about half-finished," said Deacon of the singer's putative debut solo album, on which he had worked with Bomb the Bass' Tim Simenon and former Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill.Hutchence had begun work on the solo album in 1995, Deacon said, and finished only half of the tracks when he took a break in mid-1996 to work on INXS' Elegantly Wasted. "He was an artist, he created music," Deacon said, explaining why the singer decided to strike out on his own. "That's what he was doing, creating. A painter doesn't always paint."As of Monday, the band's label, Mercury, did not have Hutchence's solo effort on its release schedule. Hutchence's funeral is to be held at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday at St. Andrews Church in Sydney, Australia. Deacon said the public is invited to attend, but that only family and some fan club members will be allowed inside the 800-capacity church. Deacon said the funeral will be broadcast on Australian television and that monitors will be set-up outside the church for mourners who cannot view the service first hand.The singer's family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to UNICEF aid organization or the Starlight Foundation.***Rave On: Jane's Addiction Shine at Weirdest Show on Earth'Relapsed' band highlight all-night rave that also features naked nymphs and groovy techno vibe.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : SAN FRANCISCO 8:56 p.m.: Painted faces and bodies. Men in rainbow-colored outfits, walking around in plastic garbage bags. Women in transparent tops with horns sprouting from their heads. Men with purple bouffants, dressed as go-go dancers.Even before the doors of San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium open Saturday night for the only 1997 staging of Jane's Addiction leader Perry Farrell's ENIT rave ("ENIT RealVideo excerpt") and "ENIT QuickTime excerpt", the sidewalk outside is a freak show.It's hard to tell the performers from the fans. A guy in a buckskin bikini and full red and blue yin-yang body paint adjusts his waist-length wig. Next to him a fan in six-inch platform gym shoes and a spangled kimono wraps a red ribbon around her right thigh, joining a group ritual it seems only the other four members of her clan understand.9:06: A blinding orange light greets you as you walk in the doors. The muffled sound of the Funky Tekno Tribe DJs leaks out of the main auditorium where thousands will soon gather to dance, mosh, mix it up and drink in the sounds of the Funky Tekno Tribe and Goldie, and a performance by ENIT organizer Perry Farrell and his relapsed rockers Jane's Addiction.9:38: The first naked nymphs of the night. A poetry reading in the Raktavasa room with four scantily clad dancers and a fifth pregnant sylph in a bikini, all laying on a white table. Greek columns. A screening of Julz Chavez's black and white art film "Passion" flickers behind a pair of topless dancers. Elvis as a horned devil looks on off a poster. Flashback to Lollapalooza.9:48: On the other side of the hall, what appear to be a dozen couples sprawled out on low platforms covered with big, ornate pillows, propped up under two huge screens flashing ambiguous images. Digital movies in the ResFest room. The techno beats accompanying the movie perfectly clash with those now pouring through the doorways of the main room. Visitors move shoulder to shoulder up and down the hallways, the stairways, in and out of rooms, looking, touching, staying and leaving again.10:00: While the psychedelic "Further" bus draws attention on the sidewalk outside, in a large back room on the fourth floor Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, who raised hell in the '60s, have covered the walls in their basketball court-sized room with drawing paper. The curious paint the material and each other with Day-Glo colors. The walls, faces and arms burn brightly in orange and green under the black light.10:09: Jane's drummer Stephen Perkins sits in on drums in the Jam Room, located on the eastern wing of the fourth floor. Congas, two drum sets, maracas, bongos, cowbells, all set up in a circle. Visitors take turns pounding away, syncopating. The beats reverberate around the room, each drummer finding the groove and fighting to stay a part of it.10:15: The Beach Room, next door, where beats are replaced by beach balls and body heat. The balls fly chaotically around the room like a beach party gone berserk. Overexcited boys pummeling each other for no apparent reason. Sounds of the ocean. The pounding intense hearts, beats crashing, deep and resounding, across the hallway.10:17: Massages, fingernail painting, aerosol eye makeup application, a cornucopia of fresh grapes and exotic fruit piled on long tables in the Genie Room. It's become more and more obvious that Perry wants fans to join in the techno-shaman-hippie-trippy scene, rather than sit back, content to be the typical rock voyeurs.10:26: Yasir, an exotic world music combo, jam a tribal raga in the Raktavasa room. Pixelated images of dancers and liquid light effects are projected onto the wall.10:35: On the main stage, Goldie rocks with ominous Gregorian jungle and a gold-tooth snarl. From the back of the auditorium, it shimmers across the dance floor, flickering like a star. Diva Diane Charlemange peels the paint during an epic "Timeless." Goldie shows off an uncharacteristic punk/hip-hop vocal style during the new song "Temper, Temper." He keeps kissing the guy playing bass.11:24: DJ Polywog is mixing a techno jam and Led Zeppelin's metal classic "Whole Lotta Love," creating a wonderfully noisy hybrid, a musical mutation that seems somehow appropriate on this night , touching, it seems, at the core of this coming together. For the first time perhaps, the room begins to vibrate. But those recycled Lollapalooza '91 fractal images on the big screens flanking the stage seem out of place, home movies from a long-gone era.11:45: Kesey and company take the main stage dressed in their Hefty garbage bags to act out a psychedelic Greek chorus incantation. They recite bad, often unintelligible hippie-mantra poetry over stock Kennedy and Vietnam images. They are a bad cliche. Weird, then creepy, then just annoying and pointless. They peel off their garbage bag jackets to reveal Day-Dlo jumpsuits. Colorful but no consolation.12:04: Polywog mixes "Freebird" and electronic breakbeats. The lights dim and then flick off. There is a swelling on the dance floor. Something is about to happen.12:09: A woman's voice echoes in Spanish from somewhere off stage. An introduction. Jane's is here. Where? His lanky body swaying as he struts, Farrell slinks onto the stage, then shouting his echoed squeal for "Ocean Size." He's dressed in a purple tunic and feathered headdress with glittering mask. Flea is wearing a red sarong. Guitarist Dave Navarro is in a black miniskirt and white boa housecoat. Perkins wears his customary long skirt. Their backdrop is a scaffolding decorated with large fantastical cutouts of pink flower bulbs and plants like something out of a children's fairy tale.12:26: The tide is high. From above, the crowd is an ocean rolling toward the stage. Bodies surfing. Tossed around like driftwood. "That's the greatest guitarist and bassist in the world!" screams a woman floating on a wave. Sweat flows. Bodies press, swaying, pushing, moving. Not necessarily to the music. "Stop."Farrell, now stripped down to a purple vinyl skirt and matching mini-vest, chugs wine, spins around and crashes to the floor. Navarro eases the fall by giving him a long French kiss. "Three Days" seems to last as long, with an epic jam that brings on the first in a parade of exotic dancers, placed strategically on risers set up around the auditorium. Farrell gets down on his belly with the two bikinied dancers and shakes his ass in the air. There is a dangerously powerful undertow.12:45: "Mountain Song" inspires Farrell to kick his heels up like the Vegas showman/shaman he is. The band seems to be playing not just for the audience but for the cameras. "They" are filming the show, which, regardless, pushes Jane's to new heights. As if absorbing the energy, the enigmatic arena, the band takes on a surreal force. Every song is an epic drama, full of ebbs, flows, fantasy guitar solos, rolling bass lines that build momentum as Farrell raps about the "four ways to ask for love."12:59: The band, surrounded by security, move to the small satellite stage in the middle of the auditorium for a wildly received "Jane Says." It's classic Jane's. Farrell babbles about "them" being here. And everyone seems to know what he means. That is, until he launches into "Happy Days Are Here Again." A cappella.1:23: "Nothing's Shocking" centrifuge jam, picking up steam and intensity to near anarchy. Three things Farrell obviously likes to see: strippers, participation and lots of people waving big flags with mysterious geometrical figures on them.1:47: The lights flash on. Navarro shimmies up a metal pole on-stage, like the strippers before him. He waves good-bye, a teenager daring to be cool. The crowd stands mesmerized, the energy still circulating until the bodies begin to pull away, moving through separate doors as if dismissed from class.2:27 Beyond Race pack the Raktavasa room with the sound of their world music jamming on didgeridoo, violin, percussion, cello and throat singing. "One of the better-funded, nicer raves I've been to," says Carrie Marshall, 23, over the drum circle on the floor competing with Beyond Race. A thousand or more still dancing to the Tekno Tribe's pounding beats and lights. The current flows.3:03: A security guard with blue hair and tongue ring shows off the bandage on her arm. "I never got bit at Lollapalooza, I'll tell you that much," she says. The drums keep beating, Kesey and company ramble on about acid, family and other tangents over acoustic guitar and treated vocals.3:49: Everyone in the Genie Room is giving massages to each other, while the Anteroom, with its cheesy Greek fountain and disco lights, has turned into the coolest room around thanks to warm, fairly quiet techno being spun in a corner. Cashed-out fans are crashed-out on the ground on all four floors, like the scene after a midnight flight cancellation at a punk airport.4:40: Dry ice makes the warming beats in the Genie room even cooler, literally. A funky dread is pounding out an echoing, metallic beat on a railing with a silver ring in time with the music from the Genie room and main floor. His two friends gather around and bob their heads.5:08: All at once the drum jam breaks up. At 18, Azine, who should not be here now because of her age (no one under 21 past 2 a.m.) , is glowing after two hours of beating skins. As far she's concerned this is where she belongs. "It was awesome," she says, smiling blissfully under a face of glitter. "The whole night felt like a dream."5:41: Dreamy, sleeping revelers with paint-smeared faces and bleary eyes gather their gear as warm rain brings on a new day.As they step outside, the freaks are again transformed.