News Flash: INXS Open Up About Hutchence In Interview

For the first time since the tragic death of their lead singer, the five remaining INXS members talked openly with an Australian journalist for more than an hour Monday about the late Michael Hutchence.

The band members initiated the interview with renowned Australian journalist George Negus as a way to pay tribute to their friend and bandmate as well as discuss their future plans, according to INXS spokeswoman Shawn Deacon, who added that no restrictions were placed on the questions Negus could ask. In turn, the band members were open and honest in their responses during the interview held at an undisclosed Sydney, Australia, location, she added.

"They talked for a long time and it was lovely. When it comes together,

I think this will be a lovely tribute to their friend," Deacon said on Tuesday. The publicist described the vibe at the outdoor interview, whose location she would not reveal, as exuding an "open feeling from the band."

Hutchence, 37, the charismatic lead singer for the Australian band, was found hanging from his leather belt on a door in his Ritz-Carlton hotel room on the morning of Nov. 22. Pending the findings by the coroner's investigation, police continue to rule the incident "death by hanging," awaiting toxicology reports that might reveal whether Hutchence's death was a result of suicide or an accident.

"They were really wanting to say what they've been feeling. Really wanting to get it out," Deacon said, adding that the band tried to think about what the public would want to know and tried to touch on those issues. She would not, however, confirm any specifics of the chat pending a release early next week of an edited, 20-minute tape of the hour-plus interview, which will be made available to the media.

Negus was personally chosen by the band because the members were familiar with his illustrious career as an investigative journalist on the Australian ABC show Foreign Correspondent, the Down Under answer to CBS' investigative news show 60 Minutes. "They felt he would treat the interview with the most dignity and grace," Deacon said.

Deacon said the band members felt that this format was the easiest way for them to communicate with their fans without having to face hundreds of journalists with questions they could not answer; in particular the British tabloids and their reputation for exploiting the sordid angle to every story. -- Nick Corr and Gil Kaufman [Wed., Dec. 10, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]