Posthumous Hutchence Solo LP In the Works

As many as 25 songs were recorded prior to his apparent suicide.

As police continue to investigate the apparent suicide of INXS singer Michael Hutchence, those who worked with him have begun compiling an album of his solo work, choosing from as many as 25 tunes that the enigmatic rocker had recorded prior to his death.

Martha Troup, the group's long-time manager, said Wednesday that the music recorded by Hutchence last year is currently being put together, although no release date, or label, has been confirmed yet. "We're in the process of dealing with it right now," Troup said. "He recorded close to 25 tracks with various producers."

Among the producers Troup said Hutchence collaborated with are former Gang of Four member Andy Gill, Black Grape producer/member Danny Saber and Bomb the Bass' Tim Simenon.

Nearly three months after Hutchence's body was found hanging naked from a leather belt in his Sydney, Australia, hotel room, little evidence about what might have led the 37-year-old band leader to take his own life has emerged and the future of the band remains uncertain.

What has become clear, however, is that there will be plenty of previously unreleased material from Hutchence and INXS hitting store shelves in the coming year.

Lauren Murphy, a publicist at Mercury Records, the label INXS are currently signed to, said she is aware of the solo album, but it is not yet clear if Mercury will release it. "We don't know who or how or when it might be released," she said. "But we would definitely have first dibs on that kind of album."

Shawn Deacon of the band's Australian publicity firm said they have not yet heard any specifics regarding the album.

Hutchence's body was found on the morning of Nov. 22. Troup previously told Addicted To Noise that she thought that the singer had been under a great deal of stress following months of tense battles with Sir Bob Geldof, the ex-husband of Hutchence's lover, Paula Yates, and the former leader of new-wave punk group Boomtown Rats. The apparent suicide -- authorities have ruled out foul play -- came just three days before INXS were to embark on their 20th anniversary, "Lose Your Head" tour of their native Australia. The concerts have since been canceled.

Authorities had previously said results of an autopsy would be released in early January, only to recently push that date back to Feb. 6. Susan Porter, clerk of the Court for Glebe Coroners Court, which is conducting the coroner's investigation, said her office is barred by a privacy act from releasing autopsy information to anybody except next of kin. "We're not treating this any differently from any other death," Porter said of the high-profile investigation.

Scott Willis, spokesperson for the New South Wales Police's media unit, said his office would not be releasing the results of the coroner's investigation either. While it is known that several empty bottles of prescription medication -- including the widely used anti-depressant Prozac -- were found in the room with Hutchence, it has not yet been revealed what the other pills were.

Meanwhile, the band -- which also includes guitarists Tim and Andrew Farriss, bassist Garry Gary Beers, drummer Jon Farriss and guitarist/saxophone player Kirk Pengilly -- are currently on vacation, after which they will begin working on assembling an album of unreleased INXS material, Troup said. There are upward of 80 unreleased songs that are being considered, according to Deacon.

"They're writing and there's loads of unreleased material we're looking through," Troup said. "When they do albums they don't just do 10, 11 songs, but always six, seven, eight, nine extras. It will not be a B-sides collection. I would call these some fucking amazing songs because, to tell the truth, some of these should have been on [the band's final studio album] Elegantly Wasted."

It was unclear if the new album would be released this year, she added.

As for the future of INXS, Troup vehemently denied published reports in Australia that the band would carry on with Australian singer Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel) or Jack Jones (Southern Son), taking over for Hutchence. "Absolutely not true," she said. "Who knows what they'll do five, 10 years down the line, but for now that is just not true."

Although Troup would not comment on reports that the bulk of Hutchence's estate was to go to two environmental groups, Deacon balked at the stories, saying that it is a private matter.

Most stories circulating are based upon a recent piece in Australian music-industry journalist Christie Eliezer's "In Music" column, in which he claimed that a large portion of Hutchence's fortune was left to the activist groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, with the remainder going to his infant daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily. The report further stated that Hutchence left little, if any, provision for Yates, the mother of his child.

"It's a will," Deacon said. "He's left some money here and some money there like everybody does, you know, 'you can have my favorite ring and you can have my record collection' and whatever. That's all I can say." (ATN Australian correspondent Nick Corr contributed to this report) [Thurs., Jan. 15, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]