Despite previously announced plans to honor late INXS singer Michael Hutchence with an all-star concert in his native Australia on Jan. 22, the group's manager said Friday (Nov. 13) that the concert will not be taking place.
"We're not going to do either tribute," said INXS' long-time manager Martha Troup, referring to plans she'd previously revealed to honor the singer with simultaneous shows in Sydney, Australia and New York. "It's not the appropriate time, and I just don't think we're all ready for it right now."
Hutchence -- the 37-year-old singer of such INXS hits as "Devil Inside" and "Suicide Blond" (RealAudio excerpt) -- hanged himself in his Sydney hotel room in November 1997.
The proposed concert in Australia, dedicated to the highly charismatic frontman of one of the most popular dance-rock bands of the '80s, was expected to feature the first live group performance of the surviving members of INXS -- Garry Gary Beers (bass), Kirk Pengilly (guitar/saxophone) and brothers Andrew Farriss (guitar/keyboards), Jon Farriss (drums) and Tim Farriss (guitar) -- since Hutchence's death. Prior to Hutchence's demise, INXS were rehearsing for a planned Australian tour to promote their 20th year of recording together.
Meanwhile, the singer's family is planning a memorial for him on the anniversary of his death. The Nov. 22 service will be held in the Northern Chapel of Sydney's Northern Suburbs Memorial Park, where Hutchence's funeral took place last year. Members of INXS, as well as 3,000 fans, are expected to attend the memorial, according to the late singer's father, Kelland Hutchence.
"This will be the one and only [memorial event]," Kelland Hutchence said. "We won't do this every year. It's the first memorial service as a tribute to my darling son and his great achievement in the music industry. That's what it's all about."
As recently as last Thursday, Troup was drawing a distinction between the memorial service and the planned concerts, saying that the shows would be more of a celebration than a benefit or tribute to Michael Hutchence. In light of the cancellation of the event, however, Troup said she had some "other ideas" about honoring Hutchence.
"We have some other things we might release," Troup said, declining to go into specifics about recordings, "and at another point, we might do a show in New York at a later date."
Troup has said there are more than 40 unreleased INXS songs that might be issued eventually. The band released nine albums over the course of its 20 years together.
A solo album by Michael Hutchence, produced by Black Grape's Danny Saber and former Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill, was expected to be released this year. It is currently on hold, according to the manager.
The band's former Australian publicist, Shawn Deacon, had previously confirmed that such major artists as British pop-legend Elton John, glam-pioneer David Bowie, American punk-rocker Iggy Pop, crooner Tom Jones, Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon and Michael Hutchence's good friend, U2 singer Bono, had been approached to play a benefit show.
Troup said she had already begun lining up bands for the concert, although she would not name names. However, Aussie superstars Midnight Oil were among the artists who'd been approached, according to that band's songwriter/drummer Rob Hirst.
"I think we were asked about [playing the show] when the idea went around," Hirst said. "I think Michael is certainly very sorely missed, because there's no one with that same sensuality and charisma on the Australian scene, and I don't really think there ever has been."
Although his politically charged band had not definitively committed to the show, Hirst said, without a doubt, that he'd "put my hand up" if an offer to play a show in honor of Michael Hutchence came by again.
Since the singer's death, the remaining members of INXS have been working on various side projects. The band is planning to take a one-year hiatus before it returns to recording and performing without Michael Hutchence, Troup said.