INXS To Tour Australia With Theatrical Revue

Surviving members of rock band also may compose with 'Lion King' lyricist Tim Rice.

MELBOURNE, Australia — The surviving members of INXS will tour Down Under this spring, as part of a theatrical musical revue staged by famed lyricist Tim Rice.

At a press conference held here Tuesday (Feb. 8), Rice ("Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita," "Chess," "The Lion King") said he and the five bandmates also may collaborate on an original composition.

"I met the guys in Sydney yesterday, and we're even going to try to write a new song together," Rice said. "It would be quite nice to have one or two brand-new things for the show."

"Tim Rice's Musical Spectacular," scheduled to premiere April 25 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, will feature a 12-member ensemble, including Iva Davies of the Sydney band Icehouse, glam-rock singer David Essex ("Rock On") and the duo Bachelor Girl, performing songs from Rice's best-known shows. They'll be backed by a 33-piece

orchestra and INXS' Andrew Farriss, Tim Farriss, Jon Farriss, Garry Beers and Kirk Pengilly. The show will tour Australia through May.

"What I hope will work on this show," Rice said," is that people like, say, INXS, who are normally called ... hard-edged rockers — one of the world's great rhythm sections, one of the world's great rock sounds of the last 15, 20 years — they'll be venturing a little bit into

theatrical territory. And some of these guys, here, who may be a little bit theatrical, will be venturing into rock.

"It's going to be very interesting to see what they make of one or two of the songs," Rice continued. "I'm an old-fashioned rocker, really, at heart, and I don't like musicals very much. I just like rock."

Icehouse singer Davies said, "One of the things about bands, or people who go into areas that they're not expert in, is that they often find brand-new, unthought-of ways to do it that are quite brilliant."

INXS have performed a couple of shows since bandleader Michael Hutchence, who sang such pop hits as "Never Tear Us Apart" (


_Apart.ram">RealAudio excerpt) and "Suicide Blonde" (


ram">RealAudio excerpt), committed suicide Nov. 22, 1997. At the opening of Sydney Stadium, in June 1999, American R&B singer Terence Trent D'Arby filled in as lead singer.

The remaining bandmembers, who are working on various recording projects, were not at Tuesday's press conference.

They're recording "as individuals," INXS publicist Chrissie Camp said. "Andrew has produced Yothu Yindi's album and is now remixing. Jon co-produced Jimmy Barnes' album and is now in studio with another writer. Tim is producing a Sydney band, Juggernaut."

Although the band last year said it was working on new material, "There is no new [INXS] album," Camp said.

Rice said INXS were only recently confirmed for the tour. "It never crossed my mind that INXS were actually, you know, the kind of band that would be keen to do this," he said. "When James [Erskine, one of the tour's producers] mentioned them, I said, 'I can't believe they'd want to do it.' But they did, and it's great."

Tony Cochrane, another producer, said the show will tour other parts of the world after Australia.