Try not to hate…


If you watched MTV in the early 1980s, INXS kind of snuck up on you. I was an early “Shabooh Shabaah” fan but after I saw Michael Hutchence and the Aussie lads destroy Merriweather Post Pavilion in the summer of 1986 on the “Listen Like Thieves Tour,” I caught the Sydney big brass itch.

I’m not sure I ever wrote a more glowing concert review. Hutchence had a Jagger swagger and presence that was irresistible if you like to sing and dance while he growled and pranced. And the horn section blew me away!

I still think “What You Need” is brilliant.

This was a very active period in my life and I did a lot of driving to high school sporting events – I covered softball and basketball at The Evening Sun when I wasn’t at Dundalk Community College or the University of Baltimore or covering concerts. My dashboard was my best friend and I was always spinning new music and new bands that I liked.

I was waiting for this one to arrive back when you really waited for the band’s next “big thing” to come with the mailman or the first single on the radio or MTV.

I instantly ripped this from CD to cassette tape and wore this one out driving back and forth to Ocean City over a few summers. It produced as many hits as it deserved.

Go watch this video for “New Sensation” from the “Live Baby Live” show at Wembley Stadium in 1991. It rivals anything ever seen at a rock concert.

And “Never Tear Us Apart” is as fine of a song as there is in any era.

I saw INXS a dozen times. They were an extraordinary live presence in their prime and the tragedy of the death of Hutchence was a loss I truly felt in my soul. I stumbled around Sydney in February 1999, soon after his death, retracing some of the band’s legacy spots – story to story, building to building, street to street – including the Back Bay Ritz Carlton where he died.

Hard to believe Hutchence has been dead over 20 years.

I watched him literally fall off a barstool at the York County Fair two months before he died. He was not “elegantly wasted.” An incredible tragedy of fame, drugs and the sad despair of rock and roll.

I still love the music of INXS and even followed their dalliance with finding a singer on a game show. They are underappreciated. When I hear one of their songs, my instinct is always to turn it up.

This album is a flawless party from the first chords of “Guns In The Sky” straight through to “Tiny Daggers.”

They were at the top of their game with “Kick.”

And they were as good once as anyone ever was…

We all have wings. Some of us just don’t know why…