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Community Center => General Music Discussion => Topic started by: iced on September 23, 2014, 02:41:48 AM

Title: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: iced on September 23, 2014, 02:41:48 AM
I've always been curious what happened to this great band and yes I know Michael Hutchence died.

But why weren't they able to survive the 1980's like U2 or in some degree, R.E.M before they eventually collapsed.

I still think "Welcome to Wherever You Are" was probably their greatest album in my opinion.

I live in the U.S, so I'm sure other people's opinion of the success of INXS might have varied greatly elsewhere during the 1990's.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: EnduringChill on September 23, 2014, 06:47:56 AM
It might have been the fact that X didn't sell as well as hoped, and that they didn't tour to support Welcome To Wherever You Are. At least from what I understand just by reading about it. Welcome To Wherever You Are is also my favorite album of theirs, or I think it's their best album anyway. I think its follow-up was probably one of their worst, so that could affect their popularity too.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: iced on September 23, 2014, 07:23:15 AM
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I think its follow-up was probably one of their worst, so that could affect their popularity too.

Maybe, or was grunge that big in the US at the time?  To be honest, I always thought MTV vastly ignored U2 in part because the so-called 'grunge' movement already occurred or the so-called 'alternative-rock' movement was about to place?
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: briscoetheque on September 23, 2014, 07:26:52 AM
Kick was huge as we all know. X was their rattle and hum. Inconsistent and an anticlimax.

They just never had an Achtung baby.

Hutchence was the most brilliant front man though. You didn't notice any of the others when he was on stage.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: briscoetheque on September 23, 2014, 07:29:19 AM
From there, the rest of the band have utterly pi**ed on their legacy. They have dabbled in reality shows, hunted for all sorts of replacements, and basically become a cover band. I'm all for musicians continuing to play, but they shouldn't be calling themselves inxs any more than may and Taylor should be calling themselves Queen.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: Johnny Feathers on September 23, 2014, 07:48:05 AM
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Kick was huge as we all know. X was their rattle and hum. Inconsistent and an anticlimax.

They just never had an Achtung baby.

Hutchence was the most brilliant front man though. You didn't notice any of the others when he was on stage.

I actually felt that Welcome To Wherever You Are was their attempt at having an "Achtung Baby".  I think U2 really moved the bar for a lot of veteran bands at that point, and the changing musical landscape after Nirvana broke meant that most bands had to come up with SOME kind of reinvention in order to get attention.  (See REM's Monster for another example.)  Of course, it came nowhere close to AB's impact or success, but it did have a lot of "experimentation" going on, with the middle-eastern opening, and other symphonic flourishes.  Simply put, it wasn't a straight forward INXS record, in the same way AB wasn't a straight forward U2 record.  It just goes to show that U2's success at that point was in no way guaranteed.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: briscoetheque on September 23, 2014, 07:50:42 AM
Absolutely agree. It was an attempt but although it's an album I like, it's definitely disjointed and patchy. It didn't have the cut through and you're right, the sh** stuff coming out of the West coast of the US was a wagon everyone wanted til jump on until suede, pulp, blur and oasis got their sh** together and fixed the world again ;-)
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: EnduringChill on September 23, 2014, 02:23:21 PM
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I think its follow-up was probably one of their worst, so that could affect their popularity too.

Maybe, or was grunge that big in the US at the time?  To be honest, I always thought MTV vastly ignored U2 in part because the so-called 'grunge' movement already occurred or the so-called 'alternative-rock' movement was about to place?
Are you saying that INXS was also ignored by MTV because they weren't grunge, or that Full Moon Dirty Hearts leaned more towards grunge and should have been more popular because grunge was the big thing? All I know is that I find that album very mediocre, and that might have been a factor.

I don't think Welcome... is disjointed at all. I think everything fits perfectly together, except Baby Don't Cry, which to me just awkwardly sits there. And it's a good (and common) observation to say that it was like Achtung Baby for INXS... it definitely sounds like an attempt at revitalization. Both of those albums go well together, for me. I guess it wasn't what the populace was looking for.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: ZooClothes on September 23, 2014, 03:01:05 PM
Kick, X, and WTWYA is a great three album arc.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: Borack on September 23, 2014, 05:18:43 PM
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From there, the rest of the band have utterly pi**ed on their legacy. They have dabbled in reality shows, hunted for all sorts of replacements, and basically become a cover band. I'm all for musicians continuing to play, but they shouldn't be calling themselves inxs any more than may and Taylor should be calling themselves Queen.

I agree with this post and I also tend to assign more weight to the opinion or observations of people hailing from the same band as the country. Brisco like c/would have heard more details about the band from its inception to its deceptions. ... But what I find amusing or ponderous is the notion to compare many things to "Achtung Baby". So many traits or tangents get attributed to this album that seem hard to understand. And yes, while I know I am speaking to a biased audience, I just think the greatness of the album has been exaggerated or at times stretched beyond credulity. Be well and all the best.

[And before I get lynched, well yes, I do think that the AB album represented some musical form of Charles Handy's Sigmoid Curve strategy (http://www.managetrainlearn.com/page/charles-handy) and yes, I agree that it represented more of a creative musical roundabout rather than a linear extension of their past works, and yes, I think that other bands that coasted or became stale were probably equivalent to acts that had crested and that were on the way down, but I for one don't think the Joshua Tree needed to be chopped down or that AB was that exceptionally great. Its an album I more respect than admire, though admittedly it grows on you after a while].
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: So Cruel on September 23, 2014, 05:27:25 PM
Welcome to Wherever You Are is a good album but the times were changing. With Nirvana and Pearl Jam rock was getting dirtier, harder, and darker. U2 survived 'cause they changed their look and came out with one of the greatest albums ever, which had dark lyrics and lots of guitars. INXS made a very good INXS album, but the high school kids didn't want INXS type music anymore.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: Albono on September 24, 2014, 06:05:17 AM
completely lost interest when they started doing reality tv!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Star:_INXS
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: hrsan on September 24, 2014, 01:41:22 PM
Had Hutchence lived, I'm sure INXS would have come back on a few arena tours in the 2000s.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: iced on September 25, 2014, 04:13:03 AM
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Are you saying that INXS was also ignored by MTV because they weren't grunge, or that Full Moon Dirty Hearts leaned more towards grunge and should have been more popular because grunge was the big thing?

I have no idea how, but somehow the folks at MTV were able to wash away 90% of the popular artist of the preceding decade before them.

In just about a year or two, really.

Only a few survived from around the 1993 point, some reached 1996 than a few years later just a few.

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Welcome to Wherever You Are is a good album but the times were changing. With Nirvana and Pearl Jam rock was getting dirtier, harder, and darker. U2 survived 'cause they changed their look and came out with one of the greatest albums ever, which had dark lyrics and lots of guitars. INXS made a very good INXS album, but the high school kids didn't want INXS type music anymore.

Most of them were sent packing in the US to tour county fairs, half emptied arenas, Indian casino's and generally oldie's tours and various radio spots.

Not a bad gig if you ask me, but if you were on top of the world just a few years before...it must have hurt like hell falling like that.

I always thought, "Welcome to Wherever You Are" was the best album by INXS.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: gypsyheart75 on September 25, 2014, 07:32:23 AM
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Absolutely agree. It was an attempt but although it's an album I like, it's definitely disjointed and patchy. It didn't have the cut through and you're right, the sh** stuff coming out of the West coast of the US was a wagon everyone wanted til jump on until suede, pulp, blur and oasis got their sh** together and fixed the world again ;-)


You forgot your beloved Manics who released 1.5 good albums at that time. ;)

And what is coming next to fix the world of Simon Cowells?!
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: briscoetheque on September 25, 2014, 07:41:09 AM
Ah, I strategically omitted them. They were/are above any movement :-)

Only the Ebola virus can rid us of Mr Cowell.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: emalvick on September 25, 2014, 11:59:53 AM
I never really feel like INXS truly fell priory to Michael's death.  WTWYA was a fantastic album, but it was basically released at the wrong time.  I do not see it as something akin to AB or that INXS were trying to follow some type of career arc with WTWYA that was similar to U2.  If anything, WTWYA reminds me more of what REM did with Automatic for the People. 

INXS's mistake was Full Moon, Dirty Hearts.  In my opinion, that was where INXS decided they needed to do something either like AB or like grunge and change it up.  It obviously fell flat, and it isn't a good album by any standard.  I'm not sure it's their worst (I don't particularly like their first two albums), but it is at the bottom.  The reason I don't think INXS really had a fall is that I felt like Elegantly Wasted as a great album.  It isn't as good as WTWYA, but it holds up as an album better than I find Kick or X do.  I love Kick, but the shear popularity of its singles has never made me love it as an album.  I'm more of an album fan than a singles fan.  Listening to Kick as an album has never worked that well for me even though I love every song on it.

Of course after Elegantly Wasted, INXS essentially ended as it was known best.  As others have mentioned, what has followed has been a poor impression of the band, and that is really where the band fell.  As a huge INXS fan, I am ashamed to say that I had hoped the Reality TV thing would bring about a new life to the band, but in the process of that clusterf**k, it became apparent that nothing could replace Michael.  Even while that was happening, I couldn't help but wonder how they'd survive without their most important song writer.  Most of their success was because of him and his writing.  Perhaps that's where I love WTWYA and Elegantly Wasted so much.  They are lyrically the most complete albums INXS made combined with some of the best music.   They weren't the same pop albums that Kick and X were.

Oh well, I can live with where INXS ended up.  I've always been sad that Michael was gone, but I also realize that they may never have made much more progress over time anyway.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: Blueyedboy on September 25, 2014, 04:44:06 PM
Live Baby Live catches the bands peak perfectly. One of the best live albums out there.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: Albono on September 25, 2014, 08:34:33 PM
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Ah, I strategically omitted them. They were/are above any movement :-)

Only the Ebola virus can rid us of Mr Cowell.

 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: Johnny Feathers on September 26, 2014, 07:40:30 AM
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Live Baby Live catches the bands peak perfectly. One of the best live albums out there.

I always did like that one.  I don't have a lot of INXS, but that's probably my most-played album by them, overall.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: aviastar on September 26, 2014, 08:26:07 AM
I like INXS when I was young...but they were kind of a one-trick pony.  I remember when Pop came out...my fellow U2 fans were upset about the change in direction that U2 had taken throughout the 90s.  My retort was "if they played the same stuff over and over, they will turn into INXS".  U2 always had a lot more depth to their songwriting than INXS did, but the point remains: don't get in an innovative rut or you will just become another has been artist/band putting out the same material."

U2 survived (and thrived) not only because they were better songwriters, but because they were better innovators and took more risks.  INXS became a "poor man's U2".  WTWYA was released after both Achtung Baby and Nevermind...it was pretty much doomed to the back pages of Columbia House Club CD catalouge from the start.

I also think Michael Hutchence was more cult of personality than good singer.  INXS became a joke without him though (the reality show phase).
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: iced on January 13, 2018, 04:34:03 AM
Remember this great band?

"Welcome to Wherever You Are" was supposed to be their "Achtung Baby".

And a big flop it was....

It contained all the elements.

1. A big experimentation.
2. A transition into the 90's
3. An act in their 20's arrives for a new decade in their 30's.
4. Big media coverage.
5. Decent reviews.
6. Repeated MTV and radio play
7. A semi-hit single

But the album flopped.

Sorrily, reminds of R.E.M once record breaking 1996 contract with WB records and subsequently debuting an egg @ #2 following their own height of their career.

Any updates for a reflection?
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: scrittoresabino on January 13, 2018, 07:52:08 AM
Being in high school on the west coast of the US during the 90s, I lived through that grunge / alternative period.

In the US, so much had to do with timing, luck, and what was goin on in the world. Grunge had some impact on modern rock / new wave, which is the type of radio stations in the US that were playing U2, INXS, REM, The Cure, Depeche Mode etc. The tail end of the 80s we had music in that genre that was already starting to change, and it was even less define-able. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Jane's Addiction, Jesus and Mary Chain, and Pixies all released songs/albums that were huge in that time. Madchester was also in heavy rotation in the US at this time.

Grunge / Alternative hit. It's impact was greatest on Hair Metal. Suddenly all the hair metal bands died away and became uncool. Some of them attempted to become more "grungy" but that didn't really work. U2's Achtung Baby came right at the transition. Grunge did not quite have the label yet. My friends who liked "harder" music leaning more towards heavy alternative and metal (Meat Puppets, Nirvana, Metallica, Anthrax, Alice in Chains, Sound Garden etc) were turned off immediately by Achtung Baby, giving away all their U2 albums. To them it was betrayal. The Berlin Wall coming down, and the changes in Europe had a lasting impact. So did the first Iraq war, CNN coverage, and the US presidential elections.

U2 and INXS were considered dance-able rock. INXS was always in this realm. Outside of Two Hearts Beat As One, and remixes, U2 were never really played on the dance floor, and the band were not seen in that light. They were also seen as firmly planted in the rock area (outside of the club). So this was new for U2. Yet they came out with an album that clearly showed a change on every single level - tone, vocals, musical style, aesthetic etc. Every single aspect of the band and album was different. INXS to the US audience was basically the same. U2 played a part in politics, calling the White House leading up to the election, to enormous crowds. ZooTV was commenting on CNN and media overload even before Fox and MSNBC came into the picture. The timing was perfect. AB was dark enough to not be seen as lightweight or even Madchester (despite taking questions from that area) by some of the more rock-oriented scenesters, but they were so much different from the grunge / alternative scene. They stood out. This was refreshing to most people who were not walled into a rigid music scene (which was very common and segregated in those days) There were also those who fully understood, that the dressed down aesthetic of grunge U2 had already done.

So you have INXS who are seen as doing very much the same thing they've always done (just slight variation), both in music and in image. Then you have U2 who were seen as drastically changing, but not changing WITH the most popular zeitgeist of the time. They were changing in stark contrast to grunge and alternative, but changing right along side it, doing their own thing. While U2 have made other changes, due to timing and type of change, none had anywhere near the same level of impact.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: summerholly on January 13, 2018, 09:17:39 AM
Always loved INXS from their early days on Countdown in Australia.  Michael had a beautiful voice and was very sexy and charismatic as a frontman like Bono.  I saw a lot more of INXS on local TV than U2 though.  I loved both their music in the eighties and early nineties and naturally INXS always got a lot of airplay in Australia and still do where I live anyway and they will always be legends 

I guess they did start to lose relevance in the nineties and I think Michael felt that, going on the documentaries they have made of the band, and he had a lot of sh** going on in his personal life including the consequences of the brain injury that he suffered that robbed him of his sense of taste and smell. 

I lost touch with U2 after the early nineties probably more than with INXS.  U2 strike me as a very savvy business oriented band, very driven, and with big goals and ideas probably more than any other band which I guess is why they are still up as one of the best and most enduring bands in the world.  Had Michael lived it is anybody's guess as to the direction they may have taken if any.  Not sure many bands have the ability to have the longevity of U2 except people like Paul McCartney who at the age of 75 just toured to sell out shows over here.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: JTNash on January 13, 2018, 05:46:29 PM
What was the brain injury Michael had I donít remember that.  I do remember the torrid affair with Paula but not the brain injury.  I was in college at this time probably injuring my own brain with drinking.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: summerholly on January 13, 2018, 06:54:26 PM
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What was the brain injury Michael had I donít remember that.  I do remember the torrid affair with Paula but not the brain injury.  I was in college at this time probably injuring my own brain with drinking.

He was having a night out in Denmark in 1992 with Helena when someone punched him, he hit his head on the pavement fracturing his skull.  He lost his sense of taste and smell which were very important to him according to the other band members and apparently it really changed his personality.  He also probably needed a lot of medications. I think in the end he was a very conflicted man with a great need to be with his daughter Tiger and also Paula as a family which obviously was never going to be easy.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: iced on January 14, 2018, 03:48:06 AM
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Being in high school on the west coast of the US during the 90s, I lived through that grunge / alternative period.

In the US, so much had to do with timing, luck, and what was goin on in the world. Grunge had some impact on modern rock / new wave, which is the type of radio stations in the US that were playing U2, INXS, REM, The Cure, Depeche Mode etc. The tail end of the 80s we had music in that genre that was already starting to change, and it was even less define-able. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Jane's Addiction, Jesus and Mary Chain, and Pixies all released songs/albums that were huge in that time. Madchester was also in heavy rotation in the US at this time.

Grunge / Alternative hit. It's impact was greatest on Hair Metal. Suddenly all the hair metal bands died away and became uncool. Some of them attempted to become more "grungy" but that didn't really work. U2's Achtung Baby came right at the transition. Grunge did not quite have the label yet. My friends who liked "harder" music leaning more towards heavy alternative and metal (Meat Puppets, Nirvana, Metallica, Anthrax, Alice in Chains, Sound Garden etc) were turned off immediately by Achtung Baby, giving away all their U2 albums. To them it was betrayal. The Berlin Wall coming down, and the changes in Europe had a lasting impact. So did the first Iraq war, CNN coverage, and the US presidential elections.

U2 and INXS were considered dance-able rock. INXS was always in this realm. Outside of Two Hearts Beat As One, and remixes, U2 were never really played on the dance floor, and the band were not seen in that light. They were also seen as firmly planted in the rock area (outside of the club). So this was new for U2. Yet they came out with an album that clearly showed a change on every single level - tone, vocals, musical style, aesthetic etc. Every single aspect of the band and album was different. INXS to the US audience was basically the same. U2 played a part in politics, calling the White House leading up to the election, to enormous crowds. ZooTV was commenting on CNN and media overload even before Fox and MSNBC came into the picture. The timing was perfect. AB was dark enough to not be seen as lightweight or even Madchester (despite taking questions from that area) by some of the more rock-oriented scenesters, but they were so much different from the grunge / alternative scene. They stood out. This was refreshing to most people who were not walled into a rigid music scene (which was very common and segregated in those days) There were also those who fully understood, that the dressed down aesthetic of grunge U2 had already done.

So you have INXS who are seen as doing very much the same thing they've always done (just slight variation), both in music and in image. Then you have U2 who were seen as drastically changing, but not changing WITH the most popular zeitgeist of the time. They were changing in stark contrast to grunge and alternative, but changing right along side it, doing their own thing. While U2 have made other changes, due to timing and type of change, none had anywhere near the same level of impact
.

Wow!

Awesome post...good stuff.

Thanks for your reflection Scritt!

Interesting times those were in the music industry.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: achtungx on January 15, 2018, 12:00:25 PM
Kick was obviously their peak in the US. X had some really strong songs. Live Baby Live was great. Welcome to Wherever You Are was very solid. They weren't at their Kick peak anymore, but they still had hits and were considered to be a good band. Full Moon, Dirty Hearts just sucked tremendously. It was like a tectonic plates shifted with the US music public between 1992 and 1993. Between their style going out of vogue and the album sucking, it reduced the band's drawing power.

Four years later, in 1997, we get Elegantly Wasted, which while uneven brought the band some recognition again. Very nice single. Then Hutchence dies and that's the end of it, no comeback.

The stupid reality show wouldn't have been terrible, and could've helped get them back to relevance, but the idiot band members chose the wrong guy to win the competition. I completely gave up at that point.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: ShankAsu on January 15, 2018, 05:07:43 PM
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Kick was obviously their peak in the US. X had some really strong songs. Live Baby Live was great. Welcome to Wherever You Are was very solid. They weren't at their Kick peak anymore, but they still had hits and were considered to be a good band. Full Moon, Dirty Hearts just sucked tremendously. It was like a tectonic plates shifted with the US music public between 1992 and 1993. Between their style going out of vogue and the album sucking, it reduced the band's drawing power.

Four years later, in 1997, we get Elegantly Wasted, which while uneven brought the band some recognition again. Very nice single. Then Hutchence dies and that's the end of it, no comeback.

The stupid reality show wouldn't have been terrible, and could've helped get them back to relevance, but the idiot band members chose the wrong guy to win the competition. I completely gave up at that point.
Imagine if they had picked Storm Large and had a rockin' female up front.
Title: Re: The Fall of INXS?
Post by: wons on January 15, 2018, 08:41:30 PM
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I've always been curious what happened to this great band and yes I know Michael Hutchence died.

But why weren't they able to survive the 1980's like U2 or in some degree, R.E.M before they eventually collapsed.

I still think "Welcome to Wherever You Are" was probably their greatest album in my opinion.

I live in the U.S, so I'm sure other people's opinion of the success of INXS might have varied greatly elsewhere during the 1990's.

X sold well, but not nearly as well as Kick. The tour for X did very well though, in some respects maybe better than Kick with them playing Wembley Stadium in London.

I think they could feel things a slipped a bit in their popularity from Kick, but they stayed on the writing and recording track pretty swiftly and came out with Welcome To Wherever You Are in 1992. A great album, but unfortunately it was even less well received.

The band did not tour for Welcome To Wherever You Are and instead went back into the studio to quickly record another album. Full Moon Dirty Hearts unfortunately did not change their commercial fortunes and dropped like a rock. Now out on tour again, the band were playing smaller venues than the arenas of the X tour.

I don't think its anything the band did wrong, its just the nature of the business and the Grunge movement of the early 90s that swept so many 80s bands aside. Radio, MTV, the general public, casual fans, all gradually lost interest.

The core following that was left by 1997 was very small. The band though never lost it. They still had all the talent they ever had with writing, recording and playing live.