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Behind the scenes: The making of INXS
Behind the scenes: The making of INXS

INXS founding band member Kirk Pengilly revealed a secret he has kept about his close friend and iconic Australian rock and roll frontman Michael Hutchence - a secret he has kept for 16 years.

Leading up to his death in 1997, Hutchence had been trying to get girlfriend Paula Yates to move to Australia with his daughter Tiger Lily, and her three other daughters.


According to his band mates, Michael was starting to come out of a downward spiral he had been struggling to rise out of for four years.

"Just prior to his death, that week or so - what he told me [was that] he had a plan in place to basically split up with Paula," Pengilly told Sunday Night.

"It's all very personal stuff and it's a long time ago too, so I don't want to dwell on it."

The band also spoke of Hutchence's many famous romances, including his time dating budding Australian songstress and Neighbours star Kylie Minogue.


"I think from memory, we were just like, 'Michael I don't think you should be doing that!'" Pengilly said.

"She was a little bit 'Charlene', off the camera as well as on back then... he definitely corrupted her."

"Kylie was so busy and we were so busy at that time... I think that was half the reason that relationship didn't last." Tim Farriss said.

And while all five surviving band members of INXS look back on their years writing and recording music with their friend and talented lead singer, they do reveal it was not always fun along the way.

Fellow band member Gary Beers opened up about Hutchence's downward spiral before his death, which started when he was knocked out by a bouncer in Denmark.

"When Michael hit his head, he came back a different person and I’m sure doctors were prescribing all sorts of weird and wonderful concoctions," he said.

"He was a dick and it wasn’t him, that’s the thing - it wasn’t the Michael we knew and that’s what was so surprising."

"He couldn’t smell, he couldn’t taste, he was drinking wine by the bottle because it was just like nothing to him," Beers said.

Tim Farriss said Hutchence 'hated' Sir Bob, and that leaving his daughter Tiger Lily to be raised by him after the death of her mother Paula Yates 'would have been the most horrific thing he could have imagined'.

When Farriss spoke to Sunday Night reporter Rahni Sadler on the set of the telemovie INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, it was clear the musician was experiencing some bittersweet nostalgia.

"It's like seeing one of my best friends ever come back to life," he said.

"It's been hard in that respect, I've got to say, but I haven't seen Michael since he died, and seeing him back to life - there's been points where I just wanted to go up and put my arm around him."

Farriss reveals that, despite Hutchence's feelings toward Sir Bob, Tiger Lily was 'lucky' she had a family to be a part of after losing both her parents.

"Luckily for Tiger, she had Bob at the end," Farriss said.

“You know as sad as it all is, there is a 16-year-old out there, and when the time is right and when she wants to meet us and get to know us – which I am sure she will one day – we will be there for her with open arms, and I really look forward to that day.”

To this day, what drove Michael to his death divides those most closest to him.

An autopsy found alcohol, cocaine, Prozac and other prescription drugs in his body. The coroner ruled it was suicide, not a sex act gone wrong.

"I think this is the biggest unanswered question in rock and roll to be honest," ex manager Chris Murphy said.

Tim Farriss said he 'finds it hard to live with the thought' that Michael had committed suicide.

"But... to be honest, there really isn't anything else that makes any sense to me," he said.

Pengilly also admits he had doubts about whether Hutchence committed suicide or not, but says he thinks it's more important to focusing on remembering his friend.

"Whatever happened, no one will ever know, so just remember him and leave it at that," he said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, seek help:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
- SANE 1800 18 SANE (7263)

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