Over the last week people have asked me for my views on the telemovie ‘INXS: Never Tear Us Apart’ the story about the Australian band, INXS. After watching last night’s conclusion, I thought that overall it was good.
From the outset, I do declare that I have been a huge fan of INXS for many years. Therefore, I always intended to watch the telemovie especially when I knew that the band’s former manager Chris Murphy and band member Tim Farris were producers of the movie. Both of them are part of the band’s story. They were in the thick of it and to a great extent give the movie some credibility.
I thought the acting was pretty good and I was really impressed with the level of detail in some parts such as the close up shots of the band members performing at Wembley Arena (so close to the original – see Live Baby Live for details), the re-creation of the video clips and the album covers featuring the actors.
My only criticism of the movie is that some people may have found it difficult to follow the plot. I understand that flashback scenes are used for dramatic effect but I would have preferred the story to have started by showing how the boys met, formed the group and their journey to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world. I don’t feel the movie covered the band’s work entirely.However, I do believe that people would get a better appreciation of INXS by watching this movie.
As a fan, I’ve read a lot about INXS including books written by the band members and so I felt the telemovie did not include a lot of great detail compared to the books. For instance, after the pinnacle of performing at Wembley Arena in 1991 INXS released 2 brilliant albums. ‘Welcome to Wherever You Are’ was released in 1992 and featured the amazing song ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ which was only referenced in the telemovie in a rehearsal scene towards the end of the movie. ‘Full Moon Dirty Hearts’ was released in 1993 and included the song ‘The Gift’ which is featured in the movie when the band is in the recording studio in Capri, Italy. Interestingly, INXS recorded a duet with the legend Ray Charles on this album called ‘Please… You Got That’. I also saw them perform this song together on the David Letterman show many years ago. How popular do you think you needed to be to work with Ray Charles? In 1997, INXS released the album ‘Elegantly Wasted’ and I thought the title track was fantastic even though the album did not sell as many copies compared to their previous albums. The point I’m trying to make is that INXS continued to write and release fantastic music after their successful gig at Wembley but watching the 2nd part of the movie, I don’t think many people would know this.
Even though I enjoyed this telemovie, I would prefer to watch an in-depth documentary on INXS, similar to The Beatles Anthology. It would be great to hear each band member’s perspective on the INXS story. Michael Hutchence was interviewed many times and so there would be enough content to get his views too. In an INXS documentary I would also include interviews with the band’s manager, record company personnel who worked with the band, INXS’ record producers, friends, family and music journalists such as Molly Meldrum.
What the guys from INXS did with their career needs to be acknowledged and applauded. Their blend of pop, rock and funk music was not only unique for an Australian band but any band around the world. Many of the band’s songs still sound fresh today and it’s no wonder that INXS’ greatest hits album is on top of the ARIA charts this week following the success (and great marketing) of the telemovie.
In today’s era where people are discovered on TV shows and forgotten the next day, INXS proved that if an Australian band worked hard at performing live including playing live overseas, wrote great songs and were guided by good management anything was possible on a global scale. More importantly, combining these characteristics meant that a band could have a long and successful career.
Even though Michael Hutchence passed away in tragic circumstances, INXS’ story is a wonderful example and inspirational story for aspiring musicians. Through their efforts and determination INXS were at one stage one of the most popular bands in the world. Australia needs a new INXS…it’s up to you young musicians to learn from these guys and to get started on your amazing story!
To learn more about INXS, I recommend the following:
INXS: Story to Story: The Official Autobiography
Burn: The life and times of Michael Hutchence and INXS
Inxs: The Official Inside Story of a Band on the Road
Live Baby Live
By STEVE YANKO
© STEVE YANKO 2014
About the Author
Steve Yanko is a Music Teacher, Musician, Song Writer & Consultant who loves working in the world of music.
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