INXS Split

INXS is finally calling it a day.

During a performance Sunday at the new Perth Arena, drummer Jon Farriss made the call that they would disband. Roughly 40 hours later, the group confirmed the split by means of a statement.

At their peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Australian outfit enjoyed a reputation as “stadium rockers” and were regularly in the conversation of ranking the “biggest bands on the planet.”

But all that came crashing down in 1997, when the group lost its charismatic singer of 20 years Michael Hutchence, who was aged just 37. The surviving band members pushed on, but the second part of INXS’ career would never reach the same heights.

Originally formed in 1977 in the Western Australian capital of Perth, INXS’ body of work has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, scored six UK Top 10 albums and five US Top 20 albums.

Their biggest commercial success came in 1987, when INXS released “Kick,” an album which sold more than 10 million copies and yielded the tracks “Need You Tonight,” “Devil Inside,” “New Sensation,” “Never Tear Us Apart” and “Mystify.”  “Need you Tonight” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 2 in Britain, and its accompanying video went on to win five MTV Awards. In 1991, INXS won the BRIT Award for best international group.

“We never took a soft option, it was the adversity, the challenge and the struggle that forged us into the live working band we became. And this was as big as it could possibly get when it came to a challenge” said founding member Andrew Farriss in the statement issued today, “and in the end we decided for a whole bunch of reasons to march forward. To us there was no other option, families always move forward.”

The group reunited in recent years, and in 2004 turned to a TV talent series “Rock Star” to find a new frontman – to the ire of its fanbase. Canadian J.D Fortune temporary won the gig, and there have been others at the mic, including Jon Stevens, Terence Trent D’Arby and the band’s current frontman, Irishman Ciaran Gribbin.

In the past five years, the band’s inspirational manager Chris Murphy had returned to the fold, and began mapping out the band’s future. An album of reinterpreted INXS arrived in last year, the track “Original Sin” with Rob Thomas on vocals reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

In a conversation with this reporter in 2010, Murphy said, “What I’m doing for INXS today is not trying to solve an issue or problem today. I’m setting up a strategy that will last 20 years.” That strategy now won’t take shape.

“They believed unconditionally in each other and they also believed unconditionally in the music,” Murphy said in today’s statement. “People fade, sometimes way too early… that is life whether we like it or not. To live to 80 plus is a life well lived. To lose Michael so young was a tragedy for all of us. But with this band, their legacy, their music was just so damn good, it was always destined to live beyond all of us.”

The band’s recorded legacy will live on through a long-term agreement struck last year with Universal Music Group.