IN HIS OWN WORDS
Over the course of a 20-year career Michael gave hundreds of interviews for magazines and television shows throughout the world. His words were printed in many languages and he rarely had the time to read what had been written about him. The following is an assortment of ‘words from Michael’ along with comments from journalists who interviewed him, and we will be adding to it from time to time. If you have any favorite quotes from an interview you have read featuring Michael, please email them to us.
1994 – Australia ‘Juice’
Hutchence could easily be every inch the gregarious, charming star type, who moves with beautiful people. Farriss is a quiet, serious, family man more interested in the art than the artifice and given to seriously, weird, tangential answers to the simplest inquiry. The two don’t spend much time with each other and it’s difficult to understand that together they write music that has made INXS the most successful Australian band in history."
1993 – Australia ‘Who’
"It’s just as difficult to live in a self-made hell of privacy as it is to live in a self-made hell of publicity."
1993 – Australia ‘Sun-Herald’
On INXS’ early pub days Michael joked:
"We’d have to suck away at oxygen canisters between songs just so that we could keep playing.
We always thought it strange that nobody was up on that stage playing soul stuff. Maybe people were playing it in their garages, like us, but they always reverted to pure rock when they got on stage. But we got up there and decided to stick to this mix of power chords and funk and that’s where it really started for us. In having the courage to take that decision. To take a gamble not just with our music but our lives.
What we try to do with all of our albums, is live out our musical fantasies in the most honest fashion we know how.
Our music is like a painting and the main thing we want to have are very distinct patches of bright and dark. By that, I mean we want to include songs that lyrically cover subjects ranging from the heaviest things we’ve ever done to light-hearted experiences that can best be presented through sentimental bluesy ballads that are usually good for a chuckle or two."
1993 – Australia ‘Telegraph Mirror’
1992 – U.K. ‘Vox’
The rest of INXS might baulk at Hutchence’s celebrity - for, like Blondie, they are a band - but the curly-haired Lothario is destined to remain their personality. Adopting a low profile is for Hutchence, out of the question."
"I know who I am and what I do. I manage to scrape together a private life, despite the press. You need a sense of humor. The English press, are so nosy, and the English seem to love that eavesdropping.
In my position the situation is that you either do exactly what you want and accept they’ll take photos and write bullshit, or you try and change your lifestyle completely. I tried to balance the two approaches and it didn’t always work.
It’s a drag and an infringement, but they’re never going to report on your true private life. How can they?"
1991 – U.K. ‘The Face’
But then, you know, I’m very happy, I’ve got to this stage in my life and I’m not dead. I haven’t got married and divorced and done all that palimony business, you know all that mess.
There’s no drugs or drinking problems. So I think, 'Phew, I’ve survived'. I really have. I’ve come through intact."
1991 – Australia ‘The Australian Way’
Your (English) tabloids are just immoral, they're wrong. I read something the other day which said ‘Michael Hutchence, who has just won his battle with booze.... followed by some quote which I never would have said. I wish someone had told me before about my battle with booze, because I didn’t know! But then, I read those tabloids and I shock myself because I'll see something and think, 'What a load of crap', then on the next page it's, 'Oh boy, look what's happened to so and so'’. That's the beauty of gossip - it has to be slightly unbelievable or else it won't spread.
Where I come from, (Australia) you don't have much reason to be like that, (a pain in the neck celebrity) it just doesn't work. I don't really care for airs too much, you know. What's the point of being a pain when you're trying to create something good? Knocking people out of the way and all that crap.
I leave all that to my manager, he's good at that. Actually, I find it embarrassing being a pop star. I prefer it when people just treat me like anybody else, although occasionally there is a side of me, which is indulgent and I expect certain things because of my position. It's one of the perks".
The journalist muses: "perhaps it’s just part of the Hutchence charm, part of the mass appeal, that all that macho bullshit means diddly to Michael".
"Women are incredible in groups together. Terrifying. Men have nothing on them. Men aren’t very good to each other - in fact, they're terrible to each other. Men should stop competing with one another; clapping each other on the back and killing each other. They've got to start expressing things being more open the way women do about anything and everything. There are a lot of confused men out there. They don’t know what to do with themselves or women any more."
1990 – Australia ‘Sun-Herald’
Michael felt he had a lot to learn from, the little-known musician Ollie Olsen.
"He has a wealth of experience and knowledge that you can’t get if you’re in a successful band like INXS. You’re catapulted out of it. Even though I’ve tried to keep my feet on the ground, when you’re touring for 16 months you get consumed by it and consumed by yourself.
With INXS, there is a strong support system but with Max Q I had no one to answer to. It taught me to be much more confident about my ideas.
About his relationship with Kylie Minogue, Michael said:
"I know all’s fair in love and war but when you go off and try to be by yourself and it ends up on the front page of the press it’s frightening, knowing your life is under such scrutiny."
1990 – U.K. ‘Sky Magazine’
"Everywhere (Kylie and I) go, there are suddenly loads of little guys with cameras everywhere who keep on shouting ‘play the game, play the game’, whatever that means.
But we’re (Kylie and I) very naïve. We look at ourselves as two people and not the way everyone else seems to see us. Kylie’s really used to it, she’s a real pro. It’s difficult for me though, I suddenly get people talking to me just so they can talk to her. It’s a total turnaround for me, I guess. It’s like ‘Hi, I’m with Kylie’. You get a lot of people talking to you and then kind of looking over your shoulder at her. Ha, ha maybe they’re straining to catch a glimpse of her because she is so small.
I now see it from a completely different point of view, I totally sympathize with anyone I’ve been with in the past. I mean, God, it’s horrible when people come over and they don’t even acknowledge you."
On reports that Michael had proposed to Kylie:
"Complete fabrication. It’s not true at all. They just make these things up all the time. It’s not fair because it plays with the natural scheme of things when they start pressuring you through the press to do things they would like you to do.
You know it’s easy to see why English people and Aussies don’t get along. When you meet Aussies they’re like ‘Hi, mate’, you know you’re a mate straight off. Over here it’s (he assumes a mincing English voice and wrinkles up his nose) 'Oooh, horrible Australian person, so emotional.'
You know I just love Hong Kong because it’s just such an unusual place, all those people crammed together. It’s really gung ho capitalism there, but the Chinese love it. It’s strange, there seems to be so much passion and yet it’s all money, money, money.
Basically after a while it (rock and roll touring lifestyle) becomes boring, but even in our wild days we were never heavy metal types. I know people like that who have the sort of wild times that I wouldn’t even get near. There’s a certain point where you have to choose whether you’re going to be a cliché or whether you’re going to discover new things about yourself.
Jim Morrison studied Nietzsche, the Superman theory, you know to teach him how to communicate to crowds. Well, I’ve read all the textbooks too and you just have to do it your way in the end.
I get pretty terrified, to be honest, when I’m on tour. You really have to muster a lot of ego to go our there, which I find rather draining. In fact you have to muster an enormous ego to go out and be bigger than a huge crowd of people. It’s hard enough to do that with four or five people, let alone 20,000. You know sometimes I just want to curl up on stage and lie there for a while - it’s weird.
Several years ago, I had my only real hotel-smashing experience. I was with Ian Astbury from The Cult and we were a little bit under the weather. Somehow we managed to get the bathroom door off and out of the window of my hotel room. And it landed, not on the street, thank God, but on the roof of a restaurant.
And Ian and I both suddenly looked at each other and went ‘ohh no, that was really bad.’ We got very responsible so we just sat down and waited for the cops to come. And we waited for an hour and nobody came.
Anyway, in the morning they gave me my bill and it was like a thousand pound for the mini bar. And then this very snobby hotel guy, very civilized, very English goes: ‘And that’ll be ninety pounds for the door sir. How would you like to pay - cash or AMEX?’ - I mean, God, is that rock and roll? We at least expected to be dragged down to the police station."
1989 – U.S.
1989 – U.S. ‘Spin’
"Every actor I know wants to be a pop star. John Hurt wants to be a pop star. He loves it. (The whole point of acting is to lose yourself) That’s why people in music want to become actors, because you can become anything. With music it’s a little different. Music takes you somewhere. We’re always trying to clarify. We don’t have a chance of doing it - that’s what makes you a poet, makes you drink - but you’re trying. You never will. You can be very close. There can be 20,000 people over here who go, ‘Yes! He did it. That’s exactly how I felt but I never knew how to express it.’ And another 20,000 people go, ‘No. That sucks. I disagree with that.’ That’s the price you pay."
1989 – U.S. ‘Spin’
‘There’s a great deal of pain inside, and I’m supposed to be all right.’ Lyrics by Ollie Olsen.
"I like the lyric, ‘I’m counting on you to count my blessings/to count the fingers on my hand/That’s the amount of time I’ve got/I’ll always feel drowned.’ Which is a very interesting way of putting it. You become this public property. Ollie’s saying you’re always counting; there’s a time limit you’re counting on; you’re counting on the public to deal the final blow. You know it’s inevitable. And you have to love them for it in a way. You have to accept that that’s the way it goes. Otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life talking about how you were an ex-pop star. Which I’m not interested in doing."
1989 – U.S. ‘Spin’
"I don’t think it applies to me - people say it does, but I don’t feel it".
1988 – U.K. ‘New Musical Express’
Andrew (Farriss) was the singer, the front guy of all these bands. I really started when he didn’t feel like singing anymore. He gave me the mike, one day and said, “Do you know this song? Just sing for a while, while we try out this drummer.
In my mind I thought I was musical. Wordswise, I used to write poetry and crap. I didn’t have the rock star mentality, I had the ‘serious young artist’ mentality.
I was actually more into poets and things like that, and that attitude and that scene, Ferlinghetti, Bukowski.... I thought it was pretty interesting so I started reading a lot of the stuff.
Andrew and I got into really snobby music (when we were in high school). We wouldn’t listen to anything that was rock ‘n’ roll for about a year there."
1988 – U.K. ‘New Musical Express’
In response Michael said:
"God, everyone seems to make those comparisons. I’ve never tried to emulate anyone. I’ve never idolized people, I prefer instead to get off on attitudes. I look at Jagger and the like and if I see a good attitude I’ll admire it but I wouldn’t copy their style. C’mon, most of my peers are ten years older than I am."
To which Mr Taylor remarked:
"Jim Morrison isn’t dead he is living in Michael Hutchence’ body. Well, all right, he isn’t really. Nonetheless Hutchence does have the same hallmarks as those early superstars and his captivating stage presence does hint at the prospect of a solo career or role in films waiting."
I guess in the end I do (have spiritual beliefs) I am of the belief that every couple thousand years someone comes along like Buddha and goes, hey this is what it is! And everybody goes Wow!
The underlying thought is love, that’s all it is. Jesus existed for sure. The rest of it I don’t know about. But I’m sure the guy existed. I don’t know if the came from the virgin, but I’m pretty sure he existed.
You pay the price if you want to experiment and lose control. You’ve lost it if you go beyond that boundary and put too much emphasis on the bending the mind and exploration through artificial things. There are so many natural things out there to get off on and blow your mind with. Right!
There was a revolution with the mind in the 60s, and an evolution of mankind. Well, a certain part of mankind.
So many people in bands did (drugs) also artists, the true Bohemians in Paris, years and years ago. That was then and that was their subculture and that’s why they did it, and everybody else just sort of watched them, like animals in the zoo. And then as rock ’n’ roll became a massive, popular thing, everybody started doing what their idols did and it got out of control and everybody’s doing it. Now, people in bands are the straightest people I know. It’s turned around, and they’re in the gym every day and they’re working out and they don’t touch anything, they don’t drink anything and then all their fans are messed up.
I hate it when people lose it, there’s nothing left because they’re not interesting, they’re boring, I hate it, and especially smack, people on smack are the most boring in the world."
When asked about the Australian ‘Pub’ scene he said:
"You know if you’ve got 200 people who've been drinking on the beach all day, it paints a pretty ugly picture, but it’s actually unique. It’s quite a good scene to lay music in. But you get on stage and start playing sophisticated subtle music then it’s not going to happen. So you’re kind of forced into going ‘GRUNGE!' and trying to wake them up a bit. Moving out of the pub scene was hard for us in a way because it’s part of our appeal and charm that we have a ‘pub sensitivity’."
To which journalist Ian Dickson remarked that calling someone a ‘pub band’ in Britain is a form of insult.
"Yeah well that’s because you lot have a different concept of a pub band. To you a pub band is this jukebox band playing to 150 patrons. In Australia we have maybe two or three thousand people going to pubs with an 80-foot bar ....... It’s a lot of Foster’s, man. I think the British have got to reappraise their concept."
1985 – Australia ‘The Sun’
"We just wanted to help raise some money. Anything beyond that is unimportant in comparison", said Michael.
1985 – Australia ‘The Sun’