Singer Michael Hutchence died in 1997 and INXS stopped touring in 2012. This sets up the perfect opportunity for a tribute band called Kick — The INXS Experience.
Kick lead singer Cory Massi even auditioned for the reality show “Rock Star: INXS” to be Hutchence’s official replacement. Chatting from his home in Greenville, SC, Massi admitted that he knew going in that he was a long shot for consideration because he arrived on what “might have been the very last day of auditions” at a dimly-lit CBGB’s in New York.
“I don’t know if anybody from (INXS) was there. I sang a couple songs a cappella. I was really unsuccessful not having a band alongside of me,” said Massi, calling it “a good experience” that came with a bonus of meeting Steven Van Zandt.
The band’s drummer, Johnny Dee, had toured with a German metal band before getting on board with performing songs that defined the ‘80s and early ‘90s like “What You Need,” “Don’t Change,” “Suicide Blonde,” “Beautiful Girl,” “Disappear,” “The One Thing,” “Not Enough Time” and “Mystify.”
“The good thing is they’re great tunes. They’re challenging in a lot of ways,” Dee said in a joint phone interview with Massi, mentioning INXS’ use of percussion loops.
When asked about the saxophone parts performed by INXS’ Kirk Pengilly, Massi said: “We’ve got a killer sax player. His name is Tom Wheat. He came over from Nottingham, England. We don’t believe in the crutch of sampling, so it’s either the real deal or nothing.”
The tribute act takes its name from the 1987 INXS album that made that band worldwide superstars with smash hits like “Need You Tonight,” “Devil Inside,” “New Sensation” and “Never Tear Us Apart.”
One revelation that came to light with the “Kick” album’s 30th anniversary is that the record label initially did not like the album that the band had submitted, and came close to not releasing it. The members of the band Kick are certainly glad that they did. “It just shows, I guess, one person’s opinion or viewpoint isn’t the end-all-be-all,” Massi commented.
Dee’s perspective is that the label was perhaps expecting a repeat of 1985’s “Listen Like Thieves.” “They didn’t rest on their laurels at all,” he said. “They went from this scrappy Australian punk band to playing stadiums.”
“They were a super-fun live band and danceable. We try to keep our show like that. It moves really fast; never a dull moment,” Massi said.
Take a look at https://youtu.be/bD7qzmDAdyM.