November 29, 2005

INXS seeks fortune 8 years after singer’s death

By Jonathan Stemper

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It took eight years after the suicide
of lead singer Michael Hutchence for rock band INXS to find a
replacement and return to the recording studio.

On Tuesday, they released their first studio album since
the singer's death, confident they made the right choice to
find his replacement through an unusual process: a TV reality

The new album "Switch" was recorded after the 32-year-old
J.D. Fortune in September beat out 14 rivals on the reality TV
show "Rock Star: INXS" to become the band's lead singer.

The Australian band formed in 1977 when Fortune, a
Canadian, was four years old.

"He's the guy with the accent," guitarist Tim Farriss told

The new album is an attempt at a comeback for a band that
peaked in 1987 with the album "Kick," featuring such songs as
"Need You Tonight" and "Devil Inside."

The TV series, which was shown in the United States on CBS
television and in several other countries, was a new twist on
popular star-search shows.

It was a turning point for the band, which released its
last studio album, "Elegantly Wasted," a few months before
Hutchence's death.

"We basically dropped our pants in front of the world,"
Farriss said about the show.

But the process worked, he said.

"It has exorcised a lot of demons out of us," he said.

"If you're true to yourself, it's going to sound natural on
the record. This record sounds very INXS, and that's a great

Fortune, who was once homeless, was not sure when he
started that the show would work as planned.

"There are millions of fans worldwide who were critics when
the show started, and I was one of them, but as the show
progressed, it became more about the record," he said.

"Canadians and Australians share a lot of similarities
culturally," Fortune said. "We're both a small population in a
large land mass. We share a love of barbecues, beer, sports."

The album was released on Sony BMG's Epic Records label.
INXS begins touring on January 18 in Vancouver.