Monday, March 26, 2018

Blind Item #9 - One Mad, Sad Moment Forever - A Himmmm Blind Item - Part Two

What set the band apart was that each member was a brilliant talent – but in private life they were all just regular guys you'd have a beer with at the pub.  The musical brain and major songwriter behind the band was a brilliant multi-instrumentalist who could not only play anything, he could write it.  A fairly shy guy until you got him wound up, he was the DaVinci of the song.  He had no limits to his talent and was the clear leader.

One of the band's guitarists and a multi-instrumentalist (we will call KG) was a mad, brilliant, genius with a megawatt personality and no "Off" switch.  Not blood related to the others, he was crazy mad.  He could play any song or instrument, and even today stands as probably the most underrated guitarist in history.  His personality was that he'd try almost anything, a dare or a prank, and you'd still be laughing if he got over on you.  It was easy to play jokes on him because his eyesight sucked.  In fact, it seemed everybody in that band had bad eyes.

The drummer of the group and co-author of this story, H3, is like a human drum machine.  He's too modest to admit it, but he's a legendary talent.  When everyone from Neil Peart to Ringo Starr praise you? You've got something.  He could play flawlessly for hours and never miss a beat, unless he was too drunk and fell off the stool.  Only kidding, as he was the least wild drummer I've ever known and still don't think he's ever pitched a television out of a hotel window.   

The singer/front man whom we will call HT, was a legend for good reason.  Dear God was he a legend.  He was a singer, songwriter, and performer the likes of which the world has rarely seen.  Maybe top five in history.  His voice was powerful, flawless, and never took a day off.  His stage persona was unrivaled.  His human personality was magnetic, charismatic, and made you perfectly at ease.  His biggest flaw was that he was blind as a damn bat. It was not a myth that every woman he met wanted to climb inside his skin and devour him, and many did.  Being around him was like a good party you hope never ended.  Blended with the other nutty animals in their zoo you could see why they had the world in their hands.

It is really hard now for people to appreciate just how huge this band was.  They were a global megastar band, and these days there is not a group that could compare.  Nearly 60 million albums sold.  By the time I was college-aged, I'd reconnected with these guys.  I was working in the Summer of 1991 for our video/film production company.  The execs running the outfit asked if I wanted to go to England to our office there to help produce this band's upcoming show.  To be recorded for a special release, live, both on video and audio.  Since I knew the band, I was pleased to do it.  Thankfully, the actual directing and producing would have the best in the biz doing it.  I just was there as a liaison and adviser.  Not a bad gig for a 19 year-old kid.

I spent weeks helping prep the show and get everything finalized.  Especially the finance (it's an important part of the process).  Funny thing is that everyone wanted this July event to occur, but nobody remembered to pay for it.  No kidding.  The total was $1.7 million American dollars (and thirty-five cents).  In 1991 dollars.  The band paid about $200,000 of the cost.  The execs at the company assumed the band would pay for all of it; and the band assumed the company would pay the rest of it.  The band didn't exactly have that much in their account that day.  When I heard of this issue, I went to the phone and made one call.  In twenty minutes I was standing in the lobby of a bank in London with a Cashier's Check for $1.7 million (and thirty five cents).  To this day many in the band thought they paid for the show and production.  Truth is that money came out of someone's personal funds, and not from the company accounts.  But this machine would not budge without the money, and I was not about to let my pals lose their moment in the spotlight.  That angel investor eventually got the money back, but it took 20 years and made no profit.  It was worth every penny.
 
This was going to be a massive shoot for a massive gig.  We used 17 separate Arriflex 35mm film cameras.  We even got a helicopter to fly with a special gyroscopic-balanced camera; and our crew had over 50 techs.  It was going to be epic in every way, and if you were in London in Summer 1991 you knew about it.  The BBC radio did an all-day tribute to the band.  We had several bands booked as opening acts for a full day festival.  I think tickets sold out in 15 minutes flat.
The day before the show, we had sound check while stages were being finished.  I had brought my guitar with me so that I could play a little with some friends after the show.  I had an amazing customized black/white Fender Stratocaster.  It had been ordered to be customized by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and given to me as a birthday present.  I brought it into the warm up room backstage at Wembley, to let the band's guitarist KG have a turn on it.  He had a guitar very similar and was amazed at how well it played.  I had his guitar tech to adjust mine to be exactly like his, as I loved the way his felt and sounded.  During the sound check, I nearly panicked when I found my guitar missing.  Turns out KG had used it by accident during sound check.  I told him he was welcome to it anytime, and sat it back in the rack next to his to keep it safe.  I knew his guitars were safer than lugging mine to the hotel and back.

46 comments:

sandybrook said...

Since the singer is apparently dead. INXS

Bagel said...

It is INXS. Is there a prize?

Confessions of a DC Mom said...

INXS

filmfanb said...

but INXS had lots of albums out before 91 and they would have been in their demise then? confused

StewMcG said...

The festival was called Summer XS

https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/when-inxs-rocked-wembley-stadium/

AreoBitch said...

Queen????

Brayson87 said...

Yes INXS, I thought they were successful before 91.

sandybrook said...

Enty will allow you to pat yourself on the back Bagel and I will offer you the accolades by telling you congratulations!

urban chaos said...

Yep, great sleuthing cdaners

beis said...

"I could not believe how Michael was whipping the crowd up and controlling all of the space on the stage. It was such a metamorphose. There was my sensitive, soft spoken brother, strutting up and down the stage, looking menacingly at the crowd - which I knew he couldn't actually see due to his poor eyesight -

http://www.michaelhutchenceinfo.com/chapter4.htm

Brayson87 said...

Should have picked Marty.

Geeljire said...

Me too

filmfanb said...

I think the "not well known outside native land" and 1991 through me off. Because they were huge late 80s everywhere.

Geeljire said...

I spent most of my life that blind.
Then I got implanted contact lenses.

Bagel said...

The quality is awful but this can still make you pregnant just by watching it. INXS on Jools Holland. https://youtu.be/LFOoJGQ46Hk

Nubian Princess said...

Ok, it's INXS. Now let's enjoy the story. God I loved Michael Hutchence.

Bish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sal Salington said...

Is this saying Jon Farriss is a Himmmm?

pkelly491 said...

This might make me trasition from binge listening to Tom Waits for a month to binge listening to INXS.

Tanzi said...

I think the 1991 is referring only to the big concert event. Everything else in the story happened before then. They met at a Queen concert, Freddie's last concert was 1987, so pre-87. "Wasn't long after we'd met that they signed to a record label with which my family was involved. Out of the blue, the band had a pretty big hit album" INXS had Listen Like Thieves out in '85, What You Need was a huge hit single and suddenly they were everywhere. Kick was next in 87 and fits the story, as mentioned previously. Then the big live show in '91. Very cool story and a nice memory of a great band.

Brayson87 said...

It's funny because I sang a little Beautiful Girl to someone special last month. I'm still a little sore about Marty though, he was so much more entertaining than J.D. ;)

Alexandria said...

INXS at Wembley then! Great job guys at solving that one! Well, obviously there is lots of videos on Youtube from that concert! 😄

Bagel said...

They met at a Queen concert because INXS supported Queen at the 1986 concert.

Nubian Princess said...

Pretty blatantly. Bit surprised H3 would out himself. Or it's the "teen" telling the story. Not quite sure.

xyzxyz33 said...

Not enough time,
for all that I want from you,
Not enough time for every kiss
And every touch and all the nights
I wanna be INSIDE you

I had Welcome to Wherever You Are on REPEAT
Played it over, and over and over

I absolutely loved INXS
I was in 8th/9th grade during this time
and it was the Cat's Pajamas.
Amazing band.

T. W. said...

@AreoBitch - part one says Himmm met the band members in question at a Queen concert. Part 2 says the guitarist is underrated, so this can't be Queen.

I can see this being INXS only if a lot of details are being fudged.

AngryLiberalKTS. said...

I bought an album by INXS in the 80's called shabu-shaba something like that. Great album must've been 83' or so?. Not INXS.

T. W. said...

@Tanzi - thank you for putting the clues together.

Yeah, Himmmm never said the '91 album was the band's first album. INXS fits.

Thank you CDaN

AngryLiberalKTS. said...

90's band who look like Mr. Magoo.

Sansa said...

And now I'm sitting here watching the 1991 live show. LOVED INXS. I never saw them in their prime because I was a little young at the time, but I DID see them with JD and had a great time. I know he was absolutely no Michael, but it was a cool experience. Gary threw me a guitar pick that I still have somewhere.

ZantiMissKnit said...

@AngryKiberalKTS, Shabooh Shoobah was the album. My sister got it, and we all drooled over the gatefold of them in towels!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabooh_Shoobah

http://theimer.us/P1/img/INXS_ShaboohShoobah_V002/Insert_02_03_350.jpg

nisore said...

I think the drummer is admitting to being H3. The teen in the story is H2 or something like that.

pkelly491 said...

Part 3 and Himmmmm on Twitter confirms that it is INXS and their July 1991 performance at Wembley Stadium.

Great band.

cebii said...

Friend of mine met INXS at a restaurant near a club gig they had in DFW area in the mid 80's. As far as she and her friends knew, they were just cute Aussie guys. She was still in high school, and the band ate with them and hung out a bit, but didn't try to take advantage. Anyway, my friend still has a signed cassette mix tape. I wonder what it's worth?

Shawn McGuire said...

I love INXS, they were my faves from the early 80s to the mid 90s.

ginger falls said...

Listen Like Thieves-another tape cassette that the lettering of all the song titles 'disappear' (like one of their song titles).I wore that tape out.Had to fix it one time with a bic pen after it got stuck w/a paper clip.We had our own visual for MH when he died-White Blotter/Whippets/& Miller Lite.

Itttt said...

OMFG suuuuuch fond memories this mega-blind brings back.

Wife and I dreamed of getting INXS to play at our wedding. One of the very few bands that had multiple albums that were CHOCK FULL LOADED with amazing music, little to no filler bullshit. Rarely find anything like that since the 90s. INXS was YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE and still is, I think we have every single one of their albums/CDs even that Sega CD Make My Video hahaha

Michael Hutchence was a bloody rock god and INXS was a pantheon

Here, some essential viewing/listening:

Never Tear Us Apart (aka one of the greatest love songs of all time)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyZU4iNRdsM

Disappear (aka Mystery Date)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xvo-bfaVsg0

Not Enough Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhBOpcK3-Bk

Beautiful Girl

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLmQ2vxMbn0

New Sensation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEW_v6YOBms

What You Need

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoEPrbdfmT4

Devil Inside

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv_zJrO_ptk

Suicide Blonde

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma4TOv2f_WY

And on and on and on...oh just go to their videos page and enjoy

https://www.youtube.com/user/inxsofficial/videos










Sekrit said...

Well it's definitely INXS - which I was hoping for in part 1 and was already thinking it was The Wembley Performance, which is still regarded as one of the best performances ever. It's still mentioned in music countdowns for their solid musical performance and Michael's singing and audience connection.
I love how both the Himmmm's talk about Queen at the start of part 1 as their Wembley (Live Aid 85) performance solidified them as QUEEN and also regarded as one of the best performances ever.

bonnjill said...

I had the pleasure of seeing INXS on a basketball court (front row bleachers - from about 200 ft away) at Bowling Green State University back in 1987 right when Kick hit it big. We were so lucky to book them before they blew up. Michael Hutchence was indeed the most amazing performer I have seen to date. Sex on a stick indeed. To this day INXS remains my all-time favorite band. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us.

Ktas12 said...

Bonnjill! We must be neighbors! I wasn’t there in 1987 but not more than 20 minutes away!

K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Remie Ross said...

It was confusing from the first blind, but after reading this one it appears that the big event in London is going on in 1991 and several years after the narrator first went to bat for the band with his family. He said he was a young teen when throwing the fit on dad's desk, and in 1991 he's 19. It sounds like this band was popular/known in the 80's

Bend3r said...

Sorry, but the most underrated guitarist in history (at least in terms of mainstream recognition) is Richie Kotzen.

Citizen S said...

Definitely INXS. They were huge, bigger than most people realize and I loved them so much in the 80s and 90s. They were my favorite band for a long time. MH's suicide was a horrible thing.

jessorella said...

Ahhhhh, this is so nice. This all describes the formative years of my tween era, where I grew to listening to all this stuff because my sister had it on her ghetto blaster, as did all my friends’ older siblings when I was at their houses. And hi st one hour ago we were listening to I Need You Tonight while cooking dinner...!

Steve Landry said...

Just got around to reading this: please tell me I'm the first to catch the BOOGIE NIGHTS reference!

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