The Australian public have no idea how big we became internationally because we played it down, says Kirk Pengilly on the fame of INXS, the subject of a new biopic. Picture: Channel 7 Source: Supplied
My wife (former world surfing champion Layne Beachley) and I watched INXS: Never Tear Us Apart nearly two weeks ago along with my brother.
I was pretty nervous about it.
I did spend a couple of days in Melbourne on set and I was blown away.
“This is going to be pretty powerful,” I thought. The actors were extraordinarily good.
Sitting down to watch, I was nervous, but in saying that it’s been so well put together.
For the most part, it is very accurate about the work we put in, and shows the band was massive.
Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS: Luke Arnold as Michael Hutchence. Source: Supplied
The Australian public have no idea how big we became internationally because we played it down. We didn’t want to come across as wankers.
The producers covered it all really well.
As for actor Luke Arnold (Michael Hutchence), the other actors had the luxury of being able to meet each of us and see us in real life, albeit a number of years after the story.
Luke obviously couldn’t get together with Michael, but did an astounding job.
Luke Arnold plays Michael Hutchence in INXS: Never Tear Us Apart Source: Channel 7
One thing that seemed a little confusing was that the show jumped from Wembley to Perth, when the band actually started in Sydney. It’s probably not that important.
But the producers did capture the time we spent in Perth, which was about 10 months.
The Farriss family had to move back, and we all dropped our jobs and moved to Perth.
INXS impact on charts following the airing of ‘Never Tear Us Apart’. Source: Supplied
We wanted to play original material. We were rocking the boat and found after a while that gigs were disappearing because we were concentrating on writing and playing original material. We were left with only one gig a week.
Then the mining town gig came up and that did bankroll our move back to Sydney, thank heavens.
INXS in 1991. Source: News Limited
There were a few incidents up there in Perth and Michael was in a lot of them.
John was falling asleep in school all the time because we played four or five gigs a week. He may as well have not been in school anyway.
However being there gave us more time to develop original songs without anyone in the big eastern states knowing who we were.
As for the portrayal of Andrew Farriss, he was probably the guy with the most talent as a songwriter, but he had the most doubt.
It all probably comes from your upbringing. My dad would say “keep it as a hobby and get a real job”.
Some of the members were very positive like Tim and myself, and some were not so sure.
Years ago we were asked if we wanted platinum records made up for family and friends. I got one for mum and dad with the message “keep it as a hobby”.
Andrew was unsure we were going to go anywhere. We were pretty different to what other bands were doing, especially overseas. So the portrayal of Andrew was pretty good.
Luke Arnold and Samantha Jade as Hutchence and Minogue. Source: Supplied
Then there was the Kempsey gig scene — it’s all real.
We were touring with Richard Clapton. Richard and one of his band guys, after his set, chucked a browneye.
The crowd was going mental, so we all did it. Of course I waited, stripped off, and came out with a coat and did the full frontal.
We all got run out of town. We raced back to the hotel, got our luggage and got out of there before there were any issues.
Andy Ryan playing Andrew Farriss Source: News Limited
The cast of INXS: Never Tear Us Apart Source: Supplied
The incident with the guards at Buenos Aires airport is actually a bunch of incidents rolled into one. I recall it as my bag that got searched, not Garry’s.
That certainly did happen in South America, though I don’t remember that we got rid of the substances exactly prior to the guards arriving.
Layne Beachley and Kirk Pengilly. Picture: Regina King Source: Supplied
I guess it showed the mayhem of that period and was edited into one scene. We did have fun.
I would’ve liked to have included some of the recording sessions. It is a very important part.
I always believed each cycle that led us to making videos and going and touring was all instigated by the album. Do the album, do the videos, go tour — it was cylical.
The most creative side could’ve been touched on. We worked with some amazing producers. It’s a little bit of a shame that side of what we did was not represented.
Certainly a lot of family and friends contributed massive amounts of time to what we did, too, but you can’t put everyone in the show.