Remembering Michael Hutchence

 

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It was twenty years ago today.

On November 22, 1997, Australian rock star Michael Hutchence was found dead in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Sydney. His death was ruled a suicide, although family and friends have continued to dispute this.

The question remains: What would cause a young man, at the top of his game, a wealthy international superstar, a new father, much loved by family, friends and the public, to take his own life?

But maybe there is more to this story.  The human mind is a complexity, full of perceived tragedies and horrific imaginings.  There are dark nights of the soul when problems explode and life simply gives no mercy. 

Hutchence was apparently in the middle of one.

Michael Hutchence

Michael Hutchence was born in Sydney, Australia on January 22, 1960, to working class parents. The family lived in Hong Kong for much of Michael’s childhood, but returned to Australia in 1972.  Michael joined a rock band with his friends the Farriss brothers when he was just 17 years old. That band was eventually named INXS. They rose to fame and fortune in the 1980’s and 90’s. Some critics consider INXS to be one of Australia’s finest bands.

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They had a fresh, funky sound, exemplified in their best selling album ‘Kick’.  Writing team Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence came up with catchy pop songs as well as deep and soulful ballads. The six talented musicians included horn, keyboard and saxophone players.  None, however, could match the illustrious Hutch on stage.

As the band’s lead singer, he had a seductive voice, plenty of feral cat moves, and a Mick-Jagger-like star quality that is rarely duplicated.  Anyone who saw Hutch in concert was hooked.  And I mean anyone!  Men, women, young, old, straight, gay, no matter.  All went gaga for Hutch.

Michael Hutchence

In 1994, Hutchence began having an affair with celebrity Paula Yates, who was then married to another famous rock star, Bob Geldoff.  Eventually Paula divorced Bob, but what followed was a nasty custody battle that apparently made everyone miserable. In the meantime, Hutch and Paula also had a child of their own, a daughter named Tiger Lily. Legal issues forced Paula to remain in England, continually separated from Hutchence.

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Hutch had also experienced a terrible head injury which reportedly left him with a bunch of physical ailments, including loss of his sense of smell. These difficulties were exacerbated by the fact that the band was, by then, losing its star status, no longer filling stadiums and playing to smaller crowds. According to some, Hutchence had entered the dreaded realm of (gasp!) “aging rock star”. (At the ripe old age of 37.)

I know!  Who makes these dumb rules?

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Michael Hutchence’s corpse was found  at 11:50 AM on the morning of November 22, 1997 in the Sydney Ritz Carlton.  He died alone.  Friends and visitors had been partying with him in the hotel room as late (or early!) as 5AM the same morning. Allegedly the activities included lots of alcohol and unnamed drugs.  Strangely, no coroner’s report was filed as to which substances Hutch actually had in his body when he died. The official cause of his death was strangulation by hanging.

But there is another side to the story. By many accounts, Hutch was a bit kinky. He may never have intended to actually kill himself, but was merely involved in a few rounds of autoerotic asphyxiation.

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‘Nuff said.

This story gets even sadder. Three years later, Paula Yates died of a drug overdose, leaving Tiger Lily an orphan.  Bob Geldoff became her legal guardian.  She recently began a modeling career,  no doubt owing a lot to her father’s gorgeous looks.

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Michael Hutchence remains one of the great, gone too soon artists. On this day we honor him. Here, INXS perform a patchwork of their song ‘Mystify’. Hope you like it!

Hutch Rock In Peace!

 

 

 

 

 

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School’s Out!

 

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Here in Chicago, kids are winding down for their last week of school. As we get ready for beaches, barbeques, rising temps and rowdiness, I could not resist this classic from the fantastic Alice Cooper!

Taking the Wayback  Machine way back to 1972 for this one — although I would argue the song is just as relevant today as it ever was.  “We got no class and we got no principles.” Puns intended.

I have always loved the Coop (maybe because his name is Alice, hehe). They share a penchant for top hats, animals and other-worldliness.

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At any rate, turn up the volume, grab the sandals, shades and lemonade.  Get ready for a long, carefree summer, my favorite time of year 🙂

School’s Out!!

 

 

 

Congratulations Bob Dylan!

 

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The question is not WHY did Bob Dylan win a Nobel Prize for Literature. The question is WHY has it taken this long?  The second bard, the traveling Wilbury, he who makes us look at that which we (do not always) want to see.

“He wants to scatter poems from airplanes across the landscape

He’s some kinda poetic nut Like he thinks he’s Dylan

Thomas and Bob Dylan rolled together 

 

He wants to lip-read everybody’s thoughts and feelings

and longings…”

— ‘The Love Nut’ by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Plus, he was the  original sign holder 🙂

Thanks Bob!

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The 27 Club

 

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Today, July 3rd, marks the death of rock stars Jim Morrison and Brian Jones. Both Jim and Brian were 27 years old at the time of their deaths. They are  members of the infamous so-called ’27 Club’.

In case you have not heard of the 27 Club,  it is a group of young, talented  (and I daresay other-worldly) musicians who all died at the tender age of 27.  Spooky huh?  Some of the most famous are: Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Hamm  and Robert Johnson.

In terms of numerology, it is not so weird. 27 (or 9) is considered a number of completion. It is also the number of ultimate knowledge, represented by  the Hermit  and the Moon in the tarot.

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Of course, these guys could have waited till they were  81. Or 72. Or 90!  But then we would not have the gripping tragedy surrounding their deaths, nor the mystery, nor the romance. We worship our young dead, mourn their losses hard, won’t give them up.

 

Everybody likes to blame it on drugs, or wild lifestyle, or the hazards of the music industry.  Robert Johnson was, after all, down at the Crossroads 🙂

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But seriously,  I got to thinking and I wondered… What if every life is perfectly completed in a perfect way?  Maybe every life ends in a cumulative pinnacle, a perfect 27, whether figuratively or literally.  Maybe there are no accidents, no matter how hard humankind try to manufacture them. Maybe the 27 Club is Supposed To Be.

After all, we do immortalize them.  We remember Jim as  the infamous Lizard King, shaman of the west, taking us through the infinite Doors of perception.  The mystical Brian Jones was a  Rolling Stones icon, the epitome of swinging London. We remember Amy as the tatted diva, ragged  but nonetheless beautiful with a voice that captured and charmed.  And grunge king Kurt Cobain has been the patron saint of many a teenager.

I believe  they each came into this world with an energy that simply could not be assimilated well into planet earth. If you watch videos of them now, you will see that these individuals were ethereal, extremely beautiful, charismatic and talented beyond belief. In other words, too heavenly for earth 🙂

Because of their early deaths, they are etched in our minds, forever present and forever young. Maybe (just maybe, in the cosmic consciousness) they themselves would have no other way.

May they Rock In Peace.

Watch this amazing video to see the full list. You’ll be surprised!