Michael will be missed

Dear Michael,

Hope things find you well as you are getting ready for the Australian leg of your upcoming tour.

I am touching base after our conversation this past August here in Chicago about doing some custom painted pieces……

The ringing phone interrupts my thought. My pal Randy was on the other line.

“Hey, turn on CNN. There’s news out of Australia that Michael Hutchence committed suicide.” His voice crackled over the phone. I got up off my chair and ran to the other room with cordless phone in hand. I flipped on the television and turn to CNN headline news. I missed the story.

“You’re kidding me right Randy?” I replied as I paced back into my makeshift home office.

“No, I am pretty sure I heard it correct.” He said.

“This cannot be happening. You’re not going to believe this. I’m actually sitting down to write him a fax and send it to his New York agent as we speak.” I was depleted.

“Really?” Randy replied.

“Yes, really. I have dial-up. Need to kick you off the phone so I can confirm the news. I’ll call you later.” I clicked the phone off and fired up my network protocol in order to dial into the Northwestern University server. I was on the web within a few minutes and clicked to CNN.com. The page loaded slowly on my Dell 486 machine. I waited. Randy was right. There was Michael’s picture with the dates 1960-1997 inscribed below. I was crushed.

Three months prior I was backstage with INXS when they visited Chicago for a Q101 show. I could feel the tension as the band was trying to get back to its glory. It seemed as though time had passed them by and their recent album wasn’t working hard enough to rekindle the old flame. Actually, it was the label, as usual, that was causing the havoc. Let’s ad to firing a manager as well. Nothing was going right for the band. Add to that, I had no idea there was turmoil in his personal life.

When Michael came through the back stage gate that night in late August of 1997, I was one of the first to greet him. He was such a lovely and charming person. He was gracious as I gave him a piece of custom painted jean wear. I had been in touch with his front office and sent him some work earlier in the spring. I waited all summer just to see him and the band. I wanted to custom paint work again and tie into a band. Michael, I thought, would be a great match. Sadly, it came to an end faster than it could start.

When I met Bono on the street some years after Michael’s passing, I gave him an envelope with the picture above of his friend. We were amongst a crush of people and I had to speak quickly. Bono attempted to sign the envelope and give it back to me until I told him there was a picture of Michael Hutchence inside. Bono looked at me with his piercing blue eyes and paused. Speechless, he was very polite and said thank you. It was that one time I made a connection and it stuck. Who knows where the photo ended up but I gave it to someone who would cherish it.

I miss Michael. Music is not the same without his soulful voice and his great band by his side. Nothing will top Kick or Listen Like Thieves but Welcome to Wherever You Are comes close with its raw power in songs such as All Around, Taste It and Heaven Sent. Not Enough Time is a brilliant song along with Strange Desire. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of their last album, Elegantly Wasted, and give it a spin. It is a great record with a lot of heart. It will remind you why INXS and Michael were so special.

  1. Jim Guest Reply
  2. V.A Reply

    Absolutely correct to all you say….

  3. Alice Reply

    Thank you for sharing this!! It was beautiful and it brought tears to my eyes! Michael was beyond the words can say…still deeply missed and still breaks my heart after all this time to know he’s gone!

  4. MCA Reply

    Thank you! I loved this! Michael was so talented… I miss him so much! It is still difficult to accept that he is not amongst us anymore!

  5. Lisa Reply

    Michael is Missed beyond words I love him he was a genuine man,
    and I hope one day Tiger will know he really was wonderful and
    Loved her more then anything.

    Lisa

  6. It will be great when previously unreleased Michael Hutchence material gets officially released this year (2011) 🙂 Its been a very long wait…… 🙂

  7. Diane Reply

    It was so nice to read a fairly written article about Michael Hutchence. There are not many out there. He is sadly missed but never forgotten for those of us who knew him and the many fans that have been touched by his music. Great article. It will be exciting to hear the unreleased material that awaits… I do think it is the right time to continue on with the preservation of the legacy of Michael Hutchence.

  8. Elise Reply

    I hope his music is rediscovered — MH’s solo album has some excellent tracks on it and I have to agree Elegantly Wasted was underrated, probably because it is so disparate in the types of songs. A number of the songs are so personal (Searching, I’m Just a Man) that they almost belong on MH’s solo album but that does not take away from the quality of the music. One of the very rare performers who sounded better LIVE than on an album. RIP, you are missed, your beautiful voice and music live on.

    • Cláudia Kiyomi Ohira Reply

      “…One of the very rare performers who sounded better LIVE than on an album…”

      I could spend hours and hours talking about the talents that made him UNIQUE, UNFOGETTABLE, UN-REPLACEABLE. I remember in the late ‘80s and early ’90s, women were crazy for him because he was handsome and sexy. But there were lots of “cute faces” in the music industry without any talent. Michael touched me by his powerful voice. When I first listened to him on the radio I have no idea he was so gorgeous. And I think that his differential was the quality of this voice singing live. There are lots of good “studio singers” – it’s easier to record songs in studio where it’s possible to “correct things”. But Michael was always perfect singing live. Even when things didn’t seem so good anymore, he always made the effort to do his best. I didn’t know him “in person” to know exactly what was on his mind but it’s plain to see – at least physically – he wasn’t so satisfied. He had lost that “sparkle in his eyes”. At least, I felt it when I compared the interviews prior to “EW”. Even “next to the end”, he was wonderful performing live. And… of course, he was really, really, really gorgeous! Not that “classic beauty”, but he was charismatic. That way he moved on stage. That sparkle in his eyes, so “provocative”. Miss him so bad! Never will stop to think: un-replaceable, unforgettable! It’s sad to think he has been underestimated, forgotten… few people still remember him… next November it will be 15 years since he left us and no one could replace him… I wish I could do something to make his legacy be rediscovered… “Oh Michael… you left us so early… it still breaks my heart…”

  9. Met bono Reply

    Thank you so much for the well written tribute for Michael. I miss him since wonderful talent.

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