THEY sang about a brotherhood that could 'never tear us apart' - but a nasty swipe by INXS and their management at Seven's Michael Hutchence documentary has exposed the bitter battle still raging over his memory.
As the two-part rockumentary, Michael Hutchence: The Last Rockstar made its world premiere, a statement timed around its release by the band and manager Chris Murphy's Petrol Records to diminish the production as "unauthorised" has earned industry ire, including a scathing retort by LA music producer, Danny Saber, as a sad attempt to steal the late singer's spotlight.
Saber, who worked with Hutchence to write and record new material as a solo artist just before the Aussie rocker's death 20 years ago, told NewsCorp the Channel 7 doco intended "to give Michael what he always wanted in life, to try and give him what he never got even in death, and that was to define himself as an individual, as an artist. He wanted to be recognised and respected for his own music," Saber said.
With plans for a global release next year of an album of new Hutchence songs - including the four tracks to feature in the Seven docu-drama - Saber dismissed the statement issued by INXS management distancing themselves from the 18-month investigation as unnecessarily negative.
"The bottom line is this: nobody is going to benefit more from this than INXS. Never Tear Us Apart [the telemovie], let's be honest, it was what it was but they did [soap] Neighbours, we're doing Shakespeare and you can quote me on that."
Mark Llewellyn, the doco's executive producer, confirmed he did not approach the band for new interviews because "what I wanted was a fresh perspective on Michael's life."
"The INXS story has been well told but this is not a documentary about INXS. It's true his life was inexorably wedded with INXS but a large portion of his life was outside of that," Llewellyn said, adding "that's why, quite deliberately, I went looking for fresh eyes and fresh accounts."
An interview with the band, filmed for Seven's Sunday Night program around the release of the telemovie back in 2014, is spliced across both episodes.
But it is new memories shared by his industry pals including Bono, Simon Le Bon and the executor of his will, Colin Diamond which help paint a rarely-seen portrait of Hutchence, the friend and most significantly, the father to Tigerlily.
"They don't all necessarily bag the band...there's a great deal of affection for them," Llewelyn said, "...but they do give a perspective of that kind of confusion and complexity that Michael had with them."
In part-two, an archival interview with Hutchence's late father Kell reveals how he learned of his son's death when a journalist rang him for comment.
Stopping short of breaking the bad news, the reporter hung up, with his confused suspicions something terrible had happened confirmed when NSW Police arrived at his door moments later.
* Michael Hutchence: The Last Rockstar concludes 7.30pm, Tuesday October 17 on Seven.
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