INXS Talk "Original Sin", Movies, Tour, and so much More
Thu, 26 May 2011 14:03:01
INXS have always thought outside the box.
Weaving together funk and rock, they carved out a sound that's never been quite replicated, though often imitated. However, on Original Sin, with a little help from vocalists like Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, Train's Pat Monahan, Tricky, and many more, they re-imagine classics from their catalog marvelously. The title track has become a modern dance anthem, while "Don't Change" touts an entrancing elegance. Now, the band's about to take Original Sin on the road this summer.
"It's been a few years," says INXS guitarist, saxophonist, and back vocalist Kirk Pengilly. "After we finished touring in 2007, we decided to take a whole year off. It ended up being more than that. The five original band members decided to work on an instrumental project in late 2008. That was how Original Sin came about. Everyone's really excited."
Fans have every reason to be excited as this impending run will undoubtedly be one of the band's best yet. Pengilly sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to discuss Original Sin, movies, the impending tour and so much more.
On Original Sin, you preserve the integrity of the songs, while making them sound new. Was that your goal?
That was sort of the intention. One of the great things about working through the project was we all realized even more what great songs they were to start with. If you've got a great base to work with, then it's a lot of fun. At first, it was difficult to try and think of the songs in any other way than the way we originally recorded them. Once we got into the swing of it and started ripping them apart, it was a really fun project to work on.
It must have been refreshing to take a new approach.
Yeah, it was! We've always believed in reproducing the songs as closely as possible to the original recording, especially live. We figure that's the song people know and how they want to hear it. For us, it was a very different mindset to approach this record. Interestingly, for a lot of our songs throughout our back catalog, the original demos were quite different from how the song ended up on the record. That made us realize that this is the thing to do because some of these songs were rearranged when we went in to record them. It was a matter of getting our heads around that and going from there.
Do you feel like the songs have always been open to evolution?
Absolutely! From album to album and within each album, we're always trying different feels and styles. However, for the most part we're maintaining that fusion of funk and rock that we've become known for. It evolved from when we started and grew into its own animal.
"Original Sin" is even more danceable than ever.
We wanted that track to have a contemporary feel. For a lot of the songs, we recorded different versions and all kinds of things that didn't even end up being on the album.
What did Train's Pat Monahan bring to "Beautiful Girl"?
He's got an amazing range, and he's an incredible singer. The difficulty for a lot of singers is they probably go, "Well, am I going to be compared to Michael [Hutchence]? How do I approach this?" Thank heavens, all of the singers we worked with are confident in their own skin and ability so they were able to bring their own style and give their own interpretation without it sounding like Michael. They put their own stamp on it, and it was important for us to make sure they did that.
What does "Don't Change" mean to you?
It's become an anthem for us. It's usually the song we finish the encore with at just about every show since we wrote the song. For "Don't Change", we were like, "What do we do with this?" Andrew [Farriss] went in and put down an acoustic guitar and built it up from there. We thought making it more ethereal and adding an ambient kind of vibe with the choral vocals would be a different slant. Andrew and I sang the vocal, and that's not something we've done on any album. I've done all the backing vocals, but there hasn't really been a track where he and I had a go at singing lead vocals. It was a lot of fun doing that, and we're all surprised by the reaction we've been getting with that particular track. A lot of people have said it's their favorite track on the album which makes me laugh because it's Andrew and I singing. The song's had a lot of mileage [Laughs]. "Don't Change" is a positive message about being honest and who you are. That's what it means to me. It's about being happy with what and who you are.
What influences outside of music do you turn to?
Everyone in the band would probably have a different answer. I certainly watch a lot of movies. During the Michael Hutchence era when we were touring a hell of a lot, we spent a lot of time on buses watching movies. To us, the visual aspect has always been important. We came to North America for the first time back in '83. MTV had just started, but we'd been making videos for our songs back in Australia way before then growing up. Because a lot of acts didn't tour Australia in the '60s and '70s, we used to have music shows that played film clips that international acts would do. They'd make a silly little film clip to one of their songs, and these TV shows we had would play them. We get educated with visuals and music since we were young. It's always been very important.
What are some of your favorite movies?
On the bus, we used to watch comedies like Caddyshack. Visually, I love a lot of the classics. I've got just about the entire Alfred Hitchcock collection. They're such powerful movies.
Have you heard Original Sin?
Tour Dates Below
July 3 Riverfest Brockville, ON
July 5 Cunard Centre Halifax, NS
July 7 The Centre at Casino New Brunswick Moncton, NB
July 8 Le Festivoix de Trois-Rivieres Trois-Rivieres, QC
July 9 Sarnia Rogers Bayfest Sarnia, ON
July 13 Interior Savings Centre Kamloops, BC
July 16 River Rock Show Theatre Richmond, BC
July 17 Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery Woodinville, WA
July 19 The Mountain Winery Saratoga, CA
July 22 The Wiltern Los Angeles, CA
July 23 The Pearl Concert Theater Las Vegas, NV
July 25 Ogden Theatre Denver, CO
July 28 Mystic Lake Casino Hotel Prior Lake, MN
July 29 The Venue at Horseshoe Casino Hammond, IN
July 30 Fox Theatre Detroit, MI
August 2 The National Richmond, VA
August 3 Wellmont Theatre Montclair, NJ
August 4 Beacon Theatre New York, NY
August 6 House of Blues Atlantic City, NJ
August 7 Mohegan Sun Wilkes-Barre, VA
August 8 Filene Center at Wolf Trap Vienna, VA
August 10 Pier Six Concert Pavilion Baltimore, MD
August 12 Ntelos Pavilion Portsmouth, VA
August 13 House of Blues Myrtle Beach, SC
August 14 Chastain Park Amphitheatre Atlanta, GA