'His personality changed dramatically'
The sister of late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence has given a frank interview about the singer’s final years before he took his own life.
Hutchence was found dead on 22 November 1997 after he took his own life, just seven months after the Australian rock veterans released their 10th album ‘Elegantly Wasted’. He was 37-years-old.
Now in conversation with The Guardian, his sister Tina Hutchence has spoken about her new book Michael: My Brother, Lost Boy of INXS. In it, she reveals that the icon suffered a ‘traumatic brain injury’ after fracturing his skull in an altercation with a taxi driver in 1992.
“He was put on Prozac and told he’d get through the headaches,” said Tina. “But there has been so much written about TBIs in the US over the last five years, looking at football players and boxers. It made sense to me the more I read, because Michael’s personality changed dramatically.
“I’ve now done a couple of podcasts about it in the States and I intend to continue to working along those lines.”
Speaking of the ‘media circus’ that surrounded Michael, his partner Paula Yates and ex-husband Bob Geldof, Tina said that he became a particular target for UK tabloids when they pitted him against the Boomtown Rats singer.
“I think you can always tell if an article is from a UK newspaper, just from reading it,” Tina continued. “He’d always had such a great relationship with the press. They didn’t bother him, or didn’t even realise it was him. I had observed him walking around in Paris, LA and Australia and people would just say, “Oh hi, I caught your show the other night,” and he’d say, “Thanks mate,” shake their hand and walk on.
“But when all that exploded in London, he was absolutely beside himself. I was once told that with the tabloids they’ve got to have a good guy and a bad guy. What role could he take if Bob [known in the UK tabloids as “Saint Bob”] was on the other side?”
Tina also said that she found it ‘very upsetting’ that INXS’ management did little to help when he was visibly distressed during the band’s final tour in 1997.
“I found out more in reading some of the statements to the police,” she added. “The fact that the manager wrote Michael a letter saying she was very worried about him, and what can they do? Well obviously the thing to do is call off the tour that he didn’t want to be on, but they didn’t – it was on with the show.”
Last year, a new documentary aired – revealing what were believed to be the final words of the singer, with the following lyrics written on a yellow notepad on the night of his death:
“Wouldn’t be right to take it
Wouldn’t be right laying down
Sick of the dogs outside my window
That’s right take a look
New plan with a hook
Stuck into me
All the bitterness
Has started showing
Five years no one hears.”
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