Despite kicking goals with precision and consistency throughout the ‘80s and ’90s, INXS hasn’t been recognised with the music industry’s most prestigious award – induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.
It’s long overdue.
That’s the word from Giles Martin, the Grammy Award-winning producer, mastering engineer, arranger and creative leader.
“They’re a great rock band,” Martin tells The Music Network.
“I couldn’t believe it, being in Japan during a rehearsal when they started playing in this room. They reminded me, in those days because they were at that peak, they were like the Stones. And Michael (Hutchence) was as good a frontman at his peak, as far as his presence, and he just sounded so good.”
By carving out a distinguished career in the music studio, the British music man has followed in the footsteps of his father, the legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin.
And like his late father, Giles has worked closely on numerous Fab Four projects.
It was INXS, however, that gave his confidence (and career) a nudge.
Today, he’s a man of many hats, serving as head of audio & sound with Universal Music Group, based at Abbey Road Studios; as executive music director for INXS and Petrol Records; and as Sonos Sound Experience lead.
His first job after leaving college was a PR gig.
“One of the bands we had was INXS,” he recounts. “INXS were incredibly kind to me because I was young, they did a concert in Japan and I was with them with my dad, music director of the concert. We got drunk together and had a good laugh. And then Andrew (Farriss) said, ‘you should come master our greatest hits album.’ They basically gave me my break. I was like, 24 or 25. So that’s why I’ll do anything for them now. I will always do stuff for INXS.”
Martin has already done a lot of stuff for INXS, including mixing the Live Baby Live recording, and remixing the iconic album Kick, to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2017.
The following year, in 2018, INXS tapped Martin to take creative duties as executive music director, a role that handed creative reins to the Englishman on all audio aspects of the new wave outfit’s projects, which include musicals and films and the reissue of studio albums, through Universal Music Group (UMG) in partnership with the late Chris Murphy’s Petrol Records.
Formed in Perth in 1977, INXS climbed the highest mountain of rock with six U.K. top 10 albums (including a No. 1 with Welcome To Wherever You Are from 1992) and five U.S. top 20 albums, a BRIT Award (in 1991 for best international group) and, in 2001, elevation into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
The band’s journey was tragically derailed by the 1997 death of lead singer Michael Hutchence, at the age of just 37, though the surviving members reunited on various occasions with replacement singers.
Career album sales top 60 million units worldwide.
So much of that enduring success, Martin admits, can be attributed to the guidance of Murphy and Samantha Evans.
“They were a seriously great rock band. And I think that they were so proud to be part of the Australian culture,” he told TMN at Sonos’ California headquarters.
“That’s the other thing. They were never not Australian.”
To date, just a small handful of Australian acts have been elevated into the Rock Hall.
The Bee Gees and AC/DC are among them, while Michael Balzary, the Melbourne-born Red Hot Chili Peppers bass player better known as Flea, has passed through the hallowed gates.
To qualify, an artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination, and, of course, be seen to have had influence and made significant contributions to the contemporary music scene.
INXS has yet to be nominated. A Change.org petition to change all that is just shy of its target of 15,000 signatures.
“They should get one,” insists Martin.