Elegantly Wasted: Behind the scenes with Michael Hutchence

As INXS’s guitar technician, Mark Battle was closer than most to the rock legend – and doesn’t believe he took his own life. Here he recalls the hedonistic parties, volatile performances and the time he ‘met’ Paula Yates. By Paul Stenning

Monday 22 November 2021 00:42
<p>When Hutchence smiled on stage Battle soon realised it  meant he was about to go wild running around</p>

When Hutchence smiled on stage Battle soon realised it meant he was about to go wild running around

It is 24 years since Michael Hutchence passed away. There has never been anyone like him and the world was so much brighter with him in it. He affected so many people’s lives and every November he is missed more than ever. Michael and the guys in INXS affected me in a very positive way but it could have been so different. Their natural unassuming manner made me feel so welcome in their world.

When I joined up to work with the band as a guitar technician they were one of the most recognisable rock acts in the world, and they were my favourite band. A quirk of fate led to my being asked to fill in at the last possible minute. I had recently finished a tour with Jason Donovan but had nothing else in the pipeline.

One day in 1993 I received a surprise phone call from Richard “Dikka’”Jones, the production manager from the Jason tour. He told me INXS needed a new guitar tech desperately. The only thing was I had to be in Lyon in France the next morning to start straight away as the band were in the middle of a tour. There was no time to rehearse. Their longest serving crew member, Fergie, had suffered a heart attack in the back of the truck a few nights before.

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