Last Rockstar gives glimpse into Michael Hutchence’s private world 20 years after his death

Michael Hutchence and Tiger Lily as seen in The Last Rockstar.

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On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the death of rock star Michael Hutchence, the late INXS frontman remains a complicated and contradictory character for those who knew him best.

While Hutchence often referred to his band mates as his “brothers”, he had been trying to get out of the band for years, his sister Tina Hutchence said.

Promo: Michael Hutchence: The Last Rockstar

A documentary examining the life of rock icon Michael Hutchence. Vision courtesy Seven

Hutchence met his untimely end in a Double Bay hotel suite on November 20, 1997.

Speaking to The Australian Women’s Weekly, Tina Hutchence makes it clear that feelings between her and the remaining INXS band members remain somewhat fraught.

Recounting an episode in 2005 when she went to a gig INXS were playing in Los Angeles, she reveals how she had tried to arrange for tickets so she could take her children to see them perform. However, her overtures were in vain.

“I tried to call someone to get tickets, couldn’t [get them], so thought forget it, I’ll go with my kids and just show up.

“The resident manager saw me and did a double take. He came over and said, ‘Tina, why didn’t you tell me you were coming?’

“I said, ‘You’re a difficult man to get hold of.’

“After the show, I stayed out there, and a couple of old fans recognised me, then we moved into another room. I stood there with my children and the band walked in one by one.

“Andrew [Farriss], who has always been very sensitive, he just hugged me very tightly and began to weep.

“I said, ‘It’s OK.’

“He said, ‘It’s just, this is the closest I’ve been to Michael since he died.’ “

On Monday, Channel Seven airs the first episode of its two-part special on Hutchence, The Last Rockstar, produced by news veteran Mark Llewellyn, which provides a glimpse into the star’s private world, with unprecedented access to his collection of home movies, diaries and photo albums.

“We sourced material from four continents and five countries,” Llewellyn told PS. 

“It’s been over a year in the making and we have some great talent on the show, from Bono and Simon Le Bon to Tina Hutchence … they co-operated, so did the trustee of Michael’s estate, Colin Diamond … they wanted us to focus on Michael’s life, to celebrate what he achieved.”

But there are noticeable absences from the television special, including Hutchence’s former lover Kylie Minogue, who “politely declined” to participate, his fellow band members, who are only seen in archival interviews.

Also absent is Bob Geldoff, the former partner of Paula Yates, who was the mother of Hutchence’s only child, Tiger Lily. 

Geldoff was left to raise Tiger Lily, who was still a baby when she lost both her parents. She is now 21 and on the verge of her own career.

“We approached Sir Bob and through him Tiger Lily. She very much considers Bob to be her father … at this stage they did not want to participate,” Lewellyn said, suggesting he hoped the world might get to hear from Tiger Lily in the not too distant future.

Indeed Tiger Lily, who splits her time between her homes in London and New York, has managed to cultivate an air of mystery, from posing naked in a series of erotic photographs by London photographer Kate Bellm​ earlier this year to pursuing a career in the arts, having studied at a prestigious New York acting school for the past three years.

Hutchence was found hanged in his hotel room just hours after arguing with Geldof on the phone. Tiger was 16 months old.

Lewellyn said songwriting notes were found in the suite, which will be shown for the first time on Monday night, revealing Hutchence was drawing on his emotional turmoil for his music, and was planning new material right up until his death.

INXS guitarist Tim Farriss once said of Hutchence’s tumultuous relationship with Geldof: “Michael hated Bob so much. To think that [Geldoff] would end up as the sole parent of Tiger Lily would have been the most horrific thing he could have imagined.”

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