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Saturday, September 30, 2017

30 on the 30th: Kick and "Need You Tonight/Mediate"

Six months now of 30-year-old albums that, I think at least, are still worth listening to--and that I still do: U2's The Joshua Tree; Prince's Sign o' the Times; Suzanne Vega's Solitude Standing; Level 42's Running in the Family; The Grateful Dead's In The Dark; Def Leppard's Hysteria. And for September? Another great rocker that stands the test of time: INXS's Kick.

The half-dozen people or so who still read this blog probably already know the story, but just in case, here it is one more time. In the fall of 1987 I was a freshman at BYU, and one of the many things I found I loved about college life (yes, even in Provo, UT), was the music. Specifically I loved college radio stations, and even more specifically the groups of people who listened to them, and who thus were able, through their enthusiasm, to inculcate into newbies like myself the ways of a wider world of music. I've detailed this at greater length elsewhere, but suffice to say, the only problem with my musical horizons opening was that, having grown up with a passion for pop music but without any real knowledge of where its various 1980s currents--whether New Wave or synthpop or post-punk--began or ended, lots of this new stuff I was hearing at dances and from roommates, even the stuff that was cracking Top 40 radio (as Kick definitely did!), kind of left me confused. Who played that? They're from where? I was drinking from a fire hose, and there was no internet in those days to help me straighten out the streams. So, to cut to the chase: I knew about this terrific Australian band called "In Excess," and I also knew about--because I'd seen their albums on sale at the BYU Bookstore--another Australian band, that was apparently doing really well, called "Inks," which the weirdly spelled "I-N-X-S." Cool, huh?

I'm pretty sure it wasn't until months after Kick was released, maybe not even until the summer of 1988, when someone finally took pity on me and explained my mistake.

Oh well. It was, and is, an awesome album, one that induces in me no embarrassing flashbacks whatsoever besides this one, and considering that most of my freshman year was just one long embarrassment, that's saying something. Enjoy this live performance; these guys were certainly something, back in the day.


Abe Fox said...

I was introduced to INXS at Horizon JHS! And I've LOVED them ever since!!

Matt said...

You can really tell the 80s'-ness of the album from the skateboard on the cover.

I may have made a similar mistake as to the name of the group, though my memory is a bit vague on the subject.

But, the real thing I wanted to note is that on Australia TV now, there is a huge push about a new documentary about Michael Hutchence - "The Last Rock Star". That's obviously going more than a bit over-board for the local boy, but still somewhat interesting in its own way. I know about it from one of the two times when I watch TV - when I'm in a hotel. (The other being when I'm at the gym.) It was getting lots of hype. But, I'd be shocked if it got any attention in the US at all, where nowadays, most people would, I think, just say, "who?"

Russell Arben Fox said...

Matt, you made go and look up the trailer. It made me remember (kind of how I am reminded every time one of my Canadian friends starts talking about some local culture phenomenon that the U.S. managed to miss entirely) just how huge the American population is, and heavy our cultural punch is, such that the death and legacy of someone like Michael Hutchence is just going to be, well, small by comparison. It's not like America can't go overboard--we can and do all the time--but the people we collectively go overboard about generally have to be really big. Watching the Australian viewing public (or at least the projected Australian viewing public of whomever made this documentary) pant over the "major discovery" of the "last written words" of...the lead singer of INXS just seems weird. It'd be like a similar documentary, similarly over the top, being made about Tom Petty. I mean, yeah, sure, he was great, talented, influential and all that...but important? Just feels wrong. But from the point of view Australia (or some hypothetical Australian public), why not? He was Their Big Thing. I suppose Sweden is still allowed to treat ABBA like royalty, right?

Matt said...

I think you're just right on that, Russell. The first time or two I saw the add (it was playing _a lot_) I didnt know who it was about. It was only the 3rd time or so that I realized who it was about. But, as you say, why not for here. (Now, if it were a Right Said Fred documentary...) (I'll admit that I actually sort of like a few Right Said Fred Songs, even though they can't really be called good.)

I suspect you're probably right on ABBA, too.

Matt said...

Well, it turns out that Right Said Fred _isn't_ Australian. They clearly should be, though. Shows what I know.