David Graham created INXSIVE, the INXS tribute band, back in 1998. He’d been in an INXS show in the early 90s, and after Micheal Hutchence’s death, he was approached several times to do tribute shows. “I wasn’t too sure about it due to the nature of what had happened,” says David. But after a bit of convincing he decided to get a band together.
David was an INXS fan and saw them live several times, and says it was a cathartic experience. “It was a really, quite a presence, and I feel really honoured to be able to emulate someone like that with that sort of presence and vocal ability,” he says.
INXS were aware of David’s first tribute band – in fact the band was booked to play at the tour party for the X album in Sydney. The gig was cancelled at the last minute but members of the cover band later met INXS backstage at a gig.
INXSIVE have had more gigs since the release of the documentary Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS. “It certainly has been an amazing increase for us in INXSIVE shows. And it’s really a diverse range of shows that we’re doing. Everything from outdoor to your dinner and show environment, to nightclubs. It just varies so much and it’s been invigorating for INXSIVE and I’m really enjoying it, I think all the boys are,” says David.
David was a natural choice for an INXS tribute due to his similar vocal to Michael Hutchence – but singing is just the beginning. Many things made Michael unique. “I think his charisma. Certainly his connection with the crowd, his ability to do that. And he’s a man of few words really, it was more his charisma that he seemed to ooze. And his ability to get a crowd in the palm of his hands. I think that as a front man for INXSIVE that’s a skill that I’ve been honing for many years,” says David.
“There’s elements of his performance that I think as the lead singer for an INXS tribute band you need to take note of. And that’s what the crowd wants to see, and definitely the vocal ability or the ability to reproduce his sound and style is probably foremost for me what they want to hear. But obviously it certainly complements that to have a certain style onstage that is similar to Michael’s,” says David.
David has dabbled in original music, but also finds being in a tribute band rewarding. “The excitement, the satisfaction, and having a crowd involved in the show. And we’re a pretty interactive sort of band – we do a lot of crowd interactive stuff and really try to get the crowd involved. They absolutely love it. I think that’s the difference between an average band. You’ve gotta be aware of the cheap imitations that are out there, and an actual pro show.”
The response to INXSIVE has been positive, with many fans saying that if they close their eyes, they feel like they’re listening to INXS. “I think initially a lot of emphasis was on the style and the sound, but now we find that the most important thing is, we’ve really honed our sound. First and foremost people want to be able to close their eyes and believe they’re listening to INXS. And this is the sort of feedback that we get on a regular basis through our Facebook and social media. And if we do a bit of a photo shoot after the show, a lot of people want to come up and get shots of the band and that’s the main feedback we get. If we close our eyes you guys sound just like INXS. And they love the fact that we’re very interactive and I suppose I remotely look like Michael and that plays a big part in the whole performance.”