J.D. Fortune back to fronting INXS
The Canadian Press
Canadian singer J.D. Fortune says that he’s back on his feet and is reuniting with INXS for an upcoming Australian tour.
Fortune shot to stardom when he won the television reality contest Rock Star: INXS in 2005 and became the new frontman for the band. Later that year, he sang on the group’s record, Switch, which reached No. 1 on the Canadian charts.
But after nearly two years of touring behind the record, Fortune claimed the band dumped him at a Hong Kong airport, leaving the Mississauga, Ont., native to live out of a truck.
While it seemed then that Fortune was on the outs with INXS, he’s back in the fold now and says he’s ready to move forward, calling the earlier conflict “ancient history.”
“There was a lot of miscommunication,” Fortune said on the line from Los Angeles, with INXS drummer Jon Farriss also on the call.
“Honestly, one side was being told one thing, I was being told another. And at one point, we were literally being told not to talk to each other.”
A little over a year ago, Fortune said, the band got together in Los Angeles and talked everything out.
“Two months later, I was back in Australia and we were rehearsing for the Olympic show,” Fortune said, referring to a gig at a Vancouver Games medal ceremony this past winter.
“It’s been great playing with these incredible musicians and just having that calibre of musicianship and artistic vision back in my life. And I think that in a nutshell, it’s just the natural progression of things when you come together and say: ‘We’re going to play as a band.’
“And that’s what we’ve been doing.”
Added Farriss then: “Hear, hear.”
On Nov. 30, the band will release Original Sin, a collection of reworked versions of classic INXS songs featuring vocal turns from a variety of guests, including Ben Harper, Rob Thomas and Fortune, who reimagines the 1991 single “The Stairs.”
An eight-date tour of Australia is scheduled to follow in early 2011, which will feature Fortune as the band’s frontman.
“Wild horses couldn’t keep me away, man,” he said. “Any time I get a chance to play with these guys is just, I’m front and centre. The fact that we get to play in their home country is quite an honour.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
Obviously, they’ve come along way from the strife and friction that seemed to characterize the splintering relationship within the band as recently as early 2009.
Then, Fortune and the rest of the group shifted blame back and forth in the press.
Fortune claimed the band had ditched him unceremoniously after a 23-month tour, while representatives from the band denied that story, with the group’s creative director Chris Murphy saying he had always planned to call Fortune for the next tour, but had “no reason to call him now.”
Fortune, who spent much of his childhood in New Glasgow, N.S., declined to elaborate on the forces that worked to maintain that schism within the group.
But Farriss attributed most of the conflict to the exhaustion that often accompanies such an extensive tour.
“That was a really gruelling tour,” he said. “Look, it was an amazing experience, but ... that tour reminds me of a really big party where ... no one slept for a few days,” he said.
“It reminds me of the scene out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, where all the guys in the white coats are walking around, bumping into each other. ... It was quite a bit like that. We were all tired, we all wanted to go home.
“We sort of fell victim I think to letting other people intervene when really everything was fine, and everyone just needed a little bit of R&R.”
Fortune made headlines when he originally auditioned for Rock Star — a reality show oriented toward helping INXS find a replacement for charismatic former frontman Michael Hutchence, who died in 1997 — saying that he had recently been sleeping in his car and panhandling to raise cash to feed his dog.
After the supposed ouster from INXS, he said in television interviews that he was again living in his truck and he conceded that he had overindulged in cocaine while on tour.
Now, Fortune is living in a condo in L.A. and says he’s doing much better.
“Not only am I back on my feet, but I got my wings underneath me, and that’s INXS,” he said. “There’s an old saying, my grandfather used to say: ‘You can’t keep a true Canadian down.’
“And here we are.”