THE newly unveiled singer of INXS says he could never hope to fill the gap left by the late, great Michael Hutchence.
Ciaran Gribbin was just a child when INXS hit their stride. He listened to the band’s records through his teenage years and was shocked by the death of Hutchence in 1997.
“I don’t think there’s a person on the planet who could fill the shoes of Michael Hutchence,” Gribbin said.
“He was the last great rock star of the twentieth century. He looked amazing, had an unbelievable voice and was an amazing songwriter – there’s very few people who tick all those boxes.”
Now 35, Gribbin met INXS guitarist Andrew Farriss at a Sydney party two years ago and impressed him by playing an acoustic version of Mystify.
The pair stayed in touch and hatched plans to write songs together, the first of which, Tiny Summer, has been posted online in demo form.
On Tuesday, Gribbin followed Jimmy Barnes, Jon Stevens, Terence Trent D’Arby and reality TV contestant JD Fortune, who revealed he was leaving INXS last week, as the band’s replacement frontman.
No stranger to the music business, Gribbin has played in the band Leya and under the solo moniker Joe Echo. He was nominated for a Grammy for his co-writing credit on the Madonna song Celebration and sang backing vocals on the Snow Patrol album Open Eyes.
He’ll dive straight into INXS band life, hitting the road for a six-date tour of South America from 3 November before returning to work on new material.
“I want to help take the band forward in making new music and pay respect to that great legacy that was left by Michael,” Gribbin said.
“It’s an unbelievable honour and I hope the fans will live with me because it will take time.”
Farriss described the Belfast-born singer as a rare talent who has fitted seamlessly into the band, something INXS fans seem to agree on.
Many wrongly predicted the mystery voice on Tiny Summer was that of another Irishman, U2’s Bono, before Gribbin was officially unveiled.
“He’s an incredibly talented songwriter and extraordinary singer and I feel extraordinarily lucky to be working with someone of his calibre,” Farriss said.