IN A PERFECT WORLD—one where angry ghosts stalk the Earth and reap wild revenge on the karmically impure, INXS would be DOOMED. In this world I'm speaking of, long-dead INXS singer Michael Hutchence would haunt his band-mates and drive the bastards mad, shoving 'em off craggy, rainy cliffs or drive them to the bottle and their eventual ends—bloated, booze-soaked, and guilt-scarred.

In 1997, after Hutchence offed himself in an apparent autoerotic asphyxiation (meaning: he hung himself whilst whacking off), I figured his band would—gracefully, respectfully—step down. Which was okay; their peak had peaked, their good years were behind them, and the only thing that lay ahead was irrelevancy, a shat-upon legacy, and maybe—maybe—an 11th-hour comeback.

INXS' Kick (1987) was the first record I remember asking my parents for. (It arrived in my Easter basket next to a shiny red apple and a grinning, yellow-eyed chocolate rabbit.) It was a damn good album with decent lyrics, catchiness zooming in from six million different angles, and more hot-shit singles than most honest records deserve. ("New Sensation," "Devil Inside," "Never Tear Us Apart," and "Need You Tonight" still get radio play.) Later I got into Welcome to Wherever You Are (1992), which was mostly crap, but the rest was good, fine pop music.

Sure, Hutchence's death was weird, but I'll never condemn anybody for getting their joy and jollies where they can. And yeah, the band put out some lousy albums; still—far as I was concerned—all was solid with their legacy. But then the dumb fucking cunts go and keep the band going with new singers, before fucking everything up once and for all by "searching" for a new frontman via Mark Burnett's fuckwitted reality series, Rock Star: INXS. In the end of it all, the soulless pricks hired J.D. Fortune, a former Elvis impersonator to front the band. The sad irony is so thick I can barely breathe.