Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

INXS 'shocked' by sacking claims

JD Fortune
Fortune is working on a solo album, Death of a Motivational Speaker

Rock band INXS say they are "shocked and despondent" after singer JD Fortune claimed they fired him without warning.

JD Fortune, who was picked to replace the late Michael Hutchence, said he was broke and living out of a car following his dismissal at Hong Kong airport.

"Not only are we shocked by the claims, even the place the supposed incident was to have taken place is a mystery," said a statement issued by the group.

However, they did not deny that Fortune was no longer in the Australian band.

Hutchence, the band's original singer, died in November 1997, on the eve of a tour.

His fellow members tried several replacements before picking Fortune, 35, in a 2005 reality TV show.

He recorded only one album, Switch, with the band - whose other five members have an average age of 50.


Last week, Fortune described how he parted company with INXS on Canadian TV show Entertainment Tonight.

"I was in an airport at Hong Kong and literally got a handshake," he said.

INXS scored hits like New Sensation and Suicide Blonde with Hutchence

"I found myself really alone because I had travelled with these guys for 23 months. I don't know where I am going, from sofa to sofa, from night to night. I am trying to get through my life."

The singer admitted his dismissal may have been linked to a cocaine habit he developed while working with the band.

Members of INXS have previously spoken about the dangers of mixing drink and drugs - something they feared could have contributed to Hutchence's untimely death.

The band's reaction to Fortune's comments came via their "creative director and global business strategist", CM Murphy.

He said the group were "horrified" by the interview, and disputed Fortune's portrayal of their behaviour.

"The band have always stated to me that Fortune's services could potentially be contracted again when INXS next tour.

"In fact, he was next on my list to call regarding a very big recording project I am putting together for INXS at present," Murphy added.

"I guess I have no reason to call him now."

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