The Second Disc

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Reissue Theory: Max Q

with 10 comments

This is an unusual segue for today’s Reissue Theory, so please bear with me: Miss Disc recently lost a family member – one who knew well of my own passion for keeping catalogue music discussion alive. In an odd way, moments like these help put things in perspective; we all slump our shoulders in defeat when a catalogue title is delayed or mishandled, because it sucks. But at the end of the day, all of this – from the labels conceiving and releasing product to sites like The Second Disc or MusicTAP or Slicing Up Eyeballs discussing it – is about the love of music. These songs bind us, strengthen us and heal us in times of trouble. So we dedicate this post – which involves a musician also gone too soon – to anyone who needs strength through whatever life throws our way. May you find what you need – ideally, through a song or two.

Today’s Reissue Theory revisits one of the more interesting side projects in the long history of INXS. Following the success of the worldwide smash Kick (1987), the band took a short break to stretch their legs outside of the confines of the band. Michael Hutchence, the charismatic frontman, made one of the most high-profile but unusual steps in the business: the band known as Max Q. Hutchence could have collaborated with anyone, given his star status, but he made the more interesting decision to collaborate with friends in the Australian music scene. He primarily turned to Ollie Olsen, a prominent Australian musician best known for his work in Aussie alternative and post-punk bands like Whirlywirld, Orchestra of Skin and Bone and NO. Both were supporters of the “little band” scene in Melbourne (a wave of post-punk music that also, in a roundabout way, spun off bands like Dead Can Dance and Hunters & Collectors) and had collaborated on the soundtrack to the film Dogs in Space (1986), a fictional tribute to the scene.

The Max Q project – featuring Hutchence and Olsen backed by local post-punk rockers (including members of Orchestra of Skin and Bone and NO) – was a very different animal from INXS. It was rougher-edged, with surprisingly political lyrics and a bit of a dance-punk sound. (It was pretty well-mixed in its own right by up-and-coming house remixer Todd Terry.) The success of Kick ensured its release on a major label, but despite a positive response from critics, it was not a critical success. (Blame the mixed-up promotion for the record, hampered by a lack of live dates by the band.) While Hutchence and Olsen never collaborated on record after Max Q, fans have determined small sonic nods to the band in subsequent INXS records.

We have discussed the less-than-perfect state of INXS’ catalogue on The Second Disc in the past, but the Max Q LP has actually never been reissued past its original release. It would certainly be a heck of a neat thing for a smaller label to license, and such a release could include all the non-LP remixes commissioned for the two or three singles from the set. Take a look at what could be after the jump.

Max Q, Max Q (Atlantic (U.S.)/Mercury (U.K.)/CBS (AUS), 1989)

Disc 1: Original LP (Atlantic 82014-1 (U.S.)/Mercury 838 942-1 (U.K.)/CBS 4659062 (AUS), 1989)

  1. Sometimes
  2. Way of the World
  3. Ghost of the Year
  4. Everything
  5. Concrete
  6. Zero 2.0
  7. Soul Engine
  8. Buckethead
  9. Monday Night by Satellite
  10. Tight
  11. Ot-Ven-Rot

Disc 2: Singles and B-sides

  1. Way of the World (12″ Mix) – 4:37 (12″ A-side – Atlantic 0-86317, 1989)
  2. Zero 2.0 (Todd Terry Mix) – 4:20 (B-side to “Way of the World – Atlantic 7-88844, 1989)
  3. Sometimes (Straight Rock Mix) – 3:42 (single A-side – Mercury MXQ2, 1990)
  4. Love Man – 4:18 (B-side to “Sometimes” – Mercury MXQ2, 1990)
  5. Sometimes (Rock House Extended Mix) – 5:45 (U.S. 12″ promo A-side – Atlantic DMD 1434, 1989)
  6. Ghost of the Year (Todd Terry Mix) – 4:28 (U.S. CD single B-side – Atlantic 2-86317, 1989)
  7. Sometimes (Dub) – 4:00 (U.S. 12″ promo B-side – Atlantic DMD 1434, 1989)
  8. Sometimes (Land of Oz Mix) – 7:47 (12″ A-side – Mercury MXQ 212, 1990)
  9. Sometimes (Future Mix) – 5:04 (12″ A-side – Mercury MXQ 2212, 1990)

Written by Mike Duquette

September 8, 2010 at 14:13

Posted in Features, INXS, Reissues

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10 Responses

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  1. I didn’t think anybody else remembered this band! I fondly remember “Way Of The World” as a great should-have-been-a-hit, but I don’t think I listened to the rest of the album.


    September 8, 2010 at 14:42

    • That album has been a every week listen to of mine for nearly 21 years. As albums go, it’s pretty much perfection and criminal that so few have heard it.


      September 8, 2010 at 20:59

    • The song was number 1 in Australia for a couple of weeks…

      Dean Netov

      September 21, 2010 at 05:57

  2. Yes indeed a reissue of this with all the extras would be great! Some really nice songs on this one.


    September 8, 2010 at 19:01

  3. I emailed Ollie Olsen a couple of years ago and asked about a remastered deluxe version (21st anniversary?)of this. He said that with Michaels estate the way it was, it was unlikely ever to happen, although Ollie still owns the rights to the demos with Ollie singing. These would make great tracks for the second disc. It would give an indication of how things changed (or may didn’t change) when Michael got involved.
    Max Q still sits firmly in my all time top 5, 21 years later.


    September 9, 2010 at 04:49

  4. I loved “Way of the World” but I remember being a bit disappointed with the rest of the album (probably because it didn’t sound enough like “Kick”). I have a feeling I’d really like this album and appreciate it more now. In lieu of a reissue, I might have to head to the used CD store and find a copy…


    September 9, 2010 at 10:08

  5. […] Reissue Theory – INXS, Kick Reissue Theory – Max Q […]

  6. Love this album. All songs are great, with a more ‘edgy’ sound than INXS material.
    Best song of the album is Monday Night By Satellite. I used to listen to this song over and over when I was a teenager. Beautiful lyrics.


    December 21, 2011 at 18:17

  7. There is also an un-released track and the original demo versions that could make up a third disc. Fingers crossed that the re-issue happens at all. I was involved many years ago (1999) when V2 was trying to do a Max Q reissue with bonus disc to coincide with the release of Michael’s solo album. They gave up after months of frustration trying to get a license. The album on it’s own deserves a re-release, even a digital release so it’s not lost.

    Bruce Butler

    July 31, 2013 at 19:06

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