Question: The death of Michael Hutchence was preceded by several public incidents, one involving a taxi driver and another the Gallagher brothers Liam and Noel, that flagged a downward spiral in Michael’s personal life, can 4TR throw some light on these incidents?
Answer: Throughout the early 1990’s Michael Hutchence was an A-list celebrity, his liaisons with supermodel Helena Christensen, then Kylie Minogue and Paula Yates became tabloid fodder around the world. In 1992 he was involved in an incident in Copenhagen with Christensen when they clashed with a taxi driver and Hutchence struck his head on the pavement, his brain was bruised, there was nerve damage, he never sought medical attention, and lost most of his sense of smell and taste for the rest of his life.
Hutchence was never quite the same, he became depressed and even more strangely, given his pacifist nature, very aggressive towards his fellow bandmates, his relationship with Yates resulted in the breakup of her marriage to Bob Geldorf and the pair were unsympathetically portrayed in the UK tabloid media as a volatile and emotionally unstable couple.
Michael’s personal life continued to spiral down, the 1996 Brit Awards would be remembered as the night the Gallagher Brothers declared war on Michael Hutchence. They had already denigrated Australian music by publicly stating that no decent rock music ever came out of Australia because “there was too mooch fooking sun there”, claiming that decent rock music is only composed in inclement climates where alternative outdoor activities are limited, in the case of Oasis, presumably by England’s dreary climate. When Michael presented Oasis with their award, they sneered that “has-beens like him shouldn’t be presenting awards to gonna-be’s like them”, Liam followed up with some insulting remarks about Paula Yates back stage, Michael aimed a fire extinguisher at his head and a scuffle ensued.
Ultimately the Gallagher brothers, Noel, guitarist, songwriter and riff stealer, and Liam, lead singer, tabloid media-taunter, and not-so-deep thinker, would fall out disastrously, Oasis would implode, becoming has-beens themselves.
In 1996 Yates divorced Bob Geldorf, later in July she delivered her first child with Hutchence, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence, in September she was arrested after a stash of opium was found in her London home, by October 1996 custody of her three children with Geldorf had been awarded to Bob, she was distraught and had resumed a heroin habit she had kicked in her teenage years.
In November 1997 Michael would be found dead in Room 524 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Double Bay, Sydney, it marked a premature end to one of the great front men of Australian rock. Paula Yates would die of a heroin overdose in September 2000, and sadly Peaches, her second daughter with Bob Geldorf, would also die of a heroin overdose in 2014.