A Peek Into How Hutch Composed a Song – Part 2 cont. by Ian Patterson
It’s a warm April day in Miami, Florida. There was a full moon in the sky just before the sun rose at 6:47 am over the rooftop of Gloria Estafan’s studios, Crescent Moon, near the Miami International Airport. By mid morning Audio Engineer Scott Perry and his Assistant, Sean Chambers are preparing for a session in the studio. The two have worked regularly in Crescent Moon in what is fast becoming the Latin Pop Capital and home to the famous Miami Sound. A number of International Guests will be dropping in to use the studio today. Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss, given a free day from the INXS “Dirty Honeymoon Tour” are preparing to lay down a demo track of a new song for their upcoming “Greatest Hits” album. Andrew has presented Michael some ideas with a catchy four bar synth loop. The groove uses guitar sounds and percussion to a sustained drone E. While still in it’s planning stage they have enough lyrics and melodic ideas for Michael and Andrew to lay down a developing demo track. It is a work in progress. In a couple of days they will be heading to shows in Venezuela, so time is of the essence. Even when it’s a day off from hard gigging, the writing has to continue. There is an album to get out.
On the other side of the country the Late President Nixon is being laid to rest, and on the other side of the world Nelson Mandela is casting the very first non-racial democratic vote in the history of Africa. In Beijing, students are gathering to commemorate the first strike for democratic freedom. It’s five years to the day when students took over Tiananmen Square. This day is 27th April, 1994 and it is destined to become a celebration around the world. It will be known as “Freedom Day”. The INXS song being forged in the Miami Studios that freedom afternoon is intriguingly called, “Deliver Me”.
Michael’s Official Memorial Site, in conjunction with INXS.com have for the first time anywhere in the world been able to release the demo track of “Deliver Me” that was laid down on that warm April day. It was to become the first of three studio recordings of the song. This first unreleased version was produced by INXS, the second by George Martin’s son, Giles Martin (see Andrew’s Interview) and the final version (audio included below) was produced by INXS and Chris Thomas in London, later that year.
With the production crew in place, and Michael circling the large studio microphone, the tape is rolled. Andy is riding high on some great concert performances and the creative juices are really flowing. He is able to use some new patches that have come out of his constant searching through synth and sampler banks for fresh innovative sounds. So take a listen to the raw version of “Deliver Me”, and read on.
Deliver me – Raw and uncut version
Andrew sets up the groove, and in the studio booth, smiling heads nod approvingly in time with the back beat. The track begins with a short drum intro, then the four bar loop is repeated before Michael bursts in with his new lyrics, “Deep down is a mystery, And all I wanna know is why”. His voice is sounding raspy from constant touring, yet this is the seasoned voice that only comes from continual gusto rock performances. It has reminiscent Jaggeresque tonal qualities as Michael focuses his entire energy into the performance.
The lyrics are passionate, sensual, raw and the vocal fervor builds over the almost hypnotic loop. It’s a catchy, octave-jump riff with a pleasant upward harmony slide on guitar, punctuated with tom tom fills over a straight 8 beat. A well-placed slide down on bass guitar and more tom tom fills add variety and contrast as the dance groove builds. Some harmonic padding is added on the second verse with a sustained string pad on the third as Michael delivers “I smell you on my finger tips, I hear your whispering.” It’s great to hear his raw voice with little studio coloration. But some lyrics won’t make it to the final version and so we hear for the first and last time, “You see me sweatin’ like a pig and my eyes are lookin’ strange”. You have to smile at Hutch’s lyrics. Did he forget this line in the final version or did he just decide, “Nah!”?
His vocal delivery is intentionally rhythmical, helping to create the captivating groove. He breaks for four bars for what will later be added as an embellished instrumental interlude and when he reenters with the chorus, the Engineers dub his voice with deep tape echo… “Deliver me, deliver me…” The song is now needing to reach a climatic point and Michael works hard to bring it to a peak.
But with such an economy of harmonic background, simply put… one chord, (quite acceptable actually in a song that is working on groove) Michael finds it hard to lift it into a contrasting sound that will create an appealing hook. Andrew will work on it; he tells Michael. It just needs a fresh chord to take it to a new level in the chorus. Of course if this was a 70’s arena band they would just blow away the ending with a way out guitar solo that would allow the singer to insignificantly exit stage left. But INXS is about an economy of great guitar, sax and synth sounds. It’s about great drum and bass grooves and predominantly Michael’s unique vocal prowess.
Now listen to the song take on a new dimension in the final version as the whole band kick in… and remember this song gave birth on Freedom Day. “Deliver Me” is a great song and it has traveled very well. There is now more urgency in the rhythm which is embellished with catchy percussive synth sounds. Michael is more laid back on this final version and the pleasant raspy timbre of “I’m in a crowded room” tells us that the Rock Vocal Master is at work. And that pleasant guitar slide that appeared every four bars in the Miami session is cleverly delayed until it enters with rich electronic treatment to add to the excitement of Michael’s voice in the third verse… “I smell you on my fingertips”.
When the chorus finally arrives Andrew delivers the new killer chord to create the necessary harmonic variety. Michael responds with the right melodic shift and the song “Deliver Me” is given wings. The song rides out with the partly repeated choruses “Give me, give me, give me, give me more of the same”. Listen in the closing moments as female soul voices help to carry Michael’s now freer-spirited style to its final climax.
“Deliver Me” is delivered and we don’t need any other reasons to understand the addictive exuberance Michael and Andrew experienced together as collaborative composers.