Kirk Pengilly is one of the founding members of INXS, which started back in 1977 and they have sold in excess of 35 million records worldwide. INXS have collected countless awards and trophies for their work from all over the globe, including 3 American Grammy nominations and recently INXS were inducted into the Australian ARIA “Hall of Fame.” Kirk, undoubtedly the most recognizable member, has a definitive place in INXS, being the versatile ‘utility man’. As principle backing vocalist, saxophonist and guitarist, he contributes to a great deal of the music that INXS has released. Kirk has also worked on many successful side projects during his action packed musical career, including producing, writing and performing with other artists. After the death of their lead singer, Michael Hutchence in 1997, the band were compelled to continue and after working with singers like Terence Trent Darby and Jon Stevens, they embarked on a world wide search for a new singer through “reality television.” The show, “Rockstar INXS,” which was spawned from an idea of Kirk’s, rated through the roof here in Australia, the U.S., Canada, Asia and more. With their charismatic new singer, J.D. Fortune, they recorded the album “Switch” in under 5 weeks and they were once again thrilling audiences around the globe with their electrifying live shows.
With the release of the album “Original Sin” in 2010 they re-imagined some of their classic hits with completely new arrangements and a different singer on each track. The album received critical acclaim and “turned heads” with its fresh approach and star studded list of International vocalists including Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20), Pat Monahan (Train), Ben Harper, Nikka Costa, Mylene Farmer (France), Deborah de Coral (Argentina) and of course JD Fortune to name a few. INXS spent most of 2011 touring the album across the planet.
In 2012, INXS parted ways with J D Fortune and started working with Irishman, Ciaran Gribbin. With Ciaran they toured Australia extensively and did shows in Europe throughout that year. INXS are now on an extended break.
2013 saw the 2 Part TV biopic made on the Band’s career up until the tragic death of their original Band mate, Michael Hutchence which aired in Australia early 2014. It broke “free to air” ratings records and has created a massive resurgence of interest in INXS and their music.
Kirk has quietly been involved in a number of charity’s over the years – Greenpeace, the Starlight Foundation, Mirabel, World Vision and Amnesty International to name a few. He has been actively involved with the Eye Foundation in Australia as their key ambassador for 9 years, a role he doesn’t take lightly after nearly losing his sight to Glaucoma in the mid 80’s. More recently, he has become a key ambassador for Movemeber and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
In 2009, Kirk appeared in the hit TV show, “Celebrity Masterchef” and was runner up in the popular shows finale. Kirk has always enjoyed cooking and even did a “backyard Chinese Cooking Course” when he was 18. His parents opened a restaurant in their Cottage Point house when he was a teenager, so perhaps it “runs in the family…”
Kirk now resides in his Northern Beaches home in Sydney with his wife, seven times world surfing champion, Layne Beachley. Kirk and Layne were married in October 2010.
Kirk is a fascinating corporate presenter, at once inspiring and entertaining. His story has valuable lessons for us all.