Remember that pair of columns I wrote about the Omaha INXS try-outs back in February 2005? You can still read them online here. Just scroll down to the Feb. 10 and Feb. 17, 2005, entries (Columns 12 and 13).
The column started like this:
So you wanna be a rock star, huh?
Well, Friday just might be your lucky day. Mark Burnett Productions, the fine folks who brought us such intelligent, thoughtful television programs as Survivor, The Bachelor and The Apprentice, will be at Mick’s in Benson all day looking for an “INXS Rock Star.” The talent search/reality TV series is an effort to help ’80s rock band INXS find a replacement for deceased frontman Michael Hutchence, who hanged himself in 1997.
The casting director, Michelle McNulty, had told me they were looking for that person who has “it.”
“‘It’ is that charismatic quality that comes from someone who can perform in front of 50,000 people. It could be a man or a woman.”
Among those who made it to the second round were Sarah Benck, Korey Anderson, Matt Whipkey and Lovetap’s Galen Kieth. None of them made it on television, which is lucky for them.
Reuters reported in this story that the winner, Canadian rocker J.D. Fortune, was unceremoniously fired by the band with a handshake in a Hong Kong airport.
“I found myself really alone because I had travelled with these guys for 23 months,” Fortune told Entertainment Tonight Canada without saying exactly when he was sacked. He acknowledged that he had been taking drugs including cocaine while with the band but said he had been drug free for two years.
Since then, Fortune’s fortune has continued to turn rather bad, as he says he’s now back to living in his car. Ah, Matt, that could have been you.
* * *
Speaking of old stories, last fall I was asked by Midwest Airlines to write a feature about Omaha for their airline magazine, MyMidwest. They wanted your typical “what to do on a long weekend in Omaha” sort of story. The piece ran in the Jan/Feb issue, which presumably is in airplanes now. Of course, like all magazine articles, it was partially rewritten (they changed my lead, which referenced hilly Omaha streets and Les Nessman, and my ending. Oh well, at least the check cleared.). I’ve never seen an actual print copy of the story (I don’t fly Midwest much these days, though I do prefer it over any other airline if only for its first-class leather seating and chocolate chip cookies). I discovered this PDF version of the story online, and include it for your amusement, since you already know all of this stuff. I tried to highlight Benson’s music scene, and some of it actually made the cut. At the time I wrote this, Mick’s was of course still in business. Warning, this PDF is a 2 meg file.
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