Kirk Pengilly is one of the founding members of INXS, which started back in 1977, and they have sold in excess of 50 million records worldwide. INXS have collected countless awards and trophies for their work from all over the globe, including 3 Grammy nominations, and have been inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (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 contributed to a great deal of the music that INXS released. Kirk has also worked on many successful side projects during his action-packed musical career, including producing, writing and performing with other artists.
Kirk resides in the Northern Beaches of 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; inspiring and entertaining, and his story has valuable lessons for all.
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 was actively involved with the Eye Foundation in Australia as their Key Ambassador for 12 years, a role close to his heart after nearly losing his sight to Glaucoma in the mid 80’s. More recently, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in early 2015, he became a Key Ambassador for Movember and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Kirk is also the Key Ambassador for Glaucoma Australia.
TV: 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 worldwide 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.
Albums: 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.
Tours: 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.
TV: 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.
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 Pengilly: Breaking into the big time with INXS
INXS's Kirk Pengilly on the tragic death of Michael Hutchence
Kirk’s performance was absolutely brilliant. The Q & A format was something different to the normal “keynote presentation style”. Kirk was very easy going, great to chat with and we had to c ... keep readingonstantly pinch ourselves that we had a rock star amongst our midst! Kirk met our brief brilliantly - referenced our conference theme of “lead, embrace, inspire”, spoke eloquently and allowed the cheekiness of his personality to shine through. One of his great takeaway messages was “weed your garden of negativity”. He even took questions from the audience. His bonus acoustic guitar & singing performance of “never tear us apart” was simply ahhhmazing! IOOF Holdings Ltd.