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 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 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.
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 a 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 was actively involved with the “Eye Foundation” in Australia as their Key Ambassador for 12 years, a role he didn’t take lightly 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” for 3 years and also the “Prostate Cancer Foundation.”
Just recently, Kirk has become the Key Ambassador for “Glaucoma Australia.”
In 2021 Kirk embarked on a new project, wine-making, and launched his label KPWine with the first vintage of Rosé - a Grenache / Mataro made by up and coming McLaren Vale wine maker, Rob Mack (Aphelion Wines).
Kirk is the proud Dad of a daughter April, born in 1988 to his then (defacto) wife, Karen Hutchinson. April has pursued a successful Acting Career and is currently a cast-member of “Neighbours.”
He currently resides in his Northern Beaches home in Sydney with his wife, 7 X world surfing champion, Layne Beachley AO. Kirk and Layne got married in October 2010.
In 2009, Kirk appeared in the hit TV show, “Celebrity Masterchef” and was runner up in the popular show’s 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 INXSKirk Pengilly and INXS, the thriving Aussie pub scene of the early '80s was the perfect starting ground for international success... but there were a few things the band weren't ready for when they made it big. In conversation with Sara James at AIME 2017.
INXS's Kirk Pengilly on the tragic death of Michael HutchenceINXS saxophonist, guitarist and backing vocalist speaks with Sara James about learning of the death of frontman and friend, Michael Hutchence. 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.
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.