Epic cues up INXS pact

Band inks deal just before launch of new reality skein

Epic Records has inked a worldwide recording agreement with INXS just days before the band begins its search for a lead singer on the CBS series “Rock Star: INXS.”

The band members — Andrew, Tim and Jon Farriss, Kirk Pengilly and Garry Beers — have been writing and recording over the past several months. The Australian group will spend the next 13 weeks assessing 15 candidates in everything from songwriting to live performance. They will make the final decision on who fronts the band.

Sony BMG’s Epic hopes to release the album late in the fall. Band is expected to embark on a worldwide arena tour after the series; it has not yet been set up.

INXS has not made an album since 1997’s “Elegantly Wasted” for Mercury. Prior to that, the band had racked up sales of 25 million albums worldwide and seven top 10 hits in the U.S. INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence was found hanged in Sydney in November 1997.

“Rock Star: INXS” will air Mondays (taped segments focusing on the performers’ relationships and activities), Tuesdays (performance competition) and Wednesdays (elimination).

The competing singers — men and women — hail mostly from the U.S.

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