Max q
In 1989 Michael teamed with Melbourne musician Ollie Olsen to record ‘Max Q'. For the first time Michael explored life in and out of the studio without INXS. It was a critically acclaimed album and a personal success for Michael.
1989 would prove itself a very different year for Michael Hutchence, musically. He unzipped his rock star costume and went off and broadened his musical abilities to gain some credibility for himself. For a start he cut his hair. It came as a shock to many, used to seeing Hutchence use his hair like a cowboy throws a lasso, falling across his eyes, flipping back, drawing people of both sexes
Hutchence's haircut took place in a studio while he was making a record - not with INXS though, but with the experimental band Max Q . After more than a year touring the world in 1987-88, INXS were tired. They had been recording and performing over ten years, so they decided to cease being INXS for twelve months. For Michael it was a chance to function as an individual for the first time since his school days. He made use of every opportunity that came his way, whether it be associating with veteran actor John Hurt or mixer Todd Terry. Michael concentrated on educating himself about music, singing and producing.

Dressed in white jeans and a T-shirt, Hutchence is very professional. Max Q was not a solo project but a band. "In a funny way, Max Q has been together for about fifteen years and we just got this really good new singer and songwriter", Olsen explains. Surrounded by the eccentric members of Max Q , drummer John Murphy, keyboardist Gus Till and Ian "Ollie" Olsen, Hutchence was an essential part of the band and it's existence at the time.
Hutchence and Ollie Olsen first met in the movie Dogs in Space produced by Richard Lowenstein in 1986. Olsen was the musical director. Their friendship was grounded when Michael sang Rooms For the Memory , a song Olsen had written twelve years before. The song reached the top ten in Australia.
Max Q was a project named after Olsen's dog, a deaf insane Queensland blue heeler. The idea was Michael's, still energized from the INXS world tour and then on the ceremony circuit. In a way they were using each other. Michael liked doing pretty adventurous things and Ollie liked to get Michael to sing the music that is too commercial for his own tastes ;When Hutchence and Olsen were writing the album, a lot of the lyrics and music was in conditioning with the state of the American culture at the time. Hutchence had a fascination with the US.
At the time of the final overdubs for the album, Michael was locked up in a Rhinoceros Studio and maintaining that if he didn't do this album there wouldn't be another INXS album. "What's the point in being successful when you can't do what you want," he said. He was on a learning curve as a musician.
Despite the potential the album showed and the fact that it far surpassed anyone's expectations, Max Q was crushed under the weight of record company indifference. It gave Michael Hutchence a chance to learn and grow as a musician and Olsen the chance to come up from the underground and spread his wings. Michael Hutchence by the end of 1989 was a musician. A title he had worked hard for with years of work with INXS and the experimentation with Max Q .