The Mission Celebrate Their Quarter Century: Wayne Hussey Interviewed

On the eve of a UK tour Wayne Hussey talks to Ben Graham about his career with The Mission, Sisters of Mercy and Dead or Alive

When The Mission first shot to the top of the UK indie charts 25 years ago, they were a welcome and necessary blast of license and libido, energy and entertainment. In a scene dominated by C86 tweeness and past-its-best post-punk Puritanism, still ruled over by The Smiths and Morrissey’s “No sex please, we’re British” fastidiousness, we needed a band of our own who partied like it was 1969, and who celebrated the sex, drugs and rock & roll ethos that the indie elite wrinkled its collective noses at in horror and disgust. Frequently preposterous, vulgar and over the top, The Mission undeniably made the late eighties a more colourful time; they were our Stones, our Faces, our Led Zeppelin. And if their tours were notorious for their chemical, sexual and riotous excesses, then they differed from the likes of Guns n’Roses’ misogynistic trash by daring to be romantic, melodic, androgynous even. Frontman Wayne Hussey was openly bisexual, years before Brett Anderson made similar claims. Their live shows were joyous, communal celebrations, with their legions of loyal, travelling fans, including the infamous Eskimos, forming teetering human pyramids as a speed-driven Mission blitzed through one roof-raising anthem after another onstage.

At their peak, The Mission were the best live band on the planet, and at their heart was a tangible camaraderie that united not just the four main players- singer/ guitarist Hussey, bassist Craig Adams, lead guitarist Simon Hinkler and drummer Mick Brown- but extended out to their crew and fans, all part of one insane, dysfunctional but intensely loyal family.

As a guitarist, Hussey was already a veteran of the northern post-punk circuit by the time he started The Mission, his CV including The Walkie-Talkies, Hambi and the Dance, Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls and Dead or Alive, back when they were a genuinely innovative and experimental proposition. It was their gradual shift towards mainstream (and ultimately guitar-free) hi-NRG pop that caused him to depart on the eve of their first chart hit, a cover of KC and the Sunshine Band’s ‘That’s the Way (I Like It)’.

Hussey then joined The Sisters of Mercy, co-writing their debut album, First and Last and Always. Arguably the band’s masterpiece, its unique fusion of Byrdsian folk-rock, Bowie-esque histrionics and Suicide electro-grind has often been imitated, but no-one else has come close to its knowing, brooding majesty. The inevitable split saw Hussey and Sisters bassist Adams forming a new group they cheekily named The Sisterhood, before Sisters frontman Andrew Eldritch threatened legal action and rush-released his own album under the Sisterhood banner, prompting a swift name change (via one radio session as The Hussey-Adams Band) to The Mission.

With Red Lorry Yellow Lorry drummer Mick Brown and former Artery and Pulp guitarist Simon Hinkler on board, The Mission’s debut single, ‘Serpent’s Kiss’ was one of the finest guitar songs of the mid-eighties, its sparkling, spiralling riffs worthy of Hussey’s hero Tom Verlaine (who Hussey recently met at a show in Brazil, admitting to being reduced to a stuttering, blushing fanboy in Verlaine’s presence). The song’s no-budget, knockabout video meanwhile, immediately scotched any notion that the band might be taking themselves seriously, as it took up residency on ITV’s newly-launched Chart Show. Signing to a major label for their debut album, God’s Own Medicine, The Mission swiftly became one of the most successful alternative bands of the day, at this point owing as much to the Bunnymen, Banshees and U2 as the early 70s behemoths they were frequently compared to.

The mandolin-drenched hard rock of their second album, 1988’s Children, was more consciously in thrall to Led Zeppelin, produced by that band’s John Paul Jones and spawning The Mission’s biggest hit, the Kashmir-like ‘Tower of Strength’. But heavier numbers like ‘Hymn (for America)’ showed the influence of more contemporary outfits like Metallica, and the subsequent world tour saw them elevated to arena level. Alas, like so many bands of their era, The Mission came adrift on the choppy seas of the early 1990s, with Hinkler walking out at the beginning of a major American tour, and although the cocaine-fuelled Carved in Sand (1990) was their most commercially successful album to date, the band was falling apart as the musical climate shifted away from them. 1992’s Masque, originally intended as a Hussey solo album, ended up a confused mixture of baggy, raggle-taggle folk, pop and AOR, and was rejected by the band’s dwindling fanbase as the tidal wave of grunge swept all before it.

With Adams also given the boot, Hussey and Brown debuted a new Mission line-up in 1993, featuring Mark Thwaite on guitar and All About Eve’s Andy Cousin on bass, but it was another two years before they released a new studio album, 1995’s Neverland, and by then their momentum was lost. Three more albums followed: Blue (1996), Aura (2001) and God is a Bullet (2007), as The Mission toured, broke up, reformed and toured again in various configurations, before finally calling it a day with a run of farewell shows at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 2008.

But now – as Smash Hits would’ve said – they’re back! October 2011 sees The Mission embarking on a 25th Anniversary European tour, reuniting three-quarters of the original line-up- Hussey, Adams and Hinkler- for the first time in over twenty years, and including a sold out show at Brixton Academy, alongside further UK dates in Bristol and Leeds. Indeed, Wayne Hussey is suddenly busier than he has been in years; releasing an album of duets with All About Eve’s Julianne Regan, entitled Curios, and bizarrely duetting with camp-operatic pop star Rhydian on the latter’s unlikely cover of ‘Tower of Strength’. Self-effacing, friendly and disarmingly honest, the 53-year-old guitarist and singer took time out to speak to the Quietus from his home in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and was happy to look back over the length and breadth of his long career.

So, the reunion; getting back together with Craig and Simon… have you been rehearsing?

Wayne Hussey: No, not yet! We have about two weeks, I think, before the first show. I mean, they’ve all been doing a little bit of rehearsing at home, and reacquainting themselves with the songs, whilst I’ve been wrapped up with doing this album with Julianne. But in my defence, I have played the songs a lot more recently than them, so I’m going to have to do a crash course for sure, but I can’t imagine it’s going to take long to get up to speed. I’m looking forward to it. I must confess to being a little bit nervous, more about rehearsals than the shows at the moment. Whilst I’ve seen Craig and Simon, we haven’t played together for a long, long time. So we’ll see.

What have the relationships been like, between the three of you, of recent years?

WH: They’ve been fine. I mean, obviously… ha! Both of them have walked out on tours in the past, so I’m going to see how long it takes me… how long it… how long I can… how far I can push them before I can… before they walk out again. No, I’m only joking. They’ve been fine. We played some, ah, farewell shows back in 2008 in Shepherd’s Bush, and Simon came and joined us for those, and it was great, it was lovely to have him there, and it was… bygones be bygones, really. But then Craig walked out on the band in the middle of the South American tour, ten years ago, and for a long time we didn’t talk, and that was the second time he’d done that to us, the first time was back in 1990 I think.

But then time’s a good healer, and Craig and I have known each other a long time, and it’s stupid to let things like that get in the way of what essentially and primarily is a friendship, I suppose, and mutual respect. So the subject of these 25th anniversary shows was broached, and everybody was in accordance and thought it was a good idea. And I was playing in Oxford, and Craig came to see me, and that was it, really. We had a big hug, and a kiss, and it was like no time had passed. So, no, it’s going to be fine.

Unfortunately Mick’s not with us, and that was a big issue for me, really. I felt that the 2008 shows were so good at Shepherd’s Bush that it would be very difficult to do anything to top that. And I thought the only thing we could really do was maybe get the original line-up together. And whilst musically that might not be as good as what we were, back in 2008, or even back in the day, it’s something that a lot of people would like to see, I think. So I got in touch with Mick, went up to see him, the first time I’d seen him in years, in Leeds, and basically he said he didn’t want to do it, but he gave us his blessing. Which was great, because I think if he’d said no, I don’t want to do it and I’m a bit uncomfortable with you doing it without me, then I’d have definitely thought twice about it. He hasn’t played drums now for fifteen years or something like that, and I have a suspicion that really, knowing Mick, he said no because he didn’t want to let anybody down. He didn’t come out and say that, he just said, ‘Nah, I don’t really feel comfortable with the idea of doing it’, but knowing Mick, knowing the kind of person he is, that’s what I think.

I hope he turns up at Leeds. I’ll give him a call and invite him down, but I know he’s a bit reclusive these days. I mean, I’d read rumours on the internet that he’s in ill health and stuff, but he seems to me the same old Mick he ever was. He’s still practising the same habits and stuff, he’s still funny and big hearted, and he’s obviously aged, like we all have. If you haven’t seen somebody for fifteen years, that difference is quite marked, you know. I’m sure the same applies for him when he saw me, you know: who’s this old guy, walking up the path? But he’s fine, he was in good spirits. I love Mick, you know. If you were to ask Simon, Craig and I who our favourite member of the band was, at any given time, even back in the day, we would have all said Mick.

And Mick stuck with you; the two of you stuck together from the original line-up long after Simon and Craig had fallen away…

WH: Yeah, exactly, Simon left, Craig got sacked, and Mick stayed with me… yeah, he did. He’s also very loyal; he’s a Taurus, so… I don’t know if you read much into that kind of stuff but he’s, ah… no, I miss him. I do miss him. And I’m sure, even though we’ve got Mike Kelly playing drums on this tour and he’ll be great, it’ll still feel a little bit weird, at least initially, without Mick being there.

Do you have mixed feelings about doing this at all? When it was initially broached, did you feel you’d put an end to The Mission with the 2008 shows?

WH: Yeah, absolutely. The 2008 shows for me were the end, and I had no intention at that point of doing it again. But immediately we came off stage, the promoter was offering me lines of cocaine and saying, how about the 25th Anniversary shows then? And I was like, hang on! I’ve just come off stage, you know! But the pressure was there, from the very beginning, really, to do it. And to be honest, for a couple of years, I resisted. I resisted all overtures and I really wasn’t even entertaining the idea. And then it was actually my wife who said, you know what, you may regret this, if you don’t do it, because it’s once in a lifetime, the 25th Anniversary. So it was her in a way who talked me round to considering it. And even when I first said yes. As I said, I went to see Mick, I needed his blessing, I was hoping to get him on board as well, but… I was ambivalent for a long time about these shows. It’s only really in the last couple of months that I’ve thought, I’m starting to look forward to this. Not because I wasn’t looking forward to it, just because I hadn’t really considered it. It was yeah, I’ve got The Mission shows, but it wasn’t really a big deal. But now I’m starting to get the butterflies in the stomach and all that kind of stuff. It’s good. I mean, it is what it is, Ben, it’s all about nostalgia for this tour, we’re not going out and going to be playing new songs, it’s going to be songs from the records we made together. That’s the currency. But it’s all good.

I know you grew up in Bristol, but you started your musical adventures in Liverpool, didn’t you, in the late seventies, early eighties?

WH: Well, when I was in Bristol I was in a band, it was basically a school band, and we used to play sometimes in lunchtimes and stuff like that, in the school hall, and then we got to play a few places in the city centre. We even got our name in the NME gig guide, once, which we were most proud of!

What was that name?

WH: Ha ha! You really want to know? It was Rough Justice. We were first of all called Humph, as in like, Dennis the Menace, ‘Humph!’ And then we changed our name to Rough Justice. And then basically I decided to move to Liverpool, in 77 or something like that. So obviously I left that band, and went up to Liverpool, and there I was in bands…

Were you involved in that whole scene around Eric’s, when bands like The Teardrops and the Bunnymen were around?

WH: Yeah, I was, yeah. I knew all them. I still see Mac and Will when they come out to Brazil. And I’ve been in touch with Julian Cope in the last couple of years, so yeah, I knew all those people. It was a great time.

I wondered if you knew Craig Adams when he was in the Expelaires? Because they were on Zoo, and you were around that scene.

WH: No, I didn’t actually. They were on Zoo, yeah, and they used to come over and play in Liverpool fairly often, but I never got to know him, no. I must have seen them, but you know, I used to go to Eric’s two or three times a week, so I saw thousands of bands.

Was that when Courtney Love was around in Liverpool as well?

WH: Yeah, it was. I remember her being around. I remember her coming over and being around the scene, and being, oh, there’s that bloody weird groupie from America, Teardrop groupie. I can’t remember speaking to her, but I do remember her being around quite a lot, probably around 82 or something like that. But it was like, oh, there’s that nutter groupie, you want to stay away from her. I was in Dead or Alive at the time and we’d laugh about it in rehearsals: there’s that nutter American Julian groupie, she’s shacking up with Paul Simpson or… you know, stuff like that. It’s a very hazy memory, and it’s something that could be coloured by time. And also at that time I was doing a lot of acid.

Being in Brazil, have you followed Pete Burns’ resurgence as a TV celebrity?

WH: Not really. Of course I’m aware of it; everybody who knows him says have you seen the state of Pete Burns? Yeah, I’ve seen pictures, but Pete was always in pursuit of bodily change, even back then. I adored Pete, he was quite a character, and really a lot more talented than people gave him credit for. He had an amazing voice, really. But you know, you go your different ways, and musically it started to go somewhere that I wasn’t too fond of, and I felt redundant with Dead or Alive, so I felt it was time to go on and do something else.

Given how a lot of those people are notorious for falling out with each other and bitching about each other in the press, it’s good that you’re on friendly terms still with a lot of them.

WH: Well, they were quite bitchy about each other even back then. With a scene like that it does get very incestuous, and there’s a lot of jealousies. When the Bunnymen and Teardrops started, obviously there was jealousies between them, but there was also jealousies between people like myself even, going, oh, why is it them and not us, you know, they’re rubbish, and things like that. What was it Morrissey wrote, we hate it when our friends become successful? And it’s quite true! You know, on the one hand, yeah it’s great, but on the other… it is quite true. But obviously when you do enjoy a bit of success yourself you become okay with that. Certainly for me, I was a bit of a bitch myself back in the day, but I’m a lot more relaxed about things now than maybe I was. But I think with Julian, he alienated himself quite a lot with his books. I read Head-On a couple of years ago, and it’s great, I loved it, it brought back a lot of people and a lot of memories, but I can also see why it would wind up a lot of people.

Because it was inaccurate, or because it was too accurate?

WH: Too accurate.

Have you ever considered writing a book? There are certainly stories you could tell.

WH: I have, actually. I went through a phase a couple of years ago of reading some rock biographies; Julian’s one, Ian McNabb was another, Luke Haines was another, and I thought yeah, you know what, I could do this, I’ve got a story to tell. But I think it requires an awful lot of self discipline that I’m not sure I’ve got it.

Can you remember it all?

WH: Yeah… that’s the thing. I can remember what I want to remember and sometimes what I remember is not necessarily the truth. I had an old friend come and stay a couple of months ago who used to work for The Mission; he’s gone on to work for Depeche Mode and The Cure and people now, but he was reminding me of things and things that I’d done, back in the day, and my memory of it was quite different. It was quite bizarre really, but I guess obviously, you colour the memory over time, a little bit.

I think everybody does that don’t they, regardless of whether there are substances involved or not; you do remember things a certain way, even the soberest memories.

WH: Yeah, you colour it the way you want it to be, in a way. I mean, he reminded me of an occasion on the Scottish Highlands tour, around 88 or 89, where… ach, I was drunk one night, and we were staying in a little B&B, and I set off a fire extinguisher in the breakfast room. Hyeh. Folly of youth. Anyway, he reminded me that the lady that owned the house got me up at 7.30 in the morning, complete with a hangover, and made me clean that room. I wasn’t allowed to get any of the roadies to do it; she made me clean that room, before I could have breakfast. And at the time, I was like, "Bwuurgh, you can’t treat me like this, you old…" But looking back it was a brilliant thing to do. And I’d forgotten all about that! And it just so happened that Jez, that’s the guy’s name, he was up in the Scottish highlands about a week or so after he left here, with Laura Marling. And they actually stayed in the same B&B! And he was saying to the lady, oh, I was here once before, with The Mission. And she was, "Oh, it’s that guy who thinks he’s a bloody pop star – set off the fire extinguisher – isn’t it!?" Oh god! But yeah, I’d forgotten all about that. That’s something I could put in the book. And I guess, being with Craig and Simon, there’ll be nights when we’ve had a bit of wine, and we’ll get to reminiscing, and stories will crop up that we all remember differently. It’ll be interesting. I think there’s a certain amount of conceit that you need though, to write a biography. And I’m not sure… I might be arrogant, but I’m not sure I have that degree of conceit anymore.

You also played briefly with The Invisible Girls didn’t you, with Pauline Murray?

WH: Yeah, I did. That was my first ever tour, actually. We went off to Europe and played shows there. But yeah, I’ve got a feeling I was off and on with Pauline for… nah, it must have been 80, 81 when I first started playing with her. And then I joined Dead or Alive in 1981. So maybe it seemed a lot longer than it actually was. But I came in after the album and did the one EP, and I worked with Martin Hannett on that.

The Invisible Girls were a sort of shifting unit that were Martin Hannett’s studio band weren’t they, that he used on a few records?

WH: Yeah, that’s right. On our particular record it was Steve Hopkins on keyboards, John Maher on drums, myself on guitar, Robert on bass, but then they needed a guitar overdub so they got Bernard in from New Order, when I wasn’t there. But yeah, it was John Cooper Clarke and The Invisible Girls as well; I think Vini Reilly as well played on some of the Invisible Girls stuff. That’s the first time I ever did cocaine actually, in those sessions.

How was Martin to work with? He had a reputation as being quite a character…

WH: Yeah, he was. He was quite a character.

…and a very innovative producer of course, as well.

WH: Yeah, indeed he was. I mean, I know the snare sound on one of those tracks was actually an aerosol can being sampled- shh! Ssh! – Oh, I like that, that’s good. I do remember one time, and this was in the days when you still recorded guitars in the studio, rather than in the control room, and I was in there with headphones on, playing a guitar part to the song, and it would start at the beginning, and go to the end, and I’d be playing it, and then it’d get to the end, and it’d reel back and start again, and this went on for ages, and I was thinking, okay, what am I doing, nobody’s telling me anything here, nobody’s saying that’s good or that’s bad, you know… and I went back into the control room and it was empty apart from Martin Hannett who was asleep on the floor underneath the desk! So that was my experience of Martin Hannett. Hmm.

And then how did you come to join the Sisters?

WH: Well basically I left Dead or Alive during the course of recording their first album. We were down in London, we were signed to CBS, and the girl that was looking after us, Annie Roseberry, the A&R girl, her and Muff Winwood were trying to sign The Sisters of Mercy. And the Sisters had just lost Ben Gunn, one of the original guitarists. And so they recommended me to Andrew. And so Andrew called me up, asked if I was interested, and at that point I didn’t really know much about them. I knew they had indie singles and stuff, and one of my girlfriends really liked them, but I just considered it to be noisy post-punk, I wasn’t really into it at that point. So anyway, I went over to Leeds to meet Andrew, and it was fine, and we met the band and everything, and did a few lines together and all that bollocks, as you do… didn’t actually play guitar. And then I went back to Liverpool, and he called us the next day and said yeah, do you want to join, it’s yours if you want it. So I basically got the job without playing any guitar. And then he asked me, ah, your name; do you fancy changing it? I went, what? Why? What’s wrong with Wayne Hussey? Oh, we change our names in this band. No, let’s keep it as it is.

So you were in the Sisters for the debut album, First and Last and Always, and there was quite a change in the sound when you came in, you brought that more psychedelic, 12-string guitar sound. Was that mainly your influence?

WH: Yeah, that was me. I played 12-string electric guitar; that was my principal instrument, really. I played 6-string on some stuff as well, and acoustic, I also brought acoustic to the Sisters. But yeah, I just came from a different… I mean, they were all into the Stooges and Motorhead and stuff like that, which I kind of liked some of it, but I was more into… I came from Liverpool, you know, so I was a bit more tuneful, a bit more Beatles-ish, and all that kind of stuff, so I came and added that to the Sisters. I don’t think I disrupted what they were; I just brought something else to it. And it certainly works, for that album. I have to say that these days I’m not a big fan of Andrew’s voice, it’s not my kind of thing, but at the same time I do look back at that time and I’m proud of it, you know. It was a good time, it was a good time to be in the band and we certainly had something that was very unique and powerful.

I had reason to listen to ‘Marian’ a year or two ago, in my studio, and that still sounds fantastic. I mean basically, Andrew used to work at night and I used to work through the day, and it’s no secret we didn’t get on, we didn’t see eye to eye very much, on a lot of things. And ‘Marian’ I came up with one day in the studio. I did it all in an afternoon; I did that and ‘Black Planet’ all in one day actually, and Andrew came in in the evening and I played it to him, and he said oh, that sounds like the Banshees, and I don’t like ‘Black Planet’… I’d actually written some lyrics for ‘Black Planet’ that ended up becoming ‘Dance on Glass’ by The Mission. Anyway, I went back to the hotel, alright, whatever, and I came back in the morning and Andrew had gone, and I put the multi-tracks up and there were vocals on both tracks! So that’s what it was. And the guitars on that, again, it’s one of those weird moments of alchemy I think, because I can’t work out what I did on a lot of that stuff. It was just one of those inspired things. And they sound great, the guitars really sound great on that record.

God’s Own Medicine is another classic album that doesn’t really sound like anything else, even the later Mission records; you moved on from that sound very quickly. Was God’s Own Medicine essentially what the next Sisters album would’ve sounded like, if it was up to you?

WH: A lot of those songs musically I’d written for the Sisters’ next album. They were rejected by Andrew as being, I don’t know, not really what he wanted to do, which is fair enough. But certainly, if I’d had the opportunity to record a second Sisters album and have an influence on it, then maybe it might have sounded like that. I’m still very fond of that record myself, and if you’d have approached me as to what is my favourite Mission album of all time, I’d probably say that one. I’ll tell you why, it’s because I think there’s a lot of naivety and innocence in that record that, just by the mere passing of time, you lose. I could never write a song like ‘Severina’ now, or ‘Wasteland,’ but they’re great songs. I still get a kick out of playing them, but I could never write them now.

You got a lot of criticism for your lyrics back then, but how much were they just appropriate poetic phrases that you were stringing together, as you were accused of, and how much were they actually quite personal and heartfelt?

WH: There are only two or three songs I’ve ever written that didn’t mean anything to me at the point in time that I wrote them. But a lot of the times I was writing, I was in an altered state. So two days later sometimes, I didn’t know what the songs meant. But at the time, it was just the way my mind works when I was on speed or on drugs, every line would have a thread to the next line. So whilst it may appear that they were just things strung together, they weren’t to me at the time of writing. They may well have become that, a day or so later, or later down the line, and they may well have appeared that to other people, but to me at the time, not.

Basically that was the first time I’d started writing lyrics. So it was something new to me, whereas most people get to hone that craft in private for ten years, before they get to make their first record. I started doing it in public. So it is something that, as an art, I think I developed over time. I think some of the criticisms were valid. I think some of them… some of it stuck, unfortunately, because I think some of my later lyrics have been very good, and a lot more focussed, a lot more clarity to them, and that’s what I mean about not being able to write ‘Severina’ or ‘Wasteland’ now; it’s a different process I go through, I suppose.

But I like the words on that album. There’s a poetry to them that I like. It’s as much to do with the sound of the words as the meaning. And I think in the context of the song, that’s important. Obviously it’s nice when you’re Bob Dylan, and you can combine the two, but not all of us are that clever or talented. And certainly for me on those early records, it was a learning process. And I certainly stand by God’s Own Medicine. There’s nothing that I’m ashamed of.

One thing that seems to be very personal about that record is there seems to be a lot of religious angst and confusion, maybe to do with your own religious upbringing and the conflicting, hedonistic lifestyle that you were going into. In particular ‘Wasteland’ and those opening lines about, “I still believe in God, but God no longer believes in me.” It’s quite powerful stuff, really.

WH: Yeah. Well, that was just a whim, one night in the studio: I was just about to sing and I just thought, oh, I’ll say this, “I still believe in God, but…” Oh, that’s good, let’s keep that! I remember the first time I met Iggy Pop, we were at a festival and Iggy Pop was on with us, and I was trying to get Jez our roadie to get one of Iggy’s roadies to introduce me. And he was stood there and looking at me and kind of laughing at what I was asking him. And then I felt this little tap on my shoulder and I turned round and it was Iggy. And he said “Hi, I’m Jim, you’re Wayne aren’t you? I love that opening line on your album, ‘I still believe in God but God no longer believes in me.’” And he recited it to me, and that was like, one of the best moments of my life! To be recognised by one of your heroes, you know, like, wow, man! And we became good friends for a few years, he sent me Christmas cards and I went to visit him in his apartment in New York, so that was cool.

And then is that it for The Mission, as far as you’re concerned, after this tour?

WH: No, I said that would be it in 2008, and three and a half years later, I’m doing it again. So, never say never. I can’t foresee ever wanting to make another Mission record, put it that way. Certainly with the experience of the last couple of Mission albums, you know, you still have the usual expenses bill, but it’s preaching to ever-decreasing circles, really. It costs a lot to make a record with very little return. So I can’t really see that happening. Plus, musically, I don’t really want to make another Mission record. I ended up finding them quite restrictive, in a way.

Is that because of the weight of expectation; that The Mission are expected to have a certain sound?

WH: Yeah, partly that. Maybe the self-induced expectation and the self-induced criteria. But there have been times in The Mission’s past where I’ve tried to make records a little bit differently, and not really been accepted by our audience, so I kind of got burned on that a couple of times. But saying that, if we enjoy these shows, and we get on, there’s no reason why we might not go on and play some more shows. I know we are talking about coming down to South America in April, May time next year to play some shows. So if this is something we enjoy, I don’t see any reason why we can’t go out and do it every now and again. Just go out and play a bunch of old songs with a bunch of old mates… to a bunch of old people. Ha!

The Mission are playing live at Brixton Academy on October 22 and at Leeds Academy on October 28. For other European dates visit the Mission website

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