Achtung: Dieses folgende Interview mit Mark wurde von uns geführt, als Mark kein Bandmitglied mehr bei The Mission war, sondern er seine eigene Band New Disease hatte! Inzwischen hat sich dies ja bekanntlich geändert: New Disease gibt`s nicht mehr und Mark ist seit Sommer 2005 wieder bei The Mission. Zuerst nur als Ersatz für Rob und dann ab März 2006 wieder als festes Bandmitglied.
Q & A with Mark Gemini Thwaite - June 2003
The Mission Gitarrist
1992 - 1996; 1999 - 2001
Ab Juli 2005 als Ersatz für Rob
Seit März 2006 wieder als festes Bandmitglied
By Tanja Godisch & Petra Sümnicht
Q: Your new band is called New Disease, what kind of music is it?
A: I always have trouble summing us up - what can I say?! Metal Hammer (UK) described us as having “huge stadium rock riffs gel with well-executed elements of electronica on majestic and anthemic stand outs” - meanwhile Kerrang! described us as “goth-flavoured, electronically embellished rock” in a recent live review and said “the band carve vast swathes of ferocious noise and brutal beats". Make of that what you will!
Q: When was New Disease formed?
A: Spring 2002.
Q: Who are the other members?
A: Lee Bane: vocals/guitar
Richard Adams: bass/bvs
Ritch Battersby: drums
Richard Adams was a founder member of Daisy Chainsaw in the early 90's, and recorded on their debut album "Eleventeen" via One Little Indian (vocalist Katie Garside and guitarist Crispin went on to form Queen Adreena) - Richard also stepped in on bass for Queen Adreena on some shows earlier this year.
Drummer Ritch Battersby was in The Wildhearts for several years in the mid 90's, and recorded on the albums "Phuq", "Fishing for luckies" and "Endless Nameless". He later went on to form Grand Theft Audio, releasing the album "Blame Everyone" via London records (USA) in 2000. I contributed some lead guitar to the GTA album. GTA disbanded in early 2002 and Ritch joined New Disease in August 2002.
Q: Jacob Lee is familiar to the Mission fans as the singer of the support band The Underdogg back in 2000 .Did you already had any plans to work with him at that time?
A: No it never entered my mind when his band supported the Mission, I had no plans to start a new band at the time - but I always remembered Lee had a strong voice and when I decided to start something new last year my missus Dawn suggested I try Lee out for the band. Worked out pretty well really…
Q: Who came up with the idea for the band name?
A: I originally suggested "New Disease"… we were researching medically related names (we were gonna be called "Adrenachrome" - Lee's suggestion - but I found out there was a French black metal band called that so decided to look for another similar name). The phrase "new disease" kept coming up during online searches of medical websites, then around that time I watched the James Dean movie `Rebel without a cause', and during the movie Natalie Wood refers to James Dean as "a new disease". The idea stuck with me.
Q: At the end of April you released your first (limited edition?) debut EP “Axiomatic”. Is there a possibility for to buy it in Germany?
A: We've put the Axiomatic EP out thru ChangesOne records, a small UK independent. The EP has been distributed thru the UK via Cargo, but as far as I know there is no European distribution in place - it was only meant to be a limited edition release so we could get some radioplay and press reviews. You can order the EP online via www.changesone.co.uk - they will ship internationally.
Q: Are there any plans for an album?
A: Most definitely! We already have nearly 30 songs written and demoed to release quality in my home digital studio, we just keep writing and writing… once we find a suitable label we'll have a killer album to put out.
Q: You played a couple of gigs in UK already, any chance to see ND here in Germany?
A: We recently supported my friends H.I.M in London and I discussed the possibility of supporting them in Europe with vocalist Ville Valo. Ville invited us to support them in London after hearing our demos with producer John Fryer (he had also produced the "Razorblade Romance" album).
The main drawback as an unsigned band is the cost of touring Europe as an unsigned band with no backing… but as soon as we get some backing we'll be hitting Germany!
Q: In early May ND supported HIM at the Astoria in London. How was the reaction from the HIM fans towards ND?
A: Quite amazing! - the warmth and support from the audience was astonishing. Even Kerrang magazine commented on the warm reception we got as a relatively unknown band by the H.I.M audience. I think when Ville (Valo) heard our demos he knew that we'd go down well with their fans, we're both arena rock bands..
Q: You played with The Mission from 1992 - 1996 and from the reunion 1999 - 2000. In 2001 at the HIM tour Rob Holliday played the guitar, because of your touring commitments with Tricky. In December 2001 MWIS announced the following: “Due to, amongst other reasons, guitarist Mark Thwaite's ever increasing touring commitments with Tricky, and by mutual consent with the remaining three members of the band, we are sad to announce his departure from The Mission” Do you want to say anything about it?
A: I get asked about this a lot by Mission fans so maybe I should clear this one up. Basically it got pretty acrimonious at the time so I asked Wayne to announce my leaving as an amicable departure, but if truth be told I was actually fired from the Mission after I chose to continue with Tricky touring commitments (which had started back in June 2001), rather than do the HIM support tour of Germany (Sep2001). I had just recorded guitars on the Tricky "Blowback" album, released in June'01. Wayne had previously assured me that the Mission would not tour until "Aura" was released, which ended up hitting the shops in Nov2001 - then the HIM tour in September came out of the blue. It was like going out with two girlfriends at the same time - bound to end in trouble sooner or later!
If truth be told I had been fighting with Wayne & the band over the direction "Aura" was taking for some time - and my involvement (at one point in March 2001 I was sent a rough monitor mix of the album tracks - I was horrified to find out I was only playing guitar on 3 tracks out of 12. I threatened to leave the band at that point). Label boss Charlie Eyre intervened, talked me out of leaving the band, and talked Wayne into letting me add some of my guitar parts to more of the songs, which I did during June - Sep 2001; and by the time the album was finished I was on 8 tracks. It seemed like we'd healed the rift as the album was shaping up nicely… but by then I suppose the damage had been done.
Let's go back in time:
Q: Who offered you the job with The Mission?
A: The Mission advertised for a new guitarist (and bassist) in the UK press back in the autumn of 1992, and I responded to an advert in Melody Maker magazine. I was playing in Spear of Destiny at the time and had just recorded the "Sod's Law" album, released in the summer of 1992. My girlfriend saw the advert and urged me to apply. I knew that thousands of budding guitarists would apply so I didn't expect a response to be honest, so I was amazed when I got a call two weeks later from Tony Perrin - the Mission's manager at that time - saying the Mission had selected me for an audition. I spent a day jamming on new stuff with Wayne and Mick Brown in Wayne's home studio (I remember they got me to try guitars on music that later became "Afterglow", plus I played them a new idea I had, the opening chord sequence that later got used in "Daddies going to heaven now"). I think they auditioned a few guitarists at the time. About a week after my audition I got a call that I was being offered the job - the rest is history. I later learned that the reason I got shortlisted from the pile of demos was simply that Wayne's missus at the time thought my photo was cute! (LoL)
Q: Was it difficult to find your place in the band because you were something like a fan before you joined them?
A: I'm not sure where this idea of me being `a fan' came from - probably Wayne methinks (having read your interview with him)! Despite contrary opinion I was never a "fan" of The Mission prior to joining the band - I never owed any mish albums, and had never seen the band live before I joined. My girlfriend at the time liked the Mission, I think she had "First Chapter" plus I had heard the hit singles on the radio so of course I was aware of the Mission, but I was never a fan. It was my girlfriend who suggested I go for the job. I did have most of The Cult's catalogue so I was more in line with Billy Duffy's style than Simon or Wayne's to be honest.
I hadn't heard any of the first 3 albums, and when I got invited for audition I rushed out and brought "GoM" and "Carved" just to acquaint myself with their other stuff. I found that I liked it and realised this was a band that I would want to be in both musically and personally - I'm a big Led Zeppelin fan, plus like Wayne I also loved Echo and the Bunnymen, U2 etc. I think the reason I fitted in was partly due to my guitar style being somewhat adaptable to Simon's, I felt comfortable playing both Simon and Wayne's guitar parts, plus I made a concerted effort to help return the Mission "sound" back to the earlier album approach - I felt that "Masque" had put some fans off so I was eager to recreate the classic Mission "sound". It was obvious that my position in the band was to bring back some of the vibe that a guitarist like Simon Hinkler had brought to the Mission sound.
Q: Do you remember your first gig with the Mission?
A: Yeah it was some pub in Hereford in autumn 1993. "The Entertainer" or something like that. We had been rehearsing and writing new material in a place called Wapley Barn since 1992, which was not far from Hereford. We demoed and recorded a lot of the "Neverland" album there. It held about 200, but I think we had 300+ fans jammed in there that nite. It was a summers eve and it got so hot and sweaty that Mick (Brown) nearly passed out a few times during the gig (I did too!). Then we played JB's in Dudley, then onto the show with Utah Saints and Andrew Eldritch at the Town & Country in Leeds. For me personally the Leeds show was the first "proper" Mission MK2 show - we played a triumphant show. The Mish were BACK..
Q: When you think back about your time with The Mission - do you have any personal highlights?
A: Quite a few, too many to recall perhaps… certainly that first Leeds show in 1993, in fact my first European tour with the Mission (clubmission) in 1993 was very special for me.. playing `Tower' on Top of the Pops in 1994 (a highpoint for any UK musician!) - some memorable shows in Madrid, Prague etc during the "Neverland" tour in 1995… the comeback London Astoria show in 1999 was great too. Playing in South Africa was cool. Headlining the Zillo in 1995 was great, I remember it was a blazing hot day - all the Goths were melting! Mera Luna in 2000 was great too - we were on pretty early at around 6pm (Sisters were headlining), we felt like the underdogs but we rose to the occasion and stole the show.
Q: What's your favourite Mission song?
A: Probably "Daddies going to heaven now" as it's a beautiful yet melancholy song… also it was partly spawned out of a guitar riff i came up with when I first auditioned with the band - pretty much the first song I was involved with in collaboration with the Mission - but it's definitely one of Wayne's meisterworks of recent years. As for favourite Mish song pre-Mark - it would have to be "Deliverance" - always loved playing that one live.
Q: Any Mission song that you didn't like to play?
A: Not really, but I guess I wasn't a big fan of "stars don't shine without you" in the live set - but I didn't play on that live anyway! It was time for a beer…
Q: What was the worst Mission show back then?
A: I remember we played some gothic festival in Leipzig in 1995 - or maybe 1996 - outside some old castle, and it was rainy and muddy and we didn't go onstage till some godawful hour of the morning - after Genitorturers of all bands! - and it was truly an awful gig. Plus we had to stay up all night to catch our flights back home. Horrendous.
Q: Are you still in contact with Mission Fans? And how important is the contact with fans for you in general?
A: Some Mission fans (and eskimoes) have kept in touch - in fact Eddie Eskimo was at the New Disease show we played with Prong in London last week. It was good to see him again! I get messages and emails from Mish fans on the New Disease messageboard, its nice to keep in touch.. lots of support from Mish fans for my new band which is nice.
Q: Would you like to play with The Mission again?
A: Well we were always a great live band, I loved playing those songs and the Mish fanbase is one of the best… if the opportunity arose I don't see why not… never say never!
Side projects / other bands:
Q: In how many bands did you play before The Mission?
A: Too many to list, but bands that had record deals included Spear of Destiny and National Velvet (Canadian band from Toronto)…
Q: You recorded and toured with Tricky. What was it like?
A: Cool - completely different from The Mission of course - a real jazz-like philosophy, lots of jamming, no set-lists, so never predictable. And incredibly heavy at times. I got to record with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alanis Morrisette on "Blowback" (2001) which was amazing. Tricky is big in japan and we played Fuji Rock festival in 1999 and 2001 which was always an experience..
Q: Are you still working with Tricky or other bands?
A: I recorded some guitars on Tricky's new "Vulnerable" album, released June 2003, but I no longer tour with his live band.
Q: In 2000 you released a CD called “Metalmorphosis”.
Could you tell us bit about it?
A: I used to play along to albums like "Dare" by the Human League when i first started playing guitar as a teenager, as there were no guitars on the album at all, so i could make up my own riffs… During 1999 when I installed Logic Audio recording software on my home PC my girlfriend Dawn suggested that I try recording the guitar riffs I used to make up as a way to get familiar with the program.
I took 80's synth hits by The Eurythmics, Soft Cell, Human League, Visage, Depeche Mode, Madonna, Dead or Alive etc and added hard rock guitars, rock drums etc to beef them up. The main remit was to pick recordings that have no guitar on the original version. I found that once the new guitars were mixed into the original mix the 80's rhythm section would sound weedy so I would apply rock drum loops and record additional bass where necessary to bolster up the original track. It was a fun project to do and I got to hear the songs how I always heard them in my head...
Q: On the Gary Numan CD “Hybrid” you've done rework of the title “This Wreckage”. Tell us something about the cooperation with Gary Numan. Is this something you would like to do more often?
A: Yeah I'd love to work with Gary Numan again - it was fun! Gary liked my metalmorphosis reworking of "Justify my love" and we talked of collaborating together for a few years. Gary used to come to Mission shows with his wife Gemma back in the mid 1990's. When the Sugababes sampled "Are friends electric" on their hit single "Freak" last year, I thought it would be a good idea to create a new heavier version of the song for Gary to release. I created a new heavy more industrial sounding version (that matched the direction his new album had gone in) and sent him a copy. His label liked it and asked if Gary could use it for the next single "Rip", due out in June 2002. They also needed another b-side quickly and suggested I rework "This wreckage". Within 24 hours I had created the new version, both Gary and his label loved it. I took my versions (created in my home studio) over to Gary's studio and he added vocals and helped mix the tracks. Both were included on the "Rip" single, and "This wreckage" was also included on the "Hybrid" remixes album.
Q: First record you bought?
A: Honestly I can't remember - my mom used to have a job changing records on pub jukeboxes so I used to get old jukebox 45's off my mom all the time. I do remember buying some Deep Purple album but I doubt if that was the very first record I brought! I did have a Muppets album and some records by The Goodies..
Q: Last CD you bought?
A: Deftones - Deftones. But the CD getting the most play right now is an advance copy I was given of the new Killing Joke album `the death and resurrection show' - I'm a huge Killing Joke fan and this album is a storming return to form. Sounds just like the first 2 albums. Plus Dave Grohl is on drums!
Q: First gig you ever saw?
A: U.F.O. at Birmingham Odeon 1979. Girl were supporting.
Q: Last concert/festival you saw?
A: Not counting Prong last week, I just saw Type-O Negative at London Astoria (but only caught the last 3 songs). They were pretty bad live to be honest! Went to Download festival a few weeks ago, that was pretty cool - Ministry were amazing, Deftones were great… but we were disappointed with Marilyn Manson's set - wasn't very good.
Q: Your favourite band at the moment?
A: Fave new band? Or old? Well of course Killing Joke are top of the list, but they always were. Filter get heavy rotation too - love the new album. I saw the 80's matchbox b-line disaster last week, they were great - very birthday party/cramps. Playing their album a lot too. Janes Addiction, Led Zepp, The Young Gods.. but my most played album of all time has to be "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC. Got it the day it came out in 1979 - its been hitting my stereo ever since.
Q: Your favourite movie?
A: The Thing (John Carpenter version 1982). Also "Some like it hot", "Alien", "The Lost boys", "Apocalypse Now", "Amercian werewolf in london". Too many to list…
Q: How many instruments do you play?
A: Guitar, bass, basic keyboards… I even played mandolin once (on "cold as ice" - mission b-side)
Q: How many guitars or other instruments do you use?
A: When I was in the studio with the Mission I used whatever guitars were around (Wayne had a great selection back in the 1990's) - but my loyalties always lie with my beloved Les Paul Customs (I have 3), plus I have a Gibson ES135 semi acoustic that I played with Tricky a lot, plus a Firebird 1967 reverse, ovation acoustic, fender p-bass etc.
Q: Since when are you a professional musician?
A: The first gigs I was paid to do were with Spear of Destiny in 1990 (3 nites @ Marquee London).
Q: Did you take any lessons to learn how to play?
A: No I'm self taught. I brought a chord book and learned by listening to my fave records by AC/DC, Thin Lizzy etc.
Q: What happened with your guitar you tried to sell on Ebay?
A: It was sold to a private collector (a Mission fan who contacted me privately).
Q: Do you have your own studio at home?
A: Yeah it's a digital recording setup on my home PC - running Logic Audio Platinum 5.5. You can do everything pretty much in that - just need a guitar and a mic.
Q: Do you prefer to play in big venues or small clubs?
A: Bigger venues, but not arenas. I did an arena tour of America with Tricky supporting TOOL in 2001, I was really looking forward to it, but I found the distance between the band, the pit and the crowd was way too big. I prefer gigs around 2000 capacity, Astoria size. Club shows are fun but I like to have room to run around a bit and not feel caged in. Plus you can get a better mix in your monitors on a bigger gig.
Q: What makes a good concert for you? (As musician and as a visitor)
A: A good band, a good sound and a good crowd!
Q: What do you think about the Internet?
A: Brilliant.. I get emails from fans from the other side of the world, plus emails from friends I haven't seen of heard of in years - plus the search capabilities are amazing. Although I have to agree that downloading music is hurting the music industry, the internet also allows bands to operate independently - selling cd's online etc. it's a good thing.
Q: Do you have time for any hobbies?
A: Not really, I've always been interested in computers since I studied advanced computer science at school, so I guess my spare time hobbies involve using my computer. I've always enjoyed graphic design - designing posters, flyers etc - and web design. I conceived and put together most of the artwork and layout on the New Disease `Axiomatic' EP, that was a lot of fun.
Q: Three things for a desert island?
A: Music System (with my CD collection of course!)
My acoustic guitar!
Thanks very much Mark and we hope to see ND in Germany soon!
(Daraus wurde dann nichts mehr, denn New Disease lösten sich auf bzw. liegen auf Eis)
For more info please visit Mark`s own website
Jegliche Wiederverwendung, auch ausschnittweise oder in übersetzter Form, nur mit schriftlicher Genehmigung der Verfasser.
No part of this interview may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher