Q & A with Wayne Hussey - Dec. 2003 / Jan. 2004
By Petra Sümnicht
Pic: Sebastian Guenzel
Q: The Pilgrimage tour is over since four weeks, unfortunately you had a few problems with the sound, a *very* new drummer, everybody was ill, so how`s your overall impression concerning the tour?
A: Well, to start with it was tough. As you mentioned we had problems early on in the tour. We had a completely new crew AND a new drummer, and whilst everyone tries to get on there is always a period of settling in. On previous tours, if we have had someone new, then it's usually been just one or maybe two people at the most so it is easier to integrate them into the "family". But by the end, there was a good atmosphere amongst us, despite all the illnesses, and I think we found ourselves a good group of people to work with. People that liked what they were doing, liked the music, and more importantly, liked the people involved. And by the end of the tour, I thought we were playing as well as we have done in recent years.
Q: In London you told the audience that you didn`t enjoy the last two weeks very much and that it has been the hardest time since years, was it really that bad and why?
A: Yeah, for me it was. Various and many reasons. But principally because I was ill during most of that period, and being ill on tour is a most miserable experience and it's very hard to enjoy yourself when you feel like that. Also, I was (and still am) very angry at Scott for letting us down again at the last moment, and I think subconsciously I was blaming Steve (new drummer) for not being Scott. It wasn't Steve's fault and I hasten to add that by the end of the tour I was more than happy with him and his playing and under the circumstances I feel he did a remarkable job.
But none the less, Scott pulling out threw into disarray all our plans for recording a DVD, and as we manage ourselves most of trying to sort all that stuff out rested on my shoulders and it was a great stress for me to try and deal with it all during rehearsals and the early part of the tour. What also didn't help is that our tour manager pulled out two days before the first show, so again, I was dealing with all of that too. I just wanted to enjoy the tour as a singer in a band!
Q: So if you could turn back the time to plan and start the tour again, what would you change?
A: I made some mistakes and bad decisions regarding the organization of the tour but I was dealing with all of that on my own. Next time I will employ somebody specifically to do that job for me so I can concentrate on being the "rock star". And I wouldn't have asked Scott again...I would've gone straight to Steve and given him more time to prepare and familiarize himself with the songs.
Q: Nevertheless, any special highlights or funny stories?
A: Obviously the London Forum show was a highlight...I was dying on the dressing room sofa before the show with cold...I was taking every flu & cold remedy that I could lay my hands on...I felt awful and my voice was terrible but somehow, once we hit the stage, I was ok and throughout the course of the evening my spirit, as well as my physical well being, was lifted (aided, no doubt, by the Vinho Tinto I was drinking) and it ended up being a great night.
I enjoyed Bochum as always...Bochum Zeche and I go back a long way and enjoy a special relationship...I have no idea how many times I have played there over the years but it's well into double figures...ALWAYS a highlight...
And the last show in Barcelona...Both Rob & Rich had gone down with an even more severe dose of the flu/cold/virus that I had had earlier in the tour but both raised their game that evening. We'd played in Madrid the evening before and that had been great and the audience had loved us from the moment we set foot on the stage. In Barcelona, however, the audience were a little cool at first, but we worked hard and played really well and by the end of the show they were loving it. We deserved the audience reaction in the end but we had to work for it and there is a great feeling of satisfaction when that happens.
Q: Are you satisfied with the current line-up? I`ve got the impression that the fans enjoyed the band, so is there a chance to see this line-up again in April?
A: Yeah, I am happy with the current line-up. It took me a while to acknowledge Steve in the way I should because I have always, and remain, a huge fan of the way Scotty G. plays drums, and I was so dissappointed when he dropped out and let us down again and it took me a while to get over that. But, as I said, Steve did a great job and now in my mind he's here to stay, if he wants to...I'm still getting to know him on a personal level, I know he can be a little abrasive at times but he can also floor me with a moment of sensitivity or consideration....And he has copious appetites! And I'm looking forward to working in the studio with him....
As for Rich, well, what can I say? I love the guy. Great, great bass player. Great feel, groove, beat, whatever you wanna call it.....very musical, cares about what he plays, and certainly easier and more enjoyable to be around and on tour with than Craig ever was.
And Rob is my favourite guitarist I have ever had alongside me in The Mission. Listens to what is going on, and is willing to learn and not scared to ask, he's a team player, and plays with and for the song, not himself. No ego. And, like Rich, and he'll probably hate me for saying this, he is very musical...And he's as funny as hell...And he is a member of "Fight Club"
I certainly hope this line-up stays together, and not just for April, at least for a while. I look at bands like Gary Numan's, Radiohead, The Cure, U2, etc and I am envious of the fact that those bands have been together for a long time. Those bands know each other inside out and play together so well...But I am also aware that Rob, Rich, & Steve have other things going on and that The Mission won't and can't always take priority for them. They have to earn a living too, and have their own things that they wanna do and achieve. And I totally respect and understand that. And sometimes committments will clash and I will have to find replacements, if only temporarily. But it is my wish that there will be a stabilty with this line-up that I haven't enjoyed since the days of Craig, Simon, and Mick. We'll see.
Q: Don`t know if you remember, but in Koblenz you did a solo version of "wake" and after a few minutes Rob & Rich got into it and they tried to improvise. You looked quite surprised (or really *shocked* according to Rich), what did you think at this moment?
A: I can't really remember my reaction but in hindsight, I don't think I was too surprised as we'd played an acoustic version of "Wake" the previous night in Bochum so it was at least a little rehearsed. I think any surprise would have been at their initive and enterprise to join in like that. I loved it. Those spontaneous moments are very special.
Q: It was planned to film the London gig for a future DVD release, but we couldn`t see any cameras, so what`s happened?
A: Well, as I said earlier, Scott pulling out destroyed those plans. I had wanted to play the 3 set thing - a Mission 'unplugged' set, a solo set, and a full band electric set - for the DVD filming. Obviously with Scott pulling out our rehearsal time was spent with Steve learning as many songs as he could rather than us working on new or different versions of songs we already knew. Not enough time to prepare properly.
It will be our first and possibly only DVD release so I want to make it a really special document for Mission fans, not just a typical live show with a few extra's thrown in. And I wasn't sure, in rehearsals, whether we would be ready to record and film the London show, and certainly during the first week of the tour there was nothing in our performances to suggest we would be, so, after the Hamburg show I think it was, I made the decision to cancel the plans for recording and filming, at least for this tour.
Q: Did you see any of your support bands? And nooo, not that bunch of nervous guys in London, I`m thinking of Votiva Lux and Cold...
A: I didn't SEE either band but I heard them both. I was in the dressing room adjacent to the stage.
Votiva sounded great, really, really good. And as an indication of how good they were, both venue's they played with us have requested them back on their own. All the Mission and crew really liked them and everybody was trying to blag free Votiva CD's from Lorenzo. As for Cold, well, they are nice boys and the second show was obviously a better experience for them than the first. To my ears they sounded good, if a little deriartive.
Q: Why you didn`t play with Votiva in Winterthur and Lahr? It would has been a good opportunity to play some of your new stuff.
A: I was there with The Mission - not Votiva - and I needed to concentrate on that...
Q: Five essential things to take along on a tour? (apart from your instruments)
A: Wife, dark glasses, corkscrew, reading material, and credit cards.
Q: We just heard that you signed a deal with SPV Germany again. Back in 2002 you weren`t very impressed by their tour support for example. So why did you change your mind?
A: Good question. SPV were very supportive when "Aura" was first released but their support waned very quickly. And yes, basically, my relationship with SPV did sour after the release of 'Aura' to the extent that we ended up taking 'Aural Delight' to XiiiBis but there were mitigating circumstances. There were people representing me at that time who were inept and largely negative and destructive in the way they conducted business. These people were the people that dealt directly with SPV on my behalf. Once these people were removed, Gero at SPV contacted me again with a new proposal. I always got on fine personally with Gero and once we had established new ground rules as to the way our relationship would work, we agreed a new deal. Only time will tell if I have made the right decision but at least the decision was mine to make....And if nothing else, it does give me the financial resources to record a new Mission album...
Q: Is the new Mission album still your priority?
Q: Back in September you told me that you`ve written many tunes but not so many lyrics. How are things now, do you make progress with the lyrics for the new songs?
A: When I apply myself, the lyrics come. As well as most of the lyrics for the "Vessel" project I would say I have about 50% for the next Mission album.
Q: What about the band? As far as I know Rob sees himself as the live guitarist of the Mission and he`s working on his own material for Sulpher right now. Rich told me that he`s got some song ideas for The Mission he`s working on and he wanted to go in studio with Steve to get them finished. So are they going to be involved in the new album?
A: Well, I think I answered this question earlier but to clarify, yes, I would like them to be involved in the recording of the new album. How much will be largely determined by their own initive. I am looking forward to hearing the idea's that Rich and Steve have been working on. I have always actively encouraged input from band members. But none the less, I always seem to end up doing at least 80% of the recording on my own!
Q: Do you ever scrap material because it sounds too much like what you've already done?
A: Yes. Constantly. It's a fine line though because obviously with The Mission there is also a set of perimeters, and experience has sadly taught me that our audience don't seem to like it too much when I deviate from what is expected of The Mission.
Q: Some weeks ago you confirmed the Scotland gig in April 2004 and there are also plans to play a few more gigs. So that´s not going to be a proper tour to promote the new album, is it?
A: Yes, there are other shows now already confirmed with probably one or two more to follow. But it's not going to be a tour to promote the album. The album won't be ready by then. I am having my new studio built for me at the moment at home in Brazil and that will take another month or so before it's ready to record.
Q: Did you have any idea that The Mission would still be going after 18 years?
A: No. It's a constant surprise.
Q: Any news about your cooperation with Votiva Lux?
A: The boys have been in the studio in Italy recording the backing tracks. I believe they are almost finished. They will then send me the tracks for me to record my vocals. We will more than likely mix the album in Italy in the summer...
Q: What about the rumour that you asked Will Sergeant from Echo and the Bunnymen to play guitar on your proposed solo album?
A: Well, the Bunnymen played in Sao Paulo recently and I did go to see them. I know Mac and Will from the time I lived in Liverpoool years ago I have always liked the way Will plays guitar and him playing on my solo album was mentioned during the course of the evening. We'll see though.
Q: Are there any plans for another WH solo tour?
A: No plans for a TOUR, as such, but I will continue to play one off's and festivals. Before I do another tour, I need to record and release a solo record.
Q: So it seems like that 2004 is going to be a busy year for you. Mission album, Mission shows, solo album, (solo shows?), Votiva Lux...Sounds stressfull, are you never worried about getting tired of all the music business?
A: I get tired of the business. But not making the music.
Q: Can you imagine a life without doing music?
A: No. I wouldn't want to.
Q: Is there something you always wanted to say, but never was asked?
Thanks very much for your time, Wayne and have a great 2004!
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