An extensive interview with Wayne Hussey
27.10.2002 in St. Niklaas, Belgium
By Petra Sümnicht & Barbara Stiller
Pic: Barbara Stiller
Q: Are you satisfied with the way this tour is going?
A: Yeah I am - till tonight. The shows have been lovely. They have been great, they have been really relaxed, for me.
I used to be really fucking nervous. I`ve not yet been that nervous, which is a little worrying on one hand, on the other it`s like "what you wanna hear?" It`s been really relaxed. The audiences have been fantastic here in Germany, but we`re in Belgium, right? *laughs* But you know what I mean...
Q: Is there a difference between German and UK audiences?
A: Yeah, the difference is, the German audience is more respectful. In Britain I played "Grapes Of Wrath" and they said "arghhhhhhhh"
I don`t know! It`s like if I don`t play what they want - *snort*
Everybody in Britain has got an opinion, they all think they know what`s going on. I don`t even know what`s going on.
Q: Have you got any horrible experience with fans and you wish you hadn`t met him or her?
A: Not really. Not really you know, I mean if it wasn`t for these people I wouldn`t be here, would I, doing this job. But the older I get, the more contrary I get, my tolerance gets down.
Q: So you don`t have any problems with people stalking you or following you? Because it`s a big thing in Germany that even people who are not that famous get stalked, get letters and stuff.
A: No, I don`t live anywhere, so people don`t know where to write to me *laughs*
Q: So where will you live in the future? Brazil? England?
A: Brazil is a consideration, but if money wasn`t an object, we would probably live in Italy.
A: Yeahhhh! Because it`s beautiful, they`ve got good food, good cheeses, good wine, good architecture, you know - just a good vibe. It`s awful to go and work there as a band, it`s fine when I`m on my own, working there as a band is chaos. Also in Italy, historically, The Mission has never meant very much, so I can go and live in a town.
I really like Portugal, but The Mission were quite successful there for a little while. If I would live in Lisbon or Porto the town would get small, very quickly, do you know what I mean? Whereas in Italy, I wouldn`t have that problem.
Q: Wasn`t there an Italian fanclub once?
A: Yeah, there still is, but they don`t need to know that I live in Italy *laughs*
Q: So what is your opinion on fanclubs, because in the old days it was very active. The fanclub did a lot of stuff like special events, season tickets...
A: I still think it`s a great way of getting information to people, but I do think the Mission website has been a little bit abused last year with the guestbook and stuff. There was a lot of shit going on. Basically I pay for this site and we set the guestbook up for people to have an opinion, but I don`t really see how they can justify going on there and just slagging me off without knowing all the facts. For the whole thing in South-America I got a lot of shit on the website - for that! All I was trying to do, was to be honorable. I could have walked away like the rest of them, I could have walked away and say "fuck it, we`re not gonna play the rest of the shows", but I didn`t. And I don`t want a drum roll. I just would like people to recognize that if I`m committed to doing something, I`ll do it!
Q: What did it feel like, when the guys walked away in Brazil?
A: It felt like the end of the fucking world! Come on, this happened on a Wednesday night at eleven o`clock at night. We were due to fly to Argentina at seven o`clock the next morning to play a show. What could I do? I could stay in Brazil, that was my first instinct, but I thought "No! I have to go on that plane to see the promoter and explain the situation." And we... *laughs* ...walked through customs with the bags and the trolleys - me, Cinthya and Grape - and the promoter was there waving "Waynie, Waynie" and I said "I got something to tell you" and that was the last time I saw him smile for the next three days. But the one thing it did do, is proved to me I could do this on my own and I`d already decided to do some stuff on my own, because Lorenzo in Italy... - I don`t know if you know him? Yes, I know him, really nice guy
Yeah, he`s lovely and he has been after me for a while to do some solo stuff and I`ve resisted it for a long time because I`ve seen Mike Peters, Miles Hunt and Kirk Brandon - phew, boring. I do think it`s something really for the fans. For somebody who is not really a great fan, solo shows are quite boring.
Because I play piano, I play some songs with tapes and stuff and every night I try to do something a little bit different, something I have not done before. It makes it more interesting. I can easily play for two hours and not realise that I play for two hours. Like tonight I had a bad time, I was dying up there. But I played for two hours and didn`t realise it until I got off.
Q: What is the difference between touring alone now with such close contact with the audience and with being on tour with a band?
A: Basically, the band has become - pheww - what happened really was, we released a record and all of a sudden you got all the pressures from record companies and others, all these external pressures. And I didn`t start doing this again to get into that - again. I did it 10 years ago, one of the promises we made to ourselves, Craig and I, when we started this again three years ago was, we wouldn`t do it if it wasn`t fun. It stopped being fun and it started becoming a pain in the ass! All the logistics of getting a band together and going out on tour became hard and to be honest, it`s a case of ever decreasing circles with The Mission. Three years ago we were making more money than we are making now. Even though we have got a new record out and all that shit. To actually make that thing work financially became harder. We don`t have management, we do it ourselves, which basically means I do it. I`m a musician not a business man. I fucking hate doing it, I really hate doing it and it`s a thankless task because everybody else, every grievance everybody else has, they come to you with. I don`t want it!
So aren`t they any people you can trust so you can delegate?
I thought so...
And they fucked you up?
Yeah...I felt betrayed by certain people.
It`s not just about the money. Obviously we want to live and to work and to make a living. The American tour we just done, I lost $10.000. The money that I`ve made from the solo shows before and now is payment for that tour. When you weigh that up against going out and play these (solo) shows and having fun...and...lose money... it`s like, I don`t know. And it`s a band, the line-up is constantly changing, so every time we have to do anything we have to rehearse with new people. So it`s like "okay these are the 12 songs we`ll play" It`s gotten very hard this year.
Q: Are you still in contact with Craig?
A: No, I called him one time about a month after he left, he wasn`t there..., but I think he was there,...I left a message and I haven`t spoken to him since.
I know Craig for 18 years and know what he is about. I still try to work out exactly what it was all about. I think there is a lot more going on with Craig than just the superficial stuff that manifests itself when he got drunk. Basically that`s what happened, he`s been drunk for 36 hours in South-America. South-America is crazy, it´s bedlam it`s....
It`s like Italy in the beginning of the year, he lost it. He was going to trap Lorenzo and he turned around and had a go at me and said "I wanna go home" And I said "You can go home, I don`t wanna have you here if you don`t wanne be here" - simple!
Q: So are there any plans for The Mission or just plans for Wayne Hussey?
A: Phewwwww, there are no plans for anything right at that moment. I`m going to see the year out, have a rest. I`ve been on tour all year.
Q: Are you ever sick of touring?
A: Ha, ha, ha, I never thought I would. It`s been a long year, I don`t have anywhere to live. I´ve been living out of suitcases, and got married this year and stuff. It`s been hard, but when you have gigs like Bochum it makes it worthwhile, it does make it worthwhile. I won`t stop touring!
Q: Did you have a proper honeymoon?
A: We had 5 days in Paris *laughs*
Q: Isn`t it strange to be together all the time?
A: I mean it`s not strange, sometimes it gets strained. *laughs*
But it`s a choice I made a long time ago. If you with somebody I suppose, it`s a bit like the John & Yoko thing, if you`re with somebody you wanna be with them. And you want to share what you`re doing with them. And the reality of it is, that Cinthya in many respects has been more supportive than anybody else. And she has known me a lot less time than some certain people.
You really seem to be a good team on this tour...
Me and Cin? Yeah, we are a good team and the thing is she`s... all along the line she`s helped out in many, many ways. It`s not that she wants recognition or thanks or anything like that, but what she doesn`t want is ....*pause* ...is people resenting her being there.
I think it`s always a problem when someone new comes into a group which has a certain realationship established so the new person has to gain his or her place in this group and this can either break up a group or not...
No, look, we can`t sit here and blame Cinthya to break up the band. It would have happened regardless, because the underlying thing why Scott and Craig are no longer in the band, is down to money. As I said before, it`s been ever decreasing circles and it`s been a struggle to make the tours pay. Also people like SPV promised us tour support, promised us money and they didn`t fucking pay. So it comes back on my shoulders, it`s like "sorry Scott, sorry Craig, I can`t pay you right now. I can pay everybody else, but I can`t pay you - there`s no money" And people like Big Dave had to wait for three months to be paid for the tour. It`s not good business. We made a record that we thought was pretty good and we figured it might turn it around a little bit, but it hasn´t happened.
Not even in Germany?
We can`t just tour in Germany - *laughter* - even solo and touring here with The Mission we get stung with 40% performance tax. So any money you make, immediately just 50% goes because it`s performance tax and agency fees.
Q: How come you`re not on TV? There are a lot of shows on VIVA or MTV. What do you think is the problem to get Mission videos shown on TV?
A: It`s maybe because they are crap? *laughter*
Not really… ;)
I don`t know….
Is it politics?
Maybe it is because we are perceived as being a band of the 80`s?
But wouldn`t it be the job of the record company to promote and push your music?
Yeah, I think they do that, they do it in ways they know how to do it, but when they come up against a wall, they don`t know how to get around it and it just discourages them.
Q: There is a new program on German TV where they show unplugged shows by Paul Weller, Villy de Ville who are not big sellers in Germany, so why not Wayne Hussey we wonder?
A: Well, I mean certainly with this tour, Patty who put the European tour together, rang SPV and they said: "yeah, yeah, we`ll give you some CDs and we`ll sponsor the posters and stuff” and it`s like she put their logo on the posters and they turned around and said: "well it`s not a Mission tour, it`s a Wayne Hussey tour, so we`re not going to pay for the posters, we`re only gonna give you 20 CDs to promote the shows" We are playing 15 shows, let`s work that out, it`s 1.3 - that`s not enough to put up.
Q: Would it make sense to revive the old fanclub days where there was a Mission magazine? It could be done electronically to give people a password, special downloads and stuff...
A: One of the things we wanna look out next year is what to do with the website, because it`s become very stagnant in my opinion and that`s no reflection on Paul, because Paul basically follows instructions. Paul is great, he does it for free in his spare time, but I do think we could be a lot more active.
But sometimes it´s too slow, specially with the tourdates…
Yeah well, that`s my fault. Because I won`t put stuff up on there until it`s confirmed and it`s all these rumour, innuendo, speculation…
You get the dates before anybody else, right? *laughs* You promote them, but I havn`t confirmed them.
But I always write: “not confirmed”
Yeah, I know, but I can`t do that, because it`s my official website
But it`s okay for you when I write “not confirmed yet”?
Yeah, I don`t mind that and I don`t mind people on the messageboard saying “Wayne`s gonna be playing here and there”. I don`t mind that, but I can`t go on the website and say “this is what I might be doing” “probably”,”just in case” *laughter* - I can`t do that
Q: Do you plan to get more involved in the website, because you used to be more in touch with the fans, I think. Because I remember when the old fanclub had phone days where you could ring the fanclub…
A: But again, it`s a case of ever decreasing circles. If we did a phone day, I`ll be on the phone to the same *certain people*. I don`t wanna talk to these people. *laughs* - God bless them. As I said before, if it wasn`t for them, I wouldn`t be able to make a living, but….when you see them every day of the tour….
*laughs* - It´s not quite the same, because you keep your distance - they don`t!
It`s like, I come off stage and they come in the dressing room. Oh god, how the fuck they get in?
They don`t respect my privacy! I think there is a fundamental difference between British audience and the audience anywhere else in the world. In Britain they don`t respect that. They feel that they…own a part of me I suppose in a way. And it gives them licence to say what they want, both on the website and even to my face. I don`t want that in my life!
Q: So what is the worst that has been said to your face? Where you really had to restrain yourself? Did you get in this situation where you felt like - arghhhh…
A: *laughs* - Hmmmmm, I can`t think off hand or I`m not saying
Q: Because we try to compile these questions from what came up on the German Messageboard and people were asking things like: What does the chinese letter on your necklace mean?
We guess it´s either “love” or “sex”? :-)
It gives me a fucking rash
Yeah we noticed it…
It´s stress, it´s getting worse...
Cinthya: He´s allergic to love - that what it means, the chinese letter *laughter*
That was our guess ;)
Q: How many songs have you written that aren`t about sex?
Not many I guess... :-)
A: *laughs* - thanks Petra :)
Hmmmmmm, Grapes Of Wrath - that`s about it - *laughter*
Q: Is there a song you really regret writing or recording? That haunts you like Mr. Pleasant maybe?
You don`t like it - Mr. Pleasant, do you?
A: Yeah, I do like it *laughs*
It`s fun, if I learnt the lyrics I would have to play it every fucking night. I like the fact, I think it´s funnier just doing a bit of it. I mean for you - because you see it every night - you think “oh god, here he goes again, he`s just playing a bit” But for most people who come to the shows, they see one show, they think that`s a funny bit and I think if I did learn it and play the whole of it, it will be one of that songs that would then become a song like “oh god, I have to fucking play this song again”
Q: But are there songs or is there a song that you would like to erase from your memory and your records?
A: Not really, I mean there are songs I don`t particularly like and it don`t mean anything to me, things like “Paradise Will Shine Like The Moon”, “Celebration” from Neverland. They are just lyrical nonsense. I don`t care about music so much but lyrically they mean nothing to me.
Q: What`s about “Dance On Glass” You never played it live, I really would love to hear it one time…
A: Really? Hmmm, I consider it…
Q: Do you need the lyrics? I have it here…”grabble - pull out a lyric sheet* :-)
A: Why doesn`t that surprise me? Really well prepared - *laughs*
Maybe in Weinheim...
Are those light cigarettes?
A: Yes, very light ones. I thought you stopped smoking?
A: Yeah, yeah, I`ve stopped…(and he lights a cigarette)
But on nights like this…
Q: And you stopped drinking also?
A: Noooooooooooo *laughs*
I stop drinking when I come off-stage… I don`t get drunk so very much any more.
Q: So what about your statement on the website? About your future?
A: Phewwwwww, well, as I said, we did an American tour and in a lot respects it was the best tour we`ve done in ages. We played really good shows, the band got on really well. It was a really good atmosphere on the bus. Everybody was very relaxed, very mellow, very cool, it hasn`t been like that for a long long time and that was nice. The downside of it was, there weren`t a lot of people coming to the shows, we lost a lot of money, blahblahblah.
On that side you can always make money, always make money. So you lose money you can make money somewhere else, so that´s okay, you can do it.
I would love dearly to have a stable line-up. So when we go to rehearse, we don`t have to rehearse the same 12-15 songs with a new member, which is what it become this year. I would love to be in a position where we were in the beginning of this year, where we had enough songs we could choose from - that`s what I like. I know the rest of the band hated it when I would fucking write the setlist and then change it right before the gig.
But it´s great for the fans….
Yeah I know. And I think it`s great as a musician. It`s like “Trail Of Scarlet” I did tonight, I know I fucked it up, but it´s like do it and fuck it up. I`m not very good in rehearsing - with the band or on my own, so it´s like I just have a go and see what happens. It`s like “Garden Of Delight” on piano tonight, it was really rough. And then I took it into “sorry” and took it into Depeche but with a band you can`t do that, and you can`t rehearse that stuff. It´s a spontaneous thing. But I do like to be in that position with a band and I look at people like The Cure (they are friends of mine) and people like Gary Numan who is a friend of mine and he`s got the same line-up for nine years. And those bands are solid, not just on a personal level. Robert can go and say “let´s play this song tonight” and they havn`t played it for six months but they can play it - I love that!
Craig and Scotty just saying to me: “We were in The Cult, we used to play the same 12 songs every night for five years, that was fucking great” I said: “Ayyyy???”
Their reasoning was, they knew where they were. They knew where they were, they didn`t have to think about it which is very well and good, but I think, from my point of view, doing something different every night makes it interesting for us and because of that as a by-product of that it makes it interesting for the audience. And I know, - like you two travelling and you see a lot of gigs - you have to remember that a lot of people who come to the show, see only one show. But I think also, if they come to one show they can sense whether the band is bored or whether the band is getting off on what they are doing.And I think probably more so with us than most bands, because I`m one of those kind of people that does let his moods affect the show. You`ve seen enough shows to know if I´m in a fucking cranky mood and it`s a cranky show - *laughs* - But if I`m in a good mood it`s a good show. You can`t premeditate how it`s gonna be, it`s a lot of factors involved, it`s like how much wine I`ve had to drink, whether the sound is good, whether the band played…you know…all this kind of factors.
Q: So if you could choose from all the musicians to be in The Mission, who would you choose for a stable band?
No dead ones please (not Elvis, not Frank Sinatra)
A: I wouldn`t replace the singer - *laughter*
You could play piano… :-)
Or guitar, because we keep forgetting you`re a good guitarist
Yeah, I forgot that for a while too. Making the last record and maybe realise that I was a good guitarist
Yeah, I forgot that for a while too. Making the last record and maybe realise that I was a good guitarist.
So who would you choose?
Well my first loyalty would actually go to Rob and Richard. I think Rob is absolutely the best guitarist The Mission have ever had, besides being good looking. Well it´s subjective, the little girls like him *laughs*
He often looks like he needs a shower :-)
Yeah, yeah, it has to be said that there was one time on the American tour recently where he was boasting he hadn`t had a shower for ten days. - *laughter* - And he`s got this spray, that he spray on his clothes, that makes his clothes smell fresh…? But anyway, Rob is the best guitarist, because he`s a singer, he listens. Most guitarists just play with themselves and it`s like they don`t really play as a part of the team.
Q: Do you know the music of his own band Sulpher?
A: Yeah, I`ve heard it. It`s very different from ours...
Okay, Rob and Richard Vernon?
Yeah, Richard the bass player. He`s lovely. He`s just so easy to get on with, you don`t know he`s there most of the time. I mean that in the nicest way. I mean, Craig you always knew he was there - *laughs*
Okay, so you need a drummer…
No. Okay I`m gonna push them aside and say okay, musicians:
I would have Simon Gallup on bass, I would probably have someone like Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead on guitar, or Will Seargant from Echo & the Bunnymen - he`s good. Or someone like Tom Verlaine from Televison on guitar. Drummers: Well, Scotty G was always one of my favourite drummers - always! I probably have a drum-machine actually, they are more reliable.
Q: Speaking of drummers, do you know what Mick is doing?
A: Mick? I havn`t seen Mick for ages. Last I heard he was D.J.ing and doing a bit trucking - using a lot of drugs
A lot of drugs? But he`s still alive, isn`t he?
He´s still alive yeah, but not in a great shape. I don`t know…
Because I keep in touch with Simon and...
Yeah, he`s writing about his family and what about he`s doing and work and stuff and remembering some of the old days with The Mission and seems to have a different outlook now
Yeah Simon. I think Simon was always - *pause* - never comfortable with the whole thing to be in a band, certainly not being in a successful band. He loves music, he loves making music and he is a great musician - Simon. Not a fantastic guitar player, but he was great for what we were doing at that point of the time. He was a bit little too...*pause*...sensitive, I think, for a lot of the shit that went on. And he couldn`t handle a lot of this shit, which a lot of being in a band and being successful, is handling the shit. He wasn`t very good at it. And I think that was a big factor in him saying “enough is enough” because he was making personal sacrifices that he didn`t really wanna make to be in a band.
Yeah I mean, you think about the original line-up of the Mission (do we???) I can`t help - but feel fond of those days, it was very exciting, we were very close, we went through a lot of stuff together in a very short space of time and you can`t help but feel affectionately about the people involved. What happened in the end with each individually person, it´s not the thing I remember.
Q: And what about the time with Mark? That was a pretty stable line-up...
A: Well the thing with Mark was - it`s a funny thing with Mark. Mark was in the band for nine years on and off, I worked with Mark - and I never really knew him. And Rob was in the band for like a week and I thought like I knew Rob a lot better than Mark. But that´s the nature of Mark! Mark is different from everybody else. Mark - pause - was a fan and he believed in the band probably as much as I`ve ever done or as much as anybody has ever done. People like Rob and Richard and the last drummer Danny - they came in the band, they never been really fans of the band, they never been really familiar with most of the stuff. And in some ways that´s the blessing because they don`t come with preconceptions. Mark came in the band, he was a fan and for a little while there he emulated - Simon - he wanted to be Simon. It took a little while for me to get his own personality together, state his own case. And in some respects I do think it was a mistake sacking Mark. I said so at the time but it was a band decision, it wasn`t just my decision. I personally was prepared to give him another chance. Try and work it out but we were trying to be a democratic thing and certain factions didn`t want him back in the band. So, two against one. But it´s a funny thing, here we are a year later and the other two they fucked off. But saying that I wouldn`t have found Rob if it hadn`t been for Mark not being available. And I do think Rob is the best guitarist The Mission have ever had. And I do think Rob´s come to love it, I mean obviously Sulpher is priority for him and I wish him all the best with it and I hope it´s a success for him. I`d hate to lose him. On a very personal level I wish him all the best, I think he`s very talented and The Mission would never be able to accommodate everything that he wants to do. So if we can run the two concurrently as long as possible - great!
You are going to play on the same festival in December I think?
Yeah, we are, that´s why we`re doing it. - *laughs* - That is the first time I will see Sulpher
I heard the record, it rocks, it´s great
Q: What would be your ideal setlist for a show, if you didn`t have to listen to your fans?
A: Wayne Hussey Soloshows are pretty much that what I want to play anyway. Over the course of these shows I played something like 50-60 songs
But are there certain songs that you feel you have to play like "Tower Of Strength", "Butterfly", "Wasteland"? Do you still enjoy playing them?
Yeah, I do. I didn`t play much of Wasteland tonight, that`s because I forgot actually - *laughs*
But you played a bit Radiohead tonight? (“Lucky”)
Yeah, I`m going to learn the words for it. It´s a lovely song
You should play “Creep”…
We went to a restaurant tonight right before we came here and “The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies was on and I was saying to Cin: “This song, this is where Radiohead got the idea for “Creep” from.” “Blimey, yeah” and than the chorus came and it´s like I hate the chorus
Q: What´s a typical day in the life of Wayne Hussey when he`s not on tour?
A: Phewwwww - *pensive*
God, travelling usually. Travelling from somewhere to somewhere.
Get the chance to do the washing very often *laughs*
Q: And what about your kids? You keep in touch, you visit them?
A: Of course I do. I saw Hannah a couple of weeks ago on her birthday - went up to Leeds and spent the day with her, took her out. I see Dylan whenever I can. I`m going back to California in November for a couple of weeks and see her there. Yeah I keep in touch, I call Dylan pretty much every week. It´s hard, obviously the relationships changes, you get older and they get older and it´s not the same as it was two or three years ago but the cicumstances changing. You have to recognise that they´re little people, they grow up, they need to change. So, while that probably in some respects it´s harder for you to adjust to than it´s for them. You still have to recognise yeah, yeah…
Q: Do they like your music or are they more into Britney Spears?
A: Hannah, really is into Britney Spears, Dylan was. I took Dylan to see Britney Spears two or three years ago - we stayed for about three songs and then we had to go because she was tired. I don`t know if they are into my music or not, it´s not really an issue. It`s just like "he`s dad, your funny dad" *laughs*
Q: What was your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Don`t say tonight ;)
A: Comes close - *laughs*
Oh god, I don`t know, it´s been a few but it´s nothing that springs to mind readily.
I think I did one of the gigs recently - Bochum actually - I came off-stage and realised that I did the whole gig with my flies down.
You did? I haven`t noticed, I have to look at the pictures again :-)
I was wearing a long shirt - *laughs* - so I kind of got away with that.
I don`t know, also in Bochum I was walking off-stage “yeah, yeah, yeah” and I fell over the fucking monitor, didn`t I? *laughs*
Q: If you had the chance to change anything in your life, what would that be?
A: *broods* Don`t know really - I don`t think I would. It´s corny and chlichee, but it´s nothing I really regret. I made mistakes but there is nothing I regret, because everything I`ve done is let me to this point. And it´s not a bad position to be in!
That`s a very good statement for the end of this extensive interview. Thanks very much Wayne!
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