Music Interview: Wayne Hussey

Wayne Hussey. Photo: Duncan Bryceland
Wayne Hussey. Photo: Duncan Bryceland
Have your say

WAYNE Hussey may have escaped many of the trappings of stardom these days, but in the Brazilian countryside where he now lives he retains a celebrity status for his work with 80s and 90s rock group The Mission.

“We had a couple of hits here, they still play them on the radio,” says the 53-year-old singer and guitarist.

“In the local town where I live I’m known as the Severina guy – the pop star on the hill.”

Hussey moved to the Sao Paolo region after marrying a Brazilian. “When we first got married we were living in California a while,” he recalls. “We also spent a lot of time in England and here. We decided we preferred to be in one place – and property prices were a lot cheaper here than anywhere else.”

While he misses family and friends in England, he is able to keep abreast of English football – and his beloved Liverpool FC. “I get to see more live football games here – they screen four or five Premier League games a week.”

The only downside is Brazilians’ heavily meat-orientated diet. “I’m vegetarian. I miss the vegetarian choices in England. They don’t fully understand the concept here.”

Next month Hussey reunites with Simon Hinkler and Craig Adams for The Mission’s 25th anniversary tour. After supposedly laying the band to bed in 2008, he admits he had to be “coerced” into doing these shows by his manager and former bandmates. Even then it took a chat with Mick Brown, the band’s original drummer, before Hussey was convinced. “He gave us his blessing – that was a big deal for me. If he had not been happy about us doing it without him, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Now they’re nearing reheasals, though, he’s “quite excited about it. We’ve been taking back and forth by email. I’m really looking forward to making a big noise with Craig and Simon.”

There won’t be any new material; instead the set will comprise material from the albums that Hussey made with Hinkler and Adams in The Mission’s glory years between 1986 and 1991. “That’s it,” says Hussey. “It’s about nostalgia. People are not going to come wanting to hear new songs. If they wanted they wanted to hear new songs they should come to see my solo shows.”

Of all the songs from The Mission’s four million-selling back catalogue, Hussey’s singles out Tower of Strength, from their 1988 album Children. “If I had to pick one that encompasses what’s good about The Mission it would be that one. It’s not the best song I’ve ever written but it captures the essence of The Mission.”

Hussey has mixed memories of his time in Leeds, the city where he lived from 1983 to 1987 (before forming The Mission he and Adams were members of the Sisters of Mercy).

He remembers a “very vibrant music scene” with the likes of Marc Almond, the Wedding Present and The Three Johns, but living on Cardigan Road, in the heart of Headingley, was not without its hassles. “Every time I went on tour I used to get burgled,” he recalls. “I’d buy a new telly or a stero and come back to find someone had stolen it. I got a bit sick of that, so I moved down to ‘that London’.”

Being in the Sisters afforded him “local notoriety”.

“I was able to get into nightclubs free. I got into trouble in a couple of those places – that’s the folly of youth.”

Did he mind being bracketed as a goth? “At the beginning we did. When you are labelled like that it restricts your potential audience. People will dismiss you without listening to you. It’s the same with any music that got a label – if you said to me ‘that’s heavy metal’, I won’t listen to it. Certainly for the first few years we bristled against it but I really don’t mind any more. I’ve been called far worse than a goth.

“And to be honest that audience has been very faithful to us. If it was not for them, I’m not sure I would be here today.

“I don’t subscribe to the goth lifestyle, I’ve never thought of myself as a goth, but if that’s how I’m perceived there’s not a lot I can do about it.”

As well as The Mission’s reunion, Hussey is about to release his first album for four years. It’s a collaboration with longtime friend Julianne Regan, singer with All About Eve, and is called Curios.

“I think it’s a great album,” Hussey says, of a record that comprises four cover versions chosen by each participant, plus a song from each other’s band and a new song from each of them. Among the choices are songs by Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, David Bowie and Jimmy Webb.

“If you are a Mission fan or an All About Eve fan I can’t guarantee you will like this,” he warns. “It’s just two voices that work well together.”

Signed discs will be available at The Mission’s Leeds gig – with The Wonderstuff and Salvation – or from the website A deluxe edition will be released by Cherry red on November 7.

A second Hussey-Regan collaboration may follow, though Hussey admits that, having been happily married for 10 years, writing lyrics about troubles with “relationships, love and sex” is more challenging.

“I would have to manufacture some kind of situation,” he says. “Whether I work with Julianne or not, I’m going to have to be more outward-looking. It’ll be a good exercise for me.”

As for The Mission, it seems it’s never say never again. “When we did the shows in 2008 I thought at that point that would be the end of it. I had no intention of coming back to this. But we are going to see how it goes. There’s talk of us playing some show in South America. It could be that this is something we do now and again.”

Much could depend on the inner-workings of the band. “Simon and Craig have previously walked out on tours – Craig did it a couple of times,” Hussey notes wryly. “I’m going to see how long it takes before I drive them to it again.”

Oct 28, O2 Academy Leeds, Cookridge Street, Leeds, 7pm, £25. Tel: 0844 477 2000.