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They were the bad boys of the 80s, the goth version of The Stones or The Faces. At one point, The Mission were one of the biggest bands in the world, racking up sales of over 4 million albums and providing us with such classic songs as “Tower Of Strength”, “Beyond The Pale”, “Deliverance” and “Butterfly On A Wheel”. Their singer, songwriter and guitarist Wayne Hussey had already enjoyed moments in the spotlight with his former bands Sisters of Mercy and Dead or Alive and was possibly the most hedonistic of them all. Twenty six years after their last controversial Australian tour, UK’s The Mission, backed by a brand new album, will return here soon (see dates below) to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary. AM editor Greg Phillips battled a particularly bad phone connection to speak with the band’s legendary singer.

It wasn’t the ideal interview scenario … me calling from a forest on the outskirts of Melbourne where my phone connection is at best described as dodgy and The Mission’s main man on the other end of the line, a few hours drive from Sao Paulo, Brazil in his secluded rural hideaway. I was also apprehensive about the call. The reputation that Wayne Hussey had created for himself back in the day was one of excess in every aspect of his life and his behaviour during interviews could be as mischievous and erratic as anyone’s. However, time seems to have tamed Wayne and the person I found on the other end of the line was a complete gentleman, fully aware of his former foibles and an artist looking forward to coming to Australia to make amends for past shortcomings.

“What I do remember about the Australian tour in 1990 was that the band was in a really bad state,” he tells me. “Simon (Hinkler) had just left. There was the drug contingent, of which I was the leader and there was the drinking contingent, of which Craig was the leader. It was a case of never the twain should meet. There was a lot of shit going on internally, not just in the band but with the crew as well. We’d been on tour quite a while and it was a bit of a strain. By the time we got to Australia we were at breaking point to be honest. All I remember was trying to get drugs in Australia and back in the those days generally, they were the fast drugs so I didn’t get a lot of sleep. Our equipment had been impounded in Mexico so we didn’t get our equipment until half way through the tour. We were using borrowed equipment I believe, for the first couple of shows at least. But I’m looking forward to this tour. Craig has been back with The Cult and other people I know have been to Australia and told me it is great so I am looking forward to it. I think my opinion of it is pretty much coloured by my experience and I would like to put that right for sure.”

At 57 years of age, Hussey can no longer afford to be as wild as he once was, nor does he wish for such a lifestyle. Life with his Brazilian wife in the countryside has much appeal for him. “I love the lifestyle here,” he says. “Obviously the country has its problems but they have a good attitude to life, which I like.” What does remain the same for Hussey is his love of performing, however pre-gig rituals now bear little resemblance to his darker days. “Maybe I’ll have half a bottle of wine,” he suggests. “As I have given up the drugs, my health has become more of an issue! Isn’t that strange? I have to be careful about getting rest on tour. I am usually the first to bed and I try to get as much sleep as I can. I don’t do the things I once did … but I still have my moments.”

Shortly before our interview I noticed on Hussey’s Facebook page that a new solo single had just been pressed and that the record’s packaging was quite ornate. One thing I distinctly remember from The Mission’s halcyon days, was that their album packing was always elaborate and also presented in multiple formats. I wondered if that was the band or the label pushing for that? “Back in the day, the original single art and the first album too, was done by Sandy, the girlfriend of Mick the drummer,” he recalls. “She used to do illustrations and Mick would put the artwork together. Mick was actually the one who was most involved in the artwork in the early days. With a band you delegate different jobs to different people. Whatever you’re good at you get to do.”

Apart from being The Mission’s singer and main songwriter, Hussey is also an accomplished guitarist. In 2011 the Schecter guitar company honoured Wayne with his own signature 12 string guitar, the Wayne Hussey Corsair -12, featuring maple body and neck with mother of pearl Mission UK design inlay, with Schecter Diamond Tubebucker pickups. It’s a distinction he’s still proud of. “I’m chuffed,” he says. “If you told me as a young teenager trying to play guitar that one day there’s going to be  a signature guitar to my specifications, I’d say nah! It’s one of those things on the wish list that I have managed to tick off. It’s a very nice guitar. They built me one in 2011 for The Mission 25th anniversary tour and it’s a really lovely sounding thing. It plays beautifully for a 12 string because 12 strings can be quite difficult to play. It is set up really well and sounds great.”

Despite not touring Australia since 1990, Hussey has never really stopped performing and has recorded a couple of solo albums, his last was 2014’s Songs of Candlelight and Razorblades. On September 30th this year The Mission released a brand new album too, ‘Another Fall From Grace’. Of all the songs he has written, I asked which he was most proud of. “Well I’m like any musician who will probably say the one I’ve written most recently but I know what you are asking me,” he says. “I think in terms of The Mission and in terms of what the band is about, probably Tower Of Strength. In many respects I think that song encapsulates everything that is good about The Mission that song.”

Ticket info at

Friday 11th November The Factory, Sydney
Saturday 12th November The Triffid, Brisbane
Sunday 13th November Max Watts, Melbourne

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