Wayne Hussey, lead singer of The Mission, ex-Sisters of Mercy and collaborator with many (Dead or Alive, Gary Numan, The Cure etc.) has written, sang, and played on a considerable number of tracks that would be included in many peoples essential playlists. But what about the tracks that influenced Wayne? What would you find him chilling out to on a Sunday morning? We caught up with Wayne to take a very indepth look into the tunes that make up the soundtrack of his life…
BM: What was the first record you ever bought?
WH): Jeepster – T.Rex, My Sweet Lord – George Harrison, Ernie – Benny Hill
For the Christmas of 1971 my mum and dad bought me one of those Dansette type record players. You know, a box with a turntable and a speaker. Mine was blue. And because my parents had told my uncles and aunties that I was getting a record player for Christmas some of them had bought me record tokens as presents. So, a few days after Christmas I went to the local record shop and bought the 3 aforementioned singles with my tokens. Jeepster was no. 2 at the time in the charts and was the follow up to Get It On so that just had to be had. My Sweet Lord was a choice largely because he was an ex Beatle and I’d known the song from the radio the previous year. And Ernie was no. 1 at Christmas that year so, to my shame considering some of the other great singles that were around at the time, I followed the hordes and helped keep it at no. 1. I still have Jeepster and My Sweet Lord and still love ‘em. Ernie has long since rode his fastest milk cart in the west into the dustbin.
BM: The track that influenced you to start making music?
WH): Get It On – T. Rex.
This was released in the summer of 1971 when I had just turned 13. I remember hearing this on the radio and seeing Bolan and T.Rex on TOTP’s and thinking that his looked like a good job to have. Up to that point I’d always wanted to be a footballer but as I hit puberty I became a little averse to the training and dedication needed to be a sportsman. Being a pop star seemed an easier route for me to achieve my teenage goal of fame and fortune.
There’s something still to this day very sexual for me about the opening guitar riff. It’s not necessarily what Bolan played but more the sound. It’s pretty easy to play and I’ve owned plenty of guitars and amps in my life but no combination has ever gotten close to that particular sound. I was 13 and starting to feel sexual for the first time, I guess, so I always associate that sound with that teenage confusion that I must’ve been feeling. All the girls in school liked Bolan and I wanted that for myself.
BM:The record in your parent’s record collection that attracted your attention?
WH): Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks
Well, I was and am blessed with young parents, barely 19 when they had me, both still alive and very active, and fortunately blessed with a reasonable degree of taste in music when they were younger. Growing up in the 60’s there was always music in the house, be it the radio or 7” singles. The Beatles, obviously, were very big in our house as were bands like The Stones, The Kinks, and The Walker Brothers. When I got into music myself with T.Rex I would rifle through their 7 inchers and explore. ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’ by The Walker Brothers was a fave of mine, but if I had to choose only one then it has to be ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by The Kinks which I still absolutely adore. A brilliant song that started a long fondness for The Kinks for me. I also found a song by The Kinks called ‘Mr. Pleasant’ which was the b side to ‘Autumn Almanac’ which the Mission ended up covering many years later.
BM: The first record you ever covered?
WH): House Of The Rising Sun – The Animals
We covered this in the first band I was ever in. A school band that started off playing lunch-time shows in the school hall for the other students. The hardest audience ever to play to. We probably covered this because it was quite easy to play at a time when we, or I at least, weren’t proficient enough as musicians, to cover anything too complicated. I started writing my own songs because I wasn’t good enough to play other people’s songs. Thank God for my inefficiency. I started playing this again on my last solo tour, on the ukulele, and I must say I have a new appreciation of it as another brilliant song.
BM: The song you’d most like to cover, but can’t or won’t?
WH): Mmmm, not sure about this one. Of course there are many songs I’ve covered and would love still to cover and I’ve never shied away from trying any song. As long as I can put a bit of myself into it and make it my own then I don’t feel that any song is sacrosanct.
BM: Your Saturday night tune?
WH): Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones
Ah, there could be a few for a Saturday night but I have to choose this as it’s a bit like a Saturday night, isn’t it? You know, it takes a little while to get going, kind of creeps in, and then builds and builds to an absurd intensity. Just as a Saturday night should do. Or as I remember them being, I should say.
BM: And your Sunday morning record?
WH): Faure’s Requiem by The London Sinfonia with the Cambridge Singers conducted by John Rutter.
This absolutely beautiful chilled bliss. Perfect for a Sunday morning. In lieu of not going to church these days this is as close to a holy experience I can experience. This is the best version I’ve heard and I have bought various versions over the years. And anything else really of this ilk would work. The more melancholy classical stuff. Chopin’s pretty good. And current fave is the soundtrack to The Duke Of Burgundy by Cat’s Eyes.
BM: The track most likely to get you on the dancefloor.
WH): Not bloody likely these days, to be honest. But I may bounce around the house on my own to ‘Wrote For Luck – Think About The Future Mix’ by The Happy Mondays. Reminds me of my ‘E’ days when ‘E’ was good. I remember going to see The Happy Mondays with Mick Brown (original Mission drummer) at Wembley Arena back in the day and both Mick and I had dropped ‘E’s and we were stood there and I was grooving away to the music and I said to Mick, ‘they’re bloody good, aren’t they?’ to which Mick replied ‘they’re not on yet, that’s just the roadies setting up the gear and their pre-show tape’……..enuff said…….
BM: Do you have a Karaoke tune ?
WH): Again, don’t do karaoke. Never have done. Never sing in the shower either. If forced to choose I could go with ‘Without You’ by Nilsson. Another gorgeous song and so good to sing-a-long to.
BM: I there a record we might be surprised that you like?
WH): Oops, I did It Again – Britney Spears
I don’t know really if this would surprise anyone. It’s great pop. We did think about covering this a few years back but didn’t get around to it. I saw Britney Spears in concert in LA when I lived out there. My daughter, 6 years old at the time, loved Britney and so I got us tickets and took her to the show. And it was great. Exactly as you would imagine it to be but so well done. We only stayed for about 5 or 6 songs though as my daughter got bored and tired. I was all up for staying, buying the t-shirt, the lot, but kids come first, right?
BM: Your favourite track made by your friends?
WH): Song To The Siren – Robert Plant
If you’d asked me what my favourite album is I would’ve said Pornography by The Cure but as it’s fave track then I gotta go with this. Whilst I wouldn’t claim Robert as a friend he is someone I have known for a long time. It’s such a beautiful reading of a brilliant song. I haven’t heard a bad version of it, to be honest, but I’m sure there must be. This Mortal Coil did a mighty fine version and of course Tim Buckley’s original is gorgeous too. But Robert’s version hits the mark. My wife, Cinthya, and I went to see Robert perform in Sao Paulo a couple of years ago and when he played this song that night we were both in tears. Stunning strings on this version.
BM: And by the band that should have been/should be bigger?
WH): Dead Guitars
Friends of mine, they are based in Holland and Germany. They have supported the Mission on numerous occasions and I love them. They are releasing their 4th album later this year and it’s another doozy. I love Carlo’s voice and his writing and the guitars of Pete and Ralf are always sublime. In Ralf they have a sonic wizard. Some of the stuff he gets out of his guitar is just other worldy. Check out ‘Should I’ from their Airplanes album. Another great track is ‘Isolation’ from Flags. Some brilliant backing vocals on that track! Ha.
BM: Is there a set of lyrics really inspire you?
WH): I Am The Walrus – The Beatles
Well, we all know about Lennon’s genius for word play and this is the prime example. I have no idea what it’s about and that has taught me a valuable lesson. The realisation that not everything I write has to mean something. The story goes that Lennon was tripping on acid with an old school friend and they were talking about how everything he wrote was being analysed for deeper meaning when sometimes there was none there and, so, in an attempt to prove a point Lennon wrote this. It’s psychedelic for sure and of it’s time but this still stands up as brilliant imagination stretching. I know that there have been whole thesis’ written about the meaning of this song, how it’s an ode to Alistair Crowley and maybe it is, but to me it’s just about the most brilliant word play I know in song.
BM: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
WH): The Carpenters
Again, not sure how guilty this really is. The Carpenters released a slew of perfect pop singles throughout the 70’s. I always preferred their more melancholy moments like ‘Yesterday Once More’ ‘Rainy Days & Mondays’ and ‘Goodbye To Love’…….. such brilliantly written songs. And that voice! I remember Julianne Regan and I having a conversation about Karen Carpenter and how we both loved her voice and how under-rated she was, and this at a time when the fashion was for the deep rumble of an Eldritch or a McCoy.
BM: What is the best track ever made?
WH): Bloody hell, impossible to answer. OK, because of my mood today then I will say ‘Only The Lonely’ by Frank Sinatra. It comes from the album of the same name and it is the best break-up, heartbreak album ever. Even if I’m in a good mood I can put this album on and it almost makes me wanna go through a break-up just to experience the melancholy that this album induces. And this is gorgeous, this particular track. You feel all the pain of a lost or unrequited love. We’ve all been there, we all know how painful this can be. Next time you’re in this situation stick this album on and it will comfort you, I guarantee it.
BM: What will you have played at your funeral?
WH): God Only Knows – The Beach Boys & You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & The Pacemakers
Both self explanatory really, aren’t they? ‘God Only Knows’ is the PERFECT pop record, one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, in my humble opinion. It’s a song that encapsulates every ache, every joy, every moment of treasure of being in love, and a song that will forever be mine and Cinthya’s. It’s hymnal in quality, spiritual, elevating, and a celebration. And that is how a life should be remembered, right?
Besides the obvious football connotation and being a lifelong LFC supporter it has to be said that ‘You’ll Never walk Alone’ is a fabulously uplifting song. With music being the salve that it can be it’s given comfort to many in times of great distress and grief. Another brilliantly written song that has been covered many, many times, even by yours truly.
BM: What about with the band – is there a tour bus favourite?
WH): Screamadelica – Primal Scream
These days I am usually the first to bed when I’m on tour and don’t really join in with the back lounge revelling. But on the odd occasion when I decide to neglect my beauty sleep for a bit of bus surfing Screamadelica does it for me. A great album that tells perfectly the story of a trip.
I know ACDC was a favourite for a while with some of my fellow travellers but as soon as Angus strung on his axe and cracked open his chest of lobotomised guitar riffs I was off to the Land Of Nod. Ta ta for now.
BM: From your own back catalogue, which song are you most proud of/means the most to you? Why?
WH): I think it would have to be ‘Litany For The Faithful’ from the last Mission album, ‘The Brightest Light’. It’s essentially a song for our audience again and how, every time I try to break away from doing this, I always get pulled back. It’s an irresistible force. The Mission is my spiritual home. I involve myself with other projects and I may take a few years hiatus every now and then but I keep coming back to this beast that is the band. I can’t ever see the day when I will finally hang up my metaphorical hat.
BM: And finally, do you have a favourite Mission song?
WH): Tower Of Strength
I still get a big kick out of playing this with the band. For me it’s the song that perfectly sums up what the Mission are about. It’s the song that engenders the communal spirit that is evidenced at most Mission shows. It’s a song that I wrote for our audience at a time when I was seriously questioning what we were doing and our place in the scheme of things. It demands audience participation otherwise it doesn’t work.
BM: Cheers Wayne – for more BMafia features on Wayne and The Mission see the following links:
The Mission Live at Bearded Theory
Wayne Live at Holy Trinity Church Leeds
From An Old Record Box: Hands Across The Ocean
You can catch Wayne and The Mission live on the up coming dates:-
Blood Brothers – O2 Academy Islington – July 22nd and 23rd
Melkweg Amsterdam – July 24th
Festug Konigstein, Sachsen, Germany – July 25th
For more Soundtrack of Our Lives click HERE
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Thanks for the quiz.
You forgot to ask the most importants questions:
Wich is your favourite wine? And your favourite live audience?
“We caught up with Wayne to take a very indepth look into the tunes that make up the soundtrack of his life…”
We were talking about his favourite/most memorable songs – But I’ll be sure to ask him about the wine etc. next time.
Thanks for reading.