In the beginning…
In late 1985 Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams left The Sisters Of Mercy and formed The Mission and in early 1986 embarked on their first European tour, supporting The Cult. They released 2 singles independently, both reaching No.1 in the UK alternative charts, before signing a worldwide record deal with Phonogram (now Universal)
Their first single for the new label, “Stay With Me”, went straight into the UK chart at No. 30 followed by their debut album “God”s Own Medicine” at No. 14. Over the next eight years the band released six more albums and had a further 12 hit singles including anthemic classics such as “Wasteland”, “Tower Of Strength”, “Beyond The Pale”, “Deliverance” and “Butterfly On A Wheel”. Total worldwide album sales to date have now well exceeded 3 million.
During this period, The Mission enhanced their reputation as one of the best and most exciting live bands in the world winning countless accolades, and inspiring both lurid media stories and a fanatical following as they toured constantly including highlights like seven sold out consecutive shows at the Astoria Theatre in London, headlining the famous Reading Festival twice, and also playing with U2, The Cure and Robert Plant.
In 1994, the band parted company with Phonogram after a number of contractual disputes and signed their label “Neverland” to Sony Dragnet in Europe. Two years and two more album releases later, the band decided to call a halt to the general craziness of their existence to seek respite and well earned solace.
In 1999, fully reinvigorated, The Mission reunited and after a few spectacularly successful early shows, embarked on a year long tour that saw the band visit places as far flung as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, USA, South Africa, Greece (Recon 2000 tour), including memorable appearances at the Eurorock and M”era Luna Festivals and which culminated in a successful European tour in November/December 2000.
In late 2001 The Mission released what many consider to be their finest album to date in “AurA”. It marked the beginning of a contemporary and exciting new era for the band and the welcome return of all of the band”s old swagger, relevance and confidence. The album reached No. 1 in the German alternative chart and stayed there for eight weeks. The band also embarked on a German tour as special guests of ”HIM” to coincide with the release of the album, quickly followed by their own very successful six week tour of Europe in early 2002.
In April of that year, The Mission returned to South America for proposed shows in Brazil, Argentina, Chile & Peru. Unfortunetly, during the course of their time in Brazil, original member Craig Adams decided that he was homesick and wanted to go home. So he did but Wayne Hussey continued on and played the remaining shows on his own with just an acoustic guitar. As soon as the South American tour was finished, the band repaired to the UK and found a replacement bass player and seamlessly carried on throughout the summer to play further successful shows in Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Ireland, Germany, USA, and the UK.
In 2003, the band prepared to embark on their next tour (Pilgrimage) which was take them once again across Europe. The new line-up of the band (Wayne being joined by Rob Holliday on guitars, Ritchie Vernon on bass and Steve Spring on drums) brought a new energy and dynamic to the band. They continued to wow crowds and critics alike who could not deny the enegy of the band in a live show was just as big as ever.
The band continued to tour during 2003 (Pilgrimage), 2004 (Breathen and Absolution) and 2005 (Lighting the Candles) with the interim periods seeing Wayne working on several side projects including those with Italian musicians, Volita Lux and the film Mercenario, resulting in the limited edition CD Single “Breath Me In”, which reached number one in the German DAC charts.
During the 2005 “Lighting the Candles” tour, a double DVD of the same name was released to coincide with the tour. Packed with footage from live shows, video singles, behind the scenes footage, it has been critically acclaimed as one of the most complete video releases any band has done to date. The tour also saw the return of Mark Gemini Thwaite on guitar as Rob Holliday had prior commitments with The Prodigy.
Early 2006 saw Universal Records release “Anthology – The Phonogram Years” – a compilation of some of the band’s finest work plus some rare and never heard before tracks, plus “Waves Upon the Sand / Crusade” DVD – a re-release of two Mission videos.
2007 saw the 21st anniversary of The Mission. A time to reflect? Maybe…..
The Mission were formed by Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams in late 1985 after they’d left The Sisters Of Mercy. In the time since they have enjoyed worldwide album sales in excess of 4 million. They have racked up 14 Top 40 UK hits. They have headlined at some of Europe’s most prestigious festivals. They have toured the world countless times, breaking records and breaking hearts in the process.
During this time The Mission have also endured many line-up changes and experienced the peaks and troughs that would, and have, surely killed off many bands made of less sterner stuff. That The Mission still exist and still command a fanatically loyal worldwide audience stands as testament to their durability and the quality of both their recorded output and the excitement of their live shows.
2007 saw the 21st anniversary of The Mission. A time to look forward?
God is a bullet
The Mission released their album ‘God Is A Bullet’ on SPV in April 2007. It would’ve been easy for the band to revisit past glories but they resisted. The Mission recorded a forward looking album that was both brave and adventurous. It’s a ‘guitar’ album full of swagger, confidence, good tunes, and, in Wayne Hussey, a songwriter that is at the top of his game.
‘God Is A Bullet’ features new songs recorded between September and December 2006. The basic tracks were recorded at NAM studios, near Bath in England. The rest of the album was completed at Wayne Hussey’s own ‘Green Room’ studio in Brazil. Produced by Wayne the album features the line-up of Mark Gemini Thwaite on guitar, Rich Vernon on bass, and Steve Spring on drums, as well as Wayne contributing his own unique guitar style and distinctive voice.
Musically, it was sometimes brazen, it is sometimes a whisper. It is sometimes brutal, sometimes seduction. It is what every Mission fan was surely hoping for without being exactly what they expected.
Lyrically, it was the most diverse set of lyrics ever composed by Wayne. There are songs that deal with a variety of subject matters close to his heart. The album also boasts the contributions of some very special guests. Simon Hinkler, the original guitarist with The Mission, has graced the album with some superlative guitar playing, as did Tim Bricheno, original guitarist of All About Eve. Julianne Regan, again from All About Eve, who was the female voice on notable early Mission recordings such as ‘Severina’ and ‘Beyond The Pale’, added her angelic voice alongside Wayne’s on a couple of tracks. The album also featured the talents of cellist Caroline Dale, credits including Page & Plant, Dave Gilmour, Oasis, as well as a multitude of film soundtracks, and a regular member of the London Metropolitan Orchestra. As is violinist Cathy Thompson who can count, the Michael Nyman band, Peter Gabriel, Page & Plant, & Robbie Williams amongst her many credits.
In March 2008, Wayne Hussey announced a hiatus to The Mission activities – perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. After twenty-one glorious years, Wayne felt The Mission had reached a point where continuing to tour and produce Mission albums and singles against his own need to explore himself as an individual, not just the lead singer of an influential band meant that the band was placed on an indefinite hiatus.
It was also in 2008 that Wayne released “Bare” a unique and reworked collection of material from both The Mission back catalogue and other favourite covers, such as U2’s “With Or Without You”. During his announcement on MWIS he said “The recordings are loosely based on the solo shows I have played over the last few years. It’s basically just acoustic guitar, piano, some other keyboards like organ and mellotron, an old beat box, and cello on a track or two. There are no electric guitars, no bass, no ‘real’ drums. In fact, no band.In a lot of respects I don’t really consider ‘Bare’ as being my first solo album. It’s more an acoustic re-working of part of my past.”
2009 saw Wayne embarking on his own projects, including a number of solo dates across Europe including Greece, Germany, Italy and the UK which continued into 2010.
During 2010, although the band had officially split in 2008, a follow up album to “God Is A Bullet” was released. “Dum Dum Bullet” was a collection of tracks recorded during the GIAB era and released to close the chapter on that period. It included 14 tracks – some were new, some were previously only available as B-sides and some were high quality demos. It also included a reworking of “Dumb” by Mark Gemini Thwaite (Dambusters 617 Squadron mix) that he described as “deconstructed the studio version and recreated a dancefloor monster with new sounds, loops and additional guitars.”
Wayne Hussey said of Dum Dum Bullet: “The band were enjoying a very creative and productive period and obviously had a lot of surplus material left over which I have recently found the time and inclination to complete. Some of these tracks made it to single B-sides and extra tracks etc, but only three of which having previously made it onto limited edition CD release. A couple of tracks here are, in fact, just Wayne Hussey demos, and a couple more tracks would be stretching the truth a little to actually call them Mission tracks as there is no one else performing on them apart from yours truly. But that’s not the first time that that has happened. It’s an album of curios, that will maybe raise a little debate amongst Missionaries, an album of could-haves, would-haves and should-haves...”
In May 2010, Wayne confirmed that he and former Mission guitarist, Simon Hinkler would be performing on the same stage at Whitby Goth Weekend (in October) and may even play a few songs together… this caused the Mission community to wonder if this could signal a new era in the band’s history… maybe…just maybe.
Later in 2010 Wayne confirmed more concrete plans on a collaboration with Julianne Regan, former lead singer of “All About Eve” after announcing their intention in 2009. Wayne and Julianne have a long association with their respective bands having toured together, as well as each artist appearing on various recordings of the other’s work. Although they had been loosely working on ideas since 2006, in an interview with Andrew Collins on BBC 6 Music, Wayne revealed that both he and Julianne were collaborating. Wayne had said “It´s a fairly loose remit with the only criterions being that we record songs we both like and we, Julianne and I, play all the instruments ourselves… Some songs will be duets and some will feature one of us more than the other…”. The album surfaced in 2011 and was titled “Curios”
XXV Anniversay & Homecoming
Although the band was still split, there had been much activity both in public and behind the scenes. 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of The Mission. To celebrate this momentous time in history, Wayne Hussey announced that he, along with original members Craig Adams and Simon Hinkler and a special appearance at both the London and Leeds shows by long time Mission guitarist, Mark Thwaite would tour around the UK and Europe playing many of the classic Mission songs. Not only that, but both Fields of the Nephilm and Wonderstuff appeared with the Mission on certain dates!
In April 2011, with rumours abound, prayers and wishes were answered and dashed at the same when Wayne announced that he had reformed with Simon and Craig, as well as Budgie (of Sioxsie and the Banshees) to record a new album. It was an April fools joke of course (as is customary with MWIS April announcements) but people were wondering if this was indication of something more to come.
July 2011 saw Wayne state that the XXV shows were a continued celebration of The Mission and the achievements of its’ various incarnations over the years, but The Mission was not his No.1 priority. When answering fans questions from the Mission forum he said “As it stands right now, no I wouldn’t (make another album). It just doesn’t seem to make any sense to me. It would probably cost quite a bit to do and I really don’t think we’d sell enough to make it financially viable. But saying all that we do have a tour coming up and I’m playing together with Simon and Craig again for the first time in many years so who knows?”
A live CD of the XXV London show was released after many requests and the XXV tour itself was extended to include South America, Europe and the 2012 Download festival. 2012 also saw the formation of “Blood Brothers”, an alter-ego of The Mission that played some venues around the UK as warm up for the XXV shows. At the end of 2012, the band released “Silver”, a collection of discs – both video and audio – of the XXV shows, thus drawing a conclusion of the XXV era.
Sometimes the Truest Kiss Comes with a Whores Embrace
2013 saw more Wayne Hussey solo shows, but the biggest news came April 1st – traditionally a time to announce some April fool by Wayne….
“So, today, this morning, we convene at a rehearsal studio near Bath in the lovely English West Country to start the rehearsals for the recording of our new album. We’re gonna spend 10 days here sifting through the approximately 25 new songs that I’ve written and see what works as a band and what doesn’t. And then we will debut some, or hopefully most, of these songs over the three nights of shows at the Bristol Thekla we have coming up shortly.” Some wondered if this was yet another joke, but when announcements followed of the band signing to SPV and The End Records, sighs of relief that The Mission, a band that had endured almost 28 years through thick and thin, would continue – and continue with three of the four original members. Only Mick Brown (original drummer) was absent, replaced by Mike Kelly, from the XXV shows. Mick had not been in an active band for some time – he had moved on and was in a different place in life and felt it not appropriate to be part of the band.
July 2013 saw the announcement of the new album “The Brightest Light” , available worldwide from September. It coincided with a US tour (also in September) as well as UK tour in December, including some dates with Fields of the Nephilim. Singles released from the album thus far have been “Sometimes The Brightest Light Comes From The Darkest Place” and an already Mission fan classic, “Swan Song”.
Where the band goes from here? Sky’s the limit.