Dagens gäst i lördagssoffan är ingen mindre än Wayne Hussey från The Mission. Wayne började sin karriär som musiker i Dead or Alive i början av 1980-talet och några år senare var han låtskrivare och gitarrist i Sisters of Mercy (och skrev bland annat en av världens bästa låtar – ”Marian” tillsammans med Andrew Eldritch).
Efter Sisters of Mercy bildade Wayne bandet The Mission tillsammans med Craig Adams, Mick Brown och Simon Hinkler. 1986 släpptes The Missions debutskiva ”God´s own medicine” och efter det har bandet gett ut skivor som ”Children”, ”Carved in sand” och ”Masque”.
Bandets senaste skiva ”Another fall from grace” släpptes 2016 och har samma ursprungsmedlemmar som från debutskivan (med undantag av trumslagaren Mike Kelly). Eminenta musiker som bland annat Ville Valo, Gary Numan och Martin Gore medverkar som gäster på albumet.
Wayne har även gett ut ett par soloskivor på senare tid och är aktuell med en autobiografi inom snar framtid.
Poetry. How does it smell and taste? Is it older than mankind? How does is sound and where does it come from? What do you think Wayne?
– Poetry is an intrinsic part of life. It’s in the way the sun flattens on the ocean at sunset, the gentle curves of a woman’s hips, the last minute winner in a football match, the same welcome you receive from your dogs whether you’ve been away for ten minutes or a month, the way a new born baby clutches onto your finger, it’s in the wind that howls my name at night, in the storms that appear quickly on the horizon bringing their devastation and then disappearing as quickly as they came.
Poetry is everywhere in nature. It is not man-made, merely voiced by mankind. Poetry smells of jasmine, onions frying, the way my wife moves, an old guitar when you open its case after its been locked away for a while, clean washing drying on the line in the sun, freshly cut grass, and wet dogs. Tastes like fresh lemon juice with a spoonful of honey, like ice cold water on a scorching hot afternoon, like the breath of a sigh on naked flesh, like the fleeting glance from a curious stranger, like the warmth of an embrace from my wife, like the kiss that leads to more.
Poetry is all around us. It’s the pulse of sex between our legs. It’s in our eyes. And in our hearts. It’s in our birth, it’s in our death, it’s in our sweat when we make love. Poetry is music that touches our soul. The very many shades of green. The baby bird taking it’s first flight. Poetry is surrender to the senses.
You have written alot of lyrics during the years. Is it more difficult to write uplifting /lovesong lyrics like ”Like a child again”, than more dark lyrics like ”Only you and you alone” from your latest album?
– For me, not really. Whatever motivates me to write has to be a real emotion. Saying that though, there have been times when I have manufactured situations to provoke an emotional response. Sometimes the lyrics to a song mean nothing at all to me, they are merely words that sound good together to my ear. And those same lyrics will reveal a meaning to me way down the line, maybe a couple of years later when I’m singing the song for the hundredth time.
Sometimes the meaning to a lyric is never revealed to me, even if I’ve written it. There are no rules. If I’m happy I like to celebrate that happiness by making music. If I feel dark or blue I like to console myself with making music. There is redemption in music. It’s the music that provides the poetry for me, not necessarily the words conjoined to that music. In fact, the music that touches my soul the deepest, in the most poetic and profound way, is wordless. Just pure melody.
Does the lyrics come to you or do you have to go and find them? I read an interview with you for a while ago, where you said that the lyrics for the song Deliverance from the album Carved in sand came in a dream. Is this happening often or is it most hard work to write a good lyrics for you? (How many % are pure inspiration in the writingprocess in general…?)
– Again, there are no rules. Lyrics can be like women. Sometimes a lyric will come easy and quick, sometimes it needs a little nurturing, foreplay if you want, and sometimes it’s just plain stubborn and refuses to come at all. Words can come in a dream, for sure, but the trick is remembering them long enough when you wake up to get them either down on paper or on tape.
I’ve written the best songs the world has never heard in my dreams but they have disappeared as the sun has risen, never to be realised. I could read a book which will trigger a train of thought that leads to a lyric. Driving without any music on is a pretty good way to meditate and just let your thoughts go where they may. A lot of my one lines come that way – whilst driving.
The writing of words for song is the hardest part pf the process for me. Always has been. I’m not a natural writer of words, it is something that hasn’t ever come easy, but it is something I feel I have gotten better at with age and experience. A lyric can sometimes take just 30 minutes to write, another time it may take a few weeks for it to work it’s way out of my subconsciousness. And like with the writing of the music, it’s maybe 10-15% inspiration and the rest is hard graft.
How important are the lyrics for you in your music? Tell me some of your songs that means alot to you and the story behind them?
– Well, to be frank, before I started writing them for The Mission and even now I don’t pay an awful lot of attention to the words of a song that I listen to. I’ll pick out the odd phrase and line here and there that sounds good but I don’t sit there and analyse the words of the singer.
When we started the band and it fell to me to write the songs Craig Adams offered this sage piece of advice. “Don’t worry about the lyrics, just string any ol’ bollocks together that rhymes. It’s only journalists and other singers that listen to the words.” Thankfully, whilst I may have taken him at his word to begin with, I have taken more care with my own lyrics as time has progressed but certainly my early metrical attempts with the Mission were drug-fuelled and impenetrable in the most part.
It was only with our fourth album, Masque, that I was able to write the lyrics without the crutch of amphetamine and cases of cheap white wine and because of that, in my mind, that album has a clarity that no album before it had. Every song means something to me apart from one or two, even if I don’t always understand them. It’s easier to tell you the songs that don’t mean anything to me; ‘Paradise (will shine like the moon)’ springs readily to mind as one. ‘Tower Of Strength’ is a song that means a lot to me as it’s a song I wrote for our audience at a time I was down and blue and feeling maligned and persecuted by the UK music press and it was only the thought of our audience that stopped me from quitting the band at that time. You have to remember I was more used to being a guitarist in a band, not the front person, and whilst I was and am good as a front-man I was still fairly insecure about my abilities as such when we came to make that second album, Children.
How much work is it to get the music and lyrics work together? Which one are easier to tame?
– Generally it’s the lyrics that are the hardest part of the songwriting process for me. Coming up with new tunes I find very easy. I have literally 100s and 100s of musical ideas waiting to be worked on.
You have also written a collection of poems…Can you tell me about it?
– I did publish my collected lyrics in a book entitled ‘ And As The Sky Is Touched By The First Sigh Of Morning Light’ in a limited edition in 2013. Marcus Birro, a compatriot of yours, wrote the foreword for me. I’ll repeat here the preface that I wrote for the book.
”I fully realise that collecting for publication all the lyrics to the songs I have written can be largely construed as act of vanity. So be it. I am unashamedly vain. Mostly, the words for songs that are intended to be sung do not read so well without the concert of music but I, for one, do like to read the words stripped away from their natural habitat of song. There is sometimes a purity in the words that is obscured by the instrumentation of the music; a meter that is lost in the rhythm of the song; a meaning deflected by the singing voice.
Most of the words that I have written were never intended to be separated from their music. The music is as integral to the words as the words are integral to the music. It is not for I to separate the twain, to say that one lyric works better than another when standing alone without the benefaction of music. I am merely the author and that prerogative belongs to the listener or, in this case, the reader. My hope is that maybe you will be able to take something more, maybe even something new, from the words on the printed page that you’ve never been able to before when listening to the song.”
Poetrybooks that you never get tired of? Poets that has inspired you?.
– Whilst I can’t claim to have read a lot of poetry I have read some. When I was in my early 20s and had just moved to Liverpool I was introduced to the French poets – Baudelaire and Rimbaud of course, with a particular favourite book of mine being Cheeks On Fire by Raymond Radiguet.
Later on I read some Plath, Lorca, Byron, Anais Nin, even Shakespeare. But I wouldn’t claim to be an avid reader of written poetry. Written poetry has to be read out aloud though, I feel, so it’s not something you can do whilst you’re on a train or waiting in an airport lounge unless you want to be carried off to the funny farm.
Musicians that has influenced your songwriting?
– Lennon & McCartney, Dylan, Bolan, Bowie, Tom Verlaine, Cohen….the list is endless really.
And finally…Baudelaire or Poe?
– Baudelaire. I once, back in 1980, took a Baudelaire poem translated into English as ‘the sadness of the moon’ and set it to music. I can still read Baudelaire now (in English) and marvel at the worlds he conjures with his words.
I’ve read Poe too and like some of it but Poe to poetry is a bit like what Stephen King is to literature for me. I don ’t know whether it’s the American aesthetic but I just find it to be a little ‘pop’, if that makes sense.
(Photography: James Bacon. With permission to publish from Wayne Hussey)