The Mission were one of the defining cult bands of the 80s. Their army of loyal fans have followed them ever since they officially reformed in 2011. Their new chapter has seen them release their latest acclaimed album Another Fall From Grace which features guest performances from fellow Gothic and New Wave stars including Gary Numan and Ville Valo. As they embark on a UK tour and release the Another Fall From Grace box set, containing a beautifully presented 20 page limited edition book, including artworks and lyrics, DVD and bonus tracks, Photogroupie caught up with guitarist Simon Hinkler to talk about the past, present and future.
PG: WHEN YOU ORIGINALLY REJOINED THE BAND IN 2008 IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A ONE OFF. HOW DID YOU MAKE THE DECISION TO ALL STAY TOGETHER?
SH: It was supposedly the end of the line in 2008 and the reason I came on as a guest was because it was meant to be the last time the band would play. In 2010 the management said, “are you going to do anything for the 25th anniversary in 2011?” Wayne's feeling was to do it as long as he could get the original line-up back together. So we got three-quarters back, so that worked. We were only going to do a few British shows and that was going to be it, but it went down so well we thought “why are we going to stop doing this? Let's keep doing it, it's great!”
PG: WHAT'S IT LIKE WORKING WITH NEW (ISH) DRUMMER MIKE KELLY?
SH: From the outset, he's tried to recapture the feel of what Mick (Brown) used to do. Mike's a very accomplished drummer he's done a lot of session work and he teaches drums. His sound has worked well in the few years we've been together. He was playing with Spear of Destiny and I was playing with them for a couple of tours and Craig (Adams) still plays bass for them, so that's how we came to know him. We got people to 'audition' by sending a videotape of themselves playing along to Mission songs. We got a couple of names, quite well know drummers, but we didn't like any of them to tell you the truth. They didn't seem right. Mike we already knew, so we gave it a shot and it's worked out great.
PG: WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE WORKING WITH WAYNE AND CRAIG AFTER SO LONG AWAY?
SH: It was lovely. Back in the day everything just got too much and really hectic. Living with each other day in, day out for five years - you know what that can get like. It was intense with non-stop touring, so we didn't part on the best of terms when I quit the band. But that's all water under the bridge and you're never going to recreate something like that in your life. You do establish quite a bond with these people, so that's what we're like now, we're old knowing friends. It all seems a bit daft now, all the silly petty things we used to fall out over.
PG: ALL THAT PRESSURE CAN BECOME TOO MUCH AFTER A WHILE.
SH: Yeah that's what it was. And the fact that we were constantly out of our heads. (Laughs)
PG: THE NEW ALBUM IS QUITE DARK IN PLACES, WHAT SPARKED THAT TONE?
SH: It is quite darker, I don't know what Wayne was going through or why he wrote the lyrics that way, but it is very cathartic for him.
PG: A LOT OF THE GOTHIC AND NEW WAVE MUSIC OF THE 80S WAS QUITE DARK, THEN THINGS GOT HAPPIER IN THE 90S AND WITH ALL THE CHAOS OF THE WORLD THINGS HAVE GOT UNHAPPIER AGAIN. DID THIS SHIFT IN MELANCHOLY HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE REVIVAL AT ALL?
SH: No I don't think that's got anything to do with it. I think what's going on with bands of our generation, is the same with anybody even Frank Sinatra; the music that you grow up with as a teenager is the music that stays with you for life. Bands will run their course, times will change. Then one day the husband and wife look at each other and think “what shall we do now? Let's go out and have some fun,” and they go out and see the bands they loved before all the chaos started. It's the same with the bands. I left The Mission in 1990 and I totally stopped doing music for five, six years or so. I got married, lived in the States and had jobs. Eventually, you think “what should I do now?” I moved back to the UK and decided I wanted to do some music again. As long as the bands want it, the fans certainly want to see it, but it's just normal life as far as I'm concerned.
PG: WHAT MADE YOU STOP PLAYING FOR SUCH A LONG TIME?
SH: The music business as much as anything else. I still don't like the whole idea of music and business, they are two worlds that should never be together. In the late 80s as a band, we got cattled around. We were shuffled around like a commodity; go and do this, get on a plane and do this, then do a day of interviews, then do a TV mime and I just got sick of it.
PG: YOU HEAR THAT QUITE A LOT, MOST BUSINESS PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND ARTISTS.
SH: No, they don't give a fuck.
PG: I THINK IF YOU HAVEN'T GOT A CREATIVE MIND, YOU NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE AN ARTIST AND CREATE.
SH: A lot of people have bowed out of the music industry for that reason, they just can't stand it anymore and they don't want to be in the limelight. I did my own music for a while and trying to get something new started was like banging my head against a wall. Eventually, I thought “fuck this” and moved to America with my wife and started a whole new life.
PG: IT IS MUCH EASIER NOW IN SOME WAYS WITH CROWDFUNDING AND THE INTERNET, I GUESS MUSICIANS CAN AVOID ALL THAT CORPORATE STUFF NOW.
SH: We did do some crowd funding, I didn't have anything to do with it, I try and have as least as possible to do with the business, but we put this record together off our own backs. It's not specifically my band, so I will follow majority rule, but it was far preferable. I come from the late 70s and when I was in my first band we were making our own 7” singles. We'd record in backstreet studios and you'd pay someone in beer or whatever and spend the afternoon in a studio. It's become so easy to do that now, everybody has a studio in their house you don't have to use a recording studio anymore – you do it you want it to sound brilliant, but you can make it sound wonderful just in your bedroom.
PG: MAKING MUSIC IS MORE ACCESSIBLE NOW THAN IT EVER WAS. YOU HEAR STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE SAVING UP FOR THEIR FIRST GUITAR, BUT THERE ARE SO MANY MORE INSTRUMENTS AROUND NOW AT MORE REASONABLE PRICES.
SH: Absolutely, they're everywhere. People tend to have more money than thy used to. My first guitar took me ages to save up my pennies for. A second-hand Japanese one, it was really crap. I plugged it into the family tape recorded as an amplifier and learned to play in my bedroom like of people of my generation did.
PG: I READ THAT YOU BECAME DISILLUSIONED BY RELIGIONS FOR THE “STRANGLEHOLD” THEY HAVE ON THE WORLD. DO YOU STILL FEEL THAT WAY?
SH: It's a fundamental truth of life, I don't obey anything anymore. I used to get quite heated about this. It used to make me very angry. Nowadays I don't watch the news, I don't get into arguments about it, I've been off Facebook for several months now for the same reason; because I can't stand people chucking mud at each other, it's so stupid. I just have nothing to do with it and just focus on my own piece of mind.
PG: DOES ALL THE BAD STUFF IN THE WORLD AFFECT YOU?
SH: It will do your head in, and it was doing my head in pretty bad. I actually wasn't the kind of person who would follow the news when I was younger, but it was when 9/11 happened and we had the TV on. Without knowing it I started having the TV on every morning when I woke up and it was like “what's happened now?” About a year or so ago I just thought “I'm going stop doing this, it's just depressing the crap out of me.”
PG: IT'S ALMOST LIKE A FORM OF BRAIN-WASHING.
SH: I think that's what's happening, everybody is shit scared, everybody is angry. I can be as angry as the next person, but I'd rather not be. I'm quite a peace loving guy, I don't need all that. So I turned it off and focused on what I want to focus on.
PG: THE TRACK MET-AMOR-PHOSIS IS PRETTY MUCH A TRIBUTE TO BOWIE. HOW DID HIS DEATH IMPACT ON THE BAND?
SH: Are you kidding! Who didn't it effect? Bowie is the person I started listening to over and over again. It was horrible, it was so out of the blue.
PG: YOU'RE GOING ON TOUR LATER IN THE YEAR WITH ALICE COOPER. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
SH: That's going to be amazing, that came out of the nowhere too. Their agent was chatting with our agent and was impressed with how they got us back on the road and in the public eye. We got offered these Alice Cooper arena gigs and our manager emailed the lot of us and asked “what do you think?” and within moments everybody said, “well, yes!” We're all really looking forward to it.
PG: YOUR LAST SOLO ALBUM WAS IN 2005, CAN WE EXPECT ANYTHING SOON?
SH: On my solo album, it was the only time I put a record out that I wrote the songs, sang on it, played everything and it was incredibly satisfying. It's something I'd like to do again. I'm very much thinking about putting some songs together and doing another one. It's looking like we're going to take a break with The Mission next year, so that's what I'll hopefully do with my time.
THE MISSION UK Tour dates
THE MISSION ANOTHER FALL FROM GRACE TOUR 2017
dates in full
Thu 11th Norwich Waterfront
Fri 12th Belgium Leuven Het Depot
Sat 13th Germany Oberhausen New Waves Festival
Sun 14th Germany Flensburg Roxy
Wed 17th Bournemouth O2 Academy
Thu 18th Oxford O2 Academy
Fri 19th Liverpool O2 Academy
Sat 20th Newcastle O2 Academy
Wed 24th Greece Athens Gagarin 205
Fri 26th Sheffield O2 Academy (Wayne’s Birthday celebration show)