Looking back on the three-decade-old goth-rock movement, it's difficult to pinpoint a more crucial player than Wayne Hussey. After starting out as one of Pauline Murray's sidemen, he quickly rose in the ranks to join Pete Burns' Dead or Alive, Andrew Eldritch's Sisters of Mercy — writing most of the band's definitive "First and Last and Always" — and finally The Mission UK, whose 1986 debut, "God's Own Medicine," stands as one of the genre's all-time classics. The group — which he still fronts — just returned with a gravelly new Dave Allen-produced barnstormer "The Brightest Light," featuring founding members Simon Hinkler and Craig Adams. But just don't call him a goth, the Brazil-based Englishman pleads — he's never really subscribed to that sepulchral lifestyle.
You were once one of rockdom's wildest partiers. But on your new voodoo-themed track "Black Cat Bone," you sing, "It's not the white powder anymore that's keeping me awake." So what does? Now it's actually having to go to the bathroom too many times in the night! And the things that I really hate — and it gets harder and harder as you get older — are the hangovers and the comedowns, so I'd rather stay away from all that stuff. I'll have a bottle of wine before I go onstage, but that's the extent of it for me these days. Now we have a young drummer [Mike Kelly] who we live vicariously through. We'll say to him, "Hey, have a toke on this!" or "Put this up your nose!" And then we just watch him go, really. It's a lot healthier for us.
How great was working with Penetration's sorely underrated frontwoman Pauline Murray? That was my first tour, and it was a good experience. But my habits that persisted for many years were introduced to me on that tour. It wasn't Pauline, it was other people around the band. But the first time I ever did cocaine was when we were in the studio recording with Pauline, and Martin Hannett was producing. I was like, "Hey! I quite like this! Can I have some more?"
But nobody likes the adult bohemian who still takes drugs, right? That's absolutely true. So we've tried to grow old with dignity. And it's funny — I had longer hair when we played our first show in D.C. the other night, and some photos got posted on Facebook. And my wife called me the next morning and said "You looked great. From the head down! You've got to get your hair cut, you look like an old auntie!" So that very day I found a hairdresser's and had it all cut off. I'm shorn now!