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Craig Adams The Mission - Interview
The Rockpit interviews

CRAIG ADAMS

THE MISSION


The Mission

It's been almost 30 years since I last spoke to Craig Adams, long ago in another country, it seems like another world. The Mission were new, we were both considerably younger and now we're here again years later in two different continents talking about the second time the Mission will play down under after a gap of almost 25 years from a tour they probably won't recall too much of. Craig of course has played with all the big names in Goth - from The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission to The Cult and Spear of Destiny, it's a unique achievement. These days of course he's back in The Mission and a new album rumoured to bridge the gap between The Sisters and The Mission is about to drop. Today finds us both in fine fettle.

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THE ROCKPIT: Hi Craig thank you so much for talking to The Rockpit. I'm having a great day today, how are you?

CRAIG: (After a contented sigh) Oh you know, its eight o'clock in the evening now, is it morning there?

THE ROCKPIT: It is.

CRAIG: You know I think someone got the times wrong here and presumed I lived in LA, but I live here in Washington D.C. and it's all good, here I am with a glass of wine, sat outside talking to Australia, it can't be bad.

THE ROCKPIT: Can't be bad at all and out here in the West, we're exactly the other end of the day and we've got a bit of English weather, which I guess is something you don't miss?

CRAIG: What part of Australia?

THE ROCKPIT: We're in Perth!

CRAIG: Oh the windy place!

THE ROCKPIT: It does get windy in the City like Chicago right there on the River, then there's the Doctor. (The Fremantle Doctor a cooling wind that hits in the afternoons). You remember Perth?

CRAIG: I do, I was in the Cult for a while and we played the Big Day Out it was the last date of the tour, we stayed with friends and that's how I remember the wind. We were down at the beach and she said, 'We have to leave now' and I said 'Why?' and she told me 'because the wind will come' (laughs).

THE ROCKPIT: The Fremantle Doctor, you can set your clock by it!

CRAIG: I couldn't believe that it was so on time! It was like a German train (laughs).

THE ROCKPIT: We are proud of our wind down here, everyone should take it in!

CRAIG: Yeah we like good wind! (laughs).

THE ROCKPIT: (laughs) On to the upcoming tour now, but first I just wanted to say that the first time I saw The Mission was at Leeds University with All About Eve and Rose of Avalanche in support, can you name the year?

CRAIG: Holy crap! (laughs) When was that!

THE ROCKPIT: Now you're asking I think it was '86 maybe '87! So are you looking forward to heading back this way?

CRAIG: You know what we really are, it's been a long time! It was sort of weird when it came up because we'd not been there as the Mission for so long, I'd been there with other bands but not as the Mission. We actually had a terrible time there last time, it must have been '90 or '91. Wayne and I were not speaking and the band was on the verge of collapsing in on itself. It was the end of the tour and everyone had had enough, I mean the tour had been going on for about a year. So in Wayne and I's memories it was quite a bad time but we thought when the offer came up - let's go to Australia again and do things correctly!

THE ROCKPIT: That's a good enough reason! 26 years since you were here last and you're back now with all the material under the belts and a new album to come. Do you remember much of that last time apart from the fact that you and Wayne weren't talking? Or is this going to be like a new experience?

CRAIG: Well two of the guys haven't been there before so it will be a new experience for them and I think they'll love it. Wayne, I sort of laughed with him, I had a really good time on the Big Day Out with the Cult and I was telling him about that, and he was like 'Umm, I'm not so sure!' But he's convinced now, he keeps say it will be good and I think he's convinced himself! It'll be fine!

THE ROCKPIT: And it should be nice and hot in November for you!

CRAIG: I know, I remember the hottest gig I ever played was in Brisbane, it was just insane! So I'm slightly concerned about that. But you asked me before about what I remembered about last time and I do remember that we were without a lot of our equipment, it had all been seized in South America, so we were playing a lot on borrowed equipment. All this weird stuff like playing with some other bands really odd gear, and there's a lot of flying involved too I remember that!




THE ROCKPIT: On the 25th Anniversary Tour a few years back you concentrated on playing music from that Golden Period of '86 to '90 - what are you going to be playing on this tour for us?

CRAIG: Well because we've not been over there for so long I think that we'll certainly play a lot from that 'Golden Period' as you say (laughs), that makes us feel a bit like pensioners!

THE ROCKPIT: (laughs)

CRAIG: (still laughing) Yes concentrate on the Golden years! Seriously though we have a bout 40-50 songs that we pick from every night, we don't play the same stuff and there will be stuff from the new album, but we're clever enough to realize that not having been there for 26 years we're not going to come out and say 'We're The Mission and tonight we're going to play the entire new album!' Nobody wants that. So we have a lot to choose from and we change it every night, sometimes we'll throw in an old one, sometimes a new one, sometimes even a cover. We sort of like to change it up but saying that, you've got to play the hits. I remember going to see Bryan Adams once and if he doesn't play that stupid song everyone feels ripped off! What can you do!

THE ROCKPIT: I dug out all the old 12" vinyl last night and had a bit of a listen! All the really old stuff prior to the first album.

CRAIG: I think we were clearly all on drugs! When you listen to some of those 12" singles you think what the hell were we doing? (laughs). We just don't take the same drugs anymore!

THE ROCKPIT: You yourself have had a pretty unique musical journey, I know a few people are a bit loath to use the word "Goth" anymore, but you and Wayne were in The Sisters (of Mercy); then you formed The Sisterhood that became The Mission, you've played with the Cult - you've done it all as far as the big names are concerned!

CRAIG: Yes I am the professional Goth!

THE ROCKPIT: (laughs).

CRAIG: But if you could see me now in my brown shorts and my flip-flops sitting outside on the balcony drinking wine you might not think I was a Goth!

THE ROCKPIT: I'm sure we'll have a few in attendance though, those big boots, dark clothes and scowls? I'm not sure we'll see any Eskimos though? [Eskimos were the legendary Mission fans that scared the hell out of me as a kid!]

CRAIG: You know I can't walk in those boots. There is actually an Eskimo in Australia though you know. I do know this and she actually comes over to the US and Europe when we play so it will be good to see here on her home turf. What's the Goth scene like in Australia now?

THE ROCKPIT: I think it's pretty much the same as everywhere, not like it was when I was young, it's all gone a bit too "industrial" for me. We had The Cure over the other night though so we got to see them all out, and there were a few traditional Goths, a few of the old school.

CRAIG: I know what you mean, when it went Industrial to me at least we lost a lot of the, I guess, "songs" and it just became about "banging stuff", I don't like to slag people off but come on guys, let's have a tune!

THE ROCKPIT: I know for me the scene with bands like The Sisters, The Mission, The Cure, The Cult even bands like Play Dead, it was all about those songs, and there was a lot of rock in there too especially in The Mission, some Zeppelin and all that grandiose power. Everyone might have worn black in the scene but it was all about the songs.

CRAIG: I think you're right, I mean we never denied that we weren't sort of bombastic! And people revered it and others thought it was a bit off but that was sort of what we were going for!

THE ROCKPIT: And you all survived it too, I remember Melody Maker back in the day having a sweep on which of the Mission would check out first.

CRAIG: (sighs) I know, all we've really done since then though is got slightly better at managing our bad habits! We've all still got them though!

THE ROCKPIT: And you've a new album on the way too! When does that come out?

CRAIG: Hold on a minute, the album I think, wait there I've got a piece of paper that tells me all kind of things like that! (we both laugh). I have all these things I'm supposed to know that I don't really know (still laughing) urrrr, it's coming out, um, I don't know September I think. Sort of pre the tour. It was interesting though as this time we've had to go modern, it was the first album we'd made that didn't have all of us in the studio. So I'm in Washington D.C., Wayne is in Brazil in Sao Paolo, and Simon, well Simon is wherever Simon is! Mike is in Brighton, so we do files and send them round, and our producer Tim Palmer who did our first and third albums is in Texas so we sent all the files to Texas and this is the modern world!




THE ROCKPIT: It's great that it enables you to do things like that but with it being such a change in the way you're used to working, do you feel you lose anything in doing things that way?

CRAIG: (pause) We're not sure yet! Until we get together which we do in Dublin at the end of August to rehearse for the tour, we kind of don't know which of the new songs we can actually play together if you know what I mean! Or what's going to work because we haven't actually been in a studio playing them. So it's going to be a weird sort of enterprise. We'll have to see.

THE ROCKPIT: A few years ago now you did an album with Billy Duffy (The Cult) and Mike Peters (The Alarm) under the name Coloursound, which I actually loved. What happened to that project?

CRAIG: It was a case of Billy Duffy getting the call saying 'Do you want to get The Cult back together?' (laughs).

THE ROCKPIT: (laughs).

CRAIG: Yes that got us hook, line and sinker, we'd actually been out on tour as Coloursound and the band was looking really good and some manager called from LA and spoke to Billy and told him Ian wanted to get The Cult back together, and Billy was like 'See you later guys'. And it was actually a shame as it was really good and sort of worked really well, but these things happen. And I thought oh well, if Billy is back in The Cult then I'll be back in The Cult as well - no! Wrong!

THE ROCKPIT: What are your best memories of the really early days? I know you left school to become a musician, and I know you originally played keyboards before switching to bass.

CRAIG: I was, I was a keyboard player and this is a really stupid story. I was in a band called the Expelairs and we got offered a deal, a really god deal for like three singles and an album, this was in 1978 and the other guys in the band said that they'd prefer to do an independent single and I thought, 'Are you serious? We've just been offered lots of money'. So I was really pissed off. And then I met this bloke called Andrew Eldritch in a club in Leeds and he said that he had a band and they needed a bass player and so I said, 'I can play bass', which I couldn't, I was a bad bedroom guitarist, but I borrowed a bass, went round, plugged it into a fuzz-box and played it on a song called "Floorshow" that I'd written. And he was like 'OK you’re in' and that was the start of things as a bassist.

THE ROCKPIT: I could talk all day but I think we've just time for a couple more questions. If you could have been a "fly on the wal in the studio for the creation of any great album, just to see how the magic happened what would it have been for you and why?

CRAIG: Oh lord! I'd like to go back to some of my own 'cos I can't always quite remember what we did! (laughs). Like The first Sisters of Mercy I have no idea how any of that happened! (laughs). I guess basically anything with Jimi Hendrix on really. Just because of the stories you hear of him going straight to the studio after a big night out, it would have been amazing just to see it happen.

THE ROCKPIT: And an easy one to end with: What is the meaning of life?

CRAIG: 42 (laughs) I know, hang on what did I used to say in the old days? "Have a good time all the time!" (laughs). THE ROCKPIT: (laughing) You’re just quoting from movies now!

CRAIG: No it's just general gibberish! That's it in fact, "The meaning of life is general gibberish - get on with it!" (laughs)

THE ROCKPIT: (laughing) I think that's pretty close! Thank you so much for your time, great to talk to you, enjoy that glass of wine and we'll see you soon!

CRAIG: I'll try, I keep getting bitten by bloody mosquitos now! Very nice to talk to you, ta-ta!


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THE MISSION AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016:

FRI 11 - NOV -16 - THE FACTORY, Sydney NSW
SAT - 12 NOV -16 - THE TRIFFID, Brisbane QLD
SUN - 13- NOV -16 - MAX WATTS, Melbourne VIC
TUES - 15- NOV -16 - THE GOV, Adelaide SA
WED - 16 – NOV – 16 - CAPITOL, Perth WA

Tickets and tour details can be found at TheMissionUK.com and MJR Presents.


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Interview by Mark Rockpit on August 4th 2016