„The gold records, big shows, TV and stuff seem less important” – interview with Simon Hinkler

The Mission, the legendary band kicked off the Deja Vu Tour in April 2022 with a show in the UK. After 18 months, the tour will have come full circle with another four British gigs: 24.10 in Nottingham, 25.10 in Glasgow, 26.10 in Manchester and 28.10 in London. In an interview for Opinia Magazine, Simon Hinkler, the guitar player of The Mission, is talking about these concerts, his reflections on playing live and their loyal fans.

You’re going to have a short UK tour at the end of October. What emotions evoke in you playing in front of the British audiences? Do the feelings differ from playing to any other audiences?

SH: Well, we’re from the UK – even though I’m the only person in the band who lives there now. There is a strong core of UK fans who have been with us for a long, long time, and many of them travel to see multiple shows – including in Europe and beyond. So it’s always extra special when some of those guys are there; slightly ritualistic. Having said that, we have fans all over the world and thanks to social media, they do tend to form a global community built around the band, which is marvellous.

The Deja Vu Tour, Warsaw 2023. Photo: Janusz Miękus

Any surprises in setlists?

SH: We recruited a new drummer about a year ago, so we had to reduce the repertoire for him to learn at short notice. That started with 25 songs, then we’ve slowly added more and now we’re up to about 42. The list obviously includes the hits, then there are songs from all the albums. We don’t play the same set every night. About a third of the set are songs we “have to do” like Wasteland and Tower of Strength etc. Then the rest is varied.

Is there any song you’re still particularly excited to perform live?

SH: I very much enjoy the majority of the set. A real favourite though is Grotesque. This is a song I recorded on during a time when I was not in the band. I think it’s become a favourite for all of us.

What gear do you use onstage? Just a little hint for those, who want to sound like Simon Hinkler.

SH: My basic live sound has included the same 2 items since the 80’s. The Roland JC120 amplifier with chorus always on, and the Boss DS-1 distortion pedal. I’ve tried lots of other amps and distortions over the years but always prefer these. I have a Boss DDL delay turned on most of the time, with tap tempo. After that I have various other pedals for special effects. I’ve been through all sorts of those over the years.

This might be especially interesting to our Polish readers. I must ask you about an instrumental piece Tadeusz (1912-1988) released on the reissue of the Children album. Tadeusz is a traditional Polish name. In an interview Wayne told me that Tadeusz used to be your neighbour and when he passed away, you wanted to honour him calling the song by his name. Is there any story behind the man and the song?

SH: He was indeed Polish. Actually, the father of a friend. People would talk about how funny “Tad” was – retelling stories of things he’d said, so he’d almost become a legend but I had still never met him. Finally I did meet him, just once. He was a lovely old chap with a wry sense of humour that had everyone in the room laughing every time he spoke. It was just a few days later he died. At the time I heard the news, Craig and I were working on this instrumental piece and I said I’d like to name it after Tadeusz.

You’ve been present in the so-called music industry for around four decades. What achievement, either solo or in a band, are you the most proud of?

SH: Some of the things you might imagine seem less important – the gold records, big shows, TV and stuff. I’m actually more proud of the fact that The Mission are still together and sounding as good as ever. Personally though, I’ve done quite a few things outside of the band. I’m very proud of my solo album Lose The Faith because I wrote and played the whole thing, then surprised myself by singing all the lead vocals for the first time ever. It was a labour of love that took several years to complete and resulted in a very strong album.

Is there anything you want to say to your Polish and English fans?

SH: We were in Poland just a couple of months ago and the audience were great. All I can ever do is offer my sincere gratitude for the wonderful support this band receives. I know it’s an old cliche, but it’s true… we wouldn’t be here without them.

What makes you happy?

SH: Not having anything to worry about. This almost never happens….

I wish you tranquillity as much as you need. Thank you for your time.

Anna Jankowiak

The Mission
Official site The Mission
Facebook fan page

The tickets for the UK Deja Vu Tour are available at Ticketmaster.

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