Interview with Conor Hussey

Conor Hussey is a young musician and Sid Vicious impersonator (pictured) working on the live circuit. He currently plays in two punk bands: Hazard, of which he started back in 2010, and more prolifically in the leading Sex Pistols tribute act, The Sex Pistols Experience. I had recently met Conor in April 2016, after inviting him to do some reenactments around London for Danny Garcia's Sad Vacation, and was blown away by his resemblance to Sid. One evening that October, I figured it might be cool to get his opinions about Sid and Nancy while our paths were crossing, so I pulled him up at Facebook for a chat.

LOVE KILLS: Conor, tell us about how you got into punk music and when you decided to make a living out of it?

CONOR HUSSEY: I got into punk music when I was really young - I think I got into it before I even knew what punk music was. I must've been about six or seven years old when I took notice to the music that was being played in the car by my parents; it turns out I was listening to the Story of the Clash on repeat for about a month! After then, I kept asking my parents (well, my dad mostly) about punk rock, and all the shenanigans they got up to when they were young. I was hooked after that.

The decision to try and make a living from music came about in high school. After learning the guitar, I lost interest in most of my other subjects to the point where all I wanted to do was play guitar. I'd end up playing for days and days to my favorite punk songs at the time. Even when I went over to visit my nan and grandad, I'd insist on bringing my guitar with me. I'd say music decided for me to earn a living, as it seemed like I wasn't good at much else.

LK: And how did you get started with The Sex Pistols Experience?

CH: Oh, this one actually quite a funny story. When I started to get more into music, I thought it was customary to get punky clothes and the haircut, and whatever else to go with it. So bear in mind that I was still in my early years in school, I wanted to get a mohican but, of course, the school had forbidden me to get one, and I just had to make do with short spiky hair until I left in 2011.

I started my own band, Hazard (pictured below), with some mates in my music class. By the time we left school, we just wanted to play as many gigs as possible before knuckling down to sixth form. That's when we spotted a Sex Pistols Experience gig in the neighbouring town of Bedford, and a Clash tribute called Rebel Truce. We saw there was an opening slot, and we got the gig. As soon as we dumped the gear off at the soundcheck, Nathan (Maverick, aka Johnny Rotter) said that I looked more like Sid than the guy I would later replace; which was funny to me because at the time I'd gotten that mohican, and was trying to be as un-Sid-like as possible, but he managed to see through that. We kept in touch and eventually I got roped in as a temp - then later as a full member.

LK: When you play with the Experience, do you merely don a costume or does the Sid respect run deeper? If so, do you find yourself channeling him in any way, onstage or otherwise?

CH: In a way it's kind of both. It really depends on the gig, the atmosphere, the audience, and how I'm feeling on the day. At times, when the intro finishes and the first chord is struck, something I can only describe as this raw energy emerges. I don't know whether it's me channeling Sid or not, but when it happens I have a great gig and the crowd seem to tap into it. Especially when they come up to me after the show and tell me that it felt like the real thing.

LK: What are your favourite Pistols songs to play and why?

CH: I love playing pretty much everything on Never Mind the Bollocks, but if I had to pick one in particular from our set then my favorite has to be "Did You No Wrong". It's just one of those songs that's got a brilliant riff, like most of the Pistols' stuff. I like a good rocker.

LK: You did some work for us on the film Sad Vacation. What do Sid and Nancy both mean to you, one or the other, and why do you think fans are still obsessing over them nearly forty years later?

CH: I think it's because they're both at least as iconic as the Sex Pistols themselves, and there is a tonne of theories and mystery surrounding them that's still debated about to this day. With a tragic love story like theirs, I wouldn't be surprised if people will be still talking about them for another forty years from now. I see the whole thing as a cautionary tale; pretty much as everything that you probably shouldn't do in a rock band. And that would explain why there hasn't been a group as explosive and controversial as the Pistols since.

LK: Let's discuss Hazard. Where do you get your influences, and how does it fit in with your other job?

CH: The influences for Hazard are quite vast. Genre-wise, I think we got a little bit of everything from most of punk rock's sub-genres. We take influences from politics and the current state of disrepair the world seems to be in now, and also just general feelings and attitudes that we have within the band. Hazard is like an extension for myself. I've put a lot of effort in the six years that we've been in the group. The Sex Pistols Experience, on the other hand, are equally amazing to be a part of, but it's like a proper job to me. With Hazard and being around people you grew up with since school, it's a lot more pleasure than business. I have a different mindset for the Experience, if you get what I mean?

LK: And where can the girls fling their panties at you next?

CH: The next Hazard gig (and currently the last one of the year) is at the Owl Sanctuary in Norwich on the 5th November; it's a festival to raise money for Diabetes research charities. The next Experience gig is this Friday at the Frog And Fiddle in Cheltenham. You can keep up to date with both bands on our websites and Facebook pages.

Brett Dunford

Gutterpunk; and Dazzle Monroe