- 18 Dec 17
Sex, drugs and rock and roll are all unsurprisingly on the agenda as Justin Hawkins, frontman of pomp-rock gods The Darkness, reflects on past excesses. “I miss being able to drive my boob chariot into arenas,” he tells Pat Carty, who also recalls the great rock prop disasters we have known.
In the opening line of your comeback single, ‘Solid Gold’ – imagine a particularly lascivious Rolling Stones covering Queen’s ‘Hammer To Fall’ – you predict that people are “going to shit themselves”. Justin Hawkins, I put it to you that you’re foot shooting and this is never going to make daytime radio playlists. “I think our best work is us shooting ourselves in the foot, but that’s a good point. The last three albums, we have tried to second guess ourselves a bit, but once we started thinking we know how to do this, we stopped being able to do it.” Is a hit single even that important anymore? “We’re more concerned about our fan base and having another album of great material that we enjoy playing live.”
We sat down with Hawkins to discuss the return of The Darkness, their dynamite new album Pinewood Smile - recorded live with famed producer Adrian Busby (Foo Fighters) – “the main thing was his energy” - and their mini Irish tour, part of The Tour De Prance campaign. Hot Press’ genuine malapropism, Tour De Ponce, raises approving guffaws, Hawkins filing it for future use.
Their line up has changed since the last visit; the magnificently monikered Rufus Tiger Taylor has replaced Emily Dolan Davis - “We had different philosophies with regard to live work” - on drums. “He’s made it so much fun to be out and about, a hilarious guy and a brilliant player”. He’s a handsome bastard too. “It’s just a relief not to be the best looking one anymore. At last, someone else can carry that weight!” Was his being the son of Queen’s Roger Taylor part of the attraction? “It was for me, yeah, but he had to be even more amazing to get past that.”