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Some music fans refer to February 3, 1959 (date of the Buddy Holly/Ritchie Valens/Big Bopper plane crash) as the Day The Music Died. I, however, somewhat blasphemously use that phrase when I tearily recall October 10, 2006: the day The Sun reported that Justin Hawkins was leaving the Darkness. That was a dark day indeed.

But huzzah! Rock lives again in Justin's new band, the stupidly-ingeniously monikered Hot Leg, who last night journeyed to their true spiritual home--Hollywood's heavy metal headquarters, the Sunset Strip--to rock the world-infamous Viper Room.

Oh, how I'd missed Justin. But I didn't realize how MUCH I'd missed him until he hit the stage in a rivet-studded, unzipped-to-the-crotch leather jumpsuit. Suddenly, it was 1986 all over again...as if Rikki Rachtman still hosted MTV's Headbanger's Ball, Tommy Lee never starred in cornball reality shows, David Lee Roth still had hair, Slash 'n' Axl were still making beautiful music together in some groupie-infested opium den above the Whisky A Go-Go, Kiss never took their makeup off in the first place, and the Viper Room was still the old Central Club dive bar (site of the '80s cult flick Valley Girl, as opposed to the site of River Phoenix's '90s overdose).

Hot Leg's cranked-to-11 performance climaxed with Justin triumphantly riding on his roadie's shoulders through the absolutely apeshit, adoring audience during his wonderfully wanky guitar solo:



Yes, for a good cheap rawk 'n roll thrill, there's still nothing like the showmanship of JUSTIN FRIGGIN' HAWKINS. And I am so glad the thrill is not gone.

Here are some clips of L.A.'s headbanging community welcoming Justin back out of the darkness and into the spotlight:












Click here for my Hot Leg interview from SXSW






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