What do you think of when you think about The Darkness? Falsetto-laden pomp rock with a generous smattering of dick jokes? Catsuits and behind-the-scenes calamity? A series of insanely dizzying highs followed by an increasing series of troubling lows? Since their debut ‘Permission To Land’ sold 1.5 million copies in the UK, earning them a Reading and Leeds headline spot after just one album, stories have circulated of in-fighting, lineup changes, stints in rehab and financial trouble, after frontman Justin Hawkins, in October 2014, attempted to sell his old catsuits on eBay. Amidst all this, the band spent a spell on the road with Lady Gaga, amongst the madness of her touring pop circus.
15 years after forming the band, Hawkins is still the amusingly OTT Spinal Tap figure you’d expect of a man who wrote a Christmas song with a bell-end pun in the title at nearly 30 years of age. Throwing comical glances to the camera and putting on his “TV turban” before commencing the interview, he’s certainly not a wallflower. But beneath the jokes, Hawkins is actually a complex character and one that’s obviously been wildly affected by the public perception of him and his band. Ahead of the release of The Darkness’ upcoming fourth album ‘The Last Of Our Kind’ on June 1, self-released on the group’s own label Canary Dwarf Records, we caught up with him to hear about what it’s like to be at the apex of success and the fallout of when it comes crashing down – through self-destruction, media bashing and the reality of being at the centre of an extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll circus. And then, happily, how to build yourself back up again.
It’s a surprisingly honest and surprisingly inspiring insight into a lifestyle that few ever get to experience and hopefully it might just change your mind about The Darkness, too. Watch the video above.