Justin David Hawkins was born on the 17th March 1975 in Chertsey, Surrey UK.
Although Born in Surrey, Justin, his parents and siblings moved to the Suffolk town of Lowestoft UK where Justin, his brother and sister grew up. At a young age he learned to play the guitar and other instruments, along with his younger brother Dan.
In the late 90’s after gaining 7 GCSE’s and half way through his A-Levels, Justin left for University in Huddersfield, to then go on to obtain qualifications in Music Technology. After this he then followed Dan to the bright lights of London, and formed many bands – such as Deep Purple tributes, Biff!, Vital Signs and Empire to name a few.
Justin also worked in London as a ‘Jingle’ writer and creator, the most famous being his own creation and performance of an IKEA advert.
After working on Empire with Dan and friend Frankie Poullain, Empire became a heavier prog-rock sound – and the then lead singer was thrown out of the band, leaving with the remaining three to decide what next steps to take after the band didn’t progress any further.
The famous story from herein is that on Millennium Eve, Justin entered a karaoke competition doing a rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” acting out every phrase, singing in high vocal range and letting his flamboyant star quality shine. Dan then suggested that Justin should be the lead singer of a new band, formed with them and Frankie, as well as recruiting Ed Graham on drums who used to go to school with the brothers, and visited them on the weekends whilst in London. The Darkness was born.
Justin’s IKEA advert was then used and the payment from it, together with help from his parents re-mortgaging their house, the boys managed to record The Darkness’ ground-breaking debut Album, Permission to Land.
The album became a multi-platinum seller, and The Darkness shot to fame – touring all over Europe and America. The pressure mounted as many anticipated for a 2nd album, One Way Ticket To Hell and Back, released in November of 2005.
During the recording of the 2nd album, Justin released a solo cover of “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us” by the Sparks, under the name of British Whale, in August 2005.
After a tour of the album, Justin Decided to quit The Darkness on personal grounds – after a battle with drugs and alcohol. Sober and drug free, Justin then decided to have a go at representing the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 with singer Beverlei Brown in a duet, which Justin had wrote called “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To”. The song unfortunately didn’t get voted to represent the UK after a semi-final public vote.
Justin then went on to get a role as “Screaming Lord Sutch” in a new film called Telstar, about a British music mogul Joe Meek (released 2009), and also recorded a tune for the Do The Green Thing campaign aimed at spreading the word on conserving energy, called “Do It In The Dark”.
2008 saw the introduction of ‘Man-Rock’ on the nation in the form of a new band by Justin, Hot Leg. The band also consisting of Pete Rinaldi on guitar, Samuel ‘SJ’ Stokes on bass and Darby Todd on drums, launched with their first public performance at London’s Proud Galleries in August 2008 and then went on to tour and support the likes of Extreme and Alter Bridge. They also released a Christmas single ‘I’ve Met Jesus’.
Hot Leg continued to tour in 2009, with the start of the year being a headline tour in support of the album ‘Red Light Fever’ – after this, the guys went to play festivals in America and Europe. The year ended with a slot on the bill for radio station ‘Planet Rock’ Christmas Party, held at Islington Academy, London in December 2010. Pete Rinaldi was playing in America with his other band ‘One Eskimo’, so Carlos Garcia from The Crave played guitar at this gig.
After a quiet 2010 for Hot Leg with no shows, later in the year Justin stated that they were on hiatus (temporary, untimed break) and that he and the rest of the band were busy with other projects.
Lots of speculation and rumours started making the rounds, in March 2011 The Darkness annouced they were back together and had been writing new material. They played the Main Stage supporting Def Leppard on the Friday of Download Festival 2011, a number of european festivals and a 2011 ‘Wintour’ of the UK during November.
In 2012, The Darkness announced they had been working towards releasing a third album as soon as possible. They have toured North America/Canada and have been announced for a number of worldwide festival dates this summer. In 2013, they released the much anticipated album titled ‘Hot Cakes’. In 2014, the band stopped touring to start on another album, due to be released in ‘Spring 2015′.
For more information on past and future releases, please go to the discography page and keep an eye on the latest news!