The Darkness frontman rifles through his racks and decides on the 13 long-players closest to his heart.
It’s been just over a year now that the UK’s premier power rock purveyors The Darkness have been back, bringing the public all the flashy guitar solos and sweat-drenched Lycra they can handle.
Third album Hot Cakes, released in August last year, was well-received, causing more than a little surprise from critics who had written them off, and their live performances have lost none of their energy or flamboyance.
This is not to say there hasn’t been change for the group over the past decade: especially for frontman Justin Hawkins. What with rehab stints and terribly-named solo projects (British Whale, Hot Leg), the reformed rocker had a bumpy road through his band’s explosive rise and implosive downfall and rebirth over the last decade.
The Darkness’ flare for spectacle was certainly missed by one famous fan: Lady Gaga, who requested their attendance on her European tour last year. The band then followed up with a UK tour, but the difference in expense from their heyday was abundantly clear. Back in 2004, with Permission To Land bringing in acclaim, awards and audiences, Hawkins would famously mount a stuffed Siberian tiger and take flight over the crowd, shredding away. This time around he has returned to sitting atop his brother’s shoulders for his guitar-wailing jaunts about the venue.
Budgets aside and now six years sober, Hawkins and the boys have worked through their differences and found the fun in the music again, sounding even tighter than before. For all intents and purposes, if you’ve heard The Darkness you will probably be able to compile this list yourself, as even Hawkins admits: “I’ve made them pretty much as obvious as they could possibly be. Mutt Lange, Roy Thomas Baker, Rick Rubin, Bob Ezrin and Jimmy Page are men that have made pretty much all the albums that I love!”
But there are a few surprises. Despite being mainly a guitar player, Hawkins has an affinity for rock drumming, something he often dwells on and analyses. He also admits that the release of The Darkness’ megalithic Permission To Land in 2003 was followed by his own revelation that his vocals were much closer to the warbling of Kate Bush than the snarl of Bon Scott.
“Not that I really get ideas off her,” he explains, “… well maybe about the way I dance…”
To read what Justin has to say about his chosen albums, go to http://thequietus.com/articles/11766-justin-hawkins-the-darkness-favourite-albums