The Darkness

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The Darkness


At a time when The Darkness had reached ultimate success with their debut album Permission To Land (which was certified quadruple platinum in the UK) they also entered a phase where luxury and temptation were flowing in abundance. There were drugs, girls and lots of talk going on which led to tension within the formerly tight-knight group, ultimately resulting in Frankie leaving the band.

“Justin and I couldn’t bear to be in the same room together,” Frankie explains. “Everything had gone sour. People were whispering in our ears and we had been touring for too long on our first album. We lost all the qualities that made the music good. The enjoyment, fun and euphoria were replaced with drugs, greed and stupidity. Most relationships broke down between the band after that.”

The Darkness are defined by their outgoing and zany costumes equipped with spandex onesies, sequins and headbands. Their revival of this glam rock aesthetic helped them to stand out, but at the same time they looked “uncool” says Frankie. They evolved from a smaller band, and slowly began creating a more defined look. “In the late ’90s I was in a band called Empire when I asked Justin to visit,” Frankie begins. “We needed a fifth member, but he had always wanted to start a band with his brother. Justin did join the band though and ever since then we worked together. Justin started to be the singer, and then we made a pact together with Dan which is how it all evolved.”

Despite not receiving a lot of interest initially by A&R guys, The Darkness’s live performances and energy earned them their attention. “We maxed out in any possible way,” Frankie says. “[We] spent all our money, all our time and all our skill to put everything into it. [It was] based on trial and error…[we would get] pissed up and charged on Friday and Saturday nights to perform and would go all out….that began to define the music and changed our musical style.”

Why Frankie decided to reunite with the band after such a long time apart seems an obvious question to ask him. “Probably because all the people around us were trying to bang our heads together,” he explains. “A lot of people were saying the same thing; that no one had stepped up to have taken our place. Our old manager got us together for a meal at an Indian restaurant in London. Everyone was sitting around a table and you could cut the tense atmosphere with a knife. Absolutely no one was talking [but then] gradually we began easing into it [and were] enjoying each other’s company.”

During their hiatus, Frankie spent a lot of time travelling, however things weren’t as uphill for Justin who was battling a drug addiction and consequently checked into rehab. Frankie says that he is a brand new person now and his improvement is “amazing”. He explains, “It has been a long time since he’s been dabbling in that lifestyle. He is a force of nature now [and is] fitter than he’s ever been.”

Their yet-to-be-titled third album is in great anticipation, with the new single Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us only recently becoming available. “[You can expect] lots of very melodic guitar playing, with harmonic resonance,” he says, “We were sort of dicking around, but there is lots of loud drumming and pounding on the new album also.” 

The band is looking forward to returning to Australia, especially for its beaches Frankie says. “Everything felt more primal in Australia,” he explains. “I’m looking forward to this trip because last time we were getting messed up all the time. But now we’re a clean-living rock band who can appreciate more. I want to soak it up more this time, go to sushi restaurants and what have you.” Melbournians will also be pleased to learn that The Cherry Bar was a favourite of his.

I couldn’t have an interview with a member of The Darkness without asking about some of the crazy shit they’ve no doubt gotten up to. The answer did not fail to disappoint. “Justin was dressed in a microphone costume while on a flight with Japan Air,” he begins, “We were in business class and Justin kept on walking up and down throughout the plane. The stewardesses kept on trying to make him sit down, but they were very polite and he just wouldn’t stay still. Eventually, however, he crashed and fell asleep, but ended up pissing himself. So there was Justin, asleep in business class, in a microphone costume drenched in his own piss. We don’t let him live that one down.”