By Robert Frezza, Contributing Writer
The Darkness is a glam rock metal band from England that saw their ups and downs in the music industry in the early 2000s. The band consists of Justin Hawkins on lead vocals and guitar, his brother Dan Hawkins on guitar, Frankie Poullain on bass and Rufus Tiger Taylor on drums. The band saw success with their single “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” off their high charting debut album, 2003’s “Permission To Land.”
Their success came just as quick as it went in 2003 here in the states. Justin Hawkins left the band following a stint in rehab for alcohol and drug abuse. As bassist Frankie Poullain said about the band in their early years, “We were children and we’re men now.”
Poullain joined the Darkness in early 2000. “I flew back from Venezuela where I had given up on music to be a revolutionary political activist. Justin emailed me and said he was going step out from behind the keyboard and be the front man and that the band name was going to change from Empire to The Darkness.”
The Darkness feels like they came straight out of the 80s. Justin Hawkins’ extraordinary high-pitched voice and the band’s glam style had everyone comparing them to the late U.S. 80s rock scene, when bands Poison and Bon Jovi were at their peak. When the band washed ashore in the States in 2003, their sound inspired a long overdue rock makeover that mainstream music desperately needed at the time.
The Darkness unfortunately split up in 2006, but reunited in 2011. The band released their new album “Pinewood Smile” late last year. It is not dramatically different than the band’s previous efforts, sticking to the formula they had in tact to begin with. “It is sillier but the drums and harmonies are better,” says Poullain.
The band enlisted producer Adrian Bushby for “Pinewood Smile.”
“He wanted it to sound good and so did we. We realized we shared a common goal and made it happen,” Poullain said.
Poullain listens to an eclectic style of music that runs the gamut—from soul to rock. “I am currently listening to Marvin Gaye, Robert Wyatt and Neil Young,” he said.
The music scene is constantly evolving and now that the band recently reunited, the music industry has shifted.
“It always feels different than it did partly because the industry changed so much in those six years. We are a cult band now, which suits us fine. The spirit, attitude, and mentality is what’s missing in rock music today as well. There’s too much irreverence and not enough irreverence,” Poullain says.
The Darkness play Brooklyn Steel on April 20. Their new album Pinewood Smile is out now.