The Darkness – Interview [2004]

The Darkness

The darkness
Frankie – Guitar

I heard a few shows have been canceled.

Yeah, Justin’s throat is having problems. It’s from the stomach coming up.

Can you believe the shows are selling out and the excitement?

It’s been going well. The second gig in Chicago was phenomenal. Justin usually gets on one of our crew’s shoulders and moves through the crowd but he couldn’t even do it there because he was getting mobbed by the crowd. It’s been great.

When you first came together as a group, were you worried people wouldn’t accept it?

We weren’t worried; we just knew we had to do it well. If you love something and do it for the right reasons we knew that would translate. That’s what it is all about. We’ve all been in bands before and we’ve learned our lessons. We knew exactly what we wanted to do because we had bad experiences.

Do you find it funny or aggravating when people question whether you are for real or this is all a Spinal Tap type of thing?

Initially it was irritating, but now its water off a duck’s back. I can understand it because in the current musical climate we stuck out. Bands like Linkin Park and Disturbed, I don’t think, are for real. They are half-talents who are faking it and went after the lowest common denominator—teen angst. There are very few musical or skill to be admired. It’s rubbish. It’s more disposable and emptier than most pop music.

There are a lot of people hungry for metal? Are you surprised that other groups haven’t come out and did what you are doing for the last ten years?

I’m surprised, but there was such a backlash that they were stung so badly and rarely done well like AC/DC. I think because of MTV the metal bands were all image about hair and makeup and it wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll anymore. It became a joke and lost its soul and passion. It left a bad taste in people’s mouth. That’s why grunge came along, to give kids something real. I think the cycle is changing because kids are tired of manufactured rubbish.

Do you hope that you set something off and more metal comes around?

Look at what the Black Eyed Peas are doing for rap is what we are doing for rock—making it Technicolor.

The show—

–it’s heavy. We take live dynamics from AC/DC where the back is solid and heavy. Then you have Justin on top of that because he loves the show. It’s bombastic. It has the dynamics of Queen and Van Halen. We like to do our own things as well.

Are the people in the crowds all different ages?

Yeah. WE have pockets of sub-cultures. We have little groups of people like skate kids, old rockers, groups of girls, and young ladies, and they all like you for different reasons, but there are things they all like about us. The girls might think it’s cute, the old rockers like it because it reminds them of AC/DC, and you have the skate kids who like it for the energy. But they all like it because its genuinely good rock ‘n’ roll.

Justin’s voice is out of this world. He can hit some high notes. Are you ever astonished by the notes that come out?

I was astonished about two years ago when we wrote “Love on the Rocks With No Ice.” I was amazed. Recently he spent time with a voice coach this guy is an opera singer and he told Justin that he had a higher range all he had to do was clean up his lifestyle. So for the second album it’s possible that we will record in a frequency that only dogs will hear. (We both laugh)

Do you think singers have been missing in rock?

Not just that, but its one of them. Singers who like to perform have been missing and bands that want to entertain the sound. Also guitar solos and proper guitar playing without all the pedals.

What happened to the art of the guitar solo?

It’s amazing how many people mention that. On the front page of the USA Today had an article about how kids listen to dance music, so now kids are going back to old metal again. We were mentioned quite a lot in there as well. We are one of the bigger bands kids are downloading. That really helps us—I know a lot of bands get really tense about it but it does help us.

When I was growing up I wanted a guitar so I could be Eddie VanHalen. I often wonder if a kid wants to be in a band to be on MTV or be in a good band.

That’s the thing. The joy has gone out of it. I know exactly what you are saying. I don’t understand it.

I read a quote from David Grohl and he said that you guys were getting all the chicks.

(Laughs) We got lots of girls. In Europe the first three or four rows were all girls, but the first show we did in the states we couldn’t see any girls. I have really bad eye sight so I can’t see past the first few rows. I guess with the American shows all the girls are in the back because the guys muscle their way up to the front. The after shows are better—more ladies. In Sweden and Denmark all you see is blond babes—fantastic.

Okay, I’ll go back to my reason I wanted to be a guitar player—Eddie Van Halen and girls.

(Laughs) Exactly man. You do get guys who come to the show and see us up there in pink, but guys come because they know the girls will be there—they are magnets. We should let the ladies in free. (We both laugh) Just like nightclubs.

Will the Darkness take over the world?

Yeah. All systems go. We got work ethic and when you are the only band doing what you are doing we are the pioneers and it gives you more energy. We have a mission, not to just be the best rock ‘n’ roll band in the world but to sweep away all the rubbish.

+ Charlie Craine

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