89.3 The Current presents THE DARKNESS: Let Them Eat Cakes Tour
Presented by First Avenue and JAM Productions
After several months on the road with Lady Gaga in 2012, multi-platinum British rock group THE DARKNESS are set to make a triumphant return with their upcoming headlining world tour. The “Let Them Eat Cakes” world tour marks the band’s first headlining run since the release of their new album HOT CAKES, out on Wind-up in North America and PIAS in the rest of the world. HOT CAKES was produced by the band’s JUSTIN and DAN HAWKINS with long-time collaborator Nick Brine and mixed by Bob Ezrin. The resulting 11-song cycle delivers epic rock anthems and infectious pop choruses.
Renowned worldwide for their potent and energetic live shows which BLACKBOOK called, "Hands down the most entertaining rock show you can see these days..." (10/22/12), JUSTIN HAWKINS (vocals/guitars), DAN HAWKINS (guitars/backing vocals), FRANKIE POULLAIN (bass) and ED GRAHAM (drums) -- continue to garner rave reviews for their epic, not-to-be-missed live shows. The LA WEEKLY noted, “Wonderfully eccentric and trend-detached, The Darkness also stand on their heads (sometimes literally) to deliver the most unashamedly entertaining show in contemporary hard rock (10/19/12).” Elsewhere, CAMPUS CIRCLE added, “British rock act The Darkness, known for its eccentricity, blissful energy and supreme dynamism, brought its A-game to Club Nokia. No over-the-top pyrotechnics were needed for the act...Its simple good humor, warm interaction with the audience and perfectly executed sound made this one concert to remember...everyone was in a state of euphoria” (10/30/12).
The rise, fall, and rise again of The Darkness contains all the ingredients of a classic rock opera. The basics are a matter of public record: unfashionable good-time hard rock band from Lowestoft slog their way around the Camden pub circuit, build a word-of-mouth following that can fill theatres without a record deal, then rocket to world stardom selling over 3 million copies of their debut album worldwide, winning three Brit awards and becoming one of the biggest British rock bands of the Noughties. Charismatic bassist gets kicked out in acrimonious dispute during making of fine-but-flawed second album, which ‘only’ goes Platinum. Singer supposedly burns through a reported £150,000 on cocaine. They try to make him go to rehab, and he says “yes, yes, yes”. Singer leaves band, and in doing so, falls out with his own brother. Badly.
What came next, after The Darkness’ dramatic demise in 2006, is less well-documented. Singer Justin Hawkins launched his own band, Hot Leg, threw himself into production roles (see Foxy Shazam’s The Church Of Rock’n’Roll for evidence) and writing songs for others (Meat Loaf, Adam Lambert and more). Departed bassist Frankie Poullain wrote a “nonsensical and contrarian” autobiography, ‘Dancing In The Darkness’. The remains of The Darkness - guitarist Dan Hawkins, drummer Ed Graham and late-period bassist Richie Edwards, resurfaced as The Stone Gods, whom Ed later left due to a medical problem which necessitated a double hip replacement. “I went from having money and being in a successful band”, he recalls, “to being skint and walking with a limp.”
If rock’n’roll tore them apart, rock’n’roll brought them together again. In March 2009, Hot Leg played Brighton, where Dan was living, and Justin invited him along. “That was the key one,” remembers Dan. “A hug hello.” Two months later, Hot Leg were back by the seaside for The Great Escape festival and, after much audience-assisted cajoling, Dan joined Justin onstage for a historic rendition of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, calling his brother “an absolute cunt” in the process, in what Dan calls “the big Spinal Tap moment. (It’s on Youtube, have a look.) “I think he realised he was missing it,” says Justin. “And I loved being in Hot Leg, but it didn't have the magic The Darkness had. It was only a matter of time.”
Meanwhile, the other Darkness alumni had been breaking the ice too. “It was fairly obvious people wanted to see the classic line-up”, says Justin. “Stuff had happened with Frankie, but he's an interesting guy, good to spend time with. And Ed had his health problems which meant he had to leave The Stone Gods, but he’s OK now.” Psychologically and emotionally, the Hawkins-Hawkins-Poullain-Graham formation felt right. “The early songs were written with Frankie and Ed,” says Dan. “Also, we didn't want to start from where we left off. We wanted to go back to the beginning, which wasn't easy – it meant a battle of egos – but it's conducive to a certain magic.”
For more than 15 years, Brandon Saller has put his blood, sweat, and tears into the SoCal metalcore outfit, Atreyu. The seasoned drummer/vocalist has hammered out five studio LPs with four of his best friends, while traveling the globe and performing for legions of exuberant fans. Saller has lived the dream of every musician: to bring the rock ‘n’ roll to the hungry, fervent masses. And with Hell Or Highwater, formerly known as The Black Cloud Collective, Saller emerges from behind the drum kit, with the same unbridled passion, to ignite the next rock ‘n’ roll firestorm.