With all of the calamity that surpasses the norm in terms of rock ‘n’ roll, it’s rare to come across any bands that maintain that classic rock origin that we all know and love. And no, Justin Bieber just doesn’t cut it for this music nerd. One band that exceeds my expectations in terms of good old-fashioned rock (and high-pitched vocal range), is one of my personal U.K. faves, The Darkness. Not only is their music fair game for every film trailer and local cover band around (looking at you, Sweet Chin Music), overall, I think it’s near impossible not to like these guys. Being the entertainers that they are—on both a comedic and musical scale—The Darkness is returning to the U.S. for their Back To The USSA headlining tour.
It’s been nearly five years since The Darkness brought back their original bassist Frankie Poullain. Now, with their fourth studio album in tow, entitled Last of Our Kind, here they are—about to embark on tour. So, what did Frankie have to say about it? Take a look below!
Your Back To The USSA tour kicks off soon. What’s your favorite part about touring here in the U.S.? Is there a certain—or possibly new—place you’re really excited to see and perform at?
My favorite part of being in the States is the late night dive bars and maybe hitching a ride to a party in some crazy suburb. Who knows what’s gonna happen? We’ll be in Vegas for my birthday—what could possibly go wrong?
How do you think your music has transformed since your return to The Darkness in 2011, if at all?
It’s broader and fuller, like an Italian Mama full of the joys of spring, cooking up spaghetti and meatballs.
Being through so much as a band, what would you say has changed the most in the music industry from when you guys first started out?
There’s less room for mistakes and bullshit. You have to be really on the ball and operate like other normal people do. It’s become more normalized. More sane. Sad.
You guys clearly value the relationship you have with your fans, as demonstrated by your enthusiasm for meet-and-greets and reaching out to fans through social media. Given the fact that you’ve been in the industry for a while now, what is your favorite part about interacting with fans?
How endearingly awkward they are, it’s both touching, and humbling. We used to be like that too.
In an interview you guys did fairly recently, you referred to your drummer, Rufus, as a “guilty treasure.” Would you mind explaining what you mean by that?
That was me! I thought it was a nice twist on guilty pleasure. It encapsulated the situation somehow, with him being so young and part of “rock royalty,” but ultimately we just hit it off with him. It’s all normal to him, life on the road and in the studio.
What has it been like working with a still fairly new bandmate, especially when you guys jam out to some of your previous albums?
He’s got pretty high standards, so it’s made us reassess some of our previous output. He loves “Concrete” and “Stuck In A Rut,” not so keen on “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” and “Is It Just Me.” I can see his point, he likes the more visceral balls out stuff.
I find it awesome that you guys stick with your classic rock roots and style in your music. Do you find that sometimes challenging, especially within an ever-evolving genre like rock ‘n’ roll?
It’s just what works for us live, it would be unfulfilling for us to perform prog jazz, or shoegazy guitar stuff, though we’re capable of going in those directions. The genre we’re in we find incredibly challenging. It’s much easier to be musically “vague” or abstract.
What does Last Of Our Kind symbolize to you?
The Darkness resisting artificial enhancements: no backing tracks, no fifth member (except for mandolin on two live songs), no sequencers, no Auto-Tune, no samples—just four guys playing as though their lives depended on it.
If you could sum up the entire album in one word, what would it be?
I love the old-school guitar riffs and just that hard, heavy sound I miss in today’s music. Is that an element you often try to maintain, or is it something that just comes naturally to you during the writing process?
You can never have too many good guitar riffs. It’s not always easy to incorporate riffs into song, one part has to flow into another. It can’t sound shoe horned or forced.
While it has been about a year since Last Of Our Kind was released, is it still too early to ask if you guys are brainstorming for the next album?
We are brainstorming BIG TIME! We’re very excited, it’s turbo charged and very dynamic. We’ll begin recording late summer and have it out early next year.
The Darkness will be performing May 2 at Irving Plaza in New York at 7 p.m. For more information, visit their official website at thedarkness.co.uk.