Interview with Fatherson – The Open, Norwich

Interview with Greg, Mark, Ross and Chris of Fatherson

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting these great people from Fatherson, a very up and coming Scottish band.  On arriving at the venue, It transpired that the headline band’s singer had been struck by evilness.  No gig going ahead isn’t great, but it did give me more time to talk to fine people. The album is out on 7th April. Some videos and the website link are at the end of the interview. Many thanks to Rhea and Rebecca! 

 It’s not got off to a great start tonight, has it lads?

It’s not ideal, the sound check was fun but unfortunately it looks like Lonely the Brave’s singer  is really ill at the moment and we’ve had to cancel the show sadly  – which isn’t the best thing but it happens to everyone.  It’s better than doing any more damage.

So when is your next one?

 We’ve been on tour with Lonely the Brave for the last week and a half so tomorrow’s the last show and it’s in Cambridge so it’s not too far which should be good. That show’s sold out.

 Is he going to be okay for that one?

 Here’s hoping!  I think it’s going to be one of the reasons why tonight’s not going on – to make sure he’s fit and healthy.  You got to be really putting on a show – when you’re ill you can end up doing pretty serious damage which isn’t good.  If he’s really bad today and does some irreparable damage then it’s the end of this whole career they’re building for themselves.

It’s not happened to us but it’s happened to a lot of our friends’ bands. They’ve had to take the call and I think that everyone feels really horrible. Yeah they’re all really cut up about it

Well it’s happened in a nice place, and you’re in a nice place tomorrow. You could’ve been stuck in erm….I can’t really say where can I?

Somewhere… a not so nice place…

Let’s get back to where we were going to start – I got an email from a friend of mine asking if I wanted to come and see you. Mike said he’d been working with you for a couple of years, which is a long time. We’ve never heard of you down here, so what have you been doing for two years? And how long has it been going on before that?

We’ve actually we’ve been a band for – me, Greg and Ross – have been a band since we were like kids for years and years.  We actually noticed it was 8 years ago a couple of days ago that we put our first live video on You Tube of us playing this song.  We’ve been Fatherson for a couple of years now but we started working with Mike around about the time we became this band.  We spent a long time in Scotland just building up a fan base there because the UK. Its difficult when you’re – cos we’re not signed or anything like that – to go and take on too much at once so we just wanted to be able to play good big shows across Scotland. So we toured there a lot and did a lot of festivals and last year we recorded an album and this year we’ve just been playing a lot more down south and kind of spreading out throughout the whole UK.  So, it’s been like a kind of conscious thing, cos there’s no point going down and playing shows all about England that are rubbish shows where there’s no one there or anything like that.

Win the battle in your front garden.  If you can win the battle in your front garden then it’s much easier for going anywhere else. If you say ‘Well back in Scotland we do this many tickets here, this many tickets here, this is where we’re getting played’ and then they’ll go ‘oh right, okay’

So it’s definitely a conscious decision to win over the whole of Scotland.

 To an extent yeah but we’re nowhere near the biggest bands, but for an unsigned band in Scotland we’ve been doing pretty well.  That I’m pretty happy with and it allows us to come down and do this tour so it’s been nice. We’ve been wanting to come down and play more shows for a long time.  You can’t play about Scotland forever cos it’s not the biggest place in the world so it’s nice to stretch your legs and get the word out to more people.

What is the scene like in Scotland at the moment?

It’s great.

I’m kind of getting that vibe, but you know better than anyone else.

 It’s really one of those things…there’s just a lot of great bands in Scotland and there’s a community aspect. So everyone kind of helps everyone out and does shows together and stuff like that and it’s nice to see bands take that step that we’re trying to take just now. So they’ve won the battle in their front garden and they’re trying to go down south, or they’re going to America or they’re going Australia and they’re going to do all that so it’s just flourishing – there’s hundreds and hundreds of good bands in Scotland.

It’s a good mix

 It’s several layers of how popular or big the bands are but all the bands are aware of each other, like the big bands know who the unsigned bands are and the unsigned bands know who the big bands are and you see the bigger bands helping the smaller bands out.  There’s a nice community spirit going about especially round about Glasgow and stuff – it’s really helped us for the entire time that we’ve been a band and it just it’s really a nice place to BE in a band.

That’s a really big advantage to Scotland not being a huge place?


What about those disadvantages, are there any particularly?

I guess you’re just further away from London.

That’s not always such a bad thing apparently..

 I don’t necessarily see there being any disadvantage with us being a band based in Glasgow.  I know there are bands that will kind of base themselves elsewhere that have moved from Scotland or whatever but I just find it to be really good.  I think we’ve been lucky with some of the people that we’ve met and some of the stuff that we’ve done up there – but I haven’t really seen that there’s too many disadvantages with being a band that’s based up in Glasgow as opposed to anywhere else in the UK.

I guess the only thing is that like how far apart things are so obviously if you’re driving to do a show in London we’d go further than if we were a band in the Midlands if we were driving to London and also wanting to go to Glasgow.  It would be great if we were in the centre of the UK.

 Living in Norwich I think we’ve kind of got that because the road links aren’t  great really – we’ve got two roads out and you have to go a hell of a way to get anywhere out of here.


The genres in Scotland is there a really good mix of that or do you tend to find that everybody…

 Yeah well you can see like if you look at the big bands in Scotland just now you’ve got like Framed Rabbit, Total Antic. Framed Rabbit are a bit more folky, Total Antic who are a bit more rocky and Churches who are electro.  It ranges from really traditional to off the wall and it’s quite creative all over there’s lots of different bands doing lots of different things so no one’s really – I don’t know, it seems that weird way where you can always colour it with Scotland you kind of know it’s Scottish but it doesn’t have to sound like every other Scottish band if that makes sense.

It sounds Scottish but it’s not The Proclaimers it’s not like that. It’s you just hear it, there’s an influence, you hear that sounds like.

It’s funny, we went over and played a couple of shows in America and people went what kind of band are you,  everyone kind of asks that and we say we’re kind of Scottish band and everyone just went ‘oh, stuff like bagpipes and fiddles and stuff like that.’

There is a guy that quite often on a Saturday plays bagpipes in town, in full regalia… we try and walk away. It’s quite loud if you walk right past. Offensive is the term I think we meant.

 It’s the drone…

If you walk past it (it’s normally on street corners ) when the drone’s going it’s not so bad but when it starts again right in your ear that is kind of distressing.

Anyone who comes to see Fatherson will not hear bagpipes…. yet!

That’s always a blessing. So there’s not a national identity to Scottish music apart from that little lilt?

 He sings with a Scottish accent.

Most people do now sing with an accent and it’s become a lot more at the forefront of Scottish music because English bands always sing with an English accent or American.  Just sing in your own accent I think – just when it became more popular and Scottish bands in the charts it became a thing you could do, to sing in your own accent, which I think, is a huge benefit to Scottish music.

It made everything a bit more honest I think maybe the one thing I’d say to the sum of Scottish music is there isn’t much fake Scottish music going on everyone sticking to their guns.  People are singing about what they want to sing about and the way they want to sing it.

They’ve gone away from that ‘we must sound like this and this to get anywhere.’

Absolutely I think it’s a nice idea.

It’s working now though – 20 years ago you did that and that worked and you got accepted in America or whatever. Although I was listening to something on the radio this morning about Cliff never getting accepted in America and I thought that was hilarious… and nobody can work out why!

 The album is coming out soon and that’s self-financed.

With help from Creative Scotland

That’s cool. I was going to ask you why you didn’t go through pledging or crowd sourcing or something like that.

 It kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier with the way that we’ve kind of done it by playing a lot of shows in Scotland and stuff has managed to get us to the way where it kind of actually is fan funded because we are able to play bigger shows in Scotland. So therefore, we get some more money in which we’ve just put straight into this album.  Basically we’re all still struggling away even though the band gets some money from bigger shows and we’ve just put it all straight into doing this. It’s been like the big focus all last year – we went in and recorded the record and then played about  with it, went down to London, met a whole bunch of people and got a really great team around us to help do it and put the album out. It’s meant we’ve kind of been able to do it on our own terms and our own way and stuff like that.  I like the way we’ve done it and it’s given us lots of control and allowed us to take time on stuff. Cos if you put something up and you go on to pledge music for an album and people are putting all the money in and it’s like people are expecting it at a certain time. And we’ve managed to get this finished article that we’ve taken our time on that we’re really happy with and really proud of and we’ve kind of done it ourselves but with the help of everyone that come to any show.

Anyone that’s bought our t-shirts effectively put money in to make this album which is quite a nice sentiment it’s nice it’s been made by everyone and by us and everyone who likes the band.

Did you have to apply for the grant?

 Applied for it and that paid for a certain percentage of recording and then e just got the money to do everything else.

 No strings attached?

No strings attached.

That sounds good.

It really is – it’s quite amazing cos they help quite a lot of Scottish bands it’s not like an impossible thing like let’s get this grant they give out different amounts of money to different projects.

Is that a necessary thing?

 I don’t know…you obviously get ‘we’ll give you this amount of money this year and you spend it” sort of thing with government stuff. It’s not means tested but there’s a limit to the amount of money that can be given out and I dunno how they work it out I dunno if it’s how good your application was or whatever but say it’s like they’ve got 20 grand max they can give out they’ll give out anything between…

So it doesn’t just go to a couple of bands, they just say right okay we like you, and you…

 So you can get £500. So that’s the deal really.

They’ve been really, really helpful.  We’ve played a creative Scotland showcase at the Great Escape last year and stuff like that. So it’s been very kind of working with their help bit bits and bobs which is the kind of thing you need when you are doing something yourself you need a little bit of cash injected in so you can get the ball rolling which has been great and it’s all worked out really well so far.

So now you’ve done that and it’s all going very well and you’re starting to filter down here.  I’ve met some bands that have got a 5 year plan and that’s that , and I’ve met bands that are going with the flow with a little kind of idea of where they’re going – what’s your balance of stuff?

We’ve got a 5 month plan – a 5 minute plan!

Some are like we are going to do this next month and in 2 months time we’re gonna do this and in 2 years time we‘ve got to be here… I think they might be setting themselves up for…

There’s a kind of unspoken plan.  I’m quite happy to get this album out and see what happens and then do another album.  I’m quite happy to just go “I wanna write music and make albums” and as long as people are coming to the shows and buying the albums.

We’ve got like as much as we know we’re putting the album out, we’ve got tours planned. We’ve got the rest of this year all sorted out and then we just start off as pessimistic as we can possibly get everything’s planned and the worst possible scenario and then it’s nice. It’s exciting its kind of how we’ve always done it cos things do take longer especially if you’re doing a lot of stuff yourself for it so we just take it as things come but with a general plan.  We know what we’re doing for the rest of this year.

It’s nice when you can go in with certain expectations and then it’s nice when you get the wee surprises like one or two come up in the year or whatever something you didn’t expect to happen and that just makes it even better.

You don’t mind having plans blown out of the water for that, do you?  So a year is kind of long enough?

 It’s all you can really realistically plan for, I mean you can’t plan for outcomes you don’t know are going to happen yet.

No but I’ve met people like that – they’re really driven and they know where they want to go and they really do have –  and I wonder ‘what are you gonna do if….’ it must be so stressful.

 I would personally find it so self-destructive because i couldn’t handle that.  I tried to  – like cos I’m quite –  I like to do a lot of things are going to happen. But we’ve been in a band for a long time so we’ve kind of had ups and downs and stuff like that even in just doing what we’ve been doing for the past few years and you never know what’s going to happen in music and it’s stupid. It took me a long time to realise that, that you can’t plan and work out what you’re going to do cos you have no idea.

At the end of the day it’s about how people react when they click on you and your Soundcloud link and whether they enjoy it.  At the end of the day the most exciting thing I think we’re ever going to do to date in this band is release this album and see what people think of it – what our fans think of it what new people think of it – cos its awesome!

We’ve made our favourite album – we’ve done everything we can to make it as good as we can so it’s just a case of…

Are there gonna be any surprises in there for your hardcore?

 I think so.

We’ve kept some songs – it’s difficult when you’ve been working on an album for so long and playing about and we’ve only released a couple of songs and you just have to play songs that you’ve got on the album because you just have to. You’ve got hour and a bit long sets and we’ve gone to headline tours we’ve made sure consciously to keep a good wee handful of tracks from the record pretty much secret. There’s one that’s never been played live to anyone and another one that’s been played once and that’s it.

It keeps it interesting… we release this album on 7 April we’ve been playing all the songs on it for the last year and a half you’d be like oh it’s great the albums out and you’re doing this exact same set.

We’re all itching to play these new tracks as well.

We’ve done them in sound check a couple of times and gone will we put it in the set and we’re like no, we’re just gonna wait.   The 7th April’s the day and after that they can be played every single show from then on.

You’ll self combust on the day.

 That’s it. It’s going to be the best day ever.

And you pick things up to play out the first time you go ‘oooh.’ (scared voice)

 I think it’s important we made the album we wanted for us to enjoy I remember like when we were younger and thinking about making albums and I was listening to albums, “I wanna do that!” And we’ve managed to translate some of that onto our album, which is really nice and I hope people have that reaction when they listen to it.

Do you take into account what you know the fans like? Cos there’s a balance with every band. They know what fans like and some of them don’t go away from that.

 I think it’s definitely stupid..

Well, you can’t pander to…

 We’re quite a spontaneous band. What happened with this album was we got to record it over March and April last year and we demoed everything in December and got to March and went, “It’s not good enough” and finished it with new songs.

We were like “this is what we could do, it’s acceptable, people will like it, they’ll be listening to it, but let’s just take a chance and add a couple things.” And the one they actually released as a single is the first one that got a good response. And that was not finished until 12 days into the studio.  So it’s like ‘pandering’ is a really hard concept to have when you don’t have an album out yet.

Having said that, I do know a band have been going thirty years and only just released their first one. I think they kind of got the gist of what their fans like.

 You get a sense of playing live, and we played a lot of the songs live, but the songs we’ve had about that we know people like that would be out on the album, cuz we’ve not done a track listing yet. It’s still a secret.

I think it’s unfair to put songs on that have been around for a couple of years but not released that people know onto an album, because they’ll go “I’m not getting anything new here.” (pauses to tie his shoe…hee!) You gotta keep it interesting if people are gonna pay money which, you know, they might not…

I’ve been quite heavily involved in fandom with two or three bands, and I know what it’s like on the expectation and the general excitement side from this end, from the other end to you.  I know that perhaps if a band release an album, there would be a couple of songs that fans would really, really want on there because they haven’t been on an album before, no matter when the next one came out. They would really want it to be there, you know. There as many different opinions of a band as there are fans. (Note, dear readers, this isn’t necessarily TD related)

 It’s about like meeting expectations but also surprising people as well.  I think it’s a very fine line to stand on.

We spent a long time working on the track listings. There’s been quite a lot of people that have heard it that are friends or family that are people that we know like the band and have liked the band for a while and kind of got feedback with that. And on board as well, in terms of what was on the record. I’m pretty confident that we’ve got the right mix on it. I think when people hear it, they’re gonna enjoy it, hopefully.

There’s no songs there I’m sad aren’t on it, if that makes any sense.  It was quite, not brutal, but the way the album turned out is the way that it turned out – I’m happy the songs went on it.

Is it sounding to me like it was a smoother ride than it was?

 I remember we were dreading it for so long cos we were in an argument and we sat down, I made some…

Yeah, it was just one of those days, I was just  like “are we gonna have a massive argument? I don’t have an argument.”

Yeah, but I made homemade chips that day.

They were pretty good.  These chips can make…

Chips always make things better.

 They do! We just wrote a list of every song that could possibly go on our album and then we all numbered them.

You just kept putting the number of chips it was worth.

 That one didn’t have any chips next to it. And the one with the most chips…

Actually it took about half an hour at the end of the day, and we made a couple of changes which is, I think, a good sign, hopefully.

Unprecedented. That’s quite a feat.

 We’re all on the same wavelength when it comes to like…

 Well, I think perhaps maybe you put it off so long and feared it for so long, it wasn’t quite as bad as you thought.  

 Yeah, maybe it was. Maybe it was so passive, we didn’t realize.

Or maybe we’ve made a horrible mistake and now the track listing’s terrible.

That’s 7th of April, it’s out.

 The album is called “I am an island.”

That’s it!, I clicked on it earlier.  I was looking at all your stuff. I’ve got written down here about genre and whether you have genred yourself in your heads or whether you just don’t care or whether it just evolves through things.

 I don’t really care. The way I see it is: listen to it and take what you want from it. That’s it. If you think it’s death metal…

(laughs) it’s definitely not…

If you listen to the songs and you think it sounds folky, that’s cool, that’s absolutely fine.

Well, some love the music that they listen to and they want to play it so much, it’s  “right, that is what we are.”

 I think there’s a lot, and it’s great. There’s not two tracks the same on the album, but it’s all the same band.

We didn’t start this band with an idea of how we wanted to sound. We started a band with the songs; we didn’t know we wanted to be a rock band. The songs just kind of turned out like that.

When I explain to relatives, like aunties and uncles, I just say we’re a rock band, a guitar band.

I’d say there’s not really a point trying to explain it to aunties.

 We always just say we started off playing Stereophonics covers when we started as a band and it doesn’t matter.  It’s kind of weird.

It’s just…Scottish.  Scottish, honest music.  Honest, that’s a good genre.

Honesty rock!

But which Scottish bands would you like to be considered alongside?  Not that you are ‘the next one of…’ But what would be on your roll of honour? Who would be on that with you?


 Idlewild would be in that.  Framed Rabbit, for me.

Needs to be up there with Biffy (Clyro) as well.

Deacon Blue.

I saw Deacon Blue in Glastonbury. By accident.  They weren’t the headline. They did the Sunday headline. We were all wet.

 I’d love to be as big as Calvin Harris. That’d be good, wouldn’t it?

That’d be awesome.

I always think that you always get ‘you’ll be the next big band’ ‘you’ll be the next [that] band.’ I’d just like to be the first Fatherson.

Yeah, but you know, it’s not like comparing yourself to them, it’s just who would you want to be up there with?

 I think, like, I mean Idlewild.

I’ve seen them, they’ve been here!

 I think people will appreciate those bands for what they do. I think that’s basically all you really want for being in a band. They’ll do it for a living and know that people like it. Even if one person likes it and ten people hate it, if that is the ratio I’d be happy with that, cos like one person likes it.

Or at least they’re paying you attention. It’s the middle bit you want to avoid.  They don’t care.

 No such thing as bad publicity.

I’ve been listening to the news today. David Cameron’s put his foot in it again with Scotland.  He made a speech in London. He’s telling people to ring and text and talk to their Scottish friends and tell them to vote ‘no’ and say ‘we want you to stay.’ It’s like, please don’t interfere with other people’s political processes. How do you feel about the Independence thing? Would it be a good thing for the Scottish music industry or are you pretty independent up there anyway?

 We’re a Scottish band, we live in Scotland, that’s something that we have spoke about quite a bit. I don’t necessarily think it would make that much of a difference in Scotland in terms of the music. It might do, but it’s one of these things it’s all speculation at the moment.

You never know, if it goes independent more of the music industry would move to Scotland, if that makes any sense. So that London wasn’t a powerhouse.

If.  Nobody really knows cos it’s not happened yet.

What would you like to happen?

 I would like people to read more about it and come up with their own opinions.

Both sides are obviously very biased.

And very passionate.

 There doesn’t seem to be a good overview of any of that yet. So you’ll get people who’ve read the White Paper and they’re like ‘yeah!’ And you get people, you know, have an argument about that, but not enough…

The one thing I have heard on Radio 5, which is very English, they’ve talked to a lot of young people and they seem to know what they’re talking about whatever side they’re on. And that is impressive, really, and kind of heartening.

 I think that like it or lump it, it’s the most important political thing that’s happenning to Scotland for the past three hundred years.

I think people not voting would be the worst thing.  You can vote either way, however you feel about what’s going on, but at the end of the day, I think it’s important that people vote.

It’s always an interesting thing with music and politics. We’re just not having too much to do with that. We’ve always spent a lot of time just getting to know both sides of what’s going on and making up our minds.  I think that we should vote and make our own mind up and have an idea.

And deal with what happens after that.

 Yeah, either way. It’s not the end of the world. Something will happen.

We’re still joined together. Sorry about that, it wasn’t my fault. I don’t think people hate the Scots nearly as much as they think we do.

 To me, it comes down to nothing to do with liking or loving or hating or anything to do with that, which is stuff I’ve always read. I think it just comes down to people doing what they think is the most sensible thing to do.

Let’s hope they do that. You need to vote with your heads.

 That’s why I think everyone should just read more about it, even if you have made your mind up, find the facts out. Just learn about what it actually means. There’s manipulation on both sides and I think it’s important that you learn what’s going on.

And be very wary of both sides as well. Yeah, you don’t get to be this old without being cynical about both sides. Even the one you support, really.

 Yes, exactly!

 Well that’s all I’ve got. Is there anything you’d like to add, say, promote, divulge to anybody? Say to your aunt?

 We’d like to thank Scott, who’s packed away all our stuff.

(To Jo) Thank you very much.

We’ll come back down as soon as we possibly can. We’re in Cambridge tomorrow, then we’ve got a couple of months, just doing a lot of stuff for the album, and we’re going to be going on tour when the album comes out, and then festivals and stuff like that. We’ve got some announcements coming up. Watch this space.

Beer and curry?

Facebook and website

Video – more on their channel.


PTL 10th Anniversary – Rob Shaw

Rob Shaw is well known to Darklings ‘first time round’ for being in charge of the Official forum on the band’s own website.  A fan first and foremost, he’s as passionate about them as any of us. We met up in a London pub on a warm June evening to  drink drinks, eat pie, and try and out-talk each other. He won, this time, because I’d lost my voice the week before! There was a LOT of Darkness discussion that night, mostly completely irrelevant to this project, AND we didn’t tape anything – but we did manage to cobble something together!

OI: When did you first hear about The Darkness?

Rob: On the Stay Beautiful (Simon Price’s night club night) message board, the punning (of Grandmaster Flash) “The Mess-age”. He had obviously seen them before and talked about their forthcoming show at the club night Uncle Bob’s Wedding Reception at The Water Rats pub. I’d been to UBWR many times before as bands I’d liked had either played there (David Devant and His Spirit Wife) or DJed there (Kenickie). I have no idea what he said but clearly it did the trick because after England demolished Germany 5-1 in the football (for it was that fateful day – 1st September 2001) I rallied two work colleagues and headed down there.

OI: Did they blow you away straight away?

Rob: In a word, yes. I was really more of an indie kid than a rocker so in spite of having an MP3 copy of the Virgin compilation The Best Rock Album in the World… Ever! that contained such chestnuts as Rainbow’s Since You’ve Been Gone and Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town which I both knew and loved intimately, The Darkness weren’t really what you would have expected me to love and yet it was instant. Naturally given the events of that day drink had been taken and there was some wholly understandable euphoria but that wouldn’t…couldn’t explain how strong my – our – reaction to The Darkness was. My colleague Chris who was there with me admits to being a self-described “full music snob” said something to me (and bear in mind nearly 12 years have elapsed, so I’m paraphrasing) “how can something so wrong feel so right?!” And that half-remembered comment sums it up – fist-pumping twin-lead-guitaring ’80s influenced hair rock was so far from being what was fashionable (the relatively minimalist Strokes were the band du jour) and yet…and yet… this was clearly so well done, so *honestly* done, by people who knew their milieu and knew their instruments that it simply blew any preconceptions that you might have had away. I knew immediately that I had to see this band again. I was in luck, because they were playing again the next Saturday at The Monarch in Camden.

OI: How did you end up working for them? Was that before PTL was recorded?

Rob: I didn’t miss a single gig after that. They were playing a lot in those days… after 1st September I saw them another eight times in 2001 alone. My opportunity came in 2002, around the time they went to SXSW. Justin was running the website he was a bit handy with Photoshop – still is I expect – and had put together what was in 2001 a very creditable band website – well ahead of what their contemporaries on the toilet circuit would have been doing.

As a by then professional web producer (working an extended sandwich year placement for a computing firm out in Camberley, Surrey) that piqued my interest and along with the Stay Beautiful: The Mess-age forum, The Darkness website became a regular destination for me. When the boys went to SXSW 2002 in March (where, according to they played Maggie Mae’s to “little fanfare” – a year later they tore the roof of the Blender Bar, but that’s a story for another time) the updates to the website, not unreasonably, dried up.

So it must have been at one of the two shows they played in London in April that I spoke to Justin – having introduced myself, heart racing and voice quavering, months earlier during the load-out after a show at the Monarch, and by then being on at least nodding terms with all of the band even if only because they would have seen me in the front row at every London show – and told him that I’d noticed that the website wasn’t being updated recently and perhaps I could help them out with that, allowing him to devote all of his time to the UK’s hardest rocking rockers™.

I would have met Sue before then too, but if I remember correctly (and there’s every possibility that I don’t), we discussed it and I agreed that I would help out – obviously on a for-the-love-of-it basis. In memory, I started working for them in May 2002; as I look at the Wayback Machine my new design for the website (and ostentatious credit in the website footer) don’t appear until September that year, but I *think* there were updates before that.

PTL was recorded in October 2002, so I was working for them for a few months before that.

OI: What was your exact job?

Rob: Webmaster / gig photographer (with a 2.1 megapixel Nikon digital camera and no skills whatsoever) / phone answerer / general factotum / fan wrangler.

OI: Was there anything that wasn’t pleasant?

Rob: Running the forum was, sometimes. I didn’t like the way some fans spoke about Sue, and getting rid of her. People also forgot that I was a fan as well, sometimes, and I was as affected as they were by what went on – good or bad.  I did stay in touch with one or two people, as friends.

OI: What’s your favourite office memory?

Rob: Ridiculously, I suppose at some point during 2004 when things were going particularly swimmingly and the band could do no wrong, we were convinced that somebody should make a movie of the rise and rise of The Darkness (with all of us hirelings in it too, of course) and we worked out the cast for the whole thing. Sue was going to be played by Fay Ripley and Simon Pegg was going to be me – because he *is* a strawberry blond, irrespective of what he told me at the One Way Ticket to Hell…and Back launch party!

OI: Do you prefer PTL live or on CD?

Rob: The live set that I knew and loved pre-PTL and the PTL tracklist (and hence the the post-PTL live set) were actually quite different. Growing On Me, for instance, which is unquestionably one of the highlights of PTL, I don’t remember being part of the live set before the album was recorded. And Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us and Live ‘Til I Die and The Best of Me were, yet they in time made way for others.

OI: What is your favourite track? Has that changed over the years?

Rob: If I’m honest, not really. It was always Love Is Only A Feeling, right from the earliest days. I remember Justin gave me a signed CD-R copy of what would become the I Believe In a Thing Called Love EP after the show at The Castle, Tooting in November 2001 – to my eternal regret I lost it a couple of house moves ago – and I went straight home and tried to transcribe the lyrics into a notepad, the better for singing along. I wrote down “and I saw my defensive system adequately fail to withstand” (instead of “an assault my defences systematically failed to withstand”) and if I’m honest I probably still sing it that way at least half of the time.

Dan and Justin played the whole show on only one guitar each in the early days (Dune, Dan’s 1998 sunburst Les Paul Standard and Black Shuck, Justin’s 1998 black Les Paul Standard) and when Dan brought the capo out you knew it was Love Is Only A Feeling time. That solo practically brought me to my knees then, it still does now. The amazing video that Alex Smith made out in the Blue Mountains of Australia only served to burnish the song’s legend as far as I am concerned. The gestures that Justin makes in the cave (here: – he used to do those on stage and the intro to the track was always heralded by Justin crossing his arms and doing air drums. I later discovered he stole that particular move from Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap.

OI: What would you have loved to have happened to mark the anniversary?

Rob: I have one cherished, unachievable dream… For The Darkness to have released a 10 year anniversary Edition of PTL, and for them to have let me choose the tracklist. There are rarities galore: demos, radio sessions, videos that never got a proper release (like Friday Night, which inexplicably leaked on the Internet, through an Italian broadcaster if I remember correctly) – definitely enough to have made a great package for fans. Maybe they can do it for the 20th instead!

OI: Any regrets?

Rob: That I didn’t go to America to see them play there.  There turned out not to be all the time in the world.


Rob was, as always, a joy to talk with.  We could have done with another few days just to talk about PTL. The pie is on me next time.


For more contributors, click here


PTL 10th Anniversary – Hedda and Ben

Years ago, two young Darklings from different countries and time zones met in cyberspace. Love wasn’t just Only A Feeling… they got married only a few weeks ago.

OI: Morning, everyone!

Hedda: Morning!



OI: Is everyone comfy? Right then… How did both of you discover The Darkness? Or was it less of a discovery and more of a running into a wall of Rock?

Hedda: I heard/saw IBIATCL on TV, thought it was a great song and didn’t actually think much more of it. Then I went on holiday to London with a friend and TD was on the cover of Kerrang. She thought they looked awesome (they did, in their circus gear) but hadn’t heard them. I had, of course but couldn’t remember the song properly, so we looked them up when we got home and that was it. Hooked!

Ben: The person who introduced me to the delights of Tenacious D recommended them (and their forum) to me, so I had a listen, and signed up. Wasn’t long before I was hooked 


OI: What was the thing that really jumped out at you first?

Ben: Justin’s crotch. But I tried not to let that put me off.

Hedda: Justin’s lyrca clad bum and the opening riff to IBIATCL


OI: They’re prominent sort of Darkness features 

So, Hedda had good reasons to stay around, but what about you, Ben?

Ben: After that, it was the sheer ROCK of it all, plus the humour… I like my music with some funny in it, especially puns and double entendres.

OI: I think they’re everywhere in Darkness being. Once you had PTL in your own hands, what happened to your lives?

Hedda: I went to see them in February 2004 and joined the forum in the summer (didn’t have internet access in my old flat).

OI: Ben was already there, I believe

Ben:I had Justin’s falsetto ringing in my ears pretty much 24-7, and spent long hours squinting at their forum, getting to know the lovely Darklings.

Hedda: He was indeed! I did notice 😉

OI: I think everyone noticed Ben! There was a large but tight-knit community spirit back then.

Ben: There was, it was a very good crowd of people, united by epic rock, and emoticons


Hedda: Yes, everyone was very welcoming to newbies!

OI: The forum was exploding then. It was the golden age of fora.

Hedda: It was awesome


Ben: It was…. The Dampness, The TPBs, plus puns, banter and the spirit of friendly rock n roll.

OI: It was a great place! As, indeed, you two found out.

Ben: Yep. It’s where we met. I believe the word “thunk” may have been involved.

Hedda: Indeed! Aaaah had forgotten about thunk


OI: What happened to attract two anonymous people from different countries into a corner? 

’Thud’ was also quite prevalent, I understand


Ben: The Darkness happened, and the power of rock brought us together.

Hedda: And you were funny. And I saw your photo.

Ben: And it was so funny

I saw your photo, and thunk.

OI: Which TD event finally saw the physical meeting of thunks?

Hedda: We’ve never actually been to a TD event together!

OI: Pardon? HOW?

Ben: Strangely we’ve only ever seen them separately, pesky scheduling issues have stopped us both getting to see them at the same time!

OI: This has to stop!

Hedda: It will in november, we’re seeing them in Plymouth


OI: Thank the Gods of Rock for that!

Ben: It’s lucky they got back to together, I think it was probably just so that they could perform for both of us at the same time


Hedda: I think so.

OI: Two Darklings, brought together by the power of PTL… never seen them perform it together! Of course. They’re very good at doing stuff for their fans.

Hedda: They are, as we noticed the day after the wedding!

Ben:  Maybe you could ask the gods of rock to get them to perform at Exmouth Pavilion for our anniversary?


Don’t push it darling.

OI:  I will offer up a prayer

Ben: Rock Master, who art in Lowestoft, Justin be thy name..”

OI: Right, so you were bought together by the power of Rock, Spandex and Justin’s Bum (the Holy Trinity), in the physical form of PTL. Which little bit of PTL grabbed you by the bum most?

Hedda: IBIATCL and Friday night are my favourite tracks off that album I think. Closely followed by Growing On Me


Ben: Every bit of it was pure rock gold, but Growing On Me was probably the track that got me the most


Hedda: And I love the Friday Night video


OI: It is a gem that needs to be seen more often!

 Over the last ten years, do you think you’ve shifted towards other tracks?

Ben: I’ve shifted more to IBIATCL, as the love of my life is here thanks to The Darkness We used it at our wedding, so it has special sentimental value now. Plus it rocks. 

Hedda: Not really, they’re all good but those ones have always been my favourites.

OI: I guess you two have had your lives changed more than most by this band/album.

Ben: Yes, the Darkness bought us together, despite us never having seen them together. The powers of love and rock are great indeed, but together, nothing can stop us now.

Hedda: Yeah it’s pretty changed but for the better!

OI: I’d hope so 

What’s your favourite memory from that time?

Hedda: From when we met?

OI: Any of the PTL era


Hedda: When I went to Oslo to see them with a friend, The Wildhearts were the warm up, and we were at the very front. That must have been February 2004 I think


Ben: Seeing the Darkness at Wembley was pretty amazing, a whole bunch of Darklings met up at the hotel before going basking in the power of rock, was great to meet them all, and them, well…..Justin on a flying tiger is a sight I’ll never forget.

OI: Do you have anything to say to The Darkness on this great occasion?

Hedda: Don’t. EVER. Stop!

And thank you for bringing us together


Ben: Thanks for believing in a thing called love, and rock the f*ck on.

Ben has planned to make new, slightly larger version of his ‘The Dampness’ T for November and Hedda has a purple Frankie T from that there America. Look out for them!


For more contributors, click here




PTL 10th Anniversary – Dave Ashworth and Karl Eisenhauer

One Monday evening in The Lucas Arms, three Darklings of long standing and high audience participation met to discuss The Darkness. Or, rather, I promised beer if they turned up at 7ish and gave me an indepth interview on the ‘Old Days’. What follows is basically a pub chat between three old timers – memories, banter, opinion, anecdotes and a high regard for silliness in the quest to record a large amount of little known Darkness-related bollocks. We did that admirably.

OI: Right then, Dave, your turn first. When and where was the first time?

Dave: The first time I heard about The Darkness was when Justin approached me at 3 o’clock in the morning outside Stay Beautiful Club.

Karl: This story’s already better than mine!

OI: That’s a good place to start!

Dave: Because they were playing upstairs in a pub the night after, so he just handed over a flyer. You meet someone at 3am, and think brilliant, we can do something tomorrow now! I think we ended up helping him hand out the flyers for some reason, because that’s the kind of thing you do at 3 in the morning.

OI: It is!

Dave: So we went to see them play, it was September 2001, and that was at the Barfly in Camden, back in the days when the Barfly literally was just the upstairs room of a pub where bands played sometimes. And they were brilliant! Ridiculous amounts of fun, really.

OI: Was that it, then? When the love affair started?

Dave: Well, it wasn’t so much of an immediate love affair of ‘This is my new favourite band’. It was that kind of thing where you see a band in a pub and think ‘Fuck, that was good, and we’ll go again next week’.

OI: Was that when they were doing the weekly Barfly?

Dave: They weren’t doing anything weekly at that point. Every couple of weeks.

Karl: Was that the thing called ‘Uncle Bob’s Wedding Reception’ or something like that?

Dave: Uncle Bob’s Wedding Reception was when they were doing gigs at the Verge, which was slightly less well known than the Barfly. I can never remember what they’re calling it these days. It literally was just that. I saw them in a pub, thought they were a good band, saw them a couple of weeks later, and again, and it just goes from there really.

OI: and you never thought ‘Actually, this isn’t as good as it promised to be, at the beginning?

Dave: How do you mean?

OI: You know when you go and see a band the first couple of times and then start to get bored of it. Clearly not…

Dave: Certainly going through the Camden pub days, at no point did the joke ever show signs of wearing thin.

OI: Best joke in Camden at the time?

Dave: It’s funny, they must have been doing reasonably well, because they were able to headline a Saturday night in a Camden pub. Its not like they spent an awful lot of time toiling around playing third on, on a Thursday.

Karl: It always seems that some don’t have the talent, though, headlining, just be in the right place at the right time.

Dave: I’m sure there were plenty of bills back then where they were headlining because everyone else wanted to get on, get off and get pissed.

Karl: I guess so, but they evolved out of Empire as well, who had a following as such.

Dave: They were a known pubbing band.

Karl: Yeah, there were people in that band that were known around, in Dan and Frankie’s case. And they had management kind of pre-attached to them in some form, didn’t they.

Dave: And also, as well as Empire, there was Thirteen:13…

Karl: And two members of the Britpop band Catch…

Dave: So obviously there were some connections from that. In fact, I remember a couple of months after I first saw them, I bumped into them at a Thirteen:13 gig. The stated reason at the time was that Dan wanted to check up on his bass amp, cos he did still want it back at some point. I don’t know if he did get it back.

Karl: Were you around for the buffet?

Dave: There was more than one buffet!

Karl: There was one where they cut their fingers.

OI: That was Dan.

Dave: I don’t remember any bloody buffet! I do remember them playing at the Verge in Camden, they had a nice little trestle table up at the back with breadsticks and dip and little bowls of Smarties.

OI: Oh, to go back to those days.. do you think they’ll do that again at the end of the year?

Karl: I don’t think they’ll cook, no.

Dave: They didn’t cook then! It was mainly cold.

Karl: Disgraceful, really…

Dave: To be fair, it’s not bad for £4.50 in…

OI: A gig, and all the finger food

Karl: You can look at

OI: And think ‘I wonder who sneezed on that’

Karl: Is it my turn now?

OI: You’ve already chipped in, but yes.

Karl: Mine was a while after that – about 11 months. I wasn’t in London, I was a country boy.

Dave: You still are a country boy!

Karl: I was in the back of beyond in Lincolnshire. I used to go to the record shop on a Saturday (a non work day), the big old Virgin Megastore in Grimsby… no, I tell a lie, I used to go to WH Smith, look at the magazines, and picked up an issue of Kerrang. It was full of the usual bollocks of around that time. Long goatee beards and cut off jeans – Limp Biskit and Korn and that kinda stuff. There was a little half page picture from the same shoot as the I Believe EP. I remember looking at it and reading about the band – Justin saying his biggest influences were Bon Scott from AC/DC or something like that. It was round the same time as The Datsuns as well, who were getting a lot of hype in the NME. You look at these bands who say they love AC/DC or  wear an Iron Maiden tshirt, and when you come to hear the actual music you won’t hear fuck all of it. I saw all this, didn’t think any more of it. Went to Virgin, bought a couple of albums and as I was queueing up I was standing next to the singles section. Sure enough, right down there in the top 200 was a little EP for about £1.79, so I thought I might as well get that! When I got home I listened to the albums and was about to throw the bag out and remembered the EP. I was a bit different to Dave. As soon as I heard the opening riff on the EP version I’ve got, I just thought ‘Hello, there’s something here. The sound of someone who likes AC/DC and can sound like AC/DC’. I played that EP to death for about a month or so. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere I went to the internet and found the website that Webbie had then – the old guestbook. I wanted to go to a gig but London was a million miles away at that time. I remember the I Believe EP getting airplay on Jo Whiley. Not a lot happened for a while apart from listening to it until November/December time – 2002. Darklings happened before my first gig. You remember the guestbook?

Dave: I remember it. I remember you harvesting me off that guestbook!

Karl: I prefer the term ‘grooming…’ There were a few names around on that guestbook – Graham Burgess, the guy from Bandannaman, Helen, Rada and Mike turned up with a load of photos. Anyway.. it got to the point where.. you can’t really have a conversation on a guestbook. I could see that people wanted to do a bit more talking with each other rather than just going ‘I went to this gig, it was great’. Being a bit of a sad geek stuck out in the countryside without many friends, I was familiar with web forums.

Dave: You still are, to this day!

Karl: I though ‘hang on a minute, there’s a gap in the market here’ so when I had a bit of time off at Christmas I sat round one evening and registered a web board, thinking ‘I don’t want to call it the Darkness Web Board’ because they might get a bit angry that I’ve stolen their name.  So I thought ‘what can I say that’s a bit like The Darkness

All: but isn’t!

Karl: So I made up some random bollocks, and the board was born round about Christmas Eve 2002.

OI: Your present to the world!

Karl: I like to think Christmas morning, but most likely Boxing Day, I woke up, went on to see how my little baby was growing and found some oik had followed me from the guestbook… And there was a ‘Justin’  who had registered. I though someone was taking the piss and that I should have put a block on those names. About 13 people had registered by then. No. 6 was Justin, and No 7 was someone called Justin’s Dad. I was a bit dubious and challenged this man by DM. He said no, it really was him and it really was his dad. Apparently got a bit excited that someone had done something for them fanwise and gone and shown his parents over turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day, which is always my favourite memory.  I like the idea that I penetrated the Hawkins’ Christmas.

OI: It is an image. ‘DAD! MUM! Someone’s built me a forum!’ Oh heck, I can just see an overexcited Justin bouncing around with a laptop!

Karl: I dunno what this old timer thought of this upstart and his ideas?

Dave: I’ve seen worse – it just seemed like a logical step at the time.

Karl: That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me!

Dave: What, you being a logical step?

OI: Karl’s logical?

Dave: It made sense. There was enough of a buzz that people wanted to start talking about it. Not just with their mates around a pub table, but with other people who’d seen the same things that they’d seen.

Karl: Two of the nice things that I remember over the first three months – a good six months before they got signed and three or four before Growing on Me – was that you’d get new people every day. It was a slow process but steady. It was really friendly because everyone kind of knew each other. Another nice thing was – whereas now, your ‘typical’ Darkness fan is heavily locked into  Steel Panther or other rock bands, in those days a lot of the people signing in were from indie backgrounds. There were some from metal backgrounds, but people like Helen and Colin were more indie. There was a real mix of people.

Dave: Without wanting to put them down, they WERE an indie band at the time, playing the indie circuit. The idea of doing something like that didn’t exist on a circuit that was really alive at that time. There wasn’t a Classic Rock circuit that was getting any real exposure at the time so they were playing on an indie circuit.

Karl: I’m guessing from what I was told later that year, there weren’t many bands doing anything like that. Some, but it was a bleak time.

Dave: I think that at that time, that sort of music was looked on as a bikers’ dark alley.

Karl: In terms of rock, you’d gone from grunge to post grunge to your pop punk stuff around that time. In terms of rock and metal bands, old school, it was dire.

Dave: There wasn’t a grass roots rock circuit, not enough for anyone to take any notice of it.

Karl: The previous generation was dying on its arse around that time.

Dave: The nostalgia trip hadn’t kicked in yet.

Karl:  I think Radiohead and Coldplay were the biggest bands at the time, you can imagine why they didn’t really fit in.

Dave: They drove their own wedge into proceedings on that score, really!

OI: I remember when I first started seeing them – from radio to seeing the videos – I never thought of placing them. It never occurred to me to place them anywhere because I didn’t think they were actually anything (in terms of genre). Which was good for attracting those indie Goths.  Indie Goths? Sorry, mixing my genres!

Karl: I guess my next chronological incident was – preamble is that I had spent 12 months getting massively into Def Leppard. In those days if you were signed up, you used to get mailouts from Sue Whitehouse. I was very excited because Leppard were touring. This email dropped in at Christmas to say that The Darkness had been chosen, which was very bizarre as it started off a chain of events where if I like two bands they end up playing on the same bill. Like Gaga – who would have thought that The Darkness would have opened for her?

Dave:  A genius move though!

General agreement

Karl: So that happened, and at the end of January Justin came back on the board for the first time in a while to say ‘This seems like a logical place to put this, we need a load of people to come down to film a video’ which was the GYHOMW video. Now I couldn’t go because I was still a country bumpkin and had my factory job in Lincolnshire, but this slender hipped Brett Anderson/Brian Malko lookalike here (fresh off his Japanese centrefold modelling career) went to that, and Dave can carry on.

Dave: Yeah, they put up they were doing this thing and they wanted people to come. They essentially did it in two stages. They had an evening gig where they wanted a big crowd and everything else like that, and filmed all these lead up scenes to go and set a little story. We had to go to the LA2 under what used to be the Astoria at 10 o’clock on a fucking Saturday morning which was fairly difficult. We spent the whole day filming all these little cutaway scenes an other bollocks like that – I think about 3 got used in the end. It was an LA club scene vibe with people dancing on the tables. For part of one scene someone was supposed to come and whisper something in my ear to draw me away to do something or other, and it turned out to be Helen from the boards, who I’d never met before. So she whispered ‘I’m Helen, you’re Dave, aren’t you, how are you doing?’ right in the middle of the scene. She’s probably the only person I’ve ever met live on camera. That was a fucking long day, and by the end of that day, I tell you we fucking hated GYHOMW. We had listened to it 30-40 times on repeat over the course of the day, and been told to go mental on cue each time. I’ve just about made my peace with it now. It’s a great song.

OI: It’s been ten years!

Karl: You never see the video much any more these days.

Dave: I can’t find it on YouTube, I think there’s been some legal reason they had to delete it or something.

Karl: You probably can’t find it on YouTube, but if you google it, it turns up on French YouTube or something. It’s out there.

Dave: There must have been some legal reason why they couldn’t show it.

Karl: You’re in it.

Dave: I have a horrible feeling I didn’t have very many clothes on at the time.

Karl: (moving on swiftly) At that point I should point out that Dave had been posting on the board and we hadn’t got into picture sharing yet. No one knew what anyone looked like.

Dave: People didn’t share then, they stayed anonymous on the internet at that time.

Karl: Dave did. We knew who he was but I had no idea what he looked like and wouldn’t, for about another 11 months. Hence he became the very nearly mythical Sexy Dave, to many of us.

Dave: Have we got to your first gig yet?

Karl: No!

Dave: See, I never realised you’d been so involved in this without ever seeing the fucking band!

Karl: From that point on, for the next 12 months, there was basically something happening every week or fortnight. We’re talking about the 10 year anniversary here. Basically it feels like 10 years worth of memories happening in about a year.

Dave: So much happened in such a short space of time.

OI: My first year was a bit like that.

Karl: It came up to the Leppard tour, and I went of to see them at Sheffield Arena with my best mate from school. I was at his house a week or two before we were going back to see them. He loves AC/DC, so I thought I’d give him this CD. I warned him that he’d love it but might not like it so much when the singer starts. I didn’t know if he’d like it, but it was the band opening for Def Leppard so I gave it to him. Randomly one night I got a text out of the blue going ‘These are fucking amazing!’ so we both got very excited. I didn’t tell him I’d got this message board.

Dave: He kept it a Dark secret!

Karl: Yup, a Dark secret. Anyway, on that board there was a message saying they were doing a warm up gig at the Peterborough Met Lounge, one of my favourite venues. That was my first gig, round about Valentine’s Day in 2003. Even though they were on the up, they had so many tickets to give away. The Met Lounge was about 80-100 people. I remember Graham Burgess had won about 13 pairs of tickets! He was giving them away to everybody left right and centre. So even though I was going to see them with Def Leppard, I wanted to see them on their own first. I came home, said hello, found out I’d won these tickets, jumped on the train of to Peterborough. The gipsy rock and roll lifestyle began! I got to the Met Lounge hours fucking early, stupidly not wearing a coat.

Dave: As prepared as you ever are!

Karl: The doors were half an hour to an hour late being opened, in February, in Peterborough High Street, freezing fucking cold. There was one other guy I was talking to, his mate had mentioned this band so he’d decided to come and see them. I remember him saying ‘I haven’t listened to a rock band in 15 years’ even though he looked younger than me. He would have been 5! There were two local support bands. The first one was called ‘The Dark’.

Dave: Promoter logic!

Karl: I don’t know what happened to the Dark, they were very heavy.  There was a VIP bit upstairs, Justin wandered down in his catsuit to watch one of the supports. I was standing at the bottom of the stairs looking across, thinking ‘that’s a famous person!’ even back then. Didn’t try and talk to him though. I loved everything they did. By that point we only knew three songs, from the EP and GYHOMW. They only knew about 7! The famous bit about that gig is that it had one of those false ceilings, fantastic gig but at the end Justin jumped up to grab something off the ceiling. He ended up swinging off it, his weight made it give way. He didn’t land on his arse but was back on the ground and the ceiling started to fall in on him. This dry ice cloud of dust from behind the false ceiling smothered them all at the end and it looked very dramatic.

OI: He’s not learned anything since!

Karl: The story I was told was that they were so impressed that they didn’t bother putting in for damage! So that was my first gig and I loved it. I then went to see Def Leppard. Unfortunately in the intervening four days, I had basically caught mild pneumonia or hypothermia. I was shaking and couldn’t breathe, really ill, but no way was I missing Leppard! They were very important to me at that time. I dosed myself up on packets of Beechams (well into hardcore drugs). The only things I remember from the gig was when The Darkness came on, the only people in the crowd who knew any of their songs were me and my mate who were singing merrily along. We didn’t actually know the lyrics because we couldn’t make them out, but we could mouth the right sounds. I think they came out to Arrival, even then. They did Bareback. Everyone loved it, 7-8000 people milling around thinking the support band were gonna be shit – heads rocking, really going for it. People were obviously surprised that there was a decent support band. And then – I guess they would have gone into Best of Me next – opening riff, everyone’s loving it. As soon as Justin opened his mouth with those high pitched vocals coming out, the audience literally halved down the middle. People either loved it or hated it, literally ‘what the fuck is that?’. But I don’t remember much else of that gig because all the cold remedies had kicked in. My brother and Wayne insist it was a fucking brilliant gig, I can’t remember fuck all about it. I was so pissed off that I went and got another train to Manchester Apollo to see them there. One of my favourite gigs I’ve ever been to. The Darkness were brilliant, Leppard were brilliant. Suddenly from seeing no Darkness gigs I’d seen three in a row, something that would continue for much of that year.

Dave: It’s a shame actually because when they did Brixton Academy on that tour I got offered guestlist but ‘I actually can’t take this’.

Karl: I think as well, that would have been before the first Carling Astoria gig, in March, they definitely opened for an old school rock band – Deep Purple or someone like that, because I remember people coming onto the board on the back on that. 70’s rock people, not 80’s rock like me, so you suddenly had more diversity.

The board became more of a website as people posted stuff and we organised different threads.

Dave: It needed a lot of management.

Karl: I was there one night changing the background, noting that only me, SexyDave and Justin were online. Just the three of us.
OI/Dave: The Unholy Trinity!

Karl: It was changing to the GYHOMW sleeve cover and I messaged Justin because he was online, and he messaged back moaning cos there was a giant picture of his face staring back at him.

Dave: Well, if you will visit your own fansite!

Karl: So I changed that, then he made some comment about two blokes in the front rows at Sheffield who seemed to know all the lyrics. I was famous!
After that they did what I think was their first UK headline tour – Brixton Academy, Stoke Sugarmill etc, and I think it was at the end of that tour that they did the Astoria Homecoming. No, not the Homecoming, the.. umm.. Upcoming one.

OI: The ‘Leaving Home’ one?

Dave: The one where they said ‘Yeah, it’s totally sold out’ and it was very busy, but you couldn’t shift the tickets for more than £3 apiece.

Karl: They were supposedly the first unsigned band to have sold it out, which is what they claimed at the time. It was on Wikipedia, it must be true.

Dave: It was definitely going that way but I wouldn’t give you odds.

Karl: I converted my mate into ‘Let’s go and see this band a lot’ so we went to Stoke Sugarmill when they supported a band called Livid.

Dave: I remember Livid, that was about 7 years before they got that record out!

Karl: There was a lot of waiting around in the cold and rain for the doors to open

OI: We’ve done a lot of that together!

Dave: What is it about certain bands where you never seem to turn up at the right time? Always hours before? I used to do that with Placebo a lot.

Karl: We waited for about an hour to get in. The first thing we saw was this guy in a multicoloured coat screaming into the mic ‘Hello, we’re Livid’ and the crowd shouting back ‘YOU’RE fucking Livid, we’ve been outside for an hour!’ For The Darkness, the mics kept failing, and during Best of Me Justin decided to have a little hand puppet to sing into the mic. During the crowd participation bits, he would put the mic forward – not that it worked.  We decided to hang about to see if we could talk to them. We sat on the stage watching Justin, trying to work out who Robert Shaw was because we knew he was going to be there. Suddenly there was some bloke on our right hand side going ‘Do you guys want a beer?’  Sounds generous, let’s see who it.. oh. Frankie! He was basically giving away the rider crate of beer.

OI: I think the first thing Ed ever said to me was ‘Would you like some champagne?’

Karl: The second thing Frankie said to us was ‘I haven’t got a bottle opener’ so there we were with bottles we couldn’t open. Being the sad bastards that we were, we’d already been to the merch stall and bought those little lighters with bottle openers on the back. So suddenly we were the band’s designated bottle openers

Dave: With their own merch!

Karl: So we talked to Frankie, talked to Justin and there was lots of talk about ‘we’ll have to do something more official, maybe integrate the board’ but I think they were only being friendly at the time. It was nice to finally actually talk to them. Dan couldn’t talk to us because Dan was always hounded by ridiculously attractive women, constantly. They weren’t even at the gig, they just appeared when Dan walked into a room. That was March, and it can’t have been long after that, that Growing on Me came out.

Dave: I forget that one.

Karl: It was a couple of months before the album, definitely April time.

(Check google on phones time!)

Karl: Oh no, June! It was announced in April, then, that GOM was the single. I distinctly remember the reaction on the board being ‘What the fuck are they doing releasing that as a single? ‘Best of Me’ should be the single.’ People weren’t particularly.. the majority weren’t happy with that.

Dave:   ‘Best of Me’ was already a B-side, though, yeah?

Karl: There was other stuff – ‘Stuck in a Rut’ – GOM didn’t seem that popular and it seemed really weird.

Dave: It’s strange that because I remember when they first started playing that one, and everyone – by everyone I mean the three people that came to all the shows, me Rob and Simon Price – were standing in a huddle at the back of the pub thinking ‘not sure about this one’.

Karl: It was definitely their most poppy radio friendly one. Even more than IBIATCL, because that was quite raw. Graham Burgess said it should be GOM, and he was clearly right.

Dave: Mr Burgess has a lot of pop sensibilties!

Karl: From that point on the build up and support slots had won them a lot of fans. I think they supported Disturbed which was weird, at a big gig in London. They supported everyone in those first few months! All credit to them, they just went everywhere.  Didn’t care what stick they got, if they won a couple of fans. They were winning them, not losing them. I always thought ‘good on ‘em’. I wouldn’t go to see Disturbed, but Im glad they went to that audience, getting airplay where they can.

Dave: Again, it’s back to the fact that there wasn’t a ready-made place where they should be.

OI: So they were everywhere.

Dave: They might as well play with Disturbed, as much as they might well play with the Libertines at the Barfly, which they did a couple of times.

Karl: That was the XFM Xmas show! I had the bootleg of that, it was 2002. Was it The Libertines, or Pete?

Dave: No, it was The Libertines headlining, supported by The Darkness. Sponsored by Jameson’s whisky. I’ve got that bootleg too.

Karl: Can you do me another copy? I’ve only got it on minidisc! As you say, there wasn’t a readymade scene for them, but they had a groundswell of support in certain places. Simon Price, for instance, was well on them by then. I was told they got a lot of airplay from Stay Beautiful.

Dave: They used to DJ at Stay Beautiful (Simon’s club night). Lots of the people doing the early shows and videos were Stay Beautiful people.

Karl: There was nothing in places like Classic Rock Magazine though.

Dave: Classic Rock didn’t touch new bands then, because there wasn’t a classic rock scene.

Karl: You’d open it and there’d be a 20 page Hawkwind special. For me, everything exploded when they got video and GOM turned up. I remember that being the first time that there was hardcore fan activity. People ringing up to get a video played at a certain time. If there was a daily top ten show, making sure that they got their votes in all on the same day. It did the trick, it got them on, and we were aiming to get them on at peak times. We cared about shit like that. I was excited to see the video the first time and realising it was us that did that. It was so busy – everything that happened between April and August, I’d be very jumbled up on.  Every other week something happened. Did you go to the album launch?

Dave: Where was it?

Karl: Basically, it was over there (points over his left shoulder).

Dave: What, at La Scala?

Karl: Well, we walked round the back of St Pancras over some waste ground somewhere over the back there. Where they had the album launch  – I assume it was a venue of some description as it obviously had a proper bar and different rooms, and a marquee erected outside and stuff. From my memory, it was in a mini field, not in a building in a row of buildings.

Dave: If I did go to that one I don’t recall. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. Ah! Yes! I was visiting my gran that week so I missed all that!

Karl: There was the XFM breakfast show on one day. We drove down at stupid o’clock, trying to find the Swiss Centre near Leicester Square. AS we turned up, as big white van turned up next to us and four recognisable men fell out. Dan immedicately put a fag in his mouth and muttered something about it being too early to rock. He was just so instinctively cool in those days. Justin was chanting the line ‘We’re the band that brings you rock before breakfast’. Later that day there was an instore at the big HMV on Oxford Street. Someonewas saying that there were three times the number of people they normally got for instores. A lot of people got turned away. Rada and Mike turned up and couldn’t get in, so we got Justin and the otheres on the phones to talk to them – they’d just got married. After the signing we went to the pub, had a few, left, and bumped into them going to the pub we’d just been in. I felt someone grab my arse and swung round angrily to find it was the man who wears a catsuit…

Dave: He used to do that you as well? He did have a habit of doing that though. He would introduce himself to you by either squeezing your bum or putting his hand between your legs and giving it a yank!

Karl: We spent the rest of the evening boring the band senseless, which they were very nice about.

Dave: Probably doesn’t hurt too bad when people are adoring you!

Karl: There was a girl called Kitten who was a drummer. She had got all the drums down pat except for one bit at the start of ‘Holding My Own’ where she couldn’t get the timing right. She gleaned from Ed that the reason for that was because it wasn’t right on the record. We always wondered if that’s why they didn’t play it live for so long! She told the story much better…

There was the time at Download where we got to meet them and had a bit picture taken – four of them, 6-7 of us – only to find out later that Justin’s mum had that picure on her kitchen matelpiece or wall of something. That was weird!

Dave: It was chaos after that.

Karl: Did you have any more questions?

Dave: That was all off the back of the first one!

(We had been talking for an hour and a half by then.)

OI: I told you I didn’t need any questions!

Dave goes to get a round in. OI has vodka and coke on the rocks with no ice. Dave comes back to confess he has no money, and to borrow some from Karl to buy his round. Ha!

Karl: I remember the board getting so big that there were arguments happening that didn’t include me! And stupidly, there were vigilante attacks between mine and the official one.

OI: I never understood that. Or why people would bother.

Karl: I went on the official board too, I was friends with Webbie! But you’d get things like people asking where the term ‘Darklings’ came from, and some authority answering with a load of bollocks that they’d made up and second hand rumours. People would start putting words into your mouth that weren’t yours. On the official board people would say ‘Oh, they get funny about people using that term’ – bollocks! It’s my board, and that ain’t right!

OI: I didn’t even know about the Darklings, because I came straight into the official board.

Karl: That was it, the one you knew first was probably determined by when you got into the band. The majority of people up to ‘Growing on Me’ went that way to Darklings, and after, to the official board. Which had it’s own heritage by then.

Dave (to OI): Are there any questions in your book?

OI: No! But what I’ve asked other people is about favourite tracks, has that changed over the years, and how PTL has changed your life? Has it been been a constant background to your life, or really done something to turn it upside down?

Karl: It has absolutely changed things. I have a social life! I’ve completely corrupted some of my friends. Ian even commented at meetups ‘these people really like Karl!’

OI: A shock!

Karl: It confused me for a long time! That band changed my life completely. I made a point of telling Justin that a lot… there was a drunken, deep and profound moment at the album launch party. It changed things in a way that nothing probably will ever again. As a kid you grow up with a band that turns you on to something musically – more than one. Blur were probably my first passion as a teenager. Leppard were the first I obsessively collected B-sides and knew trivia for. The Darkness were the ones I actually got to meet.

Dave: There are important bands, and important bands you’re involved with.

Karl: Even if none of that had happened, they’d still be one of my favourite bands of all time because I loved what they did musically and changed the landscape of what was going on. It’s weird sometimes to think that if Justin was walking on the other side of the road, he would know who you were and and cross over to speak to you. That’s an honour that kinda blows my mind.

Dave: It’s a strange thing, and I do think it’s a thing that won’t happen again as a phenomena. The Darkness were probably the last band that started out playing pubs and went to playing arenas after that.

Karl: ‘Taking the pubs to the stadiums and stadiums to the pubs’ or something.

Dave: Yeah! They must be the last band to start in a pub and become a household name. Lots of bands started small and got big, but they’re the last band I’m aware of that did that without being an industry creation.

Karl: They did it through gigging and through word of mouth. Everyone who has done it since has done it through MySpace, Facebook or YouTube. The web has broken them.

Dave: They’ve not had to do the hours.

OI: Or the sleeping on floors, etc.

Karl: They achieved the level of fame and stardom that ended up with them on the front page of The Sun more than once in a week. There are no rock bands that have gne through the process and ended up there, now.

Karl: The next band that got even near the hype – more, because the NME were involved – were the Arctic Monkeys. They were worshipped by industry people. Everyone was telling you tha they were the best thing.

Dave: With them it was the ‘novelty’ of ‘here’s a band that started small’!

OI: Funny, we’ve done that…

Dave: They were sold on that for so long.

Karl: There’s a tradition in this country for indie guitar music. Rock music isn’t worshipped in the same way as it is in America, wher you get 24/7 rock stations.

Dave: Do you remember the time they went to America for the frst time to do SxSW, and blew the entire budget on a stupid car?

OI: Wasn’t it a donkey?

Dave: No, a Cadillac!

OI: Oh, no, the donkey was for New York Fashion Week!

Karl: Rock and metal was never as big, here. Even Leppard, Whitesnake, Sabbath. In America it was huge. Here, you had the Rock Show for a coupel of hours a week. It was like a little club. It wasn’t played for the rest of the day. It wasn’t until 2004-5 ish –  when Guitar Hero came out – that there was a seismic shift. I was in a Game Station and there were two 11 year olds who ere having an argument about a song. One of them hummed this tune, and it was Hocus Pocus by Focus! I knew something had musically had changed! I think all of that owes a debt to The Darkness. There was this whole thing about whether they were a joke band. They were an indie in-joke, was the thing for the first six months, because they came up that way. There are still hardcore rock fans who think they’re a joke, because they have fun with rock music.

OI: I said before that I couldn’t place them, and I’m not a rock girl. None of the comments about riffs or influences from thius band or that meant anything to me. It was all over my head, and I just accepted them for what they were. I dodn’t care about the rock heritage, it’s not my thing, though I’ve learned a bit over time.

Karl: I always thought that if you aw them live you would see far more rock than the image promoted necessarily had. The image for some people made them think ‘It’s Spinal Tap, and we’ve had that, so why do we need The Darkness?’

Dave: Because Spinal Tap stopped touring?

Kar;: Out of everything they’ve ever done, put on ‘Love on the Rocks’ live version – ‘We’ve only got one song left, but don’t worry, it’s 12 minutes long’ – that’s my fave live song. Crowd participation, crowd walk. It’s just so powerful. Anyone who can see that live and say they’re a novelty band- WHAT? It’s rock opera. There’s more in that song than most bands ever put out.


OI: Where were we? The favourite track thing. I’ve said that I don’t have a favourite track because I like them all for different things and there’s a vast difference between hearing on them on CD and seeing them live. Live, they are different, and they shift. They’re not the same song, almost. There are different things attached to live and CD – where you were, who with, what happened on stage, how you felt at the time. There’s a different reaction to them, live.

Karl: Good point. After the album came out, on the October tour, they were still doing small places, but £10 tickets were going for £50-60.

OI: The UEA gig, they were going for £175. I couldn’t get to that one.

Karl: It was in Sheffield that during LOTR that the crowd randomly decided to do the clap from ‘We Will Rock You’ and break into the chorus. I’d love to have a bootleg of that! It was the first time I’d heard it.

OI: They don’t do it any more.

Karl: They need a live album. They’ve got three albums of material, for nostalgia and memories. You hear musical progressions. I think they do stuff nowadays faster on some tracks.

OI: That first comeback gig was the fastest I’ve ever heard – manic.

Dave: I don’t have a favourite song to be honest, when you invest so much of yourself in a band, over so much time, the idea of a favourite song is ridiculous. Favourite month, maybe?

OI: The people I’ve spoken to have all said that if they had to choose, it would be ‘this, because I attach this to it’. Not because it’s a musically better song, it’s an emotional response.

Karl: What I like is just the sheer diversity, even around the PTL era. IF you include the B-sides, you have a greatest hits off one album. Every type of song, though I don’t think it was written this way.

OI: There’s ‘Best of Me’, ‘Physical Sex’, LOTR – are these the same band, you could ask.

Karl: When you randomly listen to B-sides there are rock songs next to completely different genres. I loved Christmas Time at the Astoria when they brought on the children’s choir. That was a beautiful moment. If they’d never nade a comeback, I would have smiled for the rest of my life every Christmas because of that.

Dave: It was a genius step to write a NEW Christmas song, a proper one. We are so fed up of recycling the 70’s ones.

OI: Dave, you;ve not answered this one – talk about how they’ve changed your life.

Karl: They introduced you to a lot of strange people?

Dave: When I first started seeing them is was 16. I ended up drinking with them on my 17th birthday. They were buying me cider on Steve Lamacq’s theory that if you only drank cider you would never get fat. For that reason they bought me a lot of it, The whole time they were having their meteoric rise and all the rest of it, I was in my teens and early twenties. That’s going to be an important and changeable time anyway. The stupid thing is, at the time I thought it was perfectly normal and what everyone did was follow a band who would end up on the front page of The Sun. This is a totally normal thing to do when you’re 18.

OI: Is it a totally normal thing to do when you’re 35?

Dave: This is the alarming thing. This is the thing that happens to other people!

Karl: Yes, I know people who’ve gone to their first gig to see The Darkness and met them, and been incredibly excited. I still am! But then I remember that nearly everyone I know has met them and got pissed with them, and I’m incredibly lucky.

Dave: It’s only when I look back on it that I realise that it’s not a normal turn of events.

Karl: In terms of venue size, I’m for selfish reasons bloody glad we’re going back to small ones in the winter.
OI: I can’r wait for that. That’s kind of where they’re at their best.

Dave: You look back to then and think about all the ridiculous things that you’ve done that you never would have got anywhere near, without that band.

OI: I certainly wouldn’t have put my skirt on upside down in the back of a French taxi…

Karl: We’ve all done that.

Dave: I distinctly remember what was possibly The Darkness’ most Spinal Tap moment where they got lost on the way to their own aftershow, in the same building. It was the first time they did Hammersmith, we ended up with half the band and people they recognised from outside, wlaking up and down, backwards and forwards, across the stage three times at the Spollo. Trying to find the party. Everyone had a bottle of champagne in their hand going ‘YEAAHHHHH!’.

Karl: Wasn’t that perfectly normal at the time?

Dave: It’s been quite striking to realise that life isn’t that exciting normally.

Karl: Everyone goes to see bands they really like and get passionate about and want to get big – and they split up 2 weeks later. But The Darkness were the band that you told everyone about, and it DID happen. Even them splitting up and getting back together was part of the essential experience.

Dave: How could be a classic rock opera without it?

OI: It’s like being in a rock theme park  -we’ll go on this ride now!

Karl: I knew in my heart that when they broke up in 2006 that they’d get back together, however long it took.

OI: I didn’t think about it – probably on purpose, really. Didn’t want to get my hopes up. And not worth thinking about toomuch because at the time it just wasn’t happening. Playing a waiting game, and seeing what happened in the meantime.

Karl: One of the weirdest things about them getting back together was seeing people you hadn’t seen for years and them calling ‘Switch’ at you! (userid of long standing)!

There was the most random discussion about daybeds here. Bizarre.

Karl: Anyway, back to the band. I felt that it all started to go wrong when they signed to Atlantic. If you look at the singles – GOM, etc – and what came after except the Christmas song, it never felt right.

OI: No, they don’t suit it. They’re too independent.

Karl: Like in Frankie’s book when he talks about the video for LIOAF, and what they did at the Brit Awards – that was the maverick streak.

OI They need to do things their own way. There’s a danger of actually sticking someone in charge of them.

Karl: The only thing a big label could bring them was marketing. The real strength is the music. If they’d put out a shit album, the hardcore fans would have left, but that hasn’t happened. We’ve stayed around, right from the beginning.

Dave: I don’t know how we ended up not going to the same gigs for so long. Between us, we have a coherent history.

After that, we agreed that we had had amazing, lucky times, going to places that wouldn’t have been possible, otherwise. We are all grateful for the experiences we’ve had, friends we’ve made and the things we’ve achieved. All thanks to one band. Naturally, our agreement was more long winded than that, but we clinked our glasses at the end of three great hours.

The ‘NOT FOR TAPE’ bits were very funny, too. 😀

For more contributors, click here

PTL 10th Anniversary: Ian Johnsen

Ian Johnsen of the Must Destroy label was, and is, a major figure in the life of The Darkness. A man busier than you can possibly imagine, he managed to find a few minutes to answer one or two questions:

OI: At what point did you become aware of The Darkness?

Ian: March 2001. a show at the Barfly.

OI: How did you get involved in working with them?

Ian: They approached us when they heard that Alan and I had started a label. I believe it was at a Datsuns show at the Garage when first moves were made… maybe around eight months after that initial Barfly sighting. Although, we had previously put them on at a night we were doing at Notting Hill Arts Club at the time, so there was prior contact before talk of releasing anything.

OI: Was their potential immediately obvious to you?

Ian: They appealed to us. That was what mattered.

OI: What made you want to work with them?

Ian: They were / are a good music band.

OI: What made them want to work with you?

Ian: Kindred spirits? No other options?

OI: Was PTL under way before or after you got involved?

Ian: Not at the time, no. They had the three ‘Love’ songs recorded… ‘…On The Rocks’, ‘…Is Only A Feeling’ and ‘I Believe In A Thing Called…’.

OI:How knowledgeable about the music business were they, back then?

Ian: Probably more than we were.

OI:What impact did the album have on you, both in a business and personal sense?

Ian: Its an album I still listen to and enjoy. Business-wise, the whole experience opened some doors, introduced us to some people that would influence our lives greatly, and allowed us to do what we did as a job.

OI: What are your favourite tracks, and why?

Ian: ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ – instantly recognisable as a killer pop song from the opening line. ‘Planning Permission’ (is a B-side allowed?) – lyrically perfect.

OI: Has that changed over the years?

Ian: Not really.

OI: From inside the music business, what impact can you say The Darkness had in 2003, and have you seen any lasting effects?

Ian: They made a mockery of the media’s notions of ‘cool’ and made bands that take themselves too seriously look a bit stupid. Lasting effects? Well, in media-land, not really… perceived ‘cool’ is back on top as the most important thing, regardless of whether the artist has anything approaching even one decent song in them or not. Luckily, there’s not much of a media left that anyone takes any notice of.

OI: Was there alternative artwork for the cover? What was that like?

Ian: No.. there was never time for an alternate cover! It was super last minute as it is… Bruce hardly slept during the time he was finishing it off.

OI: What is it that gives both the band and PTL their special something?

Ian: An incredible sense of melody. A lack of fear of the word ‘pop’. A sense of humour. Not giving a fuck what anyone says about them, good or bad.


Thanks to Ian for his time.

For more contributors, click here

PTL 10th Anniversary – Benjamin Boyle

A chat with our man in Norway:

OI: Do you remember your first encounter with The Darkness clearly, or is it a blur?

Benny: I clearly remember sitting in the back seat of our car listening to PTL right after my dad bought it, but before that, I remember seeing the IBIATCL music video on TV a couple of times. I was very young at the moment, so I kind of mixed up The Darkness and Queen because of Justin’s voice.

 OI: Did you have to stop and look again at that video?

 Benny: It was showing on some kind of video jukebox on TV, so I basically had that on in the background while doing other stuff, but I was absolutely stunned by the long haired man’s high voice, so I had to watch the video. I liked how that video was totally different than anything else, and how goofy it was with the huge obviously fake alien creature. It was rather amusing!

OI: I think it was a lot of people’s first experience! I know I went looking round the music channels to see it again.

 Was that song causing a stir there, like here?

Benny: Yeah, absolutely! It was a huge hit and was showing quite often on that video jukebox and was probably played a lot on the radio too. I didn’t listen to radio at the time, but I assume it was. If you ask the average Joe on the street in 2013 if he has heard of The Darkness, you’ll most likely get “Oh, they were the band that did I Believe In A Thing Called Love, weren’t they?” as an answer.

 OI: Always nice to know! Here, the other videos, for GYHOMW and GOM were showing a lot too. Did they surface there too?

Benny: I don’t remember those being shown in Norway, but Love Is Only a Feeling was on TV for a while. I think IBIATCL was the song and video that was most     popular and got the most attention here around the release of PTL


OI: You said your dad bought it – was it on non-stop the moment he got it out of the shop?

Benny: He put it in the CD player in the car as soon as we were out of the shop, but my mom wasn’t too happy about that. I remember telling my dad to turn up the volume while Black Shuck was playing, and my mom just sighed and complained.

OI: Whilst the two of you were headbanging madly? What struck you about it right from that drive home?

Benny: Oh, definitely! I grew up listening to my dad’s old Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Elvis and The Who records, so to listen to that hard rocking masterpiece at   the age of 8 really rocked my foundations! I think that was the main thing that struck me – just the fact that I had never heard anything that hard before. Swearing was also new to me, so when listening to GYHOMW, my dad made up new words for me to sing: “Get your hands off my woman, feather plucker!”

OI: Responsible parenting. 

And that was that. A lifetime (well, to 18 so far) love affair with the band. Did their image mean a lot to you, back then? Or does spandex not register with an 8 year old?

Benny: I really liked looking through the pictures in the booklet, and I especially liked the little kids dressed up as the band, so the image certainly caught my attention. I think Frankie’s moustache and Justin’s cat suits caught most of my attention, though

 OI: Not much new there then! 
Do you have a favourite track? Has that changed as you’ve got older?

Benny: My favorite tracks on that album has always leaned towards the first half of the album, since I always started listening from the beginning and didn’t always finish the whole album. I loved LIOAF, GOM and Black Shuck a lot when I was younger, but now I have realized that GYHOMW is one of the most awesome songs ever to be made. So, GYHOMW and GOM are the ones I listen to the most as of today.
 Not that I DON’T like LIOAF, GOM or Black Shuck anymore – I love the whole album.

OI: The lyrics are engraved on your brain, right?

Benny: Of course! I know the lyrics, but sometimes I just sing along like I used to when I was little, making up random words that don’t exist, but sound like the     real words, haha! However, when the chorus kicks in, lord have mercy on me, because I will belt out those bad words like there’s no tomorrow!

OI: That’s the point when the cat runs away in this house! 
Compared to other music there at the time, were there any rivals, or did TD destroy all the opposition?

Benny: I remember the Moldovan pop group ‘O-zone’ being quite popular around 2002-2004, but more in a sarcastic way, even though everybody had ‘Dragostea din tei’ as their ringtone on their cell. Rock music never caught on like pop music did, but personally, I can’t remember any other popular rock groups at the time having such a hit in Norway like The Darkness did.

OI: Is that still the case? Has Norway caught on to rock music yet, or were TD the only rock brilliance likely to happen there?

I think The Darkness were the wakeup call everybody needed, because you can find different styles of rock music being popular in all kinds of groups of people. Coldplay and Mumford & Sons are very popular amongst the general public. Not that they are as hard rocking as The Darkness, but it’s far away from O-zone or Britney Spears!

OI: Umm… well, they’re all in the same trash can for me, I guess!

 Benny: Haha!

OI: Can you say, then, that The Darkness truly changed things for you?

Benny: (I’m not a part of the general public, though)
They not only changed things for me, but the STARTED things for me. They were the first real hard rock band    that I listened to besides old bands like Alice Cooper, The Who, Cheap Trick etc. It was like The Darkness was MY band, and not something my dad had exposed me to through my childhood. If it wasn’t for The Darkness, I have no idea what kind of person I would be today.

Benny: The Darkness was my gateway to the music I listen to today.

OI: And all because of one small collection of most excellent tunes.

 Do you have an Anniversary message for the band?

Benny: You could say that Permission To Land was my generations answer to Appetite for Destruction.
Happy Anniversary, boys. Nothing made me happier than seeing you come together again in 2011 so we could celebrate as the original The Darkness on the special day. Thank you for changing my life and giving me so many good memories that I will have with me for the rest of my life. Permission To Land is hands down one of the five greatest albums ever to be released, and the b-sides are no less than perfect. I am proud to be a Darkling!

OI: That covers everything! Thanks, Ben. I hope you see them many more times.

For more contributors, click here

PTL 10th Anniversary – Marcelle Wade Barton

Marcelle is an Australian fan whom I had never spoken to before this – I seem to have found a twin!

Do you remember the moment you first came across The Darkness?

Marcelle: YES!! I was watching Channel V (our pay tv music channel) & Andrew G (the VJ) was RAVING about this band. They played IBIATCL video & I was smitten! It was in 2003.

OI:One look and you were lost?

Marcelle: The look, I loved the tongue in cheek attitude & I LOVED the sound. Really awesome guitars etc. The voice was ‘unusual’ but catchy/brilliant

OI:What was Andrew G saying?

 He pretty much was saying exactly what I just mentioned about them: Real rock n Roll, FRESH/NEW, entertaining, he was raving about the PTL album & that the whole thing was brilliant.

How long did it take for you to get your copy after that?

Marcelle: Not long (maybe a week or so). Then I was addicted to them. AMAZING!

OI: That first run through – what were your immediate impressions, after having hear IBIATCL?

 I was blown away by the sound. Very Acca Dacca with Black Shuck as the opener & his voice was hysterical/mesmerising. Hard to get the words, but when I read them thrugh I was laughing. Very clever. GYHOMW threw me with the language, but I love how he does it so ‘tongue in cheek/almost respectfully’ like he knows his mum is listening!! haha. It’s so hard to come by an album where every song rocks. LIOAF makes me cry still to this day. It was/is sublime. Beautiful guitars. And the BOOM straight into Givin’ Up. CLASSIC!!! Immediate impressions?? BRILLIANT. BEST ALBUM. IN MY TOP 3

 At that time, what was your favourite?

 Ok Been listening ALL day (thank you).. umm, geesh ..BS, GOM, LIOAF, GU, FN, HMO, but they all rock. These ones move my soul

Then & now.

 So there’s been no shift over time?

Marcelle:Not really. Since meeting my NEW hubby (who’s more ‘heavy’ than me), I appreciate LOTRWNI & SIAR more. Not that they are ‘heavy’ themselves, but I appreciate them more. I think I am more melodic/basic rock based. They do it brilliantly.


What would you say the long term impact of PTL has been on you?

Marcelle:WOW!! Big question.

Marcelle: I found rock again (it was lost for so long). It helped me through a really tough time (separating from my first hubby), it continues (to this day- all 3 albums) to make me smile/dance/just love life (happy music-my music). Don’t know what else to say. This album PTL arrived when I was 36. My life was supposed to be ‘sorted/on track’ but it wasn’t. They helped me get back to my ‘inner child with hope’. Seeing them live was INCREDIBLE!!

What about the music industry side over there? What impact did they have?

 Good question.

In 2003/04 they were on tv (pay tv) all over the place. Big Day Out 2004, but the only songs that got played on ‘mainstream’ were LIOAF, GOM, IBIATCL. A radio station over here called Triple JJJ was a big instigator. ABC based, independant/new/different artist based.

2nd album got video play (OWTTHAB, IIJM), but that was all. Very tough/US reigned over here, BUT they got their toes in!! Grass roots/decent shows mean A LOT!!!
They won many over with live shows.


 That’s generally the case, I think. TV and video is good, but it just doesn’t cut it next to live shows.
Was the music scene there in need of a good kick up the arse?

Marcelle: YES!!! Our industry became VERY arena based. Pub bands (which I remember growing up with) just weren’t firing much. They all want the big picture. I saw TD in 2006 (Richie days). I am not kidding. I took a VERY heavy metal friend, I have seen MANY bands/concerts/arenas/pub gigs. TD were THE BEST GIG EVER!! (Even with JH not being well). F’ing amazing. I tell people (including all of my kids) you need to see this band LIVE. Absolutely the MAGIC factor. Tightest band EVER!! Music scene STILL needs a good KICK UP THE ARSE!!! Kids have forgotten what real music is!

OI: Is there any evidence that TD changed anything in that respect?

Marcelle: Mmmm not sure. I just know that anyone who has ever seen them over here is a convert. The live scene here is TOUGH. Saying that, they are brilliant in that they still get out there and do it HAPPILY. Rock n Roll in a small venue is few and far between. WE ARE HUNGRY!!

OI: Do you have a final message for the lads?

Marcelle: Oh really?? Gee, don’t know what to say except that I’m just so thrilled to see them back together, happy, HEALTHY & rocking even better than before – if possible – and all in time for the 10 year anniversary of the release of PTL. The day I bought that album is the day I knew Rock was alive & well. THANK YOU THE DARKNESS \m/

And with that, we all went for a lie down, because the edited out bits were MUCH fun 😀

For more contributors, click here

PTL 10th Anniversary – The Darkness Argentina

The lovely people running this South American site were a joy to talk to!


When did you first find out about The Darkness?

Well, it was in late 2004 I think, here MUCH MUSIC and MTV did not stop showing the video “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, they showed more than 10 or 15 times a day at least that’s what I remember. What I remember is that I never came to see the whole thing, but one day I did, and it was something like ‘Holy Shit!’ I loved it, it was great, it was true Rock!

What did you think of them?

First, what I thought was that the video is somewhat strange, the aesthetics of the video was like the old videos but more humorous, the colors used, the clothes, everything was like in old times. The voice of Justin impacted on me, a voice that was very clean … Wow … still do not think I can explain it, just petrified me, I feel it in my ear right to the brain, is a great feeling.  The Darkness were a breath of fresh air. The new rock bands do not use instruments as they do, there are impressive guitar solos, the drums can be seen without this taking away the importance of the bass, it seems rather simple when you say it but it is difficult to achieve this harmony. They did it and their first album, it’s important to note.
 Here in Argentina came not much information about them, some interviews from time to time, but from what I saw at that time, I knew I really enjoyed what they were doing. I loved that touch of humor that they placed on everything. Justin was very flamboyant Imagine, I was a teenager when I fell in the spell of The Darkness, but I think even with my current age would do it again…in fact I’m sure would fall on their charm over and over again.

When did you get the album?

It was after a few months of listening to the first video of The Darkness … was after christmas 2004, here was hard to find, but a friend gave it to me.  I know he had to do much to get it.

What were your favorite tracks? Why? Are your favorites the same ones now?

This is a difficult to answer. For when I had the album in my hands I had already heard a million times “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” which still remains one of my favorites, but my favorite was “Growing on Me”. I liked the power of the song, the lyrics, and the feeling that Justin conveyed to sing, I think every time I hear that song I feel a emotion that does not make me feel any other song in the world, even today is still my favorite. Although in those days “Givin ‘up” was my soundtrack for each night out, we can say that at that time I lived too much rock, too much, haha, were crazy times, and The Darkness was always with me. 
”Love is Only a Feeling” was the romantic song for excellence, of that I have no doubt I listened to that song with a broken heart many times. 
”Get Your Hands Off My Woman” that was another of my favorites, is part of my subconscious rebel and wild, it does not explain why the lyrics of this song, the instruments sounding as if they would collapse the world says it all, doesn’t need much explanation. 

Favourites the same ones now?
 Yes, they are my favorites still.

What reaction did you have to each track?

Black Shuck: When I first heard, was strange but in a good way, I liked but did not understand well that was what I liked, then I realized it was a set of things, the lyrics and the instruments, I think could not have been a better combination, that lyrics with another rhythm could not exist, is completely wild, I like. 
Stuck in a Rut: this is good, the lyrics mostly everyone feels this way, everyone would have to love this song …
”Oh, kiss my ass, kiss my ass goodbye 
Propelled by a carriage of aluminum am I
 No more to rot In this stye 
Turn my back on this shit-hole in the blink of an eye ♪ ♫ ♪ “
and listen to Justin screaming …
”And the road is long and the lights are bright
 Just ‘cos you’ve lived here all your life does not make it alright 
And the Golden Mile is paved with shite”.
 That’s great, everything in this song says: all is a shit, I’m outta here, who does not like this song?
 Friday Night: it’s a happy song, also the video, I liked it all, when I listen now today I still feel that I am teenager like at that time, was a song I listened in the morning to start a happy day, even the still do. 
Love on the Rocks: When I listened to this song for the first time, I was a little depressed, I was having a hard time with my boyfriend at the time … were years and the relationship was dead, but seemed that no one noticed. So I really liked this song, expressing all that I felt were my feelings in a song, every note, every syllable, every, everything in it perfectly expresses the story of a dead relationship, giving the last breath of life…
and finally, “Holding my Own”, which was felt when I listen? I think the whole song speaks for itself, the melody, the lyrics, as I had told you, was a bit depressed, so a perfect fit in those days. It’s a sad song about rescuing the little pride that one is left in situations like that.
 Is very beautiful and harmonious, very sweet, with feelings.

Did The Darkness and PTL change your life? How?

Definitely did, because I have more than 28 years, so I was too young back then to have lived the good rock bands but too old to be satisfied with crap bands of that time. It gave me hope that good music was even alive. The Darkness is the eternal promise of Rock.

What was the music scene like in your country before The Darkness?
 Honestly … I was not very pleased with anything, there was a lot of music away, had some good bands, but do not remember their names, so I think I did not pay much attention, because if it were that would remember their names. They were of course the usual old national bands, all very good, but do not count because they are not born that time, all already existed long before.

Has it changed over the years?

No, I’m sorry to say that we do not improve or change anything. Although we only have our good old national rock bands like Vox Dei, Norberto Pappo Napolitano, Rata Blanca, Soda Stero, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Charly Garcia, Andres Calamaro, Hermetica, those are some of the best. 
I think the music scene is in decline here, I do not know what we will do when our national rock idols are no longer with us, I prefer not to think about it.

What would you do without The Darkness?

Oh God, I’d rather not think about it! It would be something devastating, like when they parted, it was horrible, hope to have good new rock was dead and I was at his funeral crying. That’s how I felt that time was bad for me, they were the voice of my feelings and that voice was not there, I hope not to ever happen again. Over the years one gives great affection to The Darkness, because they are very kind, are always attentive to their fans, always answer our questions and concerns, the days that they were here in our country were so helpful, we saw to them on several occasions and always received us with a smile. They are the best rock band of the latter times and the best rock band in dealing with fans, I can only conclude this saying I love The Darkness, to each of them for what they were, what they are and what they will be.


When did you first find out about The Darkness?

Probably with ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ video in 2003. My brother and I loved the style and the music, so he 
bought the album and we listened to it a lot!

What did you think of them?

I thought it was a very welcome change for rock n roll. Their style was crazy, their videos were funny as hell and the 
album rocked. It was a time with no new bands that really rocked, and The Darkness saved us all!

When did you get the album?

When ‘I believe in a thing called love’ was airing heavily on channels like MTV and Much Music, like I said, my brother 
and I were instantly hooked so he bought the album.

What were your favourite tracks? Why? Are your favourites the same ones now?

By the time the album came out, I was 9. I didn’t understand English, so it would be very funny for me to hear words 
that I could understand, so “Friday Night” was one of the songs I listened to a lot, since it was singing about “Ping-
Pong” and “Badminton”, it was so funny! Same thing goes to “Givin’ Up”, I just couldn’t understand why such a 
happy sounding song would be saying the word “Fuck” all over the chorus! 
Now I’m 19, and have been a musician since 8. Over the time I started to pay more attention to musical 
arrangements, specially the guitar parts. So songs like “Stuck In A Rut”, “Love On The Rocks With No Ice”, “Get Your 
Hands Off My Woman” and many more quickly became my favorites.

What reaction did you have to each track?

Black Shuck: It’s the perfect introduction for The Darkness. Hard Rock n Roll, amazing voice, roaring guitars, no bull-
 Get Your Hands Off My Woman: I love how Justin sings the song, the lyrics are great and the guitars blast through 
the speaker. Plus, it’s hilarious how Justin does that thing at the end while playing the song live, making the people 
 Growing On Me: I loved the video with the little kids as Mini The Darkness, it was so cute! The song its an instant 
classic, period. 
I Believe In A Thing Called Love: This was the best track for the band, it made them famous, and they deserve it. We 
fans will never get tired of listening to it, it’s pure greatness! You can’t just not sing the chorus!
 Love is Only A Feeling: I usually hate ballads, but this one rocks. I love all the additional instruments they played, like 
mandolins and acoustic guitars, it was a nice detail. Plus, how can you go wrong with a guitar solo played in the 
mountains? That’s Rock & Roll! 
Givin Up: All I can say is, WOW, that guitar solo is face-melting. Love singing along to it every time! 
Stuck In A Rut: I like how it’s connected with the ending of Givin Up, its very natural and I love it, I have them 
connected as 1 track on my mp3 player, and they play it live that way also! The song is a hard rocker, Dan has that 
guitar on fire, one of my faves!
 Friday Night: Another one we all love. The lyrics are hilarious, the video is so funny too! I want to be able to see the 
band live so I can just scream-along with this one, love it!
 Love On The Rocks With No Ice: Again, just WOW. Huge rock n roll anthem material, I freakin love rockin out to this 
tune, and live it’s mindblowing as a longer version. To say it in just 1 word? ROCK-N-ROLL. 
Holding My Own: The thing you gotta love about The Darkness, are the lyrics, I mean, come on! Who writes songs 
like these and gets away with a great rockin tune if not The Darkness? Proof that this band is the best in the world.

Did The Darkness and PTL change your life?

The Darkness certainly holds a special chapter in my musical book, my brother loves Queen and I love AC/DC, and to 
us, The Darkness is the perfect mix between them. It’s one of my favorite bands and I’m so happy it exists and keeps 
on rockin till today and hopefully for a long time! 
PTL was what started all for me (like most fans) and will forever remain as one of the best rock albums ever made.

What would you do without them?

Probably I would still listen to other music I like, but honestly, The Darkness are unique and when they first broke up 
it was awful. My brother and I were devastated, as it was such a big loss for rock n roll. And it was so amazing to 
hear about their return, their new album and tour and I also heard they promised a new album for 2014!! So it’s an 
excellent thing for rock n roll that they’re out here today.
 When The Darkness played their only show so far in Argentina, it was supporting Lady Gaga, and they only played 8 
songs. Since the tickets were expensive, because of Lady Gaga, I could only afford the cheap tickets, so far away 
from the stage. It was sure as hell worth it anyway, but I wanted the band to know, that there were a lot of The 
Darkness fans that bought a ticket just for them and left after their gig ended, and since you were in the stage so far 
away, you might not know this! So here’s for a hope you come back with a show of your own some time! Rock On!

Maxi Dries

When did you first find out about The Darkness?

In 2003, because IBIATCL video was on MTV…I become tttally mad.

What did you think of them?

They rock! I mean, they actually sound like a band of seventies, my favourite kind of sound. They rock like in the old days. We miss that in these times.

When did you get the album?

2003, of course Permission to Land.

What were your favourite tracks? Why? Are your favourites the same ones now?

Friday Night, Love is Only a Feeling, IBIATCL. Outstanding tracks, is the perfect sound of that time in my life. They mean so much for me. Girlfriend, Hazel Eyes and Is is Just Me, from ‘Ticket’…I remember my interpretation of the álbum at the time, while I was breaking up with my girlfriend.

What reaction did you have to each track?

Always electrifying, those put me on fire!

Did The Darkness and PTL change your life? How?

They show me a new path to follow in music. I was waiting for them to reunite, I was in heaven when heard the news. Gooood!

What was the music scene like in your country before The Darkness?

Quite boring.

Has it changed over the years?

I hear new bands with clear influence of TD, that’s good news for the musical scene here.

What would you do without them?

A cover band, to play that music! Haha.


We can only say thanks to The Darkness, thanks for your great music, thanks for being the soundtrack of our lives, thanks for being in every moment of our lives, thanks also for being so kind to us fans. 
Always we trust that The Darkness create your own way to continue giving life to rock, we love them, they have our full support in everything they do … and of course we want them back in Argentina … Latin America also wants to party the anniversary of Permission to Land!

Thanks for their enthusiasm and passion!


For more contributors, click here

PTL 10th Anniversary – Georgia Nagy

Georgia was someone I met on a forum and MySpace years ago. Still only 17, she’s been a huge fan forever.

OI: Georgia, you’re one of the youngest original Darklings I know. How old were you in 2003?

Georgia: I was 7.

OI: How exactly did a 7 year old and The Darkness connect?

Georgia: I could feel the connection as soon as I heard I Believe in a Thing Called Love on tv.

OI: And watched the video, right?
What was your brain doing, that first time?

Georgia: Yeah great video! I loved it and wanted to hear more from them on.

OI: Did you pester someone to buy the album for you?

Georgia: Yeah my mam who is also a fan of the band so it didn’t take much.

OI: I approve! Was it the voice, the clothes, the antics, the hair… or all of them?

Georgia: Definitely all of them!

OI: At that age, what did you think of the swearing?

Georgia: I didn’t think anything of it really, probably made me like them even more haha!

OI: Rebel! What was your favourite track then?

Georgia: Hard to chose one of them, I found myself listening to Get Your Hands Off My Woman and Growing on Me the most.

OI: Has that changed over the years?

Georgia: I find myself just listening to the whole album over and over


OI: Has it taken over your life?

Georgia: I think it has haha

OI:  Ditto…
What do you think has been its real effect on you and your life? Seriously?

Georgia: It’s helped me through a lot of stuff, just instantly puts me in a better mood when I’m listening to them.

OI: An emotional response? Has it formed your musical tastes, do you think? Or are they a rock one-off in your CD pile?

Georgia: Yeah they’ve definitely helped to form it, I heard about Steel Panther and Foxy Shazam because of them


OI: Do you think that you’d not have discovered rock without them? Or would your family have saved you?

Georgia: I heard rock music before I heard the darkness, Dad is a huge fan of it too.

OI: Good. Now, you’re only 17 now. You’ve spent years with your age group, bombarded with the sort of music the likes of Simon Cowell thinks you should like. How difficult is it to not be in that crowd of 1D followers?

Georgia: I don’t find it difficult at all really. I’m just not into that sort of music, none of my friends now are into it thankfully

OI: Have you ever had more than friendly banter for liking TD?

Georgia: Yeah, quite a lot, but they don’t understand real music

OI: No, indeed they don’t, clearly!

Thank you, Georgia.

For more contributors, click here

PTL 10th Anniversary – Pedro Ferreira

In a pub tucked away in a back street of London, a record producer and a fan sat in a beer garden and talked. These are the bits that got recorded.

OI: Pedro Ferreira is responsible for an awful lot of ‘Permission to Land’. It’s all your fault, isn’t it? Well, the bits that 4 lads didn’t do…

Pedro: Indeed!

OI: So how, when and why did you get involved?

Pedro: It was more than 10 years ago, that’s for sure! I started working for a publishing company called Rondor Music, working in the studios. My first session was with (at the time) Empire, the band before. That’s the first time I met them. Dan was working at Rondor and Justin was published by them. I did quite a lot of work with Justin recording adverts.

OI: Going back to the jingle days?

Pedro: Yeah. We’d spend all night in the studio smoking loads of cigarettes – we both smoked at the time. We recorded the Tango one, and Ikea.

OI: They’re very famous with Darklings.

Pedro: So that’s when I met them. 1997-98, around then. We became quite good friends, because I was working at the same place as Dan and Justin was popping in all the time. Then they sacked the singer, Paul. I knew Justin could sing, because I’d heard him and always thought he was really good. For ages we tried to persuade him to be the singer. He didn’t want to, he refused. In 2000, Justin decided he was going to be the singer – got persuaded. This was a process – everyone talks about the New Year’s Eve thing. That’s when he finally agreed, but me and Dan, we were on him for a while. They couldn’t find another singer for Empire, and Justin would have been the perfect singer. After that we did quite a few sessions at Rondor. They were quite indie then. That evolved into The Darkness.

OI: You did a lot of crewing for them, didn’t you? That’s when I first met you. You were pushing a flight case and we were demanding the return of a stolen feather boa…

Pedro: It all just happened. We were all at Rondor, who got closed down – bought out by Universal, who closed the studios down and we all kinda got the sack. I ended up buying gear from them and set up my own studio. That was where we recorded IBIATCL and LIOAF. I was going to see them play at the Barfly and the sound was always shit! It was like ‘Fucking hell, I’LL do the fucking sound! ‘ Next thing I know, I’m doing the sound. Then they said ‘WE have to go up North’, so I said I’d go with them. Then Sue asked me to tour manage them. So all these things just sort of happened. I was only meant to be in the studio and next thing I know I’m doing sound at Knebworth, and still tour managing.

OI: So when it came round to doing this album that we’re on about, was it a foregone conclusion that things would carry on an you’d do it?

Pedro: We were just having fun!

OI: Did they formally ask you to do it?

Pedro: Yes! 2001 was when I set up my studio. It was a particularly bad year for music. I thought it would be really busy, and it wasn’t at all. It gave me a lot of time for them. That’s why I ended up spending the whole of 2001 developing their sound, the whole year. Recording IBIATCL, LIOAF and LOTR – another version that we ended up not using on the record. We re-recorded it because it was really slow. All that time we spent in my studio, I didn’t have any clients. Perfect for them! It was good, because it gave me time to do their tours, sound, walkabouts, everything – it was fun.

OI: You were steeped in Darkness.

Pedro: Yeah, we had a lot of good times.

OI: When you finally came to actually record PTL, did everyone come in with a really clear idea of what they wanted? Or did it evolve a little more?

Pedro: Basically the whole thing was a process, at least for me, anyway. That year, we developed their sound, that’s all we did. They were a bit indie to start with. My background is rock music and Justin and I would have a lot of chats and laughs about AC/DC and rock. If you like, that year was pre-production, recording the record versions of IBIATCL and LIOAF. Once we’d done all that, it was time and we decided ‘Let’s go and record an album’. I’m sure you know about the IKEA advert and how it gave us enough money to go to the studio and all that. I’d been to the Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire before and really liked it, so I got in touch with them and they gave us a good price. We went over for a couple of weeks – less than that. We did do 3 weeks proper pre-production before that which was good fun. Justin got the nipple piercing – I’ve never seen someone in so much pain ever in my life. During that 3 weeks in Hackney, Jo Whiley played IBIATCL. It was the first time we’d heard it on the radio, especially Radio 1. We all left the rehearsal room because the was not radio – it was underground so the radio wouldn’t work, no wireless back then! Someone called us to say that they were going to play it in about 10 minutes. We ran out of the studio and found an internet café with radio – ‘We’re on Radio 1, we’re on Radio 1!’ They played it and we were like kids. It was brilliant – good memories. That was our 3 weeks.

OI: So when you went to Lincolnshire, you were very ready.

Pedro: Yeah, I’m very particular about all that. I wouldn’t go to spend money on a studio without making sure everyone knew exactly what they were doing. Specially when you have a limited amount of money, you don’t want to waste it faffing about figuring out what to play next.

OI: Was there any disagreement on how to do things?

Pedro: No, not really. There are always the usual ‘creative arguments’, always going to be. We were pretty much on the same wavelength. It was mostly in pre-production. The recording went quite smoothly -everyone knew what they were doing and they did it, you know? We had a great time at the Chapel. Then we came back to London and finished off the vocals. I mixed it at the Roundhouse and the boys came down about twice during the whole process. I would send them the mixes, so they were fully aware of what I was doing. It was good to know that they had full trust in me.

OI: How much did you have to change to get the live sound in the studio? That album is known for being quite raw.

Pedro: I was quite focused on capturing the performance more than polish it up too much. In my opinion that’s where The Darkness is. Go and see them live and there’s this energy that they transmit, which is the brilliant thing. I really wanted to capture that. I made sure I recorded them live and technically I did things that at the time that were quite new. I recorded it to tape, then put it onto protos ,to get the best performance out of that without cut and paste. I don’t like to do that. It was very much trying to get ‘The Darkness’ on record.

OI: Them on stage without the little things that go wrong, and people like me going ‘AAGGHHHH!’?

Pedro: That’s the fun part!

OI: A live album would be great – people would really like that.

Pedro. I think so. They are amazing live. And I think we captured that. We spent a lot of time developing the sound but I really wanted to get that performance out of them. You can really feel that in ‘Permission to Land’.

OI: Yes. What everyone loves about PTL is that it’s as good as you can possibly get to a stage performance without being there.. You can stand at home and jump up and down, if you have it loud enough.

Pedro: That’s the best compliment! Job done!

OI: You cannot stand and listen to ‘Stuck in a Rut’ without joining in and scaring the cat. With singing and dancing!

Pedro: I listened to ‘Black Shuck’ the other day, one of my favourite tracks. It still makes me smile, and I’ve heard it probably a million times. Between all the preproduction, recording and live gigs I’ve done, I can safely say I’ve heard it a million times! I don’t think I was able to listen to PTL for a while after it I mastered it. I was listening to it live every day anyway! I just couldn’t put it on. But that’s the good thing about it – I listened the other day and thought ‘Wow – it’s cool!’. Specially when I remember Dan and Frankie doing the backing vocals, that was quite good fun.

OI: Always great when you remember ‘Hey, I did that!’ Money constraints aside, was there anything that you wanted to do that wasn’t possible? Ideas you had that you thought’ I just can’t make this work’?

Pedro. I’m sure there were a few though I can’t remember any. We did all that we set out to do. There was a clear picture in my head of all we had to do. I remember our first dinner in Lincolnshire and I was obviously very quite and focused on what I had to do – trying to figure it all out. Dan asked me ‘Are you alright? Are you not happy to be here?’ I was very happy to be here! But suddenly the sheer weight of everything we had to do in such a small amount of time – WOAH! But, we worked really hard, I didn’t sleep much, I don’t think. We had a fantastic time, and it all got done. On budget.

OI: Nothing you’d have done differently id you’d had more money?

Pedro: The last mix I did, Dan was there at the Roundhouse Studio and I think we finished about 6 o’clock in the morning, it was daylight. We were waiting in the lobby for a cab and I remember sitting there, both of us knackered, looking at Dan. I could think of about a million things I could have done or would have liked to have done if we’d had the time and the money. We didn’t, but I was really happy. It’s always the same, there’s always something you’d like to fix, get a better performance, a better mix, but it all turned out alright. Not bad – not bad!

OI: Did you use any technical whizzy tricks? (technical term)

Pedro: Nothing, just a whip.

OI: A WHIP? Who needed it the most? Along with Justin’s legendary singing in the nude… I know a lot of people whose entire decade would be justified by that!

Pedro: I just turned round and there he was, and I was ‘aaghhhh! Come on…!’ I don’t need to see that! Any time of day! We laughed a LOT about that. Apart from that technicality, everything was plain sailing! It was a bone of contention at one point, the live recording. Frankie wanted time to get his parts right on his own, but I really insisted on doing it live. It was recorded to tape, that’s as far as technicalities go.

OI: Simple is good?

Pedro: Yup. Simple is good. There’s a bit more to it than that, but essentially, yes. Apart from Justin being naked a few times, that’s about it!

OI: Apart from that, everyone had a good time?

Pedro: Chuckles yes, we had a fantastic time.

OI: Did everyone not just go ‘What the fuck is he doing?’ … but… I guess that happened quite a lot…

There was a trip to the bar and chocolate consumed, at this point. Much needed.

OI: Back on track – This album – what kind of personal and business implications has it had for you?

Pedro: It still is the best selling album that I’ve ever done. It’s still quite big even 10 years later. I have kids coming to me and telling me that they started playing guitar because of PTL and they want me to produce them and that kind of stuff. Makes me feel old! One of them is Voodoo Vegas, huge Darkness/Tokyo Dragons fans. So, I will always be the PTL producer and people will always know me for that.

OI: ‘You did that album, I want you because of that album.’ Cool. Worse things to be remembered for!

Pedro: Exactly! Definitely, even my peers, everyone appreciates the production on it, everyone comments on it, even if they don’t like the band they like the production.

OI: What I find about The Darkness is that everybody who doesn’t like them is able to pick up on something they do well. I’ve never found anyone who’s said They’re shit, they take awful photos, don’t like the catsuits or Justin’s voice, they can’t play.’ No one ever says they can’t play! So there’s always something to admire.

Pedro: Oh yes, they can play! So.. yeah, the last ten years of my life has been changed by it. On a personal level, -I met my girlfriend back then, she managed to put up with me and all the madness that was going on. Defintiely on a business level, it’s never been the same.

OI: You were saying about listening to the album again after quite a while?

Pedro: I’ve always been very proud of it. I think it was an achievement, for the reason’s I gave. The fact that it did so well, out of everyone’s expectations. We always believed that it was great and it could do well – we were prepared to give it our best shot because of that. But even when Atlantic signed them, the prediction was to sell about 60,000 copies, and the fact that they sold 5 million just goes to show. For a year after that it was all about The Darkness. Everything revolved about them. I don’t blame them for anything they did, though in hindsight they might have done things differently. I would have done. It was all too full on.

OI: Do you have an emotional attachment, like the fans do?

Pedro: I worked on it for years! I can’t do a record without being attached to it, it’s impossible to do. It’s very close to my heart, for sure. We worked so hard on it, All that time in the studio and that Dan and I spent getting a sound that was different but at the same time appealing. We put a lot of ourselves into it.

OI: Heart and soul – and most of your youth?

Pedro: Yeah!

OI: What’s your favourite track? Do you have one?

Pedro: I thought it was always ‘Love on the Rocks’. I really liked it, even the first version we did, which was slower. I really liked the heaviness and the riff. But.. ‘Black Shuck’! It’s an absolute genius, I think.

OI: It makes me laugh, every time.

Pedro: Amazing, yeah, so I’ll say ‘Black Shuck’.

OI: And that’s not changed? Some people have said that as they’ve got older, other songs have meant more because of things that have happened.

Pedro: No, not really. I know that record inside out, but I can honestly say it’s still ‘Black Shuck’. Does opening bit You can’t beat that!

OI: It’s what you’ve been waiting for, on stage, to hear that and for the place to go wild.

Pedro: What would yours be?

OI: I’ve thought about this, and I honestly don’t have one. Every single track has got something. Sometimes it depends on mood – jumping up and down needs ‘Stuck in a Rut’, ballady mood needs LIOAF. They’ve all got the same favourite level. There are only 3 albums in my whole life I can name that can do that, it’s quite a feat. I like different ones live from in the car. The attachment to where you were and what you were doing last time you heard it live, how good a gig it was, what happened before and after…. Some songs are better for driving to because you can scream along. Some are better for housework! If you need a laugh, ‘Black Shuck’. If you’re thoroughly pissed off, ‘Giving Up’ is about right. Love on the Rocks… you HAVE to do that live ot it’s… you just don’t get the full experience. Rock Epic. You can feel it coming through the floor, not just the speakers.

Pedro: I think it’s up there, and riff wise, in my opinion, it’s as good as ‘Smoke on the Water.

OI: It is instantly recognisable. Exactly whose idea was it to carry Justin for miles, with a guitar, during LOTR? Whose stupid idea was that? Though it wasn’t a stupid idea, it was really good, but…

Pedro: It did become quite stupid, yeah.

OI: He lost a shoe, not long ago.

Pedro: I lost about 2 inches!

OI: The last time I saw it properly, Dan was carrying him.

Pedro: He’s tall enough! It did become quite violent, the walkabout. I’m a strong guy, and I felt like I was going into battle at parts. I remember stamping on bodies and thinking ‘Oh fuck, I’m standing on someone!’ I didn’t have any choice. The crowds were surrounding us, I was just going with the crowd. We had people like bodyguards surrounding us, which wasn’t as much fun. It did get violent, we all agreed it had to stop. We did it at the Astoria without security, the first one, and the Homecoming. Having security wasn’t the same.

OI: I think now it’s become a much loved part of it, everyone’s waiting for it to happen. Not as violent as it used to be. He did have words with one girl on the last tour, I heard.

Pedro: We were in Osaka, the first Japanese gig we did on a mini tour, after the Big Day Out. We decided to do the walkabout, we didn’t know what to expect.

OI: Aren’t Japanese crowds fairly lethal?

Pedro: It was the funniest thing ever. I had to go and pick up Justin from a door at the side of the stage and they didn’t know what was happening. They were looking at the stage. All of a sudden they clocked us at the side. I kid you not, I had about 500 Japanese running towards me. It was dangerous, quite literally they were hanging from is. I’m trying to walk, and the guy who was doing International for Atlantic came and helped me. It was quite full on. It was then I think that we decided to use security. Was quite bruised up after that one.

OI: I remember a few gigs without it. But as soon as there was a comeback, it was reinstated. Good. Everybody wanted it. Perhaps Justin quite likes coming back black and blue? Now he’s diving off balconies and crowdsurfing, he’s getting his danger fix!

The last question, then that I was asked to ask you – what do you really think of the catsuits?

Pedro: He SHOULD still be wearing them! People always asked why he didn’t wear them going around in normal daylight.

OI: Chilly! And his trousers are tight enough, anyway.

Pedro: It’s all about the show, and the show is that. Bands go on stage looking normal, at least he was making an effort! It was different, and it was great. It always puzzles me, people didn’t need to ask these questions in the 70’s or early 80’s – imagine going to Kiss and going ‘Why are you wearing makeup and platform shoes?’

OI: Everyone was wearing it? There’s only one person doing it now.

Pedro: it’s all about the show. The Darkness understood that well. I think that’s what set them apart, you know? Not just that, obviously – musically they were miles apart. The whole show thing was important to them, especially Justin, and I think that’s amazing. I don’t think they should change that all. There’s a fine line – I used to try and show them the line and them decide that the would like to do – but there is a fine line between being cool and being absolutely fucking ridiculous.

OI: SOME have said that there isn’t such a line for The Darkness. And some don’t care about a line, they like it.

Pedro: I disagree with that. It’s all about being outrageous but without…

OI: There’s a thing about being outrageous to shock, and being outrageous tongue in cheek.

Pedro: Yeah, basically. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

OI: Thank you! We’ve never had ‘outrageous to shock’ from The Darkness, because that’s not entertainment.

Pedro: No, that’s not Darkness. It was lyrics, music, what Justin was wearing. It was good fun when I didn’t know what catsuit he was going to wear next. The big leather trousers… they were amazing.

OI: What’s nice now is that a lot of the old ones are coming out – Justin tweeted about getting some out for the November tour.

Pedro: And the flames tattoo… also amazing.

OI: That was very probably one of the best image things Justin could have done. It won him a lot of fans that had never heard a note!

Pedro: I think Justin was quite aware of this!


And with that time ran out. Mixing to do and trains to catch. We did still manage discuss my inability to throw rock horns and what the connotations of my goth horns were. They’ll never look the same again!

Many thanks to Pedro for taking a break from work and being very entertaining, brilliant company.

For more contributors, click here

Pop Will Eat Itself – Norwich Waterfront 26.10.11

PWEI were a great favourite of mine back when the world was mine and my oysters weren’t polluted, so it was a pleasure to see them come to Norwich, especially as I missed out on the Reformation tour a while ago. With a bit of determination and asking nicely, I managed to get an interview with this incarnation of the band at the last minute. I decided not to ask about the whys and wherefores of who’s doing what with who, because that’s been done by some other people on this tour – see the FB page for links. After an encounter in a bowling alley with the band and Davey’s pants (see photos) I went along later to the very tidy dressing room.  What’s the smell? Pot Noodle, Cheesy Toasty Toppers and cooked meat were the suggestions, but luckily for all, sweaty boy and bottom burps it wasn’t.

And I DID enjoy myself. The place wasn’t full, but the crowd was very pleased to be there and happy to show it. Lights, camera, action and sound effects… Back to Business, ok? Energy abounded on stage, Mary and Graham bouncing off each other in more ways than one. Plenty to watch and join in with, plenty of new, plenty of old. There is a harder edge to the sound, there’s no loss of the Poppies attitude. I got the feeling, as the band had hoped, that everyone there gave the new songs a fair hearing and good reception. Plenty of requests for oldies, too – Mary did say we could have Beaver Patrol if we sang it, but alas, the crowd wasn’t quite up to more than a ‘fine’ rendition of the intro. Ich Bin Ein Auslander really got everyone going, There Is No Love a Poppies anthem (no lighters, too bouncy), and RSVP from the back looked like a mass aerobic workout. Excellent. Good work, lads.

Here’s a video of Old Skool Cool – I had trouble staying still long enough for a whole video! Photos are on the Gallery page.

And interview – just don’t ask how long it took or get sniffy about the quality, etc. I’ve nearly killed myself getting it as far as this with it.

Thanks to all at PWEI.

FB   Twitter  Site     New album New Noise Designed by a Sadist and EP Chaos and Mayhem out now, and there’s a free download on FB.



This post was brought to you NOT courtesy of Apple. How difficult can it be to move a file from one Apple product to another, edit it and upload it? And HOW many conversions back and forth from one file type to another?  

Sixsister take the Temple to the Stone Gods

Wearing as many hats as I could – not least because Norwich lay under a still, cold white blanket – I set off to interview the Stone Gods. Full of LURGY, but that did not deter me. I did deter them from coming any closer than necessary, still plenty of shows left in this tour and the Black Stone Cherry one on the horizon. I’d have been in big trouble if I’d infected them.  Having had brains full of porridge meant that this is not the most flowing of interviews (on my part, the lads were fine!), but it’s better than I remember doing!  For pity’s sake, next time, stop me from going to the next night’s gig when I feel that bad. I’ve only just warmed up from that Cambridge gig.

The set rocked, I must say – indescribable, even – and they are playing better and better every time I see them. Comfortable with their craft, their reception, and with themselves. Plenty of things to look forward to, by all accounts – enjoy!

Frankie’s Strictly Come Darkness


Frankie Poullain has been missing presumed shaved for some time. But lo! Is that a book I see before me? Frankie MUST be alive, to have a cleaner… Rejoice therefore, for darkpirate musings will soon slip themselves smoothly into your stockings, which is not where you usually find wit and wonderings OR a little torch shining into Darkness. Christmas ahoy!


Slightly more serious *ahem* – it did cause some turmoil when Frankie left TD, and there are still many who are wondering and waiting for – anything. The book evolved over time – no point rushing these things, right? It isn’t intended as an exposé. Frankie is clear that it is meant to be lighthearted and like TD – not totally serious or sensible, raising eyebrows and laughs along the way.


There were a few things that one needed to know:


You left 3 years and 5 months ago. What bloody time do you call this to roll in? 

41 months later, and I’m now 41, it all adds up if you just pay attention. I thought you were supposed to be a school teacher?

Did the pirating with your dad give you Darknessing skills?

It gave me enough money to buy a guitar and move to London, where I met Dan in 1995.

What IS your hair doing? How much grooming did the tache need? HOW do you look ten years younger these days?

Standing on end, I find interviews electrifying …. tache  was a bit tricky to groom with a hangover, if truth be told. That’s why it kept changing shape. Ten years younger than band days you say? Why, that would make me 25 … moustaches make people look older obviously. Even more so on a woman.

Was the book an opportunity that arose for your cleaner? Or was it something always in the back of that busy mind?

I discovered her drawings in the cupboard of my kitchen in France and that inspired the book. The original title was hers too: An Autistic Guide To Fame And Misfortune, but the publishers wouldn’t bite. It evolved from there to the concept of “A retired rocker fixes your mental problems” – made me laugh that.

Is that it, for music and being in a band? Are you all growned up now?

Who knows, no point in planning anything, just keep piecing together god’s (whatever that is) clues.

Have you played tennis with Justin yet?

No, we both keep bottling it. New balls please!

If someone gave you a bow, some cowboy boots and asked you to name a kitten, what would be the correct etiquette in dealing with the situation?

Depends if it was a cross bow or not. AIDS apart, I quite like the idea of diseases as namesmalaria, hepatitis, gangrene …. that’s not a disease though is it? But you get the idea.

What does your cleaner think that the future holds for the TD lads?

She’s only met Ed, but she liked him. She’s not paid to think!

Can I borrow her for a bit?

Yes, anyone can, just go to:


Frankie knows how not to be a Rock Star – and lots of other things as well. How not to clean?


Website –






by Louise

Trashstock, August 19th 2006

Ah, my third and final interviewees of the Trashstock weekend. And why not save the most shambolic ‘til last?! After being pre-warned about the dangers of leaving this interview until after the show, I went ahead and left this interview until after the show. So, in the backstage room, amidst a drunken haze, MANY interruptions, some accidental glass-smashing and not-so-accidental setting-the-floor-on-fire, I think I managed to chat to the band. I may have asked some questions. They may have been answered. Who really knows?

Lou: Please introduce yourselves…
Tez: (silly voice) Hello, my name is shageee
Brad: I’m Brad
Jamie: (silly voice) I’m Jamie & I play guitar
Brad: He doesn’t say anything anyway.
(Somehow this sparks debates about who’s “soberer” than who)

Brad: (to Lou) You really could have fuckin’ asked us to do this interview earlier!
Lou: But earlier I was comfy on the sofa downstairs!
Jamie: I think it’s better now, man.

Lou: So, how are things in Disarm HQ?
Noddy: Ah, it’s wank, we’re on about splitting up.
Brad: The roof’s leaking and everything but it’s fucking good.
Lou: You’re all happy
Noddy: Yeah
Noddy: Come on then, let’s have it out, who’s not happy?
Brad: I’m not getting it out!
Lou: On a scale of one to ten, how drunk are you, Noddy?
Noddy: Seven
Lou: Jamie?
Jamie: Which is highest?
Lou: Ten’s off your face
Jamie: Ah, I’m only about a two or three
Lou: Brad?
Brad: I’m about four, I’ve not had that many. Because we were on really late we didn’t wanna go on really like… (insert impression of drunken tramp here)
Lou: Why not?
Brad: I can’t play when I’m fucking hammered, at all.
Lou: Have you ever done a gig when you were absolutely hammered?
Brad: Once
Noddy: Once, yeah
Brad: It was seriously fucking… It was shit! It was embarrassing. We’ve got it on video as well.
Tez: Is that the one in Sheffield?
Brad: No, it was ages ago, before you joined. Me & Noddy just sat backstage drinking bottles of wine
Jamie: Oh, I wondered why you were shit!
Brad: It was like we were on speed though and we did the entire set in about 20 minutes.

Lou: Describe your Trashstock experience in three words.
Brad: Fucking amazing.
Noddy: Good. Fucking amazing good!
Jamie: I reckon it should be; thank you, Riot.
Brad: Yeah.
Lou: Ok, describe James Riot in three words.
Noddy: Gay, gay, gay.
Jamie: Loveable gay lord

Lou: So, plans for an album?
Jamie: We’ve gotta write more songs first! We’re supposed to be recording at the end of the year.
(Interrupted by Headrush’s Chris Khosa, coming into collect some belongings)
Brad: Yeah, so hopefully have an album early next year.
Lou: Do you have an album title yet?
Jamie: No
Lou: You’re not very organised, are you? You should be called ‘Disorganised’.
(Interrupted by Headrush’s Dave Leese)
Noddy: (to Dave) Have you got any cigarettes?
Dave: I haven’t, no.
Lou: Would you like to contribute to this interview, Dave?
Dave: Oh, are you interviewing? Sorry.
Lou: S’alright
Dave: I’m ever so sorry. I can be the guy in the interview who didn’t have any cigarettes.
Jamie: What did you think of Disarm tonight?
Dave: Very fucking good, actually. I’d never heard you before but what I heard was fucking good!
(Door swings open and a snippet of song currently being played in the main room wafts in)
Brad: I fucking hate this song that’s on now!
Lou: I can’t even hear what it is
Brad: (sings it) Who the fuck writes that??
Jamie: We’re off on a rant again now!

Lou: Ok, favourite song to play live?
Brad: I dunno, it depends. We just changed the setlist around… It depends because different songs do different things, so…
Lou: Didn’t you say in another interview that you don’t use setlist? But you had one tonight…
Jamie: Well, we didn’t but now we’ve changed it all around
Lou: Oh right, so you didn’t use them because you knew what you were playing anyway?
Jamie: Yeah. But now we’ve changed it to shake it up.
Brad: So people aren’t going ”Oh, they’re gonna play this next”, now they’re going “ARGH OOOH…” (supposed noises of a surprised crowd) and they’re all surprised.
Noddy: Yeeaahh

Lou: What’s been the highlight of your time with Disarm, so far?
Jamie: It’s been pretty fucking cooool! I think the best bit is just being on stage. And when Tez joined, things changed and it just felt more natural.
Brad: The Robin Black tour.
Noddy: Yeah, the highlight so far is supporting Robin Black on tour.

Lou: I have it on good authority that you’re a bunch of sleazy mother effers…
Brad: Motherfuckers?
Lou: But I’m a lady, I don’t say that
Jamie: Effers? Like cows?
Lou: I wanna know who’s the sleaziest
Jamie: What do you call sleaziest?
(Interrupted by The High Society’s Maxi Browne)
Maxi: Hey guys!
Noddy: (points at Maxi) THAT’S what you call sleaziest!
Maxi: How the fuck are ya? Is this fucking chick (Lou) bothering you?
(insert random waffle here)
(more interruptions)
(all interrupters now gone, Brad gaffer tapes the door shut)
Noddy: (to Lou) Are we the most difficult band you’ve ever interviewed?
Lou: I wouldn’t say difficult, certainly very interesting!
Jamie: (to Brad) That’s not gonna work!
Lou: That’s the crappiest gaffer taping I’ve ever seen
Jamie: No, no, stick it under the door handle!
Brad: I’ll do that as well!
Noddy: If we can’t get out now…
Brad: Ah, that’ll do.
Jamie: Carry on
Lou: Ok, so, who’s the sleaziest?
Jamie: What does that mean?
Lou: You know what sleazy means!
Noddy: (laughs) No he doesn’t
Brad: The filthiest
(some discussion goes into it)
Jamie: Tez
Tez: But I’ve got a girlfriend now, so…
Jamie: Yeah, Noddy’s the only single one so, at the moment, Noddy.
(Cue the sound of gaffer tape ripping from the wall as Chris Khosa interrupts again)
Brad: Get out!
Noddy: Have you got any cigs?
(more random waffle)
(he just fell off the table he was sitting on. As did many a glass & beer bottle)
(a hell of a lot of laughter)
Jamie: Carry on!
Noddy: This is why you should have done this interview earlier!
Lou: Well, this is why I wanted to do it afterwards, but now I’m kinda regretting it a little bit!
Noddy: Yeah!
(Brad sets floor on fire, briefly, and almost engulfs his girlfriend’s belongings)
(Dave Leese interrupts again)
Noddy: Ey, mate, have you got any cigs?
Dave: Nah, mate, you asked me that before
Lou: Would you like to re-evaluate your scale of drunkenness, Noddy?
(rowdy discussion ensues as to whether any of their original estimations were correct)
Brad: I just set the floor on fire and nearly all my girlfriend’s possessions! Ok, maybe I’m a five and a half.

Lou: Next question. Describe each band member
(some debate)
Noddy: Ok, Angry…
Lou: Wait, who’s this about? Brad?
Jamie: Yeah
Noddy: Kick-arse. Motherfucker. Come on, join in someone!! I can’t say caring & shit like that.
Brad: I’m a moody bastard and I hate everything.
Jamie/Noddy/Tez: Yeah
Lou: Ok, that’ll do. Next.
Jamie: Noddy.
Brad: He’s a bit of a ladies man but in his own special way.
Noddy: In his own special way?! What’s that meant to mean?
Brad: I dunno, you just are! You are a ladies man but you’re not.
Lou: Does that mean he thinks he is but he’s not?
Brad: No, he doesn’t think he is, he can just go “how you doooin’?”
Lou: Jamie?
Brad: Doll’s head but he’s fucking amazing on guitar
Jamie/Lou: Dolls head???
Brad: He can’t even print out a mailing list!!
Jamie: Oh no, no, no…
Noddy: You even shut your own head in the fridge while you’re looking for beer!!
Brad: Umm…he can’t add. He can’t take away… He’s amazing on guitar but anything else, someone else has to do it. But he’s right pretty and he gets all the girls coming to see us.
Lou: Tez?
Jamie: Tez is umm… alcohol and drug fuelled knobhead
Noddy: That’s no joke, either!
Jamie: He’s good for drugs and he’s good for fucking playing drums
Noddy: Yeah, that’s about it

Lou: Ok, any final thoughts/words.
Jamie: Let’s get beer.



by Jo and Lucie

Those Serpico blokes are getting themselves around a bit. After forming in 2002, life got in the way a little until three years later, when singer Mikey got them glued together properly and they started making their mark. They’ve already supported super-big names like Paradise Lost, AFI, InMe, Wednesday13 and rising stars Black Stone Cherry and Lost Alone. Early 2008 sees them supporting OI favourites Stone Gods (if you haven’t visited us lately, they’re the remains of The Darkness plus Graham Coxon’s bassist Toby MacFarlaine), and in February Serpico will be re-entering Chapel Studios (where the Serpico EP was recorded) to create their debut album with Canadian producer Rhys Fulber.
We cornered Mikey for a delightful soiree, recorded for posterity right here.

So, how did you get this tour then? Did it descend as a gift from the gods?

Gods… ho ho ho! We (well, I say we, I mean Jonny, our amazing booking agent/drummer) got in contact with their agent a while ago when we saw the tour announced. We heard that the band was made up from the remains of The Darkness, so that obviously intrigued us, because they were so big a couple of years ago (I’ve got to admit to paying silly money on eBay for tickets to see them around Christmas 2003, I think). We didn’t hear anything for quite a while, then we got offered the tour! So yeah, that’s how the tour was organised… We do all our own booking, got in touch with their agent (who we’d worked with before on the Black Stone Cherry tour).

News like that is the sort of stuff that makes your week!

Yeah, it wasn’t too bad to be honest! This is our 5th UK tour now, we’re gonna have had almost 8 weeks off touring by the time this starts. We’re definitely itching to get back on the road. Also it’s going to be interesting touring with a band who the crowd aren’t necessarily going to know a lot about, other than their pasts.

Continue reading

Ten Foot Dolls

by Lucie

There’s nowt quite like a little delve into the world of a grunge-goff-alt band…

How are things in the Ten Foot Dolls HQ?
Well our guitarist is leaving after our February tour, so if anybody wants to play for us….

What’s the story behind the formation of this band?
Nicci and Jake met at collage, dropped out of college and went to London looking for band members, after a period of time down there with no luck, they came back to Yorkshire. Izzy was looking for porn on the internet but found an ad looking for a bass player that Nicci had put up on a website and it went from there. We have also gone through a million and 4 guitar players. We can never find anybody with the same amount of dedication as us 3.

What are you collective musical influences?
This is always so difficult to answer as we have such varied and different tastes. The bands that we all agree on as major influences though are Rob Zombie, Aerosmith, Pantera, Led Zeppelin and Nine Inch Nails.

What got you all into music?
Nicci – My dad is also a musician so it’s in the family so to speak. I always found it a natural thing to be able to sing and be musical.

Izzy – My mum and dad raised me on bands like Aerosmith, Guns n Roses, AC/DC, Van Halen etc etc so I always had this interest in being a rock star like the heroes I was raised on, and then when I was about 13 me and a school friend decided to take guitar lessons and form a band.

Jake is the reincarnation of John Bonham.

Continue reading


Ahráyeph – better than the chocolate

by Jo

Raf started this project many years ago, when some of you were still twinkling stars in the school nativity play. The denizens of Leuven in Belgium may not yet be fully aware that they have stars in their midst, but Ahráyeph are attracting interest across the globe thanks to Myspace and the Heartland site (a place for dodgy goths, dodgy goths in denial, and the rest of humanity that like a bit of a darker side to their music). After many years of toil and bubble, they’ve signed a deal with French label D-Monic and all systems are go. The debut album ‘Marooned on Samsara’ will now be released in March/April next year, and there are of course tracks on Myspace to listen to right now. People have even travelled from GLASGOW to see them, so you’ve no excuse for getting along to listen, buy and dance. I cornered Raf via MSN to conduct a reasonably random interview – here are the bits that made sense:

Raf: ok, shoot

Jo: Ok.. not that I had much time to prepare but hey… *switches to almost sensible mode*

Raf: mhehe – i thought journalists were like boy scouts : always prepared

Jo: Yeah they say teachers should be, too. Right… So, I hear you got signed – what’s the story?

Raf: I heard that too. And since the label posted it on their website, I suppose it’s true. Basically, we’ve been previewing songs off the album on our Myspace page. Laurent and Laurent (I kid you not) from D-Monic came across them, liked what they heard and let me know they were interested in a release. So I sent them a CD with all the songs and there you go : a record deal. Sometimes it is that simple.

Jo: I think some people would be very jealous, actually, i can think of at least two… Blimey, a bolt from the blue.

Continue reading

Jeff Collins

Rockfield Rocks in Print

by Jo

Something of a departure, this. I don’t think we’ve done anything book related before, have we? TADAAAA.. the first, and a special one it is. ‘Rock Legends at Rockfield’ charts the history of this famous rock studio – famous for its successes and excesses. Interviews with said legends crammed in to give a glorious insight to something we never see, and several things we might not ever want to! The place that looks like the décor is unchanged from the 70’s, and probably unchangeable. Where the vibe in the studio makes you shiver, whether you thought it existed or not. Detailed and exclusive, photos aplenty, this is something you need to have. It’s plain that author Jeff Collins loves his subject, knows bucketloads, and his heroes are all here too. His history and Rockfield’s are intertwined, being almost of an age… Watch out for the TD extract at the bottom.

Out 15th September, links to Amazon, Waterstones, W H Smith and Welsh University Press at the bottom. £13.99, a snip.

I spoke to the lovely Jeff via the wonders of msn messenger, and barring the football gossip, this is the result:

Jo: You’ve got a lot of journalistic experience, of which I’m very jealous. It’s predominately on the presenting side, not the written form. Was this project always going to be a book, or is there a documentary in the offing as well?

Jeff: Well when I was working at BBC Wales I was a sports presenter on BBC Choice Wales, the digital channel. As such the editor of the channel was always asking us for ideas and I thought Rockfield would be a good subject for a documentary. As I explain in my opening chapter, the book is like a journey. As a teenager I always wondered why these great records had “made at Rockfield, Wales” on them. So the book starts out as a journey to discover how Rockfield was able to compete with the giants like abbey Rock, Record Plant, Air Studios etc. So I proposed it but the TV commissioners went cold on the idea. Next I proposed it for an article for Classic Rock magazine
My editor said she’d consider it. In the three months she spent mulling over this idea, I’d interviewed Lemmy, Paul Carrack and the Tokyo Dragons and realised that there were so many interesting and funny stories that this would make a great book. So it took off from there really (And Classic Rock eventually appeared to lose interest though they did later publish my day at Rockfield with Robert Plant as a lead story!)

Continue reading

Toby MacFarlaine

An e-dalliance with Toby MacFarlaine

by Lucie

Interviewing via t’internet is never ideal, but it can occasionally be productive. And I think this was. Never have I conducted such an in-depth and noggin-straining interrogation, and my questions became so deep, probing, and personal, that myself and Tobias are no longer on speaking terms. Also, I’m paying for his counselling.

Actually, that’s all bollocks. The following interview suits perfectly.

Tell me Tobias, what are your musical influences?
Wide and varied, innit. First record was Fore! by Huey Lewis & The News when I was about 10 and they got gradually heavier the older I got. The first band I saw was Megadeth with Alice In Chains and The Almighty in support. I still cite Hank Williams as a major influence. Love a bit of yankee folk moosic, me. Nirvana changed it all for me. They kind of reintroduced me to my beloved Beatles, too.

Top three bands:
The Beatles, Nirvana, Huey Lewis & The News

Top three albums:
At the moment… ‘Back To Black’ by my mate Amy Winehouse, ‘Ys’ by Joanna Newsom and a best of Talking Heads compilation. These change regularly. I’m not good with favourites.

What got you into music?
Been singing since I could breathe. My dad plays Jazz drums and my mum was briefly in a hippy band called The Wayfarers (don’t look for them, they’re not there anymore). Music was always in the house. I’d say trying to attract the attention of girls made me pick up the guitar (7 years old) and I kept on doing that because I was shit at sports and general conversation. I’m still shit at sport.

What’s on your iPod/MP3?
Far too much to list. Rock, country and alternative from most bands you could mention.

How long have you been playing?
A reallllly looong time

What’s your perfect festival line-up?
The Beatles, Nirvana, Megadeth, Blur, Pavement, Joanna Newsom, Amy
Winehouse, Goblin, Slayer, The Social and this new group what I’m in… Not in this order. I’d have to be playing because I can’t deal with not having a dressing-room to hide in at festivals anymore!

Favourite sandwich filling?
Cheese and onion. Classic.

What style/pattern of underwear are you sporting right now?
Some very expensive green Paul Smith trunk things I got in Japan. Very supportive.

Is there any celebrity that you’d just take an orgasmic
pleasure in slapping across the face? And why…

Jade Goody for her racist thickery. James Blunt for ruining singer-songwriters for everyone.


Are you quite prepared for the task of satisfying a hoard of starved, half-crazed Darklings?
Yes. Nourishment shall be provided forthwith. And possibly psychiatric help. Hopefully everyone will realise that I’m not some kind of indie spy hell-bent on deconstructing rock.

Gimme a little insight into how this incarnation differs from The Darkness (besides the members, smartarse).
No catsuits or operatic wailing. The sense of fun will remain, because we all share a similar sense of humour. It’s big-arsed good-time rock music. Riffs aplenty and just great songs. Tougher than that other group.

Tell me about the plans for your glorious emergence. Are there big sparkly schemes going down?
Schemes bigger and sparklier than you can possibly imagine.

How do you feel about so suddenly being in the limelight? So many more people know your name than did a month or so ago…
I’m used to a bit of limelight, innit. Done alot with Graham over the years. Indie limelight, I suppose, but half-light nonetheless. Reflected glory is something I’ve basked in for the last few years. I don’t really know what that means actually. If you mean people looking at you like you’ve got two noses when you’re walking around, or being stopped and asked to write my name on something or pose for a photo and that, then I love it. Great fun! I love massive gigs and audiences and stuff. Interviews, the whole shebang. Great. People knowing your name is all part of the fun, for me.

Are you going to be “styled”, and have glamorous photo shoots? Or is it all down to grass roots, now?
I think we’re gonna try to avoid any over styled stuff. It’s all a bit fake and uncomfortable to me and, indeed, us. Obviously we’ll be
coordinating our “Look” so we don’t look as if we’ve just fallen off a bus. There will be some roots involved because Ed’s allergic to hair-dye.

Who does the cooking in the band?
It’s a shared experience.

What would you say on a soapbox on Hyde Park Corner?
“What the fuck am I doing on a soapbox on Hyde Park Corner?” followed
swiftly by something nice and comforting like “The nend is high.”

Who would win in a fight between Sonic and Mario?
Sonic. Mario’s too busy thinking about that darned princess. And his
inimitable moustache.

What IS the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Roughly quicker than a chaffinch in a parka.

There you have it, fruity as a nutcake. Just the way we like it.

PS The new site for the lads will be online VERY shortly. Watch this space.

Dan Sartain

Dan Sartain – The Cockpit – Leeds

by Emma
4 February 2007

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from guitar-toting Alabama kid Dan Sartain, however nothing could have prepared me for the livewire I was faced with on this quiet, dark Sunday evening. If you are offended by swearing – I would advise you to look away now!

D – Oh jeez, do you guys know those guys The Sugars? Cool guys, are you guys from here?
E – Yeah we are
E – It’s the first week of your tour…
D- Yeah
E – …how’s it going so far, how has the audience reaction been?
D – The audience I can’t complain about at all – they have been good about every curve we threw at them. I think they keep getting better, so tonight will probably be better than last night.
E – Have you found that you have a very diverse audience, I mean like where there’ll be some punk kids and some rock kids, and then an older crowd?
D – Yeah, it’s definitely nice to have that option.
E – Yeah, I think that it’s always good to appeal to lots of different groups and puts you at an advantage
D – I think so, ‘cos I’ve been going to see some bands ‘cos I know I wont fit in. It’s like me and my wife went to see the Ghetto Boys – do you know them? The midget rapper with the eye patch…’cos he shot his eyeball out! Yeah well they were around in the nineties and I was really excited ‘cos they came around and it was one of those records that your parents didn’t want you to listen to ‘cos it was so dirty…so I was like fuck yeah I’m gonna go see the ghetto boys! It was like ten years later after their prime but I still wanted to do it so we went to go see them. My wife’s ass got grabbed three times, you know, and guys sized me up and grabbed my wife right in front of me and it was like, what are you gonna do? I can’t jump thirty black guys – if they wanna grab my wife’s ass they can! (Laughing) It’s our fault for coming!

E – During this tour are you mainly promoting your new album, Join Dan Sartain, or are you going to be playing a good mix of all of your songs?
D – Yeah, gonna be playing some brand new songs too so…depends how well the first two go as to how much we do of the new songs, but I like them a lot. I keep getting better as an artist I think, personally.
E – Well that’s the only way to go isn’t it really! You’re gonna worry if you don’t!
D- Yeah well you know, you get your sticklers… it’s like …what’s always a cool thing to say about a band is that you’ve heard of ‘em or some shit and it’s always cool to say that their first record is their best. A lot of it is true but…
E- I guess that can be one of the problems – when you get a set group of fans from your first album, and then when you move on they don’t like it because they want everything to stay the same

E – Did you get a choice in the support groups that you have with you for this tour?
D – Yeah, except for the local guys, the sugars, but I was excited about them because they were good last time…I’ve played with them a couple of times. But yeah I got to bring my friends, Plate Six, and Kerry, she used to be in a band called The Red Aunts, and a band called Two Tears.
E -So are you excited to be with them, have you been stood on the sidelines watching their sets every night?
D – Yeah, it’s definitely a bonus. Sometimes when you play with bands and you secretly don’t really like the band you hope that you sell more than them or you might get upset when you see people responding well to them. This time it’s like if you see someone wanting to buy something of theirs it’s like “yeah, one for the team” you know? So it’s definitely good, I don’t feel any competition with them at all.

E – When you go on tour, are you quite well behaved, or do you get into a lot of mischief?
D – I have got up to a lot of mischief, but I think I’m more well behaved now…
E- So is that going back a few years…
D – Nah…Last year! This is the first year I’ve noticed aging though, (turns to scrutinise his face in the small mirror behind), like ageing as opposed to just getting older or maturing or something.
E – Oh you’re alright you’re a young one!
D – I got these lines on my face and stuff so…I’m 25 so yeah I know I’m young! Well…how old are you guys?
E – 23 and 28
D – Whaaaat! I thought you were like 18!
E – Yeah when I went to the bar earlier I was asked for ID, but I love it now so I was like “Yes! Thank you!”
D – Yeah that happened to me the other day, a lady ID’d me and I said woah! I said yeah you’re flirting with me aren’t you and she said yes!

E – Okay, so what would be the craziest or perhaps the naughtiest thing that you have done on tour, if you are able to tell us?
D – It was in Versace’s club in Milan. I was playing this fashion show for these people that make like the Italian Vogue or something, so I was playing this fashion show for them and I was surrounded by beautiful tall models, and I was sexually frustrated then. I got way too drunk and they took us to this Versace club and there were these fashion model guys dancing to ACDC and I was like “fuck you man, ACDC is not for you motherfucker”! And I was “I like ACDC and this is just ironic shit to you” but they were like “oh this is funny…we’re dancing to ACDC” and “oh I paid forty euros for my drink” and so I just like “this is bullshit! I feel stupid, I feel like an asshole for being here”. When I left I was being funny with this other guy and I smashed this lamp and then I went to the street to try and get in a cab, and this bodyguard came up and he was like “excuse me sir, excuse me sir” and I was like “what what, ziggy ziggy blah blah blah” and kept trying to get in the cab. He flashed his badge, and I watch enough of those cop shows to know not to run from the cops, but I was fully just drunk and enraged and I just took off, hauled ass. The guy grabbed the back of my jacket and then I just shook the jacket (demonstrates holding arms out behind him so that the jacket would slip off by the sleeves) and I just kept running and didn’t stop, and then after a while I started thinking “fuck, my passport was in that jacket” so I went back and went up behind him and I was tugging at the jacket and was saying “give me my jacket, give me my fucking jacket back” and he was like “no, no you gotta come over here and I’ll give you you’re jacket back”. He took me back behind the velvet rope and they were holding me there until management came. They gave me my coat back and so I jumped over that fence and I got about two blocks, full speed, about as drunk as I could be and I outran four Italian cops! But then a cop caught me, and he beat the living shit out of me. I looked like Rocky Balboa, I had big fucking swollen eyes and they let me go because he wasn’t really supposed to beat me up, but I guess I was acting like such a prick that he just beat me up anyway! At least my eyes are okay…(pulls face again) but this half of my eyebrow didn’t grow back for a long time! I still don’t think it’s as thick as the other one really! It sucked!
E – (Couldn’t at this point speak for laughing).
D – I heard you’re eyebrows don’t grow back either…you know like you see with boxers…
E – At least yours are the same colour – see I have one dark and one light!
D – Yeah you do! Hey that’s cute!

E – What do you think is the best thing about touring in the UK? What do you like about the UK…if anything!
D – I like everything. It does feel more free, especially Europe.
E – But not the cold!
D- Well, you know that’s kind of a pleasant thing right now, because we skipped winter in the states this year.
E – So when you are packing to go off on tour, what are the most essential things that you have to take with you, say you’re top three…
D – Just normal stuff, like hair stuff and razors and t-shirts and some jeans and stuff, but the most important thing that everybody says stuff like “oh you gotta have this kind of t” or “you gotta have three lighters in your pocket” or “you gotta bring plenty of pens or plenty of socks”. But the thing that I harp on about is a pillow, for your butt ‘cos you have to ride around a lot so for those long car rides – it’s really nice to have a pillow.
E – Save your ass!
D – Yeah otherwise it can get sore, ha ha
E – So what would you say that you miss most about home when you are away?
D – My wife and my cats and my transformer toys
E -Transformers?
D – Yeah, I have several…hundred!
E – (Sings) Robots in disguise!
D – Ha ha yeah! Do you have a brother or anything who played with transformers?
E – Yeah we have a brother…just turned 21
D – Yeah, wow. Did he play with those or was he more Ninja Turtles?
E – Yeah he did like Ninja Turtles!
D – Yeah that sounds about right…when those guys came out, that’s the first point that I felt old, like ‘cos I was like “ah you young kids”! Yeah like when that Ninja Turtles came out and Power Rangers and that kinda shit came out I was like ahhh fuck!
E – Yeah old school was the best!
…cue further chat about Ninja Turtles clothing in school and more giggling from all…

E – Right okay, let’s move on…I hear you have just been nominated for a music award back in Birmingham (Alabama)?
D – Yeah…it’s not a big deal and they have it every year and I don’t pay attention to it or anything, but yesterday I heard about it…you’re really current! Either that or you just did all your homework today! But yeah…I hear about it every year and I don’t pay attention to it and like I heard about it and now I’m really into it, like losing sleep over it last night and I’m like “damn I really wanna win that”!
E – It must be a good feeling to have been nominated for the first time
D – Yeah, and to get the nomination is maybe a little more important ‘cos I think I’m gonna be able to cheat and get my friends from over here and from other parts of the states to vote on it! And it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t mean that you don’t like me ‘cos you’re not from Alabama, these guys can have people from all over the world voting for them too. But like Fuck, I’ve really earned it and I want my own town to recognise me man!
E – You’ve been doing this for quite a long time now haven’t you?
D – Yeah and I never felt that I ever get any respect from my own town
E – Do you feel like you haven’t had much support from there?
D – I mean yeah I’ve got my people, and you know I don’t play shows to empty places but man I do a lot you know and its not like I would be the only successful act to come from Birmingham but its like when they do get a bit of money or success they move off to California or they move off to New York. And I cant blame them ‘cos its not exactly the greatest place on earth but god damnit this year I earned enough money to work and move anywhere in the world for a little bit , not for the rest of my life but at least enough to move for a year, I could move over here for a year or I could move to California I could do any of that shit but I’ve decided to stay at home. I wanna stay there, I wanna live there and I wanna be happy there and I wanna have my cats and my wife and stuff.
E – That’s quite a refreshing thing to hear actually
D – Yeah well it’ll be refreshing if they can award me for it!
E – Are you feeling quite confident about winning or are you just gonna try not to think about it? Don’t lose anymore sleep over it though!
D – I did lose sleep about it, I wanna win the fucker. Its stupid and its a trivial thing and it doesn’t matter, just because of them sending me that fucking email more people have probably heard about it than ever have before. But it doesn’t matter. And its so funny ‘cos I got nominated for their Indie Rock category, but who else is on there that’s on a major label? Who’s nominated for any of that shit that’s on a major label? I don’t think any of them, so it’s like if I win the indie award, then I must win the biggest award because it’s all independent and I won the independent award so I won, I beat all of you fuckers! That’s right, I mean I wanted to be an athlete first, I wanted to play American football (that’s huge where we’re from), I wanted to be a boxer and I wanna do all of that shit but I can’t – I’m obviously not an athlete look at me! You know, so I still have that competitive thing though, I wanna compete. It’s like when you play a show and you do well, you just did a good job you didn’t win nothing, you know what I mean?
E – Yeah, it’s just a bit of recognition isn’t it?
D – I wanna win the fucker

E – If you had to define your sound or perhaps the meaning behind your music in just a few words, what would you say?
D – I haven’t thought about that, you know, like, but really when artists start thinking about their meanings and stuff it starts sounding like shit. It’s like with The Beatles people used to make up all this stuff about Paul being dead and weird rumours like John is saying give peace a chance backwards on this record or some shit and they totally weren’t and like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds didn’t mean to spell out LSD and all the rest of this shit but then when they did get into religion and Hinduism and became activists and stuff and tried to tell them that they were like okay well if people are gonna believe any bullshit we put out then we’ll send out a message! And that’s when the old Beatles fans were like “oh, you’re just not interesting anymore” you know. Michael was good when he was all disco, with a little afro and Michael Jackson was totally badass and then he started doing everything for the children and (in southpark-esque Jefferson voice “this is for the children” and it was like you fucking suck now man! I liked you when I was a child and you were just concerned about being cool. I guess I’m just concerned about making myself look cool and I don’t know. No, fuck that’s not true, that’s a lie! I did hear some guy from some band I hate talking on an interview and he was like “don’t let any musician ever tell you that they didn’t pick up a guitar to pick up chicks” and I was like if that was my intention I would have gave up a long time ago ‘cos it didn’t fucking work! I think it was that guy from that band Sugar ray too, you remember the guy? I think it was that guy, and it’s like “no dude you’re making excuses for yourself, you wanted to be in a band to get chicks”!
E – And he’s now doing pop collaborations with Shania Twain! So cool!
D – Yeah he’s on this TV show now, like one of these celebrity news shows in the states that will show when someone flashed their crotch or something, he’s one of those hosts and he’s really corny, like that band Sugar Ray, they put out their first album and I’m not gonna say it was good or you’re underground or you’re punk or anything like that …but it was more underground and more punk. You could see where they would listen to a band that they like and then their second album came out and it was all shots of him posing and it was like you did this to get the chicks man!

E – You started playing and writing quite young didn’t you? Did you ever just write stupid songs about silly things?
D – Oh yeah, still do! I don’t write as much any more but when I do its better and I can see the thoughts through instead of rushing it. Sometimes, when I get up in the morning ‘cos I’m an early person (my wife is definitely a late riser) and I get up and I go into the bathroom before she does, and sometimes I’ll just pop into the bedroom with my guitar playing the worst song like “my shit really stinks”, just to annoy her! She just wakes up and goes “ohhhh stop it”!

E – You financed your first two records on your own didn’t you?
D – Yeah, yeah
E – How did you manage to do that?
D – My grandmother died in about 2000 and I inherited three thousand bucks, and I wasted it all on music and moving up to Nashville
E- But you were working too right?
D- I’ve never had too much luck with work – I usually got fired from every job I would get so…but I definitely invested it (the money) I mean ‘m still selling some of those recordings now – I sold some tonight and I sold some last night so I’m still making money off of it
E – And rightly so! So how long did it take you to do all of that?
D – Well the first one I got done, I was really excited about it and I put a lot of hard work into it, and shortly after I got it done, John from Swami called and told me that they wanted to put stuff out. I was so excited that I just wrote another one right after that, and it’s still some of the best stuff I did really
E – Do you feel a greater sense of satisfaction knowing that you did all that on your own and it was all through your own hard work?
D – Yeah, and what I’m really satisfied with is that that was the first record label that I ever tried to be on, I was never one of those guys that went out and took glossy pictures of myself and sent that stuff off, but I just gave my record to one of those guys and Swami was the only record label that I ever even thought to turn to and that I thought would understand me, and they did! Most bands would sell their legs to be on there.
E – So you must sound pretty good then!
D – Yeah well the Kooks fans didn’t think so!
E – I think the trouble can be that some people (a minority though really) will get stuck into one particular genre of music and they close their minds towards other sounds

E – I heard that for your previous album Dan Sartain Vs the Serpientes, you literally hanged yourself for the cover shot – is that true?
D – Yeah for the cover, I just did for like ten seconds at a time. I had a bunch of people around and they were worried about me doing it but I’m not a professional neck-hanger or anything like that you know! You know like there were various people there to let me down if I start twitching and stuff!
E – Did you worry at any point and think oh god, this is it?
D – Yeah I almost passed out for a second, I could see how you could do it and kill yourself and be very peaceful…but yeah, it was scary
E- I would be shitting it! You must be brave
D – Well did you ever do that thing when you were a kid when you would like bend over and hyperventilate and then stand up and make yourself pass out? Yeah we used to do that when we were kids before you could drink, and it feels quite euphoric and for a second you feel pretty good. Well I felt that almost happen, and if that had happened I would have been fucked.
E – And was that all your idea?
D – Yeah!

E – If you weren’t playing now, what do you think you would be doing? Say if you had never picked up a guitar and never written a song.
D – I wanted to be a mechanic real bad, but I was real bad at that. So honestly, if it wasn’t for music… it’s fucking cheesy to say but music saved my life you know, and it’s not for everybody, it ruins a lot of people’s lives, but fuck you know I might be dead, I might be in jail and I would definitely be on harder drugs than I do already. I just smoke pot now and I really like pot and coca-cola and a lot of salt on my food and cigarettes. That’s pretty good considering that I lot of people I new grew up to be crackheads so I’d probably be with them working in some fast food chain.

E – Are you one of those people that are just writing all the time, or do you set out to think okay today I’m gonna sit down and focus and write a song?
D – Sometimes I do but you can never force it. Sometimes it just pops in your head and you go thank you universe!

E – Do you find that people are quite surprised when they meet you, as your music is quite mature and there is a lot of life experience in there so I guess people might listen and imagine you to be older than you actually are?
D – Thank you, yeah I’m way more silly! I’m a silly, silly person! (giggling). Did you see Kerry, the girl from Two Tears? She’s my friend, she’s been a supporter of me for a long time, and she was telling me the other night that she was selling some t-shirts and this girl came up and was like “oh, what’s it like to work with Dan? He seems precious, he must be precious” and she was like “No! He’s just a big dork! He dances around and makes bad jokes all the time!” You know that song (stands up to sing and dance) “no diggety, I gotta back it up”, well we heard it first thing in the morning the other day and all day long I was bugging everyone just walking up to them and “no diggety”! And I’d be dancing around and stuff and like they were just like “shut uuuuup”!
E- It’s good to see that you’re just a normal guy
D – Well you know most musicians think that they’re way cooler and more important than they are.
E – It’s usually a case of the bigger bands or acts are totally down to earth and friendly, then the smaller ones are those that have the big egos
D – That’s what Greg Dooley, the guy that used to be in Afghan Whigs, we’re on the same label now as his solo stuff and we got the same girl working for us, and she was telling me that he was talking about it, and she asked what was the nicest band he went on tour with back then when Afghan Whigs were in their prime, and she said that he said that Aerosmith were – like on the first day they were like “hey guys, show us that thing you do on guitar” and they were really nice to them. Then they would go on tour with Pearl Jam or somebody and they would not talk to them for the whole two weeks or whatever.
E – I think there are too many Yes people who will just agree with anything those kinda guys will say
D – Yeah, I need people around me who will tell me to shut the fuck up! I really do!

From thereon we continued to chat a little longer about hip hop, collaborations, venue security and Dan ended with a hilarious Snoop story which had us in fits of laughter for the rest of the evening. Hugs and well-wishes all round and it was pretty much time for him to take to the stage. Dan performed a lengthy and spectacular set of tracks spanning all of his albums, including some fabulous new tracks. The high energy and technically perfect performance was just amazing and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Between favourite tracks from his latest album Join Dan Sartain Dan bantered with the audience and lit up the room with his beaming smile the whole way through. The most popular tracks being the brilliant Replacement Man, Shenanigans and Gun Vs Knife to name but a few.

I made the decision there and then to make sure that I catch Dan’s every tour in future, he makes music to smile, dance and sing to and he is indeed a true gentleman and a genuinely adorable guy.