PTL 10th Anniversary – Tatyana Kunda

Tatyana Kunda is a fan from Latvia, who has been a regular TD internet presence for a good few years now.

I do have a strange thing about discovering and liking new music. I somehow ‘manage’ to really get into a band/group/whatever when they cease to exist. It happens to me all the time and this was exactly what happened to my ‘The Darkness’ experience. Unfortunately,  I did not really have the chance to see them in their initial full glory.

2003 was the year when I heard ‘The Darkness’ for the first time on VH1 or MTV. It was the voice that most definitely caught my attention.  As a huge ‘Queen’ fan I could not help but have this ‘Wait a minute!’ moment when hearing the opening lines.  Can’t explain all the feeling that you’re making me feel, indeed.  Alas, at that point I was too careless/foolish/insert your own word  not to find out more about the band. ‘The Darkness’ remained relatively unknown in my country, though, contrary to one interview,  have never been  hated (  That’s the sad part of my story as I lost a couple of years of the listening pleasure. The fun part began some years later (after the group had actually disbanded). While looking for some new stuff to listen to, I remembered about a certain group called ‘The Darkness’. Hoping there would be at least 3 new albums, I , to my horror, found out that the lead singer had left the group. The rest is a series of happy coincidences – coming across Mr Hawkin’s Myspace page, meeting a lot of wonderful people and, of course, enjoying the MUSIC! Thus, I got the album much later than a proper fan should have done it.

I can’t say I enjoyed every track on the album at once, but that’s the usual course of things, I suppose. The obvious favourites have always been ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, ‘Love is Only a Feeling’, ‘Growing on Me’, ‘Stuck in a Rut’. Come to think of it, I’ll have to mention every song on the album, as each of them became a favourite at a certain moment. That’s actually the best thing about ‘The Darkness’, you can’t stop liking them in any kind of mood or life situation. Be it ‘Love is Only a Feeling’ for a more romantic mood or ‘Friday Night’ for a more playful one, or ‘Black Shuck’ when being under pressure. And another tricky thing about ‘The Darkness’- you can never be sure what the song is actually about. That kinda makes choosing a ‘personal anthem’ difficult but adds to the fun. Don’t get me wrong, the music is not a joke. However, this ‘do not take life too seriously, you will never get out of it alive’ attitude wasn’t hard to notice. At the same time, they managed to be the most positive band out there. Even having the darkest name.

The Darkness did change my life in a way, or even in a couple of ways. Musically? Of course! They were and still are a kind of breath of fresh air in the industry of ‘manufactured miracles’. Most importantly, they managed to create a community that has been with them at their highest and their lowest; and this adds even more value to their music. Has my attitude changed over the years? It would be wrong to assume the contrary. The blind fandom has been replaced by a more sensible (though not less positive) approach to music and everything that surrounds it. However, I am grateful for all the experience I’ve had. There surely is life after the darkness but why choose it if there are (hopefully) many more years of good music to come.


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PTL 10th Anniversary – Trina Bedden

Trina’s Welsh. I met her on the Official forum years ago, and she’s never failed to impress with her entertaining ability and her passion for The Darkness. Here’s what she has to say:

Taffy and The Darkness … A Long-Term Love Affair

I didn’t know it at the time, but 7th July 2003 was an enormously important day. It was the birthday of two very important elements of my future life – firstly, a wonderful lady who has become a terrific friend/confidante/fellow minx/bit on the side (*Rolf Harris voice* “can you guess what who it is yet?”), and secondly an album from one of the most amazing rock bands of the last 20 years, and my salvation (I’m not kidding).

Trouble was, I didn’t realise the significance of this date until four months later (fashionably late, and all that). I was vaguely aware of ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ through the summer of 2003, but was in such a miserable daze that I wasn’t paying much attention. November saw me on sick leave, on the sofa, on painkillers and swathed in duvets, bawling through flu and an infected wisdom tooth. Theres only so much daytime TV a body can stand (ok, none), so music channels were my other drug of choice. And in the run-up to Christmas, they were all playing Christmas songs, with ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ on heavy rotation, back to back with ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. And I was lost. Transfixed. Laughing my (considerably skinnier than the 2013 version) ass off. It was WONDERFUL. The music. The catsuits. The bare-faced, balls-out, laughing in the face of taste and cool attitude. The can’t give a f*ck cheek of it all.

Amazing. And I was hooked. I bought Permission to Land shortly afterwards, intended as a gift for my sister … I played it to death, then regretfully wrapped it up and put it under the Christmas tree. And then bought my own copy to play to death. We tried very hard to help ‘Christmas Time’ to the Christmas number 1 slot, only for it to be held at number 2 by the most suicidally boring and un-Christmassy song in existence. After that outrage I wandered onto the band forum and fell in love with many like-minded individuals, and my fate was sealed. A full-grown Darkling blossomed shortly afterwards, and for that I’m eternally grateful. She’s a lot more confident, bossy and tattooed than the previous version.

Without the band, their music and their ridiculous antics, life would have been so different. So boring. I’d probably have never ever gone to a gig – instead, I bought spare tickets from a fellow Darkling, spent 3 weeks designing and glitterfying (it IS a word) a t-shirt, and buggered off to Paris to pop my gig cherry. I’d never have braved the mud and flying pots of p*ss at the Reading festival so I could watch them headline. I’d never have followed the band to gigs in Cardiff, Glasgow and Wembley – 5 gigs in 10 amazing days – on the 2004 Winternational Tour, and several hotel rooms would have remained glitter-free forever.

I’d never have been invited to a preview listen of their second album. I’d never have moved an entire departmental meeting by half an hour, just so I could hear the world premiere of One Way Ticket on Radio 1. I’d never have followed the band to Dubai to watch them headline a (mostly) non-sweary set at the Desert Rock festival. The gig on my birthday in 2006 would never have happened, nor would the crazy Dublin gig weekend. I wouldn’t have the Brighton hotel room memories, or the muff giggles. I’d never have won Justin’s dartboard. I’d never have discovered my inner minx, covered her in eyeliner and leopard print and unleashed her on the world, following Justin’s mantra of “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing”

All of these things would never have happened, and my life would be far poorer for it

There have been bad times and sad times during the 10 years. The tensions in the band became more obvious as time went on, and the cause was easy to guess. The split wasn’t the massive shock it could have been, the solo careers diverting but nowhere near as diverting (for me) as the main event once was. Keeping the faith became our sole occupation, living on hopes and dreams of “one day

And “one day” happened. It really did. All together again, the original line-up. Older, possibly wiser, clean and sober. With more tattoos, more facial hair, more attitude, and a determination to not f*ck it up. And a wonderful third album which gets played daily, and hasn’t yet gone stale. News of what they’d been doing during the quieter times filtered out, and made me cry in public, on a train full of people (thanks Q magazine!) – but so what. The old me would have been mortified, this version has given up giving a f*ck *grins*

So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for the music, the memories, the fun, the laughter, the tattoo and the eyewatering number of band t-shirts … heres to another ten years!

Happy Birthday!

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PTL 10th Anniversary – Dave Winkler, Renegade Playboys

Darkness Rising – A view from the wings

The first time I saw The Darkness was at a wedding reception. I went to see them at the Barfly In Camden Town a few weeks earlier. A good mate of mine had been raving about them, but he generally loved every other new Camden band, so I wasn’t convinced. During the support band my girlfriend at the time complained she was ill, or maybe she had just had too much to drink, so I ended up missing them to drive her home, much to my regret. We broke up the following day, though not for that reason.

The wedding reception gig was good fun, though they only played about four songs, including a hilarious cover of Knowing Me Knowing You by Abba. However, the show that really made an impact on me was the second time I saw them, again at their second home at the time, the Barfly.

Image-wise Justin, tattooed and shirtless in skin-tight jeans and big furry boots, was the only one at this stage who had fully made the Rock N’ Roll transition from the band’s indie roots. So at first I was sceptical that this was another local alt-rock band that liked AC/DC a bit. The track, Live Til I Die, which has sadly yet to make an album, was what made me prick my ears up. However, mid-way through the set they launched into Love Is Only a Feeling. I admired any band who, much like my own, had the balls to play an full-on power ballad in the sarcastic centre of Camden in mid-2001. At this point they had entirely won me over.

I Believe in A Thing Called Love had yet to make the set, if I remember correctly, but Love On The Rocks was a great closing number, and Justin’s energy and enthusiasm throughout was really infectious. I remember having a discussion with some friends outside the pub afterwards that these guys could be the ones who really do something big, not realising it would actually happen.

After getting to know the guys, I helped promote a show in Hackney where my own band, Renegade Playboys, would support them. This would have been around the early Summer of 2002. The amusing thing was that the Darkness were not who we had planned as headliners. Anti-Product were opening the main stage at OzzFest at the time so they pulled out on us. Sack Trick couldn’t make it, we even asked the B-Movie Heroes because one of them was in a vaguely famous Wildhearts-related band. The Darkness were our last choice. Less than a year later they would be headlining a sold-out Astoria, the same month Anti-Product played to a half full Underworld.

The Hackney Ocean show was under-promoted, it was great fun but we only played to a half full three-hundred capacity room. What is interesting is that, just a month later, the Playboys again supported the Darkness at the Underworld, just five miles away, and they completely sold the place out to the extent there were queues round the block, some of our own crowd didn’t get in until the band after us had finished! I was informed by the Underworld staff that this was the largest crowd an unsigned band had pulled for over a decade, at this point it was obvious there was no turning back for the band.

It was around this time that outside the Dublin Castle, Dan and Justin were handing out demos to their friends. A demo that soon became more than a demo, as it contained the unmastered versions of Love Is Only A Feeling, Love On The Rocks With No Ice, and their signature I Believe In A Thing Called Love, the very recordings that made it onto permission to land. These were produced by Pedro Ferreira, who at the time doubled as their sound man, and tripled as the bloke who carried Justin through the crowd during the Love On The Rocks solo! I managed to get my hands on a copy, it might have been the same night that Dan was talking about having sword-fighting midgets in their first video, or something!

From this point onwards things moved very quickly for the guys, a Kerrang! Weekender here, a Wildhearts support there, the I Believe In A Thing Called Love single was released the first time round, I ended up in a 2 year relationship with a Swedish girl I met at a Darkness show in Oxford Street. Love is Only a Feeling became ‘our song’.

And then, the legendary London Astoria show. The Darkness, Ten Benson and us. We were offered it ahead of some of their label mates simply because they liked us. It was originally going to be at the Astoria 2, but that sold out in a week. I was in my parents’ kitchen when I got a call from Justin and Sue Whitehouse saying it had been moved to the Astoria. “Ok mate, great news” I said, thinking I knew what was coming next, “I guess you’ll be wanting a bigger opening band then?”. Justin replied “No you guys are still on the bill, we’re gonna pack it out anyway!” Or something to that effect. It was more than ten years ago! I was Twenty-two years old. In my naïve mind this meant I was about to become a Rock Star.

The show was amazing. We were on at 7pm and the place was already packed out. I think some of the younger kids at the front thought we were the Darkness themselves, as we got a massive roar when we walked out onstage, it was absolutely electric. Sadly my wallet got stolen that night so I missed most of their set, whilst cancelling my bank card. It was an amazing night though, and sadly the only time I would ever get to play the Astoria, which has now been destroyed by Transport For London along with two other venues where I saw the Darkness play.

Three months later, and ten years ago this week, Permission To Land was released. Thirty-eight minutes of adrenalized, kick-ass Rock N Roll (and a couple of Power Ballads for safe measure). I bought it from HMV the week it came out with a £10 voucher I got for my birthday, I thought it was fair of me to (sort of) pay for it, rather than try and blag one, given all the opportunities the guys had afforded me. I saw less and less of Dan, Justin and Frankie in real life, and more of them on TV. Ed could though usually be found at the Dublin Castle or the Good Mixer in Camden on a Friday night when he wasn’t on tour.

To my awareness, they haven’t played any wedding receptions since.


Thanks to Dave for assaulting his memory banks in the name of Darkness.

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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!


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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.

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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.

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