Calendar Update

Those of you who ordered a calendar will know that the project met with unsurmountable difficulties out of our control, and has been postponed until the end of this year.

I can announce that despite this, there were some very generous offers from fans to donate the money that had already been paid for orders. Thank you wholeheartedly for being so kind. The total given was £240.50. It was split equally between Teenage Cancer Trust and The Sophie Lancaster Foundation and paid over.

Refunds have also been made and left the bank, so all is in PayPal’s hands if you haven’t had yours yet.

Many thanks again for everyone’s support, donations, and the preorders I’ve already had for the 2016 calendar!


The Darkness 2015 Calendar

Pre-orders are now being taken for this long anticipated, gorgeous Calendar – created by fans, for fans.  Here’s a preview of the awesomeness…One of the proofs...

To pay simply click on the links to PayPal in the pricing information below.  Pay the amount shown for your location in GBP using the ‘Send to a Friend’ function and the email address Make sure the following details are in the message box:

  • Email Subject: Calendar Order
  • Name
  • Full postal address
  • Paypal receipt ID
  • How many you want!

This will ensure that ALL the money goes towards costs and the charities – Teenage Cancer Trust and The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Thanks to all those who have contributed, helped, listened and encouraged, and to The Darkness (as always!) because they rock in so many ways. If you’d like more than one, please enquire about the postage costs as the weight bandings are different in each location.

Please email any queries to

Thank you!

United Kingdom – £10 + £3 delivery

Europe – £10 + £5.50 delivery

Rest of World – £10 + £8 delivery  

The Darkness – First 2015 Tour Dates Announced

The excitement starts here!


That’s right – we’re taking off to the green lands of wonderful Ireland, the place where a lot of the material for our forthcoming album was written or completed. We’re doing intimate venues to cater for our hardcore fans so contact your local venue directly to obtain tickets as they will sell very fast. – most tickets will go on sale today / tomorrow.

Fri 6th March – Spirit Store Dundalk

Sat 7th March – Nerve Centre Derry

Sun 8th March – Whelans Dublin

Fri 13th March – Monroes Live Galway

Sat 14th March – Dolans Warehouse Limerick

Sun 15th March – Bridge House Tullamore

The Darkness Announce New Drummer

The Darkness today announced via Classic Rock that their new drummer, replacing founding member Ed Graham, is to be Emily Dolan Davies.

Emily has a long drumming career already in the bag, starting to gig at the age of 11. She began professionally in 2008, and seems not to have left the road for very long since then. Her varied CV shows that she has played a huge range of styles with a similarly diverse set of artists – Bono, Brian Ferry, Flood, Tony Kaye, Damien Hirst, Tricky, Emilia Mitiku, Cher Lloyd, Janet Devlin, Becky Hill and Tom Bailey.

The last few years have been incredibly busy touring and recording – let’s hope that it stays that way with The Darkness!

Welcome in, Emily. We look forward to hearing and seeing you soon.

For more Emily Dolan Davies information, videos and audio, see these links:


Sing On Our New Album – The Darkness Offer Fan Dream

This deserves more exposure!

* SING ON OUR NEW ALBUM, STAR IN THE VIDEO AND CREATE HISTORY * Here at The Darkness HQ we want you on board for one of our favourite forthcoming album tracks, and you'll be in the video too - all you need is a camera phone. Simply click this link - go to SING ON OUR NEW ALBUM - Click FREE - and follow the sign up process - we’ll respond with instructions on how you can play a part in the epic creation of one of our singles. This is open to every last one of our fans and is sure to be huge. The cut off time for signing up is SUNDAY 7th DECEMBER so click on the link now to be a part of rock history.

Here at The Darkness HQ we want you on board for one of our favourite forthcoming album tracks, and you’ll be in the video too – all you need is a camera phone.
Simply click this link – go to SING ON OUR NEW ALBUM – Click FREE – and follow the sign up process – we’ll respond with instructions on how you can play a part in the epic creation of one of our singles. This is open to every last one of our fans and is sure to be huge.
The cut off time for signing up is SUNDAY 7th DECEMBER so click on the link now to be a part of rock history.

Unofficially 2015 – The Calendar of Darkness

Once upon a Christmas 2004, a 2005 calendar featuring The Darkness was released. Ten years ago. Coincidentally, Optimum Impact was formed ten years ago too, and I think we were on our third issue by then. I decided that to mark these occasions it was only fair to ‘give’ everyone an OI birthday present…

There will be a 2015 calendar featuring The Darkness once again.                                      All profits will go to charity – half to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and half to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Hopefully you’ll want one?

As to the contents… I can’t just put my own live photos in, and I’d really like you to be a part of it. If you want to contribute, please could you choose no more than 4 of your best live action images and email them to as soon as possible so that choosing the final 12 can be done. Watermark them, too, so you get credit! That way, this calendar can truly be created by fans for fans as a thing to keep. The front cover will be a work of splendour but I cannot reveal it because I haven’t seen it yet! More to follow on that. STOP PRESS! Analia, of The Darkness Argentina fame, has agreed to create the front cover. OI is honoured!

If you could comment on here, tweet, or like the Facebook post that appears, I’ll get an idea of numbers. Costs will be £10 plus p&p, and details on how to pay will follow. Help me make this fabulous, plus make lots of money for two brilliant causes.

Please note that this calendar IS unofficial.  The Darkness and the charities are not involved in the conception or organisation. It’s just me and all of you… 

Ed Graham Leaves The Darkness

In a tweet just a few minutes ago, The Darkness confirmed that drummer and founder member Ed is no longer working with them.

Sadly, we’re no longer working with Ed Graham. For various reasons, we have all decided to move on. We love Ed and we wish him happiness.

This is not an easy post to write after so many years of Ed-ness. Good luck and much love, Ed. Fare ye well.

Record Store Day Giveaway

Record Store Day 2014 saw the release (amongst very many desirable others) of a limited edition picture disc of Permission To Land by The Darkness.
This couldn’t go past without my queuing relentlessly at two London stores and having lookouts round the rest of the country.
I managed to buy two, so that one of you could have one as well.
Give me a good reason why you should be Holding Your Own copy, and you might well get it in time for a refreshing Friday Night’s dancing.

2014-04-25 19.54.04

Reply to the usual email/twitter/facebook/here places.

Immaculate Misconception x several

If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing more than once.
Splendid sentiments to take into a new Darkness tour, especially one as laden with nostalgia as this. For us and them, this celebration of Permission To Land was going to be imbued with all sorts of meanings and memories of different sorts and importances.

Small venues, back to where it all exploded – you know that’s how I love to see my bands. The Darkness do venues of any size brilliantly, but it’s a special thing to watch them play like this. The thrill of all senses being so intimately assaulted by crowd, band and speakers is a thing of sweetness and bruises. It’s real, immediate and utterly satisfying. Addictive.

We won’t dwell on the fact that a certain government agency came to inspect my other raison d’être, causing me to miss the first two days of the tour at 4 hours notice. No, of course we won’t, because I’m not bitter about that at all. I give most of my life to my job, so my job staying out of my life when necessary is a reasonable request, I thought, but no…

Oh well. It was fully three weeks more before I finally broke my tour duck. Brighton. I love the city, and I really like the venue, too. By then I was wound as tight as a watch spring, eager to shake off stresses and enjoy myself. That gig delivered. From the first sight of friends, to first note of  Second Fiddle, to last note of Christmas Time. Every elf, tree, scarf, hat and tank top was savoured and delighted in. We were so close to the stage on the front row – close enough to touch the stage with ease on our side. (To undo shoelaces and tie them together, too, but obviously that would not have been the done thing. They don’t stand still long enough anyway. ) Making Out started the energy flowing, giving several nods back to 2003. After that, the 2 set format was ably explained – first, a ‘generic’ set, then PTL from start to finish, with Christmas Time as a seasonal round up. So, we enjoyed cowbells, the operatic Tollund Man masterpiece, the pulsating Street Spirit – something from every era and album. In the midst – The Horn. Pure classic Darkness – live, it has an even dirtier sound, and is more smirk-worthy than a smirky thing. Ace!
A short break, and the now legendary monologues. Each band member outlying part of PTL’s successes before reappearing, one by one. Frankie’s listing of awards deserves a medal for ‘most record achievements spoken in one breath without dying’. The words ‘One million, three hundred thousand’ and ‘IT. FELT. GREAT. And how do I know?’ are mantras for a Darkling world.
Dan’s knee slide. Justin’s headstand. LIOAF’s atmospheric Swan poses. All part of the show… I was impressed with how little crud Dan ended up with on the knees of his white trousers.
The absolute and undisputed crowned set piece of all the shows, though, was Ed’s drum solo. It was good to see the spotlight on Ed, as he upped the solo stakes to new heights. Amazing what a difference a triangle and a gong can make to anyone’s day!

Feeling much more alive and like myself after that, there was the small matter of a wait until Northampton the following Saturday. The promise of that and meeting up with more favourite fans, American and English, saw me through. The Roadmenders is another great venue with clean toilets, plus finger print recognition systems for the cloakroom. Crikey.
The  noticeable thing was the crowd silences between songs – that’s unusual. During – that was pretty normal, though TD worked harder for it.

Beyond that, back home for Norwich and Lowestoft x 2. Norwich is always a great gig to be at, with so many home fans. More friends, more thrills to sound and light. A camera that went where it shouldn’t to take pictures of… well, to be fair, it’s not easy to tell. The details are missing. All I can say is that it doesn’t smell too bad and the poor thing is still working.

Lowestoft was very interesting. The brand new venue was rather lovely, we even sat on the floor in the bar because it was so clean. The first night seemed to be locals come to see the sons of the East, the second had more Darklings, but both were awesome gigs. They’ll be legendary. The first was HOT. Sweat did drip off the ceiling. It dripped off everywhere. We had Justin hanging off the lighting rig (an unknown and untested quantity) – he must have been missing balconies to dive off on this tour. It rocked the roof nearly off, for a night that was memorable. We must have looked sights when we left – sandblasted and coated in grit by beach and wind before, cooked, basted in sweat, then rained on. I’m surprised the taxi home didn’t drive past us.  Night two had more clement weather, and fans, and opened windows. It was no less rocking than the first, just cooler, and more of an end of term party feel. The boys’ delight to be home at last was palpable. The crowd’s appreciation matched it. Justin’s wedging the mike in the rig and having to climb to rescue it was one of those gloriously silly TD moments that seemed so inevitable and so right it could have been choreographed especially.

The tour ended there, on a singing of a real festive note – not November, like last time, but truly in season for the first in a long time. Drunk on riffs, high on notes, blissed on rhythm is where it got left. Memories and friendships were forged and tempered in the hothouse of crowds. Is that what it should be? How, truly, could it not be.

These are my impressions.
There are some things that were on people’s lips during the tour. During some gigs, cameras were not allowed. Some, they were, but no videoing. We were told no phones at Northampton but then a few songs into TD’s set, security ordered us to put cameras away. Lowestoft first night, told whilst in the queue to put cameras in our cars or they would be taken off us. Car unavailable… and the implication was ‘and not given back or looked after.’ Mine went in my hat then pocket then cloakroom. Second night, cameras allowed.
I have no problem with Justin’s wish not to be videoed, for all the reasons he gave. I applaud that, and back it wholeheartedly. I DO wish that the rules had been applied consistently from/by venue to venue, as we didn’t know where we stood each night. Advance warning by twitter would have been handy, in hindsight, I suppose, but I’ve only just thought of that.
Justin’s rants were pretty well discussed and it didn’t add to the pleasure of the gigs for some who were there. (Nor for some not present, but I’m not keen on that. Unless you were there, the context is missing and it’s impossible to truly know.) For some, it made no difference. For me – we were not in Justin’s shoes at those moments – he was not an idol, angel, saint, sinner, pariah any more than we ever are. Justin would not be Justin if he didn’t say something about what he thought, however it may come across. He’s been opening his mouth for years and causing ripples. I’d rather have that than an anodyne crowd pleaser with honeyed tones and lack of passion, whether I think he’s right/wrong/out of order/bang on.

At the end of a long tour, weeks on the road and shows nearly every night, let’s hope that a good break was had by band and crew. 2014 now stretches out before us. Where will it take us next? Dark places? Oh, GOOD.



Anniversary Competition – The Winner!

Ladies and Gentlemen, please settle back for the Black Shuck Shimmy. Congratulations and a ‘Cor, well bloody marvellously done’ to Jayne Henderson.

Thanks for all the interest in the competition, everyone!

I didn’t know our winner Jayne was going to say the following, but top marks!

With a little help from Ed Henderson, I have won a pair of tickets to The Darkness Lowestoft show on 19th December for the final night of the UK tour.

As much as I love The Darkness (and you know I DO), I want to raise some cash for my womb cancer charity.

I am therefore auctioning them off to the highest bidder. Minimum bid face value of 50 quid the pair, last bid accepted midnight on Friday, 6th December so the lovely Optimum Impact can send them out to the successful bidder in time. Comment on this post with your bid. The highest bidder will be sent a link to my charity page to send their donation online.


Thanking You!


The Platinum Correction – CD up for grabs

Classic Rock had a live CD of the Thetford Forest attached to last month’s magazine – for subscribers only. On eBay, they were going for silly money.

Thanks to the generosity of Darklings (thanks Chris) and teachers (thanks egyptiangirl) I now have two copies to call my own. I only need one, so I’m letting one go far away to a new home. Classic Rock isn’t likely to have reached many of you overseas, so I’m making this a strictly non-UK giveaway. It looks like it’s going to appear on iTunes, but the actual CD is now a collector’s item so come and get it! The magazine isn’t included, and the CD hasn’t been played.

Let me know what one other song you would have put on this CD, and why. Track listing is:

Every Inch Of You / Black Shuck / Get Your Hands Off My Woman / Everybody Have A Good Time / Planning Permission / With A Woman / One Way Ticket / Growing On Me / I Believe In A Thing Called Love

You have a week to contemplate!

The Horn – New Single from The Darkness

The Darkness. The Horn. You just know it’s not going to be on a car insurance ad anytime soon, without even hearing it. One or two latex clothes sites I know of might be interested, maybe…

The Horn is one dirty, relentless little slice of heavy hard rock action. Rhythms drip pornographic grind and everything else adds the slick of oil for a shinier finish, guaranteed to leave stains everywhere it touches. The lyrics are exactly what you’d hope – sexy, naughty, funny and descriptively detailed, laced with little touches of affection.  The sense of a certain wide-eyed gobsmacked innocence lurking at the back  – I don’t know whether to chuckle or raise my eyebrows, as I can’t do both together.

I’m in love all over again. They do this so damn well. I like The Horn far better than other recent releases (which doesn’t mean I don’t like them, far from it) just because the whole song is so darned wonderfully Darkness.

God help us all if there’s a video. There are enough Juslings in the world who have keeled over today, and I don’t think the NHS could cope. You know damned well they knew that was going to happen!

Released today on iTunes, Google whatsit thingy and other places. Played on this tour to popular acclaim, plenty of videos of live performances to view. Oh, and there’s a new version of Christmas Time too, which was released on the 18th of this month (November).

Anniversary Competition Time

I know, another anniversary in a year of them. What NOW? I hear you almost wonder.

Today, 11th of November 2013, is the 10th anniversary of the Carling Homecoming at The Astoria. The first airing of ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End). BUT – it is not that which I wish to commemorate.

TODAY is the 10th anniversary of MY VERY FIRST DARKNESS GIG. 

To mark this momentous occasion/the start of a love affair/the discovery of the meaning of rock spandex (etc, ad infinitum) OI is giving away 2 tickets for the last gig of the Immaculate Misconception extravaganza. You could be in Lowestoft on 19th December to see The Darkness and LostAlone in TD’s home town. In the East, baby, for one hell of a night!

All you have to do  (you have to work a little for this) is to do your own interpretation of a Darkness song, preferably from PTL. Dance, poetry lyric recitals, mime, opera renditions, a piece of glorious art… maybe even a canine singalong to Black Shuck. Photos, Vines, videos, audios all welcome. Post them here, on our Facebook or on twitter. Entries by 1st December, please!

Celebrate with us  – we’ll be there!

Love and eternal Darkness

OI xxxx



PTL 10th Anniversary – Toby Macfarlaine

Toby has been a friend and colleague of The Darkness for many years, a talented musician, and very good with words.

“At what point did you become aware of The Darkness?”

-Well, let’s start there and just free-form, shall we?

I became aware of them when Dan asked me, pretty much rhetorically, whether he should accept the offer of becoming touring guitarist with Nathalie Imbruglia or start a rock band with his brother. We were in a pub in Camden, as we very often were, and were making each other laugh writing lyrics to an as yet unfinished song entitled “The Box Of Horror”.I think I was still in a band called Thirteen:13 at that point, and I believe we were mere days away from being dropped from our deal with Polydor Records. I answered his question as anyone would have, “Go for it! What, are you nuts?!”
Despite my sage advice, he chose to start a band with his brother.

We ought to remember that the musical landscape was a strange place then.
We were still at the dreggy, bottom-of-barrel, what’s left on the ironic shirt-rail, real tail-end of the death knell of Britpop. Camden certainly was, anyway. There was still a lot of hanging around the Good Mixer trying to convince Andy Ross to hand out deals with Food Records wearing waxed-fishing-hats and Adidas shell-toes.
The big “Arena Rock” band of that time was probably Travis. TRAVIS.
The very idea of an actual rock band who played actual rock music was faintly ludicrous and one which virtually everyone thought couldn’t possibly take off, much less become successful. Which was possibly why I thought it unlikely that they could do anything BUT become huge.

Cut to a little while later, after their first show with the finalized line-up and I thought it was glaringly obvious. Everyone in the room was grinning ear to ear. They made people happy. Fuckin’ weirdos.

I asked them to play at my wedding party.

I’d got married in Finland but we were having a little bash down at Undersolo in Inverness St (next door to The Good Mixer, naturally) for those of our friends who couldn’t make it to Finland. My mum was in charge of the door so we could give the band some money for van-hire or petrol or something. Matt Mower and Graham Coxon also did acoustic sets, I should add.
It was just a little private party for our friends but people I didn’t know kept coming down the stairs and begging to be let in to “the secret Darkness show” because they’d seen “every gig they’ve done and I CANNOT miss this one”.
It was weird. What the fuck is going on?

It didn’t really seem like an awfully long time after that, I was playing bass with Graham Coxon and we were headlining the tent at Reading festival. My mates The Darkness were headlining the main stage. I was just hugely proud that what seemed like my immediate Camden “scene”, me and my shit-kicker pals, were suddenly the main draws at Reading.
On both stages.
I’m still filled with a huge feeling of achievement when I think about that night.
They had been granted permission to land and in many ways I think we all had.

Sometime later I recall being in a cab in LA and the driver turning up the radio saying, “Hey, this is the new one from The Darkness, what do you think of those guys? CRAZY, right??” My pals, The Darkness.
Enjoyed by wedding-crashers and Los Angelean cabbies alike since 2003 (or thereabouts).
Long may it continue.

For more contributors, click here

PTL 10th Anniversary – Heaven’s Basement and Max Raptor

Heaven’s Basement:

‘Black Shuck’ is a killer riff, we opened for these guys on our first ever U.S show in October 2012, awesome guys and was great to hear so many songs from Permission to Land!’ Chris Rivers

Max Raptor (Support on the Comeback gigs)

I can tell you that my great memory of the band was a show at Leamington Spa pulling Justin’s trousers off with his Tour Manager …the spandex stuck to the sweat and it took two men to pull them off…

(Something that’s been happening since 2001, no doubt…)


For more contributors, click here


PTL 10th Anniversary – Scarlet Page

Scarlet Page is well known for her image-defining photo shoots with The Darkness. Despite being horrendously busy, she was kind enough to note down a few memories:

I remember flying out to Australia for the ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’ video and driving straight up to the Blue Mountains to meet with the boys. Jetlag was taking over but I am sure we saw a wallaby on the way up the mountains.
Justin and the boys were on fine form and it was just brilliant watching them rock out on the top of a mountain, the views were amazing and you could see storms in the far distance approaching, it was all very dramatic.
I got some staged shots of the guys too, Justin was doing headstands, rolling around on the end of the precipice and generally being very amusing. He is the best person to photograph ever, he gives so much and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I loved it when I showed him a shot of himself gurning and he laughed his head off and said ‘brilliant, let’s use that one!!” in all seriousness.
A few months later I was shooting a front cover for Kerrang and we had the idea to take the picture on the beach next to the Jones Beach venue in NY, Justin had recently been given an iridescent shell like guitar from gibson so that being the inspiration, we rented a shell like Boticelli’s Birth of Venus and were hoping to re-enact that picture to a certain extent. When we arrived the beach was one of the grottiest i have ever seen and the shell was about 2 foot high so it all became rather Spinal Tap BUT with the Darkness’s professionalism and a heap of photoshop we got some cracking shots!!
Many thanks to Scarlet for sharing!

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.


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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!


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PTL 10th Anniversary – Steel Panther

Steel Panther quite frankly are a band that need to be seen and heard – Rock and Sex at their headiest mix. To be nice to their old muckers The Darkness, they recorded this message from Las Vegas.

Thanks to Michael, Lexxi, Satchel and especially Stix for making it happen. Nick deserves a special mention for beating the file size until it was small enough. Dudes, you rock harder than a hard thing, and I love you for it.

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PTL 10th Anniversary – The Webb Brothers

The Webb Brothers go WAY back with The Darkness, as you’ll see:

The moment we laid eyes on the Darkness in a dingy little bar in Austin Texas we knew they were going to be stars. They were insanely good, had great songs and most importantly they were absolutely fearless. The next year we met randomly at the same festival and learned that they were also true gentlemen. Dan and I agreed to guitar tech for each other since we were both touring with skeleton crews. I only hope I came close to doing as good a job for him as he did for me. Later they gave us the privilege of accompanying them on one of the great adventures of our lives, their first major tour after the release of ‘Permission to Land.’ I could write a whole edition here with the stories from that tour but I’m gonna do you all a favor and keep it neat. A giant congratulations from The Webb brothers on 10 years of great music and fearlessness. Thank you. The Darkness Rock!


The Webb Brothers were most charming – thank you for your help!

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