Interview /Live Photos: : Robert Cavuoto
The Darkness will be releasing their first-ever concept CD, Easter Is Cancelled on October 4th. The CD examines the role of the musician in the barbarous culture of the world today; and their almost divine responsibility to challenge the establishment; something that most Rock & Roll artists seem to have given up on in favor of easy celebrity. And yet at the heart of this tale is love, loss, and heartbreak; where redemption is ultimately found in the brotherhood of band friendship and the power of the guitar. The band consists of Justin Hawkins on vocals/guitars, Dan Hawkins on guitars/backing vocals, Frankie Poullain on bass, and Rufus Taylor on drums.
The Darkness are skilled masters at songwriting, going beyond the thunderous riffs or the catchy hooks; each song is laced with intricate guitar fills and nuances that bring each song to life. Combine that with Justin’s falsetto voice and lyrics that strike a perfect balance of double entendres with tongue & cheek humor. When it all comes together; it’s explosive!
I caught up with Frankie Poullain to ask a few quick questions about the new CD, the thinking behind the concept, and using the provocative image on the CD’s cover.
Robert Cavuoto: Easter Is Cancelled is The Darkness’ first-ever concept album. Can you share your thoughts on the concept, and how it came to be?
Frankie Poullain: Concepts are often intangible things; they hide from the intrusive torchlight or the crude touch of jabbing inquisitive fingers – not unlike a sensitive and much-discussed but rarely understood part of the female anatomy. I digress; in my opinion, the concept of the album is man’s relationship with wood, music (or musical instruments), the crucifix, and man’s sexual energy. In other words, art, sacrifice, and creation.
Robert Cavuoto: The cover art for Easter Is Cancelled recreates the Crucifixion of Christ. Tell me about utilizing this provocative image on the album.
Frankie Poullain: Jesus was anti-establishment, just as Socrates before him, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, and countless others as well. If you call-out the power, corruption, and lies of the establishment, then you are invariably silenced as was the case with these four; executed or assassinated. Rock & Roll must always be anti-establishment. Beware establishment, cronies, and try hards. You know who they are.
Robert Cavuoto: The opening track “Rock and Roll Deserves to Die” is an exuberantly powerful song. Do you feel that Rock & Roll is truly dying out?
Frankie Poullain: Apparently not.
Robert Cavuoto: Which song of the new songs would you say has your biggest imprint?
Frankie Poullain: The song you just mentioned, “Rock and Roll Deserves to Die.”
Robert Cavuoto: Previous Darkness CDs were recorded in exotic locations, was Easter Is Cancelled recorded in an unusual place?
Frankie Poullain: No. But it was a beautiful location at Dan’s idyllic Sussex hideaway.
Robert Cavuoto: The Darkness mixes hard rock and solid riffs with a sense of humor. How does the humor come into the writing, and is that a conscious decision to add it?
Frankie Poullain: It’s a garnish, a seasoning, a flavor; a priceless ingredient lovingly sprinkled or dribbled over a delicious home-cooked meal.
Robert Cavuoto: When you first came on the music scene, The Darkness took a lot of crap from established bands and weren’t taken seriously. In some way people thought you were poking fun of 80’s rock. What were your thoughts at the time and how did you and the band move past it?
Frankie Poullain: We eventually learned to move past it with love and laughter. I’m sorry they couldn’t take us seriously, but it begs the question: Who actually wants to be taken seriously, and if so, why?
Robert Cavuoto: You left the band in 2005 and came back for Hot Cakes around 2012. What initiated the reunion?
Frankie Poullain: The gilded wings of redemption.
Robert Cavuoto: What are The Darkness touring plans for the US?
Frankie Poullain: Soon to be announced; April/May 2020.